Norberto Obermann (right) with wife Claudia, son Pedro.
By Carl Stagner
It all began with a prayer. A big and bold prayer—that God would lead Norberto Obermann to do something so challenging it could not be done alone. That, without God, it would simply be impossible. Born in Argentina, and having pastored there and in Brazil for the better part of three decades, Norberto would soon see what happens when such prayers are offered up in faithful surrender. Through a variety of unfolding events, he and his family would be called to pastor North Modesto Church of God in Modesto, California. The quadrilingual pastor—yes, he can speak four languages!—was a perfect fit for the rapidly evolving demographics of the north-central California city. It all made sense to the church and the Obermanns. But God didn’t answer their prayer in the way they were expecting. Instead, they embarked on an adventure that would last two years. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Western
Tagged adventure, application, Argentina, assimilation, bilingual, bold, Brazil, CA, California, CBH, Christensens, Claudia Obermann, cross-cultural, faith, historic, history in the making, hurdles, immigration, international, Jim Lyon, journey, language, languages, Latin America, Mario Hort, Modesto, multicultural, multilingual, Norberto Obermann, North Modesto Church of God, Northern California, overseas, Paul Dreger, Pedro Obermann, pray, prayer, prayerful, precedent, quadrilingual, risk, South America, The Church of God of Northern California Association, trial, visa, waiting
By Carl Stagner
John Crose is the son of influential Church of God missions figures, Lester and Ruthe Crose. With a name like Crose, you might assume he’d follow in his family’s footsteps abroad. God did call John to the mission field, but of a different kind. For twenty-one years, John Crose took the hope and healing of the gospel into all the world of police chaplaincy. His new book, The Exciting World of a Police Chaplain, chronicles firsthand accounts of ride-alongs with law enforcement, difficult death notifications, pastoral counseling, and sharing the gospel with unbelieving officers, family members, and persons affected by police-related matters. Though retired today, his experiences of the past predict an ever-increasing need for police chaplains. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Great Lakes
Tagged bold, Chaplain Ministries, chaplaincy, civilian, counseling, danger, Global Strategy, John Crose, law enforcement, Lester Crose, mission field, missions, nontraditional, pastoral care, police, police chaplain, Police officer, risk, Ruthe Crose
Chaplain Miller prays with a Marine Corps Special Operations Team prior to a mission in East Africa.
By Carl Stagner
Calculated risk. Often used in the financial sense, Baron Miller uttered the term in the context of fear. Every time you take a drive in the car or catch a flight on an airplane, is there a chance you might not make it back? Sure, there is. But that doesn’t cancel your travel plans. When firefighters have to rush inside a burning building, or law enforcement are called to a chaotic scene, they don’t hesitate. There’s risk involved, but these community heroes trust their training and their gear to help them stand strong in the heat of the battle. The parallel to the Christian experience is inescapable; the soldier of the cross must engage the battle, must reclaim what hell has stolen. Might it get scary? Possibly. Could it get dangerous? Certainly. But at the fingertips of every believer is an arsenal of spiritual weapons and an array of training options to fully engage in the fight. Engaging the enemy—that’s what Baron Miller’s life has been about—from the halls of the Church of God he founded in Bellingham, Washington, to the shores of Guantanamo Bay. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Chaplain Ministries
Tagged Afghanistan, baptism, Baron Miller, Bellingham, bold, calculated risk, California, Chaplain Ministries, chaplaincy, chaplains, Coast Guard, courage, Cuba, dare, discipleship, East Africa, evangelism, global, international, Marines, military, missional, missions, Navy, Northwest, prayer, risk, risk-taking, Roosevelt Community Church, spiritual warfare, training, travel, U.S. Navy, veterans, WA, war, Washington, witness
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
Posted in All Church of God, Central, Give Life
Tagged Black River Coliseum, church growth, Coliseum, discipleship, Easter, Jason Jordan, Jesus Is the Subject, Missouri, MO, multiplication, Poplar Bluff, revival, risk, salvation, Volunteers, West Side Church of God
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
Posted in All Church of God, Global Strategy
Tagged awakening, church growth, Europe and the Middle East, Global Strategy, Greece, Hungary, Paris, Patrick Nachtigall, refugee, revitalization, revival, risk, risk-taking, Rome, transformation