Tag Archives: reclaim your neighborhood

Maryland Church Selected to Receive Funds for Community Transformation

Photo: Pastor Kevin (second from right) with state government staff.

By Carl Stagner

On March 11, the pastor of Accokeek First Church of God in Accokeek, Maryland, represented his congregation during testimony before the Maryland State General Assembly in Annapolis. Kevin Wayne Johnson was humbled to present the church’s plans to help bring about community transformation, even if just for a few minutes. Recently the church was one of three in their entire district to be selected to receive bond bills to enhance the lives of their neighbors. While it was certainly exciting to speak before a gathering of state senators, it was even more exciting to first hear of the funds that would come their way. But for Pastor Kevin, neither experience can compare to the thrill of new opportunities to see lives changed for the cause of Christ. 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

Fridays in Fort Wayne: Church’s Outreach Bears Fruit (and Bread, Too!)

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Photo: The Bread and More ministry of Tillman Road.

By Carl Stagner

They’d say they’re just ordinary people doing some extraordinary things because of the grace of God. In fact, the pastor says there’s really no reason they should be doing it, especially considering the size of the church, the average age of many of the volunteers, and the budget (or lack thereof). But God said, “If you’ll trust me, I’ll use you.” And he is certainly using Tillman Road Church of God to accomplish things beyond their own abilities. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, congregation, with an average attendance of fewer than sixty, is touching the lives of nearly three hundred neighbors every single Friday. 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

Baltimore Church to Reclaim, Revitalize Urban Neighborhood

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Photo: A game of basketball in the Franklin Square neighborhood.

By Emily Ploetz

West Baltimore—one of the lowest socioeconomic areas in the state of Maryland. Over 84 percent of Baltimore city residents qualify for free or reduced lunches. This area is also close to the violence and unrest that made headlines in 2015. All of these hardships from the past continue to affect residents in the present, but there is a resiliency that is carrying the community to a brighter future. In January 2016, the nonprofit community development corporation, known as Operation Win in Life CDC, was launched. This program came from a dire urge to fight back against past struggles and enhance the quality of living for the people in West Baltimore, focusing specifically on the square block area surrounding Celebration Church at Monroe Street. Continue reading

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

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

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

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

CHOG Regional Convention Host Church in the Reclamation Business

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Photo: Outside the beautiful Vancouver Church facility.

By Carl Stagner

“I believe we’re not so much in the church-building business as we’re in the change-the-world business. And furthermore, I believe that we’re not so much in the reformation business as we are in the reclamation business—taking back what hell has stolen.” Jim Lyon’s bold words have set the stage for the three Church of God regional conventions this year, where the theme “Reclaim Your Neighbor[hood]” will be woven into the teaching, dialogue, and worship. Vancouver Church, host of the first of the regional conventions (April 26–28 in Vancouver, Washington), has a rich history of reclamation. As they welcome convention-goers to their campus, they’re excited to share some of the ways God has empowered them to reclaim what hell has stolen—both locally and globally. Continue reading