Tag Archives: revival

Times of Refreshing Descend on the Desert: Phoenix Regional Day 1

Ben Hardman, Matt Tebbe lead a training at Mountain Park.

By Carl Stagner

There was not a cloud in the sky as the sun rose on the first day of the Church of God Regional Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. April is no doubt one of the most beautiful months of the year in the Valley of the Sun. But when summer monsoon rains fall in July and August, locals know the dry desert becomes a flood plain. Hardened by weeks and often months with little to no rain, the desert floor cannot receive, but instead initially rejects, the life-giving droplets. Rainwater collects without absorbing into the ground, turning ordinarily dry washes into sometimes deadly, raging rivers. Like pastors and laypeople who minister to others but ignore their own souls, work must be done below the surface to prepare the soil for times of refreshment and revival. Beginning with an anointed discipleship training seminar led by Ben Hardman and Matt Tebbe, and continuing through a variety of excellent events held at Mountain Park Church on Tuesday, convention-goers were encouraged, convicted, and inspired to receive, hear, and embrace the Life. Continue reading

Poplar Bluff, Missouri: Capacity Crowds Require a Coliseum

Worship on Easter at the Black River Coliseum (credit: Nico Cuevas).

By Carl Stagner

Last Easter, West Side Church of God in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, welcomed a crowd of about 640 people between two services. With average attendance running 17 percent higher this year than last, they expected about 750 people to be present on April 1. Leadership had to prepare for sufficient seating and ample parking, all of which could not be found at their facility. As they dreamed of the possibilities, they concluded that capacity crowds would require booking the local coliseum for their Easter gathering. Good thing they did—some 1,400 people showed up! That’s especially remarkable when you consider the church had declined to just 25 people less than four years ago. Continue reading

Produce, Poultry, and Professions of Faith: Church of God Celebrates Harvest in Brazil

Worship on Palm Sunday at the Central Church of God pavilion.

By Carl Stagner

The Holy Spirit wasn’t waiting until Easter to do something big in Brazil. Over the weekend leading to Palm Sunday, a spiritual retreat took place at Maloquinha, the Church of God farm and retreat center in Itaituba. Initial reports indicate forty-eight people surrendered their lives to Christ by the conclusion of the experience at several churches across the Amazonia region of Brazil. The ongoing harvest of produce and poultry at Maloquinha is only matched by the latest harvest of souls. Far more than a church campground or conference center, this Church of God-owned property is giving life to Brazilians in a variety of unique ways. Continue reading

Prayer Movement Overtakes New Mexico, Gains National Traction

Prayer for New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez.

By Carl Stagner

All 33 counties in New Mexico are covered. Ninety churches are participating, representing 26 cities. With Jesus as the subject, numerous denominations are represented. They’ve come together in a movement devoted to prayer, a movement which has overtaken the state. From the halls of government, to the classroom, to the streets, this prayer movement has already been proven powerful and effective. For 24 hours a day, every day, 365 days a year, they’ve set out to cover the state in prayer until Jesus comes back. One of the co-founders of what’s been dubbed “New Mexico Prays” is Richard Mansfield, senior pastor of New Beginnings Church of God in Albuquerque. Continue reading

Reclaiming Life, Kingdom Territory in Central California

By Carl Stagner

Like the dawning of a brand-new day, the Holy Spirit is breathing new life into the Church of God in central California. Over the past five months, several structural and functional changes have been received warmly by a family of congregations seeking direction and revival. Under the leadership of their new regional pastor, Michael Guzman, the Central California Association of the Church of God has since developed strategies to increase efficiency, maximize potential, and take back what hell has stolen. The gates of hell have no doubt begun to shake, as these strategies are already beginning to bear fruit. Continue reading

Detroit-Area Churches Practice Unity, Partner for Community

Detroit-area Church of God leaders gathered together.

By Carl Stagner

Unity, one of the Movement’s foundational doctrines, has, for too long, been preached but not practiced. The move from theory to practice, from conceptual to functional, is desperately needed, and is possible when Jesus is the subject. Church of God congregations in the Michigan cities of Detroit and Flint, for example, understand this. That’s why they’ve come together to worship the Lord and to partner for the betterment of the cities. When the people of God are united, not only is the community better off, but so is the church. In southeastern Michigan, a historic fall gathering demonstrated this blessed reality. Continue reading

In the Midst of Revival: Crosspointe Kilgore-Longview, Texas

Baptism at Crosspointe Church is a common occurence.

By Carl Stagner

When you’re baptizing someone nearly every week and the walls must come down to make more room in your sanctuary, you’ve got to wonder if revival is breaking out. At the two campuses of Crosspointe Fellowship Church of God in the Texas communities of Kilgore and Longview, God has clearly been on the move in many mighty ways. Led by Pastor Efrain Cirilo, Crosspointe has seen their worship center and children’s classrooms run out of space. In the past couple of years, total attendance has more than doubled to an average of 400 on Sundays. And, it was just last year that they added the second campus at Longview. While no magic formula exists for revival, the church did enact a handful of specific strategies to become a growing, healthy church. Continue reading

Jesus Message Sweeps Across Dominican Republic, Thousands Saved

Photo: Prayer at the Church of God where Juan Santos is pastor.

By Carl Stagner

Though some might consider it overused, there’s likely no better word to describe what’s happening today among Christians in the Dominican Republic. Revival can be seen breaking out in churches, on street corners, in sports, in the media, and even in politics. Unconcerned with denominational differences and squabbles over style, churches are banding together under one unifying message—Jesus. Church of God pastor Juan Santos recently led his Santo Domingo congregation to participate in a weeklong evangelism initiative, a national effort which resulted in several thousand souls won to Christ. He’s delighted to report on the incredible impact of the experience and reveal insights into the cultural transformation permeating nearly every level of society. Continue reading

Healing, Salvation Follow Intense Week of Prayer at California Church

chog_exeter_prayercircle_forweb

Photo: Prayer circle at the Church of God of Exeter.

By Carl Stagner

Have you ever launched a new Bible study, started an outreach project, or tried something totally new, only to see its initial success fall flat? Was there a time when you realized that all the strategic planning and quality efforts going into something just wasn’t leading anywhere? Has it been a while since a powerful move of the Spirit brought healing, salvation, and deliverance into your place of worship? Michael Guzman, pastor of the Church of God of Exeter in Exeter, California, knows the feeling. A week of intense corporate prayer, five times a day, was just what the Doctor ordered. Continue reading

Cry Out to the Lord: Another Movement Has Begun

wilsonheightsfirstchurch_charlottenc_cottl_forweb

Photo: Cry Out to the Lord at Wilson Heights First Church, Charlotte, NC.

By Carl Stagner

Have you ever seen the altars full at your church? Isn’t it a glorious sight? But have you ever seen almost the entire church at the altars? On Sunday, September 11, this response to the powerful moving of the Spirit wasn’t uncommon. The more than two hundred congregations of the Church of God in the United States and Canada that participated in their first-ever Cry Out to the Lord prayer experience yielded more than fifty stories of blessing and transformation. Far more than an event that comes and goes and is soon forgotten, Cry Out to the Lord has reignited a passion for prayer in the Church of God. Continue reading

Illinois Church Prioritizes the Lost, Celebrates Revival

Hoopeston_IL_CHOG_sign_FORWEB

Photo: First Church of God (Hoopeston, IL)

By Emily Ploetz

One of the most recognizable signs of life is growth. Growth indicates inner strength, stability, and maturity. As a parent wishes for his or her child to grow up big and strong, we as Christians should long for our churches to be growing, healthy ministries. Though this longing for growth may be fervent, growth in a church is often easier said than done. In 2011, Church of God Ministries celebrated the tremendous growth of Hoopeston First Church of God in Hoopeston, Illinois. In the past five years, 250 baptisms have taken place! As astounding as this is, Pastor Micah Mobley says they’re not done yet. Continue reading

Movement-wide Prayer Experience Planned for September 11

Cry_Out_LOGO2_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

No great move of God in history has ever occurred without having been preceded by the extraordinary prayer of his people. Log on to Facebook or Twitter, turn on the television, or pick up a newspaper and just try not to grieve for the shape of our culture. We need a great move of God. Walk our streets, visit our prisons, or spend some time in our poor urban centers and realize the overwhelming condition of our society. Then, instead of shaking your fist at hell, turn inward. What if we were to take a closer look at ourselves—the church? We possess the hope of the world, the world needs that hope, but we’re too busy dealing with our own issues to do anything about it. It’s time for change. It’s time for a spiritual overhaul. In Joel 1, the people of God found themselves in a similar predicament. They consecrated a fast, proclaimed a solemn assembly, and gathered the elders and all the inhabitants of the land. Together they cried out to the Lord for repentance, reconciliation, and revival. We’ve determined we must do no less. On Sunday, September 11, Church of God congregations will unite on their knees as they set aside regular weekend schedules for a singular focus—to cry out to the Lord. Continue reading

From Prison to the Pulpit of a Growing Multicultural Church

First_CHOG_Congregation_Aurora_IL_FORWEB

Photo: Aurora First Church of God

By Carl Stagner

For a number of years, it appeared hell had laid claim to Manny Rivera’s life. But this man, created in the image of God, was reclaimed by Jesus Christ in 2006. Since then, God has increased the spiritual responsibility of this ex-con and former alcoholic. In addition to broken addictions and miraculous healings, the church he now pastors in Aurora, Illinois, has seen more than thirty people saved since Manny stepped up to the pulpit about a year-and-a-half ago. God is using this Church of God pastor in some incredible ways—ways that would have never come to pass had the bullet meant for his life actually taken it. Continue reading

Churches in Europe Taking Risks

Rome_Ostia_CHOG_worship_FORWEB

Photo: Ostia Church of God in worship.

By Patrick Nachtigall

Can they inspire North American Churches?

A massive refugee crisis, an aging population, economic challenges, and political upheaval are hitting Europe all at the same time. The world does not stay the same. Consequently, the churches that can survive and even flourish are those that are willing to change, take risks, and use crisis to create opportunity. Continue reading

Pennsylvania Church Celebrates Healing, Kingdom Partnership

CarCruise-in_UniversityPark_JohnstownPA_FORWEB

Photo: Community outreach through a car show at University Park.

By Timothy Coppess

God has been at work at University Park Church of God in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. As God has moved, he gave a theme for each of the last three years, but the special focus of each year has continued on into subsequent years. The theme for 2014 was “A Year of Healing.” God continues to perform wonderful healings of past hurts and division, as well as miraculous physical, emotional, and mental healings in the congregation and outside the congregation. Continue reading