Tag Archives: retirement

Lilly Endowment Awards Church of God Ministries Grant for CARE 2.0

By Carl Stagner

Earlier this year, Church of God Ministries was invited by Lilly Endowment to apply for a grant to extend the fruitful ministry of CARE—Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort. The week of Thanksgiving brought with it news that a $500,000 grant has been awarded to carry on the program until at least 2021. No longer an initiative, the program known as CARE has been so well received by the Church of God movement that the goal is to sustain the work indefinitely. CARE 2.0 will bring with it continued engagement of pastors and congregational boards in pastoral retirement assistance and educational debt relief that have become synonymous with the program since it began in early 2016. Continue reading

Servant Solutions: Seven Decades of Dedication to the Movement

Servant Solutions staff meeting.

By Carl Stagner

In 1949, what was once strictly a retirement program for ministers of the Church of God came into being. Not everyone was ready for such a program, however, as a few questioned the lack of faith in God’s provision that allegedly accompanied enrollment. Received initially with mistrust, Servant Solutions has since become one of the most trusted partners of the Movement. With time, training, and technology, the former Board of Pensions of the Church of God has morphed into the holistic ministry of “improving financial security for servants of the church.” As Servant Solutions nears its seventy-year mark in ministry, it’s clear that the endorsed agency of the Church of God looks very little like it did at the beginning. But that’s more than okay with our pastors and their families, our missionaries, our local churches, and our educators. They’ve been unleashed to do what God has called them to do, more confident than ever in the expertise and faithfulness of today’s Servant Solutions. Continue reading

The Clerical Collar-Wearing Pastor Who Planted a Church at Age 77

Pastor Dick Ogle

By Carl Stagner

Dick Ogle’s preferred daily dress is clerical attire—characteristic among some denominations, but certainly not common in the Church of God. Funerals are one of his primary methods of outreach—unusual, but surprisingly potent. Perhaps the most unconventional thing about this eighty-eight-year-old pastor is that he came out of retirement at age seventy-seven to plant a church in Hoisington, Kansas. Today, First Street Church of God is a healthy, growing, multi-ethnic congregation that proclaims the gospel with boldness, and sings straight out of the hymnal. Continue reading

From 30 Times Behind Bars to 30 Years in the Pulpit

By Carl Stagner

He was barely a teen when he was arrested the first time. Between the ages of thirteen and twenty-five, Paul McCulley was put behind bars a total of thirty times. Charges ranged from truancy to assault, and he was also court martialed three times. His shackles—both seen and unseen—would soon fall off after Jesus Christ changed his life, however. Not only did Paul McCulley become a Christian, but he also entered full-time ministry. Until he retired in 2014, he served the Lord as a senior pastor for thirty years. But he never really retired. Paul McCulley’s gripping testimony is too good to put on the shelf, there are too many people that still need to hear it. Today Paul continues a dynamic ministry program to the incarcerated and their families, turning what the devil meant for bad into something very, very good. Continue reading

Wrestling with the Call: An Alabama Pastor’s Ministerial Journey

Loren Sutton

By Carl Stagner

“I’d never taught a Sunday school class. I was sure I couldn’t even talk in front of people. I was not going to be a preacher.” Clearly, God had other plans in mind for Loren Sutton. The eighty-two-year-old pastor of Airview Church of God in Opelika, Alabama, has not only served the Lord in ministry the majority of his life, he also just can’t seem to retire—no matter how hard he tries! Loren knows firsthand what it means to wrestle with the divine call. Continue reading

Servant Solutions: Money Talks—Communicate with Your Family

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By Jim O’Bold

As the director of financial planning here at Servant Solutions, I have many “money talks” with our members about many aspects of their financial lives. Unfortunately, these important discussions do not often happen between those who would benefit most—our family members. Continue reading

Longtime Missionary Turns 100

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Photo: Bob Moss and Ernest LaFont

By Carl Stagner

1916. That was the year former missionary Ernest LaFont was born. Well-known across the movement throughout the 20th century, he and his wife Grace were regarded by both pastors and laypeople, at home and abroad, as exemplary pillars of the faith. Chances are pretty good that either you are someone who was blessed by the ministry of the LaFonts, or you know someone who was. From Panama to Egypt, to Lebanon and finally Washington State, the widespread reach of this Pacific Bible College (now Warner Pacific) graduate over the span of a lifetime has not ceased, but continues to this day. Family member and friend Bob Moss of Church of God Ministries knows firsthand the incredible impact of Ernest LaFont on the movement, and is honored to offer just a glimpse of the harrowing circumstances that shaped this man of God. Continue reading

Servant Solutions’ Doug Hamlin Honored for 41 Years of Service

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Photo: Retirement banquet for Doug Hamlin.

By Carl Stagner

Pastors in the Church of God know how instrumental Servant Solutions has been to their ministry. From pensions to financial planning to ministerial tax information and investments, the staff have always been about “serving those who serve.” Only one, however, has been faithful to this task for forty-one years. Doug Hamlin has given oversight to the accounting process and daily operations of Servant Solutions—formerly the Board of Pensions—since 1975. For exemplary servant leadership over a remarkable career of ministry to ministers, the retiring Doug Hamlin was honored with a ceremony at Madison Park Church of God on the concluding evening of the three-day Anderson Regional Convention and CHOG Table experience. Continue reading

Longtime Missionaries to Haiti Retire, Leave Behind Legacy of Compassion

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Photo: Jodie and John Ackerman

By Carl Stagner

One of the most devastating earthquakes of the century struck the land, and they were there. When political and economic upheaval ensued, they were there. When crime didn’t decline, and poverty remained, they remained, too. Facing busy schedules and fatigue, they nevertheless lent a hand when other missionaries and ex-pats were in need. Exemplary Church of God missionaries to Haiti for the last thirty years, John and Jodie Ackerman let the compassion of Christ flow through them to the “least of these” under less-than-ideal conditions. Though they’ll soon be retiring from career missionary service, a legacy of compassion will no doubt carry on. Continue reading

Farmen Concludes 49-year Teaching Career at AU

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By Katie Wenclewicz

After 49 years as a professor of psychology, Dr. William Farmen is saying goodbye to Anderson University. As a graduate of AU, Farmen put almost half a century of time and energy back into the university where his love and interests were born. Continue reading