Tag Archives: Reclaim 2016

Renewed Life, Purpose Follow Philadelphia Regional

By Carl Stagner

A historic gathering came to end on Thursday, September 29, after three days of renewal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the last of three Regional Conventions, but the experience inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit was no afterthought. What some expected to be an “off year” of less significant smaller-scale meetings on the heels of two major conventions in Oklahoma City proved to be anything but that. Those who came together on the beautiful and expansive campus of New Covenant Church were not only blessed by the convention coming to their own backyard, but also enthusiastically supportive of the new day in the Church of God that dawned only a couple of years ago. The result: pastors and lay leaders committed to return to their local churches and communities eager to reclaim their neighborhoods in Jesus’ name. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Philadelphia Wednesday: When God’s People Come Together

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Photo: When God’s people come together…

By Carl Stagner

Incredible things happen when God’s people come together. The presence of God is powerful when God’s people come together. When God’s people come together, regardless of ethnicity or culture, differences diminish and Jesus Christ is magnified. Hope shines bright, the body of Christ is strong, and the kingdom advances when God’s people come together. In a world so strongly divided by race and politics, Jesus Christ was the clearly the unifying subject on Wednesday at the Regional Convention of the Church of God at New Covenant Church in Philadelphia. In a culture exemplified by competing aspirations and agendas, Church of God pastors and lay leaders came together Wednesday to embrace a common mission: to reclaim our neighborhoods in Jesus’ name. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Philadelphia: Grannum Addresses Movement from His Own Backyard

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Photo: Milton Grannum speaks on Tuesday night.

By Carl Stagner

Perhaps unlike any other form of communication, stories capture our hearts. If you’ve ever heard the story of Milton Grannum’s journey of faith from a humble childhood to the prestigious leadership of one of the largest churches in our movement, you’ve surely been blessed. To hear him speak of the unlimited potential of one deposit—one seed—is nothing short of inspirational, but even more so when you’re completely surrounded by the fruit of one small seed planted in the life of a boy from Guyana. On the beautiful and expansive campus of New Covenant Church of God in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Milton Grannum set the tone Tuesday evening for a life-giving, purpose-renewing third-and-final Regional Convention of 2016. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Finale Begins in Philadelphia

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By Carl Stagner

This year’s third-and-final Regional Convention begins today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. New Covenant Church of God, the church founded by Reclaim 2016 speaker Milton Grannum and his wife Hyacinth, hosts the event, which officially kicks off at 7:00 PM EDT. Many Church of God pastors and lay leaders have already arrived, drawn by extra events, such as the CARE Initiative workshop from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM today. Adding to this week’s grand finale experience is the highly-anticipated CHOG Table on Thursday, which will allow guests to grapple with the current, hot-button issue of race and reconciliation. From Vancouver, Washington, to Anderson, Indiana, to the City of Brotherly Love—the call to reclaim our neighborhoods in Jesus’ name is taking hold and turning in to action. Continue reading

Bonus Events Enhance Reclaim Philadelphia Experience

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Photo: Greeting Warner U. President David Hoag (left) in Anderson.

By Carl Stagner

September is upon us, and so is the third-and-final 2016 Regional Convention of the Church of God. These historic gatherings have brought us to new places, fostered new relationships, and sparked new energy and excitement in the movement. Many who have never attended a convention in Anderson due to distance have seen or will see the experience brought to their own backyards. As New Covenant Church of God prepares to welcome the Church of God to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, convention-goers are making arrangements to arrive early and take advantage of several bonus events and activities slated to make a great experience even better. Continue reading

Church of God to Have Conversation about Race, Reconciliation

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Photos: Diana Swoope, Vivian Moore, Jim Lyon

By Carl Stagner

Ferguson. Baltimore. St. Paul. Dallas. Baton Rouge. At the mention of these cities, a range of emotions is awakened in a time when issues of race and reconciliation once again dominate the headlines. The tragic deaths of young black men and police officers over the past few months have not only incited rage, sorrow, and further exacerbated racial tensions, but have also surely grieved the very heart of God. Does the church have anything to say? Would it be easier to avoid the issue because it’s so contentious? Politicians and pundits have weighed in and offer no shortage of opinions. No, the church cannot stay silent. We need to talk. Continue reading

Complimentary Philadelphia Registration Opportunity for Pastors

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By Carl Stagner

This is too good to pass up! If you’re a credentialed pastor in the Church of God, you and your spouse now have the opportunity to take advantage of complimentary registration for the Church of God Regional Convention and CHOG Table in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 27–29. Yes, there is a catch. But this one you’ll appreciate! Sign up for the inaugural training seminar of CARE—Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort—of the Church of God, and you’ll not only be granted free admission to Reclaim 2016 in Philadelphia, but you’ll also receive a modest voucher to assist in convention travel expenses. Far from a timeshare sales pitch, this event will train Church of God pastors and congregational board members with insights, best practices, and resources to understand, plan for, and manage pastoral compensation and financial matters. CARE is the new initiative funded by a Lilly grant awarded to Church of God Ministries in 2015. Continue reading

Locals Introduce Church of God to Philadelphia Ahead of Regional Convention

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By Carl Stagner

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For those who’ve never been there before, mention of the City of Brotherly Love might conjure up images of scrumptious cheesesteak and the historic Liberty Bell. But to those who call it home, Philadelphia is so much more. That may be why Church of God locals are so eager to talk about their beloved hometown ahead of the third and final Regional Convention slated for September 27–29 at New Covenant Church. Continue reading

Pastor Doodles His Way Through Anderson Regional Convention

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Photo: Sketchnote of Arnetta McNeese Bailey’s message.

By Carl Stagner

No, the speakers weren’t boring, and the times of worship were anything but a snooze. Still, while others were obviously listening intently to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, one glance at Joe Watkins would reveal a head down, pen and sketch pad in hand, and then—double-take—is he drawing cartoons? How disrespectful! Is that guy paying any attention to the important things these men and women are saying? In fact, yes. Perhaps even more closely than others. The pastor of New Hope Community Church of God in Dayton, Ohio, has adapted a note-taking strategy that helps him best remember and process information. Not only does sketchnoting serve him well in sermon prep and delivery at New Hope, but it also proved beneficial to many others who also seemed to not be paying attention to the sermons, but really were—those who were live-tweeting, Instagramming, and Facebooking through the Regional Convention in Anderson, Indiana. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Anderson: ‘Sense of Oneness’, ‘So Good’, ‘One of the Best’

By Carl Stagner

Those who thought it simply couldn’t get any better were wrong. Dead wrong. After two outstanding Church of God Conventions in Oklahoma City, featuring compelling content, rich worship experiences, and opportunities to be bold in Jesus’ name, three smaller-scale, regional events would bridge the gap during the off-years. They would satisfy our need as the Church of God to stay connected to each other and the ongoing collective ministries of the movement. They would inspire and challenge, but they would also come on the heels of two gatherings in Oklahoma City that had effectively raised the bar. It is a mistake to discount the power of the Holy Spirit to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think! The first two Regional Conferences have stirred in the hearts of those who have attended a Jesus-centered focus and an elevated passion for kingdom advancement. As convention-goers made their way back home from Anderson, they realized a renewed determination to reclaim what hell has stolen. Continue reading

Anderson Regional Day 2: A Movement Again

By Carl Stagner

Day Two of the Regional Convention of the Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, was met with classic camp meeting thunderstorms and classic camp meeting worship and fellowship. But those who gathered in the expanse of Madison Park Church of God on Wednesday, June 22, were also met with bold exhortation and moments of intense introspection. We were challenged to take a hard look at ourselves as individuals, local churches, and as a movement. Though uncomfortable at times, we were invited to take the dare to get off our donkeys, get our hands dirty, and carry out the radical task of reclamation. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016: Welcome Back to Anderson, Church of God!

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By Carl Stagner

On the afternoon of Monday, June 20, a group of pastors, retired ministers, missionaries, Anderson University professors, and laypeople packed into a makeshift theater to watch a multimedia presentation of the early days of the Church of God in Anderson. They were reminded that since 1907, the Church of God has had a longstanding relationship with the city of Anderson. After a couple incredible conventions in Oklahoma City, and a historic gathering in Vancouver earlier this year, Church of God people are returning to a city with over a century of rich camp meeting history. More rich history will be made again this week as Church of God people once again reconvene in Anderson, Indiana. Continue reading

It’s Convention Time Again in Indiana

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By Carl Stagner

It’s beginning to look a lot like convention time in Indiana again. As the season of summer approaches, the corn and soybeans have sprouted, squirrels are scurrying across the Anderson University campus, and Madison Park Church of God is making final preparation to host the second of three Regional Conventions this year. You’ve already heard that Milton Grannum, Reggie McNeal, Steve Arterburn, Arnetta McNeese Bailey, and Ben Hardman will speak to the convention theme of Reclaim Your Neighbor[hood], and you know that Alanna Story will serve as worship leaders. But did you know that a variety of special gatherings, receptions, and opportunities for additional fellowship are scheduled to take place in conjunction with the Anderson event? From alumni luncheons to agency open houses, you’ll want to plan ahead to make the most of your Reclaim 2016 experience. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Energizes Movement as First Regional Wraps Up

By Carl Stagner

“If we’re going to reclaim the neighborhood, we have to stop keeping people at a safe distance, and let them in.” Steve Arterburn’s profound, yet simple words seemed to echo in the expanse of Vancouver Church in Vancouver, Washington, during the last week of April 2016. It was the first of three Regional Conventions challenging the Church of God to reclaim our neighbors—and our neighborhoods—for Jesus Christ. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Steve’s message wasn’t the only one cutting to the core of who we are as a movement. Milton Grannum, Ben Hardman, Arnetta McNeese Bailey, and Reggie McNeal also delivered God’s Word with conviction and clarity to the several hundred Church of God people gathered from up and down the West Coast and beyond. Social media lit up during the event, offering those waiting for the Anderson or Philadelphia conventions a foretaste of the movement-energizing experience. Continue reading