Tag Archives: merger

Regional Convention 2020 Host Church a “Center of Hope” in Los Angeles

Pastor Geremy Dixon encouraging the saints at Center of Hope LA.

By Carl Stagner

Convention 2019 and General Assembly have come and gone, but the Regional Conventions scheduled across the country next year are on the horizon. Registration is now open for all three events as program details continue to be finalized for Inglewood, California (April 22–24); Anderson, Indiana (June 24–26); and Brooklyn, New York (September 16–18). Pastor Geremy Dixon, who spoke at CHOG Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas, says his Los Angeles congregation is “pulling out all the stops” for the three-day gathering next April. An interview with the influential leader offers a glimpse of the people and the ministry giving life to their city in such a way that merits the name “Center of Hope.” Continue reading

Messy but Miraculous: Missouri Churches Merge to Maximize Kingdom Impact

Co-pastors Rick & Johnny conduct salt ceremony to signify the merger.

By Carl Stagner

Johnny Phifer was serving as the pastor of Walnut Lawn Church of God in Springfield, Missouri. Rick Herald was the pastor of LifeQuest Church, also in Springfield. Neither church was on life support or even in serious trouble. Still, each church did have its fair share of challenges; in particular, the average age of the Walnut Lawn congregation was progressively older, while LifeQuest faced a sizeable debt. But, while it’s true that the notion of a merger seemed to address these basic needs, these were not the primary motivators for a decision of such far-reaching implications. There had to be more. And there was. Continue reading

Church of God-Christian Church Merger Still Loving, Serving Minnesota

Discovery Church providing a free oil change.

By Carl Stagner

In 2002, “the talks” started. Two churches, only about two blocks apart, in Saint Paul Park, Minnesota, were loving and serving in a strikingly similar fashion, with nearly identical theology and doctrine. The Church of God congregation was without a pastor at the time, and the youth groups had begun to participate in activities together, discovering they were better together than apart. As is often the case, the younger generation set the example, essentially paving the way for who would ultimately follow: the adults! Authors Barry Callen and James B. North had recently written a book about the similarities between the two Christian fellowships, and they’d heard about the possibilities in Saint Paul Park. Joining the meetings and helping foster dialogue, they celebrated when the Christian Church and Church of God congregation each voted unanimously to merge. A decade-and-a-half later, Discovery Community Church is still loving, still serving their community, state, and world for Christ. Continue reading

Spanish-, English-Speaking Churches in Texas Become One

carlos_lamelas_baptizing_newvida_dallastx_forweb

Photo: Pastor Carlos Lamelas baptizing a believer on Feb. 5.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Malcolm Tyree described it as a “Super Sunday,” but not because of a certain football game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. What happened on Sunday, February 5, at New Vida Church of God in Dallas, Texas, was nothing short of incredible, especially in light of all that had transpired over the past year. Eleven people were baptized, ranging in ages from six to sixty. Wonderful, sure. But not so uncommon. Uncommon was that these individuals represented multiple cultures originating from the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba. Such celebration came on the heels of a year of transition which saw the finalization of the merger between a Spanish-speaking and an English-speaking congregation. But for New Vida Church of God—once New Life Fellowship and Iglesia de Dios Vida Abundante—this wasn’t the grand finale. This is just the beginning. Continue reading

Church Merger a Stark Contrast to Divided Culture

brad_ruggles_matt_gaylor_nspirechurchsign_forweb

Photo: Brad Ruggles (left) and Matt Gaylor (right) celebrate unity!

By Carl Stagner

“People can find all kinds of reasons to be divided today. But we found one to be united.” Matt Gaylor, engagement pastor of the new Nspire Church in Westfield, Indiana, couldn’t be more excited about what God is up to in the growing city just north of Indianapolis. As the pastor who helped restart and reclaim New Life Church of God as CitySpring Church in the early part of this decade, Matt had every reason to continue down the successful path he was on. But God had other plans. These plans wouldn’t involve him leaving CitySpring, but they would involve change. And they would prove to be a powerful witness for Christ. Continue reading

A United Church for a Divided World: An Illinois Snapshot

gatheringplace_il_marriageretreat_forweb

Photo: Gathering Place Church of God marriage retreat.

By Carl Stagner

Remember that slogan? “A United Church for a Divided World.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be just a slogan, and it doesn’t have to only represent a theme of days gone by. For The Gathering Place Church of God in Fairview Heights, Illinois, it represents present reality. They’re the product of two churches coming together; that is, a predominantly black church and a predominantly white church. While the rest of the world is busy arguing over this, that, and the other, this unified church across the Mississippi River from St. Louis is preoccupied with communicating Jesus to a lost and hurting community. Continue reading

No Ordinary Church Plant: The Table, St. Peters, Missouri

worship_at_the_table_stpeters_mo_forweb

Photo: Worship at The Table.

By Heidi Tarin

When Jon Simmonds felt the call to plant a church, he didn’t know what he was getting into. He didn’t necessarily follow the set play book for planters and his church, The Table, in St. Peters, Missouri, is not your average church plant. Jon had been in ministry for over a decade and was serving as a youth pastor when he felt led to plant a church. He gathered a team and they began meeting as a small group in January 2015. Just a few months later, the Table’s story starts to deviate from normal. Continue reading

Michigan Welcomes New Church to the Movement

Berrien_footwashing_FORWEB

Photo: Footwashing at Berrien Community Church.

By Carl Stagner

With increasing regularity, congregations and local fellowships are seeking affiliation with the Church of God. Drawn by the dawning of a bright new day, reflecting the light of Christ at the center, established bodies of believers are asking the question, How can we join the movement? From the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the Middle East, Christians have observed that God is on the move in the Church of God. Recently, the Church of God in Michigan rejoiced as Berrien Community Church in Bridgman, Michigan, became the newest Church of God congregation in the state. Continue reading

Gertrude Goode: Continuing to Break Racial, Gender Barriers in Virginia

Gertrude_Goode_FORWEB

Photo: Gertrude Goode

By Donald W. Neace

For the past several years, the Church of God in Virginia has looked to and set several historical landmarks. From breaking the barrier of racial lines that existed between the former Virginia Association and former Virginia Assembly, to racially balanced co-chairs of the newly formed Church of God in Virginia, to alternating chairs demonstrating racial unity in leadership, the Church of God in Virginia has set an example for each local congregation, as well as the Church of God nationally. Continue reading

Florida Churches Flourish Under Cross-Denominational Merger

BryanLegg_TBA_Church_baptism_FORWEB

By Jonelle Frazier

Every church has a unique backstory. Some started in peoples’ homes, some started as outreaches to the homeless, and some grew out of larger churches. And then there’s TBA Church. TBA stands for Trusting, Believing, and Acting, and that’s exactly what this church did when it came together from separate churches that belonged to two different denominations: Epic Church, from the Church of God, and Church of the Highlands, from the Southern Baptist Convention. Continue reading

Boldly Choosing to Build Life: Two Churches Merge in Illinois

Life_Builders_remodeled_building_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

One church was a beacon of light in the heart of the city. Another church was an assembly of believers on the edge of town. One church was considered white collar, while the other was considered blue collar. One church was used to doing church a certain way; the other had slightly different tastes. Both churches longed for revival, and both churches served the same Lord. So when Jesus is the subject, culture and preferences fade to the background. When Jesus is the subject, two different churches can come together, build life together, and function together as a single body of Christ. Continue reading

Unity Breaks Out in Louisiana

Unity_stock_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

Incredible things are happening in Louisiana. The Church of God in the Pelican State has long functioned with two separate state organizations. In 2012, however, both assemblies voted to come together and form one new association. Since that historic vote, new bylaws have been written and the Louisiana Congregational Ministries of the Church of God has come into being. On January 1, 2014 the newly united Church of God in Louisiana will officially begin operation! Continue reading

1 + 1 = ONE: Churches Merge for Kingdom’s Sake

Pasadena_TX_ Merger_1_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

No, it’s not fuzzy math. 1 + 1 = ONE. When two churches come together for the cause of the kingdom, two churches are no longer separate fellowships. They become one body, and 200 + 100 > 300. Continue reading