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
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Western
Tagged Bellingham, community, community toy store, homeless, homelessness, incarnational ministry, Inner city, inner-city ministry, kindness, Kurt Ingram, missional, neighborhood, neighborhood ministries, neighborly, neighbors, next-door, Northwest, outreach, PNA, poor, poverty, relationships, Roosevelt Community Church, service project, urban, WA, Washington, Washington state
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
Posted in All Church of God
Tagged C Milton Grannum, conflict, conflict resolution, confrontation, From the Archives, gossip, neighborhood, neighbors, New Covenant Church, PA, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, prejudice, Vital Christianity
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
Posted in All Church of God, Central, Give Life
Tagged Barry Callen, better together, car service, Christian Church, Church of God, community, congregation, Discovery Community Church, garage sale, Great Day of Service, James North, Jesus Is the Subject, Louise Allen, merger, Minnesota, MN, neighborhood, neighbors, oil change, outreach, Reclaim, rummage sale, Saint Paul Park, unity, Wayne Allen, yard work
Volunteers from local churches help sustain the ministry.
By Carl Stagner
Another title of this article could have appropriately been, “Local Churches Set Aside Differences, Discover They Can Do More Together.” That’s because this is exactly what happened when Operation Love Ministries was formed in Anderson, Indiana. The collaboration and unity among churches representing multiple denominations and cultures make this yet another Jesus-is-the-subject story, and a potential model for other communities. Today, twenty-seven area churches prayerfully and financially support the parachurch organization, also giving governance to the work. As a result, these local churches have access to a tried-and-tested resource to more effectively help neighbors in need. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Great Lakes
Tagged Anderson, Andrea Baker, better together, collaboration, community, cooperative, IN, Indiana, Jesus Is the Subject, needy, neighbors, Operation Love Ministries, poverty, unity, urban, Volunteers
By Carl Stagner
Ithaca Church of God recently canceled their Sunday morning worship service at 624 East Barber Street in Ithaca, Michigan. The pastor went so far as to say it was a “no-brainer.” But it’s not what you might think. Instead of gathering at the church, the congregation decided to meet at the local park to be the church. For the second year in a row, their Community Service Sunday made a bold statement to the community that they care. While much of our society looks upon the visible expression of the body of Christ with distrust and disdain, locals in Ithaca, Michigan, saw only love. Continue reading