Tag Archives: military

How to Be a Veteran-Friendly Church

By Carl Stagner

Meeting needs is just something churches do. You don’t have to go far to find a kid-friendly church or a church with options for married couples or senior citizens. It’s common that you’ll find a college-friendly church located near a college campus. For the recovering alcoholic, there’s Celebrate Recovery. For the divorcee, there’s DivorceCare. Support groups exist among churches for numerous other challenges people face. But for those dealing with the trauma of war, help can be hard to find. And yet, veterans sit in our pews from week to week, often silently navigating the horrors of combat dating back only a few months—or several decades. Retired Church of God pastor Colonel Fred Dowden is on a mission to help churches become veteran-friendly. As you’ll discover, being a veteran-friendly church is far more than acknowledging the “veterans in our midst” and singing “God Bless America.” Continue reading

Veteran Church of God Pastor Honored by West Point

danwhiting_speaks_westpoint2016_forweb

Photo: Dan Whiting speaks at West Point in late October 2016.

By Carl Stagner

Being accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point is an exceptional honor reserved for our nation’s most promising students. But it takes more than excellent grades to be accepted for admission. West Point wants leaders who are not only intelligent, but those who are physically fit and of outstanding character.

Those are pretty high standards expressed on the front page of the West Point website. Still, Dan Whiting, executive pastor of Clarkston Community Church in Clarkston, Michigan, was one of those exceptional students to receive the honor of admission to West Point. Recently he was honored again by the prestigious institution when asked to speak at the chapel of his class reunion. Dan’s remarks at the special service reflect the heart of a man shaped by his military experience but transformed by Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Into the Wild Blue Yonder, Behind a Desk, and Everywhere in Between

airforce_jets_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

They call it total force. The United States Air Force utilizes this idea to limit the differences between what it means to be active-duty, in the Reserve, or in the Air National Guard. Members undergo the same training in order to function as a single body. Among chaplains, reservists are ready to go, should they be called up to active-duty service. Among chaplains, there is also a common goal—to provide for the free exercise of religion, all while representing Jesus Christ by the way they labor, listen, and love. Sometimes they find themselves stretched and blessed in ways not typically seen at the local church. More often than not, however, these ordained ministers of the Church of God simply do what all pastors do. Their nontraditional setting is what sets them apart. Four Church of God chaplains to the Air Force reveal the ups and downs, as well as the everywhere-in-betweens of Air Force chaplaincy. Continue reading

Church of God Honors, Prays for Veterans

veteran_stock_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

They put their lives on the line for you and me. With courage, they served to protect the freedoms we take for granted in the United States of America. Since their days in the military, these gentlemen have committed their lives to another kind of battle—a battle for souls. Military veterans Gary Campbell and Gerald Rudd are just two of the numerous examples of those who started out in the armed forces before joining the Lord’s Army. The two thousand Church of God congregations in the United States are indebted to their service to God and country, and we honor and pray for them—not just today, but every day. Continue reading

Obadiah Smith Receives 2015 Indiana Black Expo Governor’s Award

Obadiah_Smith_Governor27sAward2015_FORWEB

By Linette Tang

Obadiah’s chaplaincy for the Church of God and service to the military has warranted numerous awards and decorations—such as the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 2 devices, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service, Air Force Reserve Medal 1 device, Air Force Training Ribbon, 09 Grissom Officer of the Year, and the 2010 #1 Outstanding USAFR Chaplain of the Year. This time, the 2015 Indiana Black Expo Governor’s Award for Civic Leadership/Military was given to Obadiah for the work he has done throughout the community and for Indiana. Continue reading

Honoring Our Chaplains, All Veterans This November

Veteran_morguefile_FORWEB

Photo: Veterans Day is November 11.

By Carl Stagner

How much do you know about our Church of God chaplains to the military, hospitals, and correctional facilities? David Erb knows a lot about them. He serves the Church of God as its chaplain endorser. As Veterans Day fast approaches, he urges the Church of God to remember not only our country’s men and women in uniform but also those who minister to them in the role of chaplain. Continue reading

Oklahoma Church Breaks Down Barriers, Serves Community

GaryUnderwood_LesterBeasley_Unity_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

In a society marked by division and discord, glimpses of unity refresh the soul like summertime rain on the desert Southwest. Unity experienced amid a diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and political landscape can ultimately only come from Jesus. It really should come as no surprise then that the Christian community would be one of the first groups to come together in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The subject of their experience together was Jesus. Barriers that used to divide have crumbled, and love entwines about each heart in which God’s will is done. Continue reading