Tag Archives: NAC

Convention 2019 & General Assembly: Pivotal

By Carl Stagner

“It feels a bit like Christmas. You plan for it, you wait expectantly for it, and then it’s over. But, is it really over?” Jim Lyon’s words resonated not only through the grand World Center Marriott ballroom, but also in the hearts of hearers full of the spiritual feast consumed for four days straight. Prayers and plans had certainly preceded such Christmas-like celebration, as members of the Church of God family from coast to coast and across the globe descended upon Orlando, Florida, for the first international reunion since 2013. It was more than a reunion, though, more than a spiritual feast, and not just a passing highlight on the calendar. As featured speaker Lori Salierno-Maldonado put it, “When we embrace our unique place in history, in his larger transcendent story, we can make our contribution to God’s kingdom for such a time as this!” What happened at Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly in Florida will neither stay in Florida nor in the past. This really isn’t over. Continue reading

Convention 2019: An International Affair

Convention guests from Mexico and Ghana together in 2013.

By Carl Stagner

In 2015, the General Assembly passed a resolution directing the Church of God Convention to “encourage broad participation” by the Church of God around the world every fourth year. The first of these gatherings with an international emphasis is Convention 2019 in Orlando, Florida, June 27–30 (www.chogconvention.org). With Church of God speakers from outside the United States and Canada, approximately 170 international registrants to date, and a variety of missions conferences and events, Convention 2019 and General Assembly is gearing up to be one of the most international experiences of the Church of God in North America. Continue reading

Convention 2019 Speaker Fosters Refuge and Redemption in France

Samir Salibi with wife Joanna, sons Maxim and Liam.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God in Paris, France, is relatively new. It wasn’t until 1989 that the Church of God came to Paris, and not by way of the Church of God in the United States and Canada. The Church of God in Lebanon planted the Church of God in Paris. So when the refugee crisis of 2015 resulted in more than a million Middle Eastern refugees arriving in Europe, the Church of God in Paris was uniquely qualified to respond. Samir Salibi, leader of the Church of God ministry in Paris known as @home, was once an immigrant, himself, also from Lebanon. As you might imagine, the Church of God is especially looking forward to what God has placed on his heart for Convention 2019 & General Assembly. Continue reading

Convention 2019 & General Assembly: Local Pastors Talk Orlando

Disney World in Orlando, Florida

By Carl Stagner

Orlando, Florida, is home to more than a dozen theme parks. If you’ve ever been there, you’ve probably at least visited Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. Maybe you played a round of golf under the sunlit palm trees, or perhaps you hit the beach when you realized the ocean’s only an hour away. But there’s so much more to Orlando than Mickey Mouse, sunshine, and scream-inducing thrill rides. Four local pastors reveal what they love about Orlando and offer their recommendations for what to do and where to eat—in conjunction with Church of God Convention 2019 & General Assembly, of course! Continue reading

Convention 2019 TED Talk Format Speakers Speak Out

Clockwise from upper left: Matt Anderson, Allyson Smith, Jake Zaske, Erin Taylor

By Carl Stagner

The Friday night session of Church of God Convention 2019 & General Assembly is slated to be something very different than the Movement has ever seen. Weaved into an interactive worship experience led by Josh Edington, a TED Talk-style format will give four of the brightest and best younger ministers in the Church of God the opportunity to address the gathering in brief, but engaging conversation. Allyson Smith (Community Church of God, Atlanta, Georgia), Matt Anderson (McDowell Mountain Community Church, Scottsdale, Arizona), Erin Taylor (First Church of God, Alma, Michigan), and Jake Zaske (Indian Creek Community Church, Olathe, Kansas) are looking forward to participating in an evening designed to challenge pastors and lay leaders to breathe, speak, and give life to their churches and communities. In an interview with Church of God Ministries (CGM), each one offers an introduction of who they are and why they’re anticipating Orlando. 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

Fairfax, Safety Harbor Regionals Last but Not Least!

Worship at the Fairfax Regional 2018.

By Carl Stagner

Church of God pastors and laypeople who descended on Fairfax, Virginia, and Safety Harbor, Florida, in September were the last to experience the impact of the Church of God Regional Conventions this year. By no means, however, were they disappointed. They were, in fact, the first to hear featured speaker Kevin Earley and regional guest speaker Brad Lomenick. The tested strategies and insights of host pastor Rod Stafford were only available in Virginia, and the deeply personal dare to dream came only from host pastor Terry Rolen in Florida. Jo Anne Lyon and Jim Lyon spoke at all five Regionals, but instead of tired, overdone messages, they brought refined words, fresh with content, anecdotes, exhortations, and inspiration. After the third 2018 Regional, the events took a three-month hiatus. But based on the new life breathed into the Movement this September, it was a busy summer for the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

Church of God Gathers for Regional Convention in Columbus, Ohio

By Carl Stagner

With outside temperatures high and the A/C cranked high in the sanctuary at First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, this year’s third Church of God Regional Convention is up and running. Anticipation has also been high for this gathering, in particular, as it takes place in the Midwest (only a few hours from Anderson), and during the traditional “Camp Meeting” week. But the location and time of year aside, a quick glance at the schedule for those gathered for #LifeColumbus indicates two days of life-giving, life-transforming experiences ahead. Continue reading

Harvey Carey: Snapshots of an Inner-City Pastor, Church Planter

Harvey Carey’s heart is for all ages in the city.

By Carl Stagner

Jesus is the subject for Harvey Carey. The urban pastor and church planter—also an avid amateur photographer—isn’t affiliated directly with the Church of God, but he’s a familiar face to many in the Movement. The former IYC speaker was invited to speak again to the Church of God, this time at the Regional Convention in Columbus, Ohio (June 19–20). His firsthand experience shining the light of Christ in the inner-city not only informs, but inspires listeners young and old, from downtown to down yonder. This product of the inner-city, turned proponent of the inner-city, challenges Christians to give life to their community—population three, or population three million. Continue reading

Phoenix, Oklahoma City Regional Conventions Commission All

Friendships, both old and new, are a Regional Convention highlight.

By Carl Stagner

Two of the five Church of God Regional Conventions 2018 are now history, but their impact is still being felt from Alaska to Alabama. Some may have flown to Arizona to escape winter’s clutch on spring, but they stayed to drink from an oasis in the desert. Others may have descended upon Oklahoma City for the fine barbecue, but they stayed because their cravings were satisfied in the life-giving teaching and fellowship. Still others attended, many as first-time guests of a Church of God convention, because this year’s variety of regional locations afforded them accessibility. Challenged to reclaim what hell has stolen, but inspired to fully embrace the Life, attendees of the first two Regional Conventions ultimately climbed in cars or boarded airplanes to return home, ready and resourced to change the world in Jesus’ name. Continue reading

Is God Calling You to Respond?

Photo: “And may You feed a hungry world through me…” (Gaither Vocal Band)

By Carl Stagner

You were there. Or you watched the live streaming. Perhaps you couldn’t make it to Wichita, but you listened in on the social media conversation. You were inspired by the bright new day of the Church of God, culminating in a convention experience that some have reported rivals that of the largest gatherings in Christendom today. You’ve heard the reports of God at work in the movement. You’ve sensed the Spirit bringing the movement together for such a time as this. You’ve caught the vision, and you want to take it back to your circle of ministry. Could it be that now God is calling you to respond? Continue reading

Just the Beginning: Convention 2017 Charts Course for Long-Term Kingdom Impact

Photo: “For the church triumphant is alive and well…”

By Carl Stagner

Trafficklight 2.0, set to advance freedom around the world over the next two years. Partnerships between Children of Promise, Warner Press, and Stephen Arterburn, created to protect the lives of children and touch the hearts of men and women. New missionaries commissioned, called by God to go to communities both domestic and international with the hope of Jesus. A lineup of speakers, illuminating God’s Word for such a time as this. The CARE Seminar, connecting our pastors and churches with an initiative designed to strengthen the financial health and spiritual vitality of the shepherds of our movement. Pastors young and old, ready to join the movement with renewed hope and enthusiasm for the direction we’re headed. The voice of the General Assembly, heard crying out against a historical culture of oppression, supporting a unified credentialing process, and affirming the need for a movement-wide structural review. And so much more. This was Church of God Convention 2017, and this was just the beginning. Continue reading

Convention 2017: Women Lead the Way on Thursday

Photo: Thursday night worship led by choir and orchestra (photo courtesy Chris Hall).

By Carl Stagner

Just in case anyone had forgotten, Thursday at Church of God Convention 2017 was a reminder to everyone that an anointed woman of God cannot be discounted. On June 22, the Church of God Convention featured not one, not two, but three different women leaders who have had an extensive impact on the church and culture around us. Ann Smith, Anita Renfroe, and Danielle Strickland offered messages oozing with wisdom, wit, and, in Anita Renfroe’s case, sheer hilarity, too. It was the women—not the men—who led the way on Thursday. Continue reading

CHOG Convention 2017: Day One Delivers Power-Packed Punch

Photo: The Gaither Vocal Band on Tuesday night.

By Carl Stagner

From the prayer session at 8:00 in the morning to the last note of “It is Finished” in the evening, opening day at Church of God Convention 2017 saw the power of God on display among his people—power in the five incredible voices of the Gaither Vocal Band; power in the dynamic preaching of Paul Sheppard; power in the Spirit that moved among the people. Continue reading

Join Us in Wichita, Celebrate Movement’s International Reach

Photo: Missionary commissioning prayer in Philadelphia last year.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God is so much bigger than most of us can imagine. With nearly 900,000 believers around the world, attending nearly 8,000 churches in 89 different countries, the international reach of the Church of God is both broad and diverse. It can be hard to visualize the magnitude of that which God has allowed us to be a part, especially when our only consistent interface with the movement is from fifth pew back, piano side, once or twice a week. One of the best things about the Church of God Convention is the opportunity to see, hear, and participate in what God is doing outside our regular sphere of ministry. Church of God Convention 2017 will once again celebrate the international reach of our movement during worship gatherings and extra events. Continue reading