Tag Archives: pastors

CHOG in Northern Brazil Grows at “Incredible” Pace, More Pastors Needed

Seminary student worships at regional youth convention.

By Carl Stagner

Though its roots are in church tradition, today’s festivities of Mardi Gras tend to reflect the worst of culture more than the person of Christ. In Brazil, the celebration of Carnival has similar Christian roots but, like Mardi Gras, hardly resembles its origins. Thankfully, as the Church of God in northern Brazil continues to grow, so does its influence on the culture, especially in the city of Itaituba. Missionaries Jonathan and Beth Todd have been blessed to witness firsthand the mighty move of God in recent years, which has resulted in a good problem to have—they need more pastors. Continue reading

Pastors Help Pastors Reach New Heights of Wholeness, Wellness

Tom Pelt and Jonathan Absher hiking in Colorado.

By Carl Stagner

At 14,000 feet, the views are breathtaking, but so is the air. Lower levels of oxygen—considered “thin” air—combined with unpredictable weather and potentially hazardous trail conditions, can pose health risks, at minimum, to even the most avid athlete. Hiking alone is not recommended at such altitudes, though many insist on doing so. Church of God pastors Tom Pelt and Jonathan Absher have reveled in the mountaintop experience among Colorado’s highest peaks and have recognized the vivid parallels to ministry. In an effort to see pastors minister at their peak, they’ve championed the holistic health vital to the daily climb. Without reinventing the wheel, but with intentionality and a genuine love for fellow pastors, they’ve taken specific strides in recent years to come alongside pastors, pull them out of isolation into community, and help them reach new heights of wholeness and wellness. Continue reading

Pastor Appreciation Month: Fifty Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor

By Brian Kluth

Across America and the world, pastors and church staff members faithfully serve and love their congregations. Many pastors and staff members have followed God’s call on their lives to serve the Lord and their churches, regardless of the sacrifices they make. National research shows that most pastors are operating with limited financial resources to meet their families’ current and long-term needs. Fortunately, God is bigger than church paychecks and has many ways he can provide for his shepherds and workers through the generosity of God’s faithful people this Pastor Appreciation Month and throughout the year. Continue reading

Pastor Appreciation Month: Church Boards That Bless Their Pastors

Plan now to Bless Your Pastor this October for Pastor Appreciation Month!

By Brian Kluth

Most pastors have advanced degrees and work fifty to seventy hours each week caring for their congregations, but most Christians are not aware that their pastors and church staffs may not be paid well. A pastor’s week is filled with early morning meetings, office hours, visitations, counseling, sermon preparation and prayer, evening committee meetings, and weekend worship services. Yet research shows the majority of pastors make less than $50,000 per year and do not receive health insurance benefits or retirement contributions from their churches. Just in time for Pastor Appreciation Month (October), here’s a list of seven things church boards and congregations can do to make sure their pastors and church staffs are properly cared for, loved, and blessed. Continue reading

Facebook Seminary: Pakistan Pastors-in-Training Plug In with AU Professor

Students in Pakistan gather around a laptop…

By Carl Stagner

God is on the move through the Church of God in Pakistan, and it’s a breathtaking sight to behold. On Saturday evenings, seminary students in the Middle Eastern country assemble to hear Sarah Blake LaRose teach hermeneutics and exegesis. But Sarah is not in the same room—not exactly, anyway. Ten time zones away, it’s Saturday morning in Anderson, Indiana, where the AU professor has logged on to Facebook Messenger. There she lectures on the topic of Scripture interpretation, fielding questions and interacting with her pastors-in-training in Pakistan. Continue reading

God is On the Move in Egypt

Jim Lyon speaks to leaders in Egypt.

By Ken Oldham

The birth of the Protestant Reformation is attributed to Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church (Germany) on October 31, 1517. All across the region, this 500th anniversary has been remembered, and the evangelical churches in Egypt began planning months ago to have a special event of their own, encouraging each church group to seek international guests to join the celebration. The Church of God in Egypt was delighted to have Global Strategy regional coordinator Patrick Nachtigall, U.S.-Canada general director Jim Lyon, and Pastor Marcus Archer of Crosspoint Church (Natchez, Mississippi) accept their invitation to join the celebration, November 17–19, in Cairo. Continue reading

Two Influential Pastors Receive Honorary Degrees from MACU

Collage: Miki Merrit and Richard Mansfield

By Whitney Knight and Elizabeth Sieg

Mid-America Christian University honored two influential Church of God leaders during commencement services on Saturday, May 13, at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City. Reverends Miki Merritt and Richard Mansfield received honorary doctor of divinity degrees for their contributions to the Church of God movement, MACU, and the world. Continue reading

New Video feat. Jim Lyon Urges Pastors, Delegates to Attend General Assembly

More than three decades passed before the new movement known as the Church of God established the General Assembly. The engine of the movement then was the Gospel Trumpet Company. As the movement grew, competing agendas and dysfunctional operations became too much for even the catalytic Gospel Trumpet to handle. In 1917, it had become apparent to Church of God pastors that some recalibration of the movement was needed to keep it going and simultaneously breathe new life into its sails. Since 1917, the General Assembly has been the voice for the movement—not Church of God Ministries, not the various agencies and schools, not the general director. The voice of the General Assembly is the strongest, however, when its shepherds and lay delegates participate. In a new video released by Church of God Ministries, Jim Lyon, general director, urges pastors and lay delegates to make this historic year—one hundred since the GA’s inception—a priority.

View or download the video on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/209904704.

Advent in Egypt

zeke-oldham-pageant_forweb

Photo: Zeke Oldham (far left) plays role of son of the “wise family.”

By Ken Oldham

While winter sets in for most of the United States, it is becoming winter here in Cairo, too, though it does not have the same look or feel. The colder temperatures swept into the city this week, dropping us momentarily into the 60-degree range; this came with the first bursts of rainfall this year, then heavy winds and dust storms. The temperatures will get cooler in the next couple months, but it is already cold inside, as homes are built to release heat. Continue reading

Eight Simple Ways to Express Appreciation for Your Pastor

pastorappreciation_warnerpress_2016_graphic_forweb

Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. —1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NIV)

In October we take time out every year to say thank you to our pastors for the hard work and dedication they show their churches and congregations throughout the year. What does your church have planned for your pastor(s) this year? Here are a few simple ways you and your church can show them your appreciation. Continue reading

Fishers of Men in Sri Lanka

SriLanka_fishing_FORWEB

By Steven and Peggy Beverly

Recently we traveled to meet with several of our pastors across Sri Lanka. We had planned on a five-day trip, but due to the monsoon season and warnings about landslides, our trip was shortened to three days. During those three days, we were able to spend time with pastors in their homes and at their churches. We listened to their stories, prayed with them, and dreamed with them. At every turn, we continue to see God actively at work in the lives of our pastors and church leaders here. Continue reading

Church of God in Barbados on Cusp of Turnaround

Baptism_Barbados_2016_adj_FORWEB

Photo: Paul Dreger, honored to help baptize believers in Barbados.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God enjoys a rich heritage of ministry in the island country of Barbados. Over time, however, new growth has waned and demographics have shifted to the middle-age and senior adults. But in recent years, signs of new life have begun to emerge. This winter, forty percent of the entire constituency of the Church of God in Barbados attended the closing service of their annual believer’s convention. Knowing they simply could not remain on their current trajectory, pastors and leaders made several important decisions at the conclusion of the convention. The two thousand that make up the eighteen Barbardos congregations are beginning to discover the need for systemic change in their methodologies and ministerial approaches, but most of all, in their relationships. Continue reading

Women in Leadership: Practicing Our Theology

Photo: Four of our outstanding women pastors, (clockwise from upper-left) Shannon New-Spangler, Cheryl Sanders, Melissa Pratt, and Donna Rothenberger.

Photo: Four of our outstanding women pastors, (clockwise from upper-left) Shannon New-Spangler, Cheryl Sanders, Melissa Pratt, and Donna Rothenberger.

By Doug Talley

I remember the gender wars of elementary school. As kids looking for validation of our worth, we guys would declare that we were the superior gender and, of course, the girls would make the same claim. We’d argue back and forth, but I don’t remember anyone ever winning. The arguments led to tension, but not to resolution. By the time we got into middle school or high school, we readily abandoned those arguments. But that doesn’t mean that gender bias went away. Continue reading

Church of God Honors, Prays for Veterans

veteran_stock_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

They put their lives on the line for you and me. With courage, they served to protect the freedoms we take for granted in the United States of America. Since their days in the military, these gentlemen have committed their lives to another kind of battle—a battle for souls. Military veterans Gary Campbell and Gerald Rudd are just two of the numerous examples of those who started out in the armed forces before joining the Lord’s Army. The two thousand Church of God congregations in the United States are indebted to their service to God and country, and we honor and pray for them—not just today, but every day. Continue reading

Pastor Track Added to 2015 Retreat to the Cove

covePart1MainImage_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

How many hats does your pastor wear? Maybe you are that pastor, and you know all too well that we’re not talking about fashion. From preacher to teacher, from administrator to janitor, today’s pastor continually juggles responsibilities at the church, the hospital, the nursing home, the second job, and more—not to mention his or her own household. It’s time to relax, take a deep breath, and make plans to get away for just a few days in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. The annual CBH Retreat to the Cove could be just the break you need. Pastors will be intrigued this year by the first-ever Pastor Track added to the schedule. So, churches, would you consider making it possible for your pastor to “retreat to The Cove” this year? After all, the October 18–21 event takes place smack dab in the middle of Pastor Appreciation Month. Continue reading