Tag Archives: music

Arkansas Church Reclaims Dance as Expression of Worship

First Church worship dance ministry in action!

By Carl Stagner

Though dance appears twenty or so times in the Bible, and usually in the context of worship, it’s encountered some resistance in the church over the years. Certainly dance, like other artistic expressions, can be used in ways that bring dishonor to the Lord. But like so many Church of God congregations today, First Church of God in Paragould, Arkansas, has found a way to reclaim what hell has stolen. They’ve redeemed dance, and use it regularly to worship the Lord and communicate the message of Christ. Continue reading

“Culture-Changer” Gospel Artist Added to Convention 2019 Schedule

Amante Lacey

By Carl Stagner

It’s no secret that a wide variety of music styles characterize worship services in churches across the country. Too often, those styles divide churches and keep them from remembering that Jesus is the subject. But it’s not often that believers consider the culture of worship and the effect it has on the congregation and the surrounding community. Sometimes the culture of a Sunday service is really no culture of worship, at all. Amante Lacey, world-renowned gospel artist—and worship pastor at First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio—is committed to be a culture-changer in the arena of worship. His eclectic background, and his exposure to sanctuaries and auditoriums across the country as a road artist, have led him to recognize the need for worship that brings all of God’s people together in heart and voice. It will be no different for him when he steps up on the platform to lead worship at Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly. Continue reading

Carols of a Reformation

By Carl Stagner

Editor’s note—This article from December 2010 was one of the first feature stories Church of God Ministries’ staff writer Carl Stagner ever wrote for the CHOGnews. This year, we bring it back for your Christmastime delight. Enjoy!

The Church of God is known for its singing. Early pioneers of the reformation movement expressed their joy in the Lord through the writing and singing of songs, such as “I’m Redeemed,” “A Child of God,” and “I Will Praise Him, Hallelujah!” Many of the heritage songs of the Church of God are still being sung today. But did you know that these heritage composers wrote Christmas carols? Continue reading

Convention 2019 Welcomes Return of Beloved Heritage Sing

Joe Gregory leads the event back in 2011.

By Carl Stagner

At Christmastime, it’s music which inspires the heart and stirs the soul for the season. Throughout the year, music activates memories and improves mood. In worship, it’s a vehicle of praise, adoration, and thanksgiving to the Lord Most High. But perhaps like no other genre of music, it is the heritage songs, in particular, that communicate the theology and core doctrines of the Church of God movement. These songs resonate warmly with the Christian experience, telling in joyful tones all Jesus is, what he has done, and what he promises to do. Powerful new songs may be heard more often today in most of our congregations, but the heritage songs have proved timeless through the years. That’s why Church of God Ministries is excited to announce the highly anticipated return of the beloved Heritage Sing to the Church of God Convention next June. Continue reading

Convention 2019 Worship Leader Becoming Familiar Face, Voice

Josh Edington leading worship at CHOG Convention 2015.

By Carl Stagner

Some may not recognize his name, but most are beginning to recognize the face, the voice, the talent, and the heart of Josh Edington. On staff at Crossings Community Church for the past ten years, the pastor of contemporary worship arts for the largest Church of God congregation in North America has begun to build a reputation outside those walls. Beginning in 2015, at the second Church of God Convention outside Anderson, Indiana, Josh first strapped on his guitar and lifted his voice heavenward on behalf of the Movement. Then, when the traveling Regional Convention made a stop in Oklahoma City this year, Josh was there. CHOG Convention 2019 and General Assembly won’t be held in Oklahoma City, but Orlando, Florida, instead. Still, Josh will be there! Yet, as familiar as his excellence in worship leadership is becoming in the Church of God, many still may not know the young man behind the guitar. Continue reading

Grant Gives Movement Opportunity to Participate in Worship Arts Symposium

By Carl Stagner

Want to attend a preaching clinic, church health seminar, or theological dialogue in the Church of God today? You’ll find plenty of options throughout the year. Want to be a part of an experience designed for worship leaders and their praise teams? Those opportunities may be hard to find—until now. The Church of God Ministries U.S. and Canada Strategy team is excited to spread the news of the first-ever Worship Arts Symposium offered by the National Association of the Church of God (NACOG). The event, scheduled to take place August 2–4 at the National Association Campground in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, will offer theoretical and practical insights to strengthen the worship ministry of the local church, give opportunity to practice those insights during the NACOG Camp Meeting that follows, and return worship ministers back to their home churches refreshed and renewed. Continue reading

The Truth that Both Hurts and Sets Free: OKC Regional Recap, Day 2

Jeff Whye preaching the truth that sets free.

By Carl Stagner

It wasn’t so much the wind sweepin’ through the plain, but there was quite a bit of rain at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the dreary skies seemed to have little or no impact on the mood of those gathered for Day 2 of the Regional Convention of the Church of God; after all, God was busy raining down blessing after blessing throughout the day. From a riveting message by host pastor Marty Grubbs, to an evening graced with the amazing voices of Sandi Patty and Don Peslis, the closing day of #LifeOKC was anything but dreary. During the day and after the closing service, convention-goers absorbed as much as they possibly could from every hard-hitting sermon, uplifting worship song, meeting, seminar, reception, and divinely orchestrated encounter. As a result, the portion of the Church of God that chose to make the second of five Regional Conventions this year their event-of-choice went away with tablets full of notes and quotes, hearts full of awe and wonder, and stomachs full of great Oklahoma City barbecue. Continue reading

AU Presents 53rd Annual Candles and Carols

A festive & full house at Reardon Auditorium for Candles & Carols.

The Anderson University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance will present the 53rd annual “Candles and Carols” Christmas concert on Friday, December 1, 2017, at 7:30 PM in Reardon Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Continue reading

Story in Song: Ten Churches Unite to Worship the Lord, Celebrate Our Heritage

By Carl Stagner

Our story, God’s story. The message of the Church of God movement lives on in large part because of pioneer men and women who not only lived it, but tied it to that which speaks to both soul and mind—music. It has been said that the Church of God is a singing church, and after Christ alone, it has been our songs that have brought our common experiences together in beautiful harmony. When voices ring out that there is joy in the Lord, we know it to be true. When we sing of the kingdom of peace reigning within, that’s our story! When the familiar refrain, “I am a child of God” is heard, Church of God people from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between resonate that glorious truth. It should come as no surprise then, when word got out that Stanton First Church of God in Stanton, Kentucky, would host a heritage hymn sing-along, Church of God people from ten congregations showed up—and a bit of heaven came down. Continue reading

IYC High School Band Goes ‘On Tour’

Photo: Liberation sporting their IYC2016 T-shirts.

By Carl Stagner

Just a few weeks remained until the big event. Though it was the first time these seven high school students had met, the responsibility to lead worship for thousands of teenagers in San Antonio, Texas, was on their shoulders. Whether they liked it or not, they had to learn to work together quickly. But almost immediately, it was clear that these once-strangers would become forever friends. After fulfilling their second and final obligation this July—leading worship for Leadership Summit in Anderson—they knew it wasn’t the end. God was calling the IYC2016 High School Band to keep it going, under a new name. Liberation has created quite the spiritual stir, exemplifying the rise of young leadership in the Church of God, and catching the attention of churches and state youth conventions across the country. Continue reading

Dale Gruver: Known for Worship, Called to Preach

Photo: Dale Gruver

By Carl Stagner

You know it when you see it—that deep love for Jesus, visibly overflowing from a heart that understands the gravity of what the Savior has done. It’s truly contagious, clearly communicating the reality of Christ to a world devoid of hope. Dale Gruver’s got it, and believes everyone can have it, too. Widely known for high-energy, joy-filled worship leading, Dale was called first and foremost to preach the gospel. After nearly a decade-and-a-half of providing worship leadership for the local church, camp meetings, and conferences, Dale accepted a senior pastorate in Alliance, Ohio, with similar enthusiasm. Though Dale’s full embrace of God’s call only came to pass a couple of years ago, extensive investment from mentors and his wide variety of ministry experiences prepared the man who rises to the pulpit at First Church of God. Continue reading

Worship Leader Brings Eclectic Style to Convention 2017

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Photo: Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin with her family.

By Carl Stagner

“I grew up somewhat of a spiritual mutt.” The words of Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin make sense when you consider that, at the time she was introduced to the Church of God through Anderson University, her faith background had consisted of Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, and Syrian Orthodox experiences. Resonating right away with the AU freshman were the loving unity of believers and the strong emphasis on Jesus and his Word so central to Church of God teaching. Kerry Robinson of East Side Church of God was one of many influential pastors, while worship artists Jay and Amy Rouse were two of several Christ-centered musicians, who took time to invest in the rising leader. Rivaling only her journey of faith in all its diversity is the eclectic style this mother of five now brings to the body of Christ gathered for worship. You can be sure a blessing is on its way when Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin steps onto the platform at Central Community Church in Wichita, Kansas, for Church of God Convention 2017. Continue reading

Gaither Vocal Band to Kick Off Wichita Convention

Photo: The Gaither Vocal Band

By Carl Stagner

Across the Church of God—more accurately, across Christendom—the name Gaither has become synonymous with the best of gospel music. With a sense of holy pride in two of its own, the Church of God has celebrated the extensive reach of Bill and Gloria Gaither for several decades. From “He Touched Me,” to “Because He Lives,” to “The Family of God,” several classics found in the Church of God hymnal have come to us from the pens of Bill and Gloria. The Gaither Vocal Band, featured on just about every one of the highly popular Gaither Homecoming videos, has touched audiences around the world with the hope of Jesus Christ set to music. We couldn’t be more excited to announce the Gaither Vocal Band as kickoff worship artists for Church of God Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas. Continue reading

Worship Today: An Interview with Five Church of God Worship Leaders

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Clockwise from lower left: Chad Harlan, Kendyl Terry, Doug Irving, Mandy Bohm, Kenneth Spiller. Jesus is the subject!

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God has long been known as a singing church. We’re a group that sings our theology, and we worship the Lord with joy! Of course, the Church of God has a history of worshiping through instrumental music, prayer, Scripture reading, as well as other arts, including a more recent expression—dance. A look back reveals what worship looks like in the movement has evolved over the years. Methods and forms have changed, but necessary elements have remained the same. While there is much to celebrate, there are certainly also ways we can improve. In the following interview with Church of God Ministries (CGM), five Church of God worship leaders offer their reflections on worship in the church today: Doug Irving, of Pennway Church (Lansing, Michigan); Kenneth Spiller, of Parkgate Community Church (Pasadena, Texas); Mandy Bohm, of Teays Valley Church (Scott Depot, West Virginia); Chad Harlan, of First Church (St. Joseph, Michigan); and Kendyl Terry, most recently of Highland Park Community Church (Casper, Wyoming). Continue reading

Kingdom Keys: Linda Fast Strikes Chord with Students, Neighbors

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Photo: Linda Fast (far right) stands proudly with her students who received honors at a piano competition.

By Carl Stagner

Well-known and well-loved by the community. A true heart for people. Doesn’t know a stranger. Loves the opportunity to minister. Her primary mission field: a piano studio. Forty-eight years and hundreds of piano students later, Linda Fast is still making the most of her fingers and her voice. Continue reading