Tag Archives: renewal

Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy Find Renewal in the Rockies

The Church of God group represented at the conference.

By Carron Odokara

The Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy (WHWC) organization held its biennial conference in April at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. Amid the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, over 300 women and men gathered to worship, learn, and be revived. The conference welcomed the Church of God (Anderson), Brethren in Christ, the Free Methodist Church, the Church of the Nazarene, the Wesleyan Church, and other groups. These faith groups came together under the banner of Jesus Christ to celebrate the biblical foundations of gender equality being fully lived out across the church as women and men lead together, following their holy callings. Continue reading

Renovation for a Church, Renewal for Far Rockaway

Pastor Arthur Davenport speaks at the building dedication.

By Emily Ploetz

On Sunday morning, October 8, worship filled the room in the First Church of God of Far Rockaway, New York. The service was unlike any typical Sunday morning gathering for a very special reason, six months in the making! Far Rockaway had been under a full-scale renovation for half a year and, after everything had been completed, Pastor Arthur Davenport invited the congregation to join in a procession of prayer and worship. There was much rejoicing at this celebration because everyone there knew that God had blessed them in so many ways. Continue reading

Mountain-top Experience Affords Tremendous ViewPoint

The Cove on a clear, moon-lit evening.

By Carl Stagner

At 3,885 feet above the cares of the world, Cedar Cliff Overlook, just minutes from the Billy Graham Training Center, reminds guests that the Artist who painted such breathtaking scenery is the same God who wants to give us a chance to catch our breath. Even in ministry—or especially in ministry—moments of rest and renewal are a must! When the vantage point of a pastor or layperson constantly focuses the eyes on the next task, it’s time to retreat. The CBH Retreat to the Cove has long served as a prescription for long seasons of work, ministry, and hurry. This October 15–18, join Jim Lyon, Larnelle Harris, Joe and Merry Cookston, Melissa Pratt, Wesley Duff, and Rob Kespelher for a mountain-top experience unlike any other. And, as you pull away from the crowd, you’ll find yourself in good company with Jesus (Mark 6:31). Continue reading

The Power of the Cross to Take Back a City

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Photo: Crosses displayed with victims’ pictures inside the church.

By Carl Stagner

Approximately eight hundred murders rocked Chicago in the last year alone. Gang violence is on the rise in many large cities across the country, and Chicago is no exception. While many would rather retreat to the suburbs and write off urban centers as a loss, there is a growing movement of people that won’t give up on the youth, the children, and the families of densely populated areas. The grim statistics might suggest the forces of evil have completely taken over cities like Chicago. But soldiers of the cross like Greg Zanis are fighting side-by-side with congregations like Restoration Church of nearby Aurora, Illinois, to take back their cities. Recently, this reclamation effort took the form of one cross built for each of the eight hundred victims. Continue reading

Three Indiana Churches Unite for Urban Renewal

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Photo: Ad for New Life’s community block party.

By Carl Stagner

A Sunday morning and Wednesday evening preacher. That’s how Stephen Terry, pastor of New Life Church of God in Fort Wayne, Indiana, described his default function at the church for at least four years. As a bivocational pastor, Stephen Terry struggled with what most bivocational pastors struggle with—balancing work, continuing education, family, and the divine calling to shepherd a flock. While there are many great blessings that come with bivocational ministry, it wasn’t long before Pastor Stephen found himself working fifty hours per week in the school system and looking for remaining moments to keep up with his master’s program. Then one day when he was examining the declining health of his congregation and the continuing decline of the community around the church, he realized something had gone wrong. Without opportunity to lead the church, they’d come to a place in their life cycle that required immediate attention. That’s where Church of God Ministries, the National Association of the Church of God, and Indiana Ministries spoke life into the future of New Life Church of God—and ultimately two other Indiana churches. Continue reading

Marriage Honored, Vows Renewed at Indiana Church

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Photo: Couple renews their wedding vows.

By Carl Stagner

At first, there were just a few. Then seven couples wanted to participate. Finally, there were thirteen participating couples at the modest-sized country church in Nebraska, Indiana. On Valentine’s Day 2016, the Church of God at Nebraska, Indiana, took intentional steps to publicly honor the sacred institution of marriage in a culture that increasingly does the opposite. As a part of their worship service, a remarkable thirteen couples—from seven years to fifty-nine years married—renewed their wedding vows. The unique service not only reaffirmed each couple’s love for each other, but also made a few dreams come true, as well. Continue reading

The Camp Warren Strategy: Illinois CHOG Campground Celebrates Turnaround

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By Carl Stagner

Crumbling and outdated facilities, financial hurdles, and declining attendance have prompted many states and regions in the Church of God to sell their campgrounds. But not Illinois. In the face of such obstacles, a steadfast belief in the timeless vitality and relevance of church camping ministry led the General Assembly to commit to the revitalization Illinois’ Camp Warren. After years of investment, research, networking, strategic planning, promotion, hard labor, and plenty of setbacks, regional pastor Eric Livingston says 2016 is on target to be their best year yet. Continue reading

Pastor Track Added to 2015 Retreat to the Cove

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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