Tag Archives: mission

At the Crossroads: Indiana Churches Initiate Plan to Multiply

The crowded entryway of County Line’s new campus church.

By Carl Stagner

Nate Tatman had no idea how pivotal that moment would be. He’d been in the office of Indiana Ministries when something caught his attention. The map of the state on the wall wasn’t anything new; he remembered seeing it before. But what he hadn’t noticed was the distribution of push pins on the map, which indicated counties that did not have a Church of God congregation. In particular, he noticed this time that there were thirty-seven counties in total with no Church of God congregation. And that’s when things began to get interesting. Continue reading

Rejuvenating the Church of God in New England

Peace Dale Church of God (Rhode Island) elders in fellowship.

By Angela Sagesse

The Church of God in New England consists of ten congregations dispersed between Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. All six states that comprise “New England” consistently are ranked within the top ten of the nation for having the lowest church attendance, thus making this the least-churched area of the country. Yet, the New England Church of God is wanting to turn that around! Continue reading

Heart of a Shepherd: Convention 2018 Speaker Pours into Pastors, Leaders

Ben Hardman speaks at the Philadelphia Regional in 2016.

By Carl Stagner

“I have always believed everyone needs a Paul to pour into you, a Timothy to pour into, and a Barnabas to encourage you.” Ben Hardman’s words come from personal experience. Returning to the Regional Conventions this year—all five of them—the featured speaker hasn’t always lived up to this aspiration. He knows how difficult it is to lead well, make disciples in a 21st-century culture, and balance the needs of self and family. But out of his struggles, he’s celebrated numerous successes and gained a wealth of insights on the ground. The co-founder of Gravity Leadership and host of the leadership training workshop “Making Disciples in the Way of Jesus” at each Regional Convention 2018, Ben’s unique combination of life experiences has captured the attention of Church of God pastors across the country. Continue reading

Reclaiming Life, Kingdom Territory in Central California

By Carl Stagner

Like the dawning of a brand-new day, the Holy Spirit is breathing new life into the Church of God in central California. Over the past five months, several structural and functional changes have been received warmly by a family of congregations seeking direction and revival. Under the leadership of their new regional pastor, Michael Guzman, the Central California Association of the Church of God has since developed strategies to increase efficiency, maximize potential, and take back what hell has stolen. The gates of hell have no doubt begun to shake, as these strategies are already beginning to bear fruit. Continue reading

From the Archives: Christmas—A Divine Mission Statement

By Arlo Newell

Christians too often view the Christmas celebration as excessive commercialism. Deluged by advertising and pressured by promotion, we find it extremely difficult to discover the true meaning of the season.

It was while crying over this commercialization of the Christmas season that I was convicted to look for the good and the positive rather than to criticize. I began by giving thanks for the beauty of the season. I began by giving thanks for the beauty of the season. Lights become more meaningful in the dark, depressive days of December. The contrast makes them more distinct and the cold, crisp winter air allows the sound of silver bells to be heard more clearly. And who can fail to experience the joy of children as they anticipate this most magical of all holidays; laughter fills the air as they live in a world of expectancy. Even in the ringing of the Salvation Army bell and the iron kettle help to accentuate the carols sung by choral groups along the street. Continue reading

In the Midst of Revival: Crosspointe Kilgore-Longview, Texas

Baptism at Crosspointe Church is a common occurence.

By Carl Stagner

When you’re baptizing someone nearly every week and the walls must come down to make more room in your sanctuary, you’ve got to wonder if revival is breaking out. At the two campuses of Crosspointe Fellowship Church of God in the Texas communities of Kilgore and Longview, God has clearly been on the move in many mighty ways. Led by Pastor Efrain Cirilo, Crosspointe has seen their worship center and children’s classrooms run out of space. In the past couple of years, total attendance has more than doubled to an average of 400 on Sundays. And, it was just last year that they added the second campus at Longview. While no magic formula exists for revival, the church did enact a handful of specific strategies to become a growing, healthy church. Continue reading

Southern CA Church Restarts as Oasis in the Desert

The church’s worship team went from a pianist only, to a full band!

By Carl Stagner

Drought was setting at the church which had once been home to several high-caliber leaders, such as Herschel Rice and Dean Schield. Numbers had dwindled to thirty on a good Sunday, and a clear vision for the future didn’t exist. New direction was needed to make Oak Park Community Church of Claremont, California (formerly First Church, Pomona) the beacon of hope it once was. Under the pastoral leadership of Jeff Combs, could the congregation again become a wellspring of Living Water? Signs of life in the desert suggest an Oasis is on the horizon. Continue reading

From the Archives: Mission and Ministry in Front of Our Eyes

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By Jeff Frymire

There are times when we need to stop looking at ourselves in the mirror and put up a window to the world and see what is really going on outside of ourselves.

When God called Moses into ministry, he didn’t send him across the sea. He sent him back to his own people and to the land of his birth. His ministry had been right in front of him. God gave him a tool to use that would ignite amazing and miraculous events. The tool was the stick right there in his own hand. After God turned it into a snake and back again, Moses realized that, with God on his side, he had all the resources he needed right there in front of him. Continue reading

Georgia Church Lives Out its New Name ‘Legacy’

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Photo: Worship at Legacy Church-Canton.

By Carl Stagner

Town Center Community Church in Marietta, Georgia, has been an influential church in its community for many years, but its new name reflects God’s vision for the congregation today. Not only are they intentionally targeting the family unit as the primary conduit of faith to the next generation, they’re also making investments beyond their own neighborhood to reach even more people for Christ. The seeds Legacy Church-Marietta is planting twenty-six miles to the north of their original location have already begun to blossom and bear fruit. Legacy Church-Canton now exists as a satellite location which, after just one-and-a-half years, has exploded in growth from 66 to 140 in attendance. Continue reading

From the Archives: The Church That Never Fails

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By Henry G. Johnson

In Acts 12 we read of some discouraging circumstances that faced the early church. Herod had killed James with the sword and put Peter in prison, intending to kill him after Easter. If the early church had been inclined to become easily discouraged, it would have failed at this time. But instead of letting these discouraging circumstances drive them to despair, they drove them to their knees in prayer. A praying church is one that will never fail, for when a crisis comes it knows what to do; it is acquainted with the One who knows all things and can work all things out for good to those who love God. Continue reading

Bringing the Message and the Mission Back into Focus

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Collage: Handel Smith, Ryan Chapman, Paul Dreger, David Ferguson.

By Carl Stagner

Imagine a world where churches were less focused on method, and more focused on message. Picture a scenario where more congregations were so busy with the mission that they didn’t have time or energy to bicker over which programs get the largest share of the budget. What if believers were known everywhere as disciples who make disciples, who make disciples? It’s possible. It’s even biblical. But it’s not commonplace. In mid-October, three members of the Domestic Ministries Team of Church of God Ministries returned from a pastoral leadership summit in Akron, Ohio, that zeroed in on this divine dream. Several Church of God leaders are now gearing up for training over the next year to help Church of God congregations bring the message and mission back into focus. Continue reading

Colorado Welcomes New Church to the Movement

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Photo: Baptism on Launch Sunday!

By Carl Stagner

The vision and mission of the Church of God is on the move! Excitement is spreading for what God is doing among us. One recent example takes us to Denver, Colorado, where a church plant has just joined the Church of God in Colorado. After forming a new partnership with the Church of God Colorado Conference, and after months of hard work and years of planning, Cross Culture Church just celebrated its official launch. A crowd of 376 gathered to celebrate the launch, five people were saved, and one followed Jesus’ example in baptism. Continue reading

Growing Hispanic Church Plant Emphasizes ‘Jesus is the Subject’

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By Carl Stagner

Salvation, baptism, healing, spiritual growth, and numerical growth. Pastor Ramon Rivera has witnessed each of these take place at the church plant he and his wife started less than a year ago in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Perhaps that’s why Ministerio de Adoración y Restauración has opted to emphasize Jesus above all else. Jesus is the source of the salvation, baptism, healing, spiritual growth, and numerical growth this Spanish-speaking church has experienced. Jesus is therefore the subject of everything that is said and done, including their church’s website address—a Spanish translation of “Jesus is the Subject.” Continue reading

Never Leave nor Forsake: Indiana Church Committed to its Neighborhood

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By Emily Ploetz

Ministry starts as soon as you take that first step outside your door. This is a statement that the South Meridian Church of God does not take lightly. South Meridian, located in Anderson, Indiana, is what many churches would call “outward-focused,” but not in the way you might think. South Meridian is a church known for specifically reaching out to their immediate environment: their neighborhood. As much as the church does care about the city of Anderson, they realize that God has called their church to be a light in the small neighborhood in which the church building stands. The congregation of South Meridian is very aware that their neighborhood has plenty of needs, since the vast majority of those who live there are low-income families. The church decided many years ago that, as the church, as the hands and feet of Christ, they should fill as many of those needs as possible. Continue reading

Homeowner’s Garage Becomes Sanctuary for Neighborhood Kids

By Carl Stagner

After a full day at work, she comes home and opens her garage door. That’s when they come. Often in droves. The approach Angela Conti now takes to spreading the gospel may be unconventional, but it’s exactly what God has called her to do. After serving as a missionary to South Africa, God asked her what she was doing to reach the lost back at home. “What was I doing for the children I drove past every day in my subdivision?” she pondered. Continue reading