Tag Archives: neighborhood

All-Volunteer Parachurch Ministry Meets Needs, Gives Life in Arkansas

Lines of people waiting to be blessed by Healing Waters.

By Carl Stagner

Consider what just happened the weekend before Thanksgiving. Three hundred thirty meals were served and over two hundred bags of food were given away. For free. No catch. Even more exciting—thirty-eight individuals accepted Christ. But this wasn’t a special holiday outreach. Revival services weren’t planned, and no traveling evangelist had been brought in to deliver an impassioned sermon. Obviously, this wasn’t Easter, yet numerous non-churchgoers were within earshot of the gospel. Far from an unusual occurrence at Healing Waters Outreach Center in Shannon Hills, Arkansas, these kinds of Holy Spirit-happenings take place on a weekly basis! The parachurch ministry supported by the Church of God in Arkansas now has a connection through one of its founding members to the Urban Missions team of Church of God Ministries. Robert Holt gives us a glimpse into the life-giving, far-reaching impact of Healing Waters, and why so many—at least 125 people—choose to volunteer their time every week for the work. Continue reading

Black Woman Pastor Takes White Kansas Congregation to New Heights

Presephoni (center, middle row) with part of the congregation.

By Carl Stagner

Liberal, Kansas, never saw it coming. The city of only about 20,000 people couldn’t have imagined the day. Only 3.8 percent of the population is African American, and the new pastor of South Church of God is both black and a woman. Presephoni Fuller is, in fact, the first black pastor in the ninety-year history of the church. Still, Pastor Presephoni takes it all in stride. She doesn’t have time to ponder the uniqueness of her situation; she’s too busy reaching deeper into the community and taking the Kansas congregation to new heights. Continue reading

When Ministry Gets Messy: A Washington Church’s Incarnational Approach

RCC team at work on a Service Project Sunday.

By Carl Stagner

“In the beginning was the Word, as the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 NIV). Community was whole and pristine, at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. But the thief, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), did exactly that. Community was ruptured between humanity and God, and between one another. Since the Fall, God has been working to restore that community, to bring people back to himself. Did you know he’s chosen to use you and me to accomplish the task? But we’ve lost our sense of community, downplayed the power of presence, and ignored the methods of Jesus. Our neighbors are crying out for hope all around us, we hear their voices, but we’d prefer to write a check to the nearest charity. We don’t want to get our hands dirty. In contrast, Roosevelt Community Church, a modest-size Church of God congregation in Bellingham, Washington, is taking back what hell has stolen and destroyed in their neighborhood. They’re boldly giving life where the enemy of our souls has snatched it away, simply by being in, for, and with their community. Continue reading

From the Archives: Leaves, Neighbors, and Creative Confrontation

By C. Milton Grannum

One morning I preached a message on creative confrontation. I emphasized that life has conflicts, that simply avoiding conflicts is not always an appropriate Christian response, and that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather a deep settled confidence that one has chosen the most appropriate options and attitudes in the conflicts of life. 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

MACU Benefits Local Charities with Annual Day of Service

MACU student works at the City Rescue Mission.

By Whitney Knight

On Sept. 22 and 23, Mid-America Christian University upheld its commitment to Christian service by holding its second annual Day of Service. More than one hundred student, faculty and staff participants in thirteen states served at various charities and organizations across the country. Continue reading

Oregon Church Journeys with Jesus through Service, Partnership

Photo: The church working with Habitat for Humanity.

By Carl Stagner

“Eighth and River Street is what God has given us, so that is where we are.” Matt Ingalls reflects on the ministry of the church he has served as senior pastor for almost seven years. He’s grateful for the chance to serve where God has planted them. Sure, there may be ritzier, more glamorous ministry venues. But this is their “little slice of God’s universe,” as Pastor Matt has explained. The needs are great, and the work isn’t easy. But this church is on a journey with Jesus. For them, Jesus is the subject. Like Jesus, River Street Church of God in Newberg, Oregon, has made the people around them—not ideology, programs, or traditions—the priority. Continue reading

Florida Ministry Exemplifies ‘the Innkeeper’ in Good Samaritan Story

By Carl Stagner

Jesus told it first. Countless preachers and teachers have expounded on it since. The Parable of the Good Samaritan has captured the attention and the hearts of men and women around the world with its profound, yet simple message of love expressed in action. As church leaders renew the call to boldly move outside the walls of the church, more and more believers are identifying with the character of the Samaritan. But every Good Samaritan needs a good innkeeper! Lake Wales Care Center in Lake Wales, Florida, not only provides a place to stay (and numerous other services) for people in need, but also bridges the gap between the heart to serve and the means to do it effectively. Continue reading

First Church of God, Marion, SD: Small Town, Big Impact

Photo: First Church of God, Marion, South Dakota

By Emily Ploetz

On a map of South Dakota, the town of Marion may not catch your eye. The whole community consists of about 800 people total. However, First Church of God in Marion, and its impact on God’s kingdom, should capture your attention. Out of the 800 residents of Marion, 125 of them attend the church! A church with an influence over the majority of a town isn’t something you see every day. The town and the church have a unique background and, because of some key decisions they’ve made, First Church of God continues to be a shining light. Continue reading

Missouri Church’s Sports Outreach a Slam Dunk for Local Kids

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Photo: Little Hoops basketball competition.

By Carl Stagner

The first time they did it, 72 kids participated. The next year, 93 showed up. This year saw 153 local children! The Little Hoops basketball outreach of First Church of God in Doniphan, Missouri, has exceeded any and all expectations since that first bold attempt at something new a little more than three years ago. While sports ministries have certainly been around for a while, this is the story of a church that decided to do things a little differently. It should be no surprise then that this small-town church with a passion for reclaiming its community for Christ is winning both games and souls. 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

Kingdom-Minded in Muncie: Mary and Cornelius Dollison

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Photo: The Dollisons and Kirby Avenue Church of God.

By Rachel Eldridge

Unity. Reclamation. These are tough goals. It’s easier to think about them than to do them, far simpler to dismiss them as buzzwords than carry them out, day by day, in the messiness of life. But for Mary and Cornelius Dollison and Kirby Avenue Church of God, unity and reclamation are part of life itself.

“‘Working together, involving all’ has been my motto, and I strive to live it every day,” Mary wrote in a recent column in her local newspaper, expressing gratitude for a Lifetime Achievement Award she recently received. Continue reading

Barney Warren, David Biggers, You, and Me

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Photo: David Biggers (far right) greets a member of the community.

By Carl Stagner

Barney Warren, Adam Miller, Eugene Newberry, Hollis Pistole, and David Biggers. David who? In a lineup of prominent ministers of the Church of God, the name David Biggers may seem out of place. But that is not the case at all. Transforming Life Church of God of Baltimore, Maryland, has a rich history of outstanding leaders, a history which continues to unfold. Before Pastor David entered the scene, the congregation had dwindled down to about thirty, mostly white believers in a predominantly African American neighborhood. Four years later, the church sees an average weekly attendance of about three hundred. Continue reading

CHOG Regional Conventions 2016: Announcing Ben Hardman

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Photo: Ben Hardman

By Carl Stagner

Church of God Ministries is happy to announce Ben Hardman as one of several excellent speakers scheduled for the three regional conventions of the Church of God this year. Though you may not be familiar with Ben, you likely know his aunt. The same dedication to the Lord and disciple-making that epitomized Church of God missionary Susan Hardman is evident in the life and ministry of Ben Hardman today. Director of Missional Think Tank, a coaching and training organization, Ben helps re-awaken pastors and churches to the vitality of mission and discipleship. A brief look into his background and present ministry sheds light on why we’re so excited he’ll be joining us in Vancouver, Anderson, and Philadelphia. 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