Tag Archives: transformation

MACU Music Major: “Jesus Put a New Dream in Me”

Kevin Dugay

By Whitney Knight

From the big screen to the chapel stage, music and ministry worship major Kevin Dugay is used to drawing a crowd. With his soulful voice and God-given gift for performance, Dugay frequently leads worship during Mid-America Christian University chapel services every Wednesday and Friday. But long before he found himself in Oklahoma City, Dugay was an accomplished young actor with twelve years of stage experience and a promising professional career ahead of him. Continue reading

Trafficklight Partner Remerge Celebrates 20 Years of Ministry

Creating art for the museum housed onsite by Remerge. Learn more at www.remerge.org.

By Carl Stagner

Twenty years ago, Church on the Street emerged in Atlanta, Georgia, radically transforming the way we do ministry to those outside the walls. Church on the Street took church to the people living without homes and beckoned traditional churchgoers into proximity with, and investment in, the lives of persons in poverty. Having become a Trafficklight partner since, Church on the Street never sought to engage the fight against trafficking; still, that fight came to them, and they’ve responded with holy boldness and love. Remerging in recent years from the starting point of reconciliation—that is, with God and neighbor—Church on the Street became known as Remerge in 2016. With intentionality, flexibility, and fervor, Remerge enters its twenty-first year, ready to change hearts from the streets to the suburbs, from underpasses to newly upholstered pews. Continue reading

Transformation Begins Outside the Walls in West Texas

Community block party at the new church facility.

By Carl Stagner

Deep in the heart of west Texas, surrounded by semiarid plains and prized oil country, you’ll find the small city of Odessa. Though it may not garner much media attention, a remarkable story of transformation is developing out of the city’s young Church of God congregation known as New Dawn Fellowship. Focusing more on discipling new believers and not simply packing the pews, the church has celebrated relatively slow, but healthy growth. The congregation, 90 percent previously unchurched, has rejoiced at more than 30 salvations, more than 30 baptisms, and multiple rededications in just three years. On August 5, after outgrowing its previous facility, the community-oriented church enjoyed a grand opening worship service in their new home, welcoming 154 people through their doors. Continue reading

Church Pastored by CHOG Ministries’ Handel Smith Celebrates Urban Ministry Renewal

Handel Smith with Paul, sub-contractor for the church’s affordable homes ministry.

By Carl Stagner

Church of God Ministries staff are known for their roles they play in the collective work of the Movement. But among those who report to “base camp” day after day are individuals who are very active in their local churches. Some are Sunday school teachers, board members, worship leaders, associate pastors, and senior pastors. Others are laypeople who volunteer and get involved in numerous initiatives and projects at the local church level. When Handel Smith accepted the call to fill an executive leadership position at Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana, he accepted a massive portfolio—oversight of the Movement’s influence and impact in the United States and Canada. His ministry Monday through Saturday—and countless Sundays, too—is extensive and expansive. Though a faithful attender of one of the Anderson-area churches when at home, it soon became apparent that he’d received a special leadership assignment that would both bring God glory and give life to a life-giving soul. 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

Oklahoma Pastors Unleash Lay Leaders, Reach Many More

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Photo: Nowata laypeople ministering to kids through VBS.

By Carl Stagner

The forces of hell have stolen a lot from God’s church over the years. One is the notion that the work of the local church is the responsibility of the whole congregation, not just the pastor. Indeed, the job of ministry does not rest solely on the pastor’s shoulders! Over time, many churches have fallen prey to the lie that the pastor is charged with doing just about anything and everything for them—after all, he or she does get paid, right? Inevitably we’re left with a shepherd on the verge of burnout, and a congregation devoid of disciples. But one Oklahoma congregation, in particular, is doing it right. The pastors of First Church of God in Nowata have unleashed their laypeople to reclaim what hell has stolen in their community. Continue reading

Let Me See Jesus Only: A Blind Pastor’s Journey of Joy

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Photo: Pastor John Clegg

By Carl Stagner

John Clegg’s life was unraveling all around him. Years of drug addiction, promiscuity, and worsening eyesight was taking its toll. One fateful day he found himself sitting in his recliner, gun under his chin, ready to end it all right then and there. But that was the old John. That was before Jesus Christ changed his life. Though he cannot see his hand in front of his face today, he looks back and sees God’s fingerprints everywhere. For eighteen years, John has served as pastor of Southside Church of God in Muncie, Indiana. In spite of his blindness, this pastor says he sees farther now than he could ever see before. Continue reading

Churches in Europe Taking Risks

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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

Change the World: Grant Awardees Revealed at CHOG Convention 2015

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By Carl Stagner

Sixty applicants from across the Church of God submitted applications for Change the World, a grant-making initiative announced at last year’s Church of God Convention. In an effort to bring innovative and transformative ministries to fruition, Change the World was designed to give ministry leaders the financial foundation to get off the ground. The question was posed, If there were one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? Of sixty applicants, six were selected to receive grants. So, who are these grant awardees? Continue reading

On Baptisms, Outreach, and Revival: An Interview with Pastors of a Thriving Church

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By Carl Stagner

In an interview with Church of God Ministries (CGM), the pastoral staff at County Line Church of God in Auburn, Indiana, recently celebrated 126 baptisms and a move of the Holy Spirit beyond what they could have ever imagined. In this exchange, senior pastor Stuart Kruse, children’s pastor Mary Ellen Rayle, congregational care pastor Steve Schlatter, outreach pastor Nathan Tatman, and high school ministry pastor Dane Kruse relived the amazing experience of Baptism Sunday, and offered experienced insights on baptisms, outreach, and revival. Continue reading

Extreme Love Explosion in Florence, South Carolina

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By Carl Stagner

Juvenile crime—down 39 percent in one year. Arrests—down 54 percent in one year. Since 2004, overall juvenile crime has plummeted by more than 70 percent. Some crimes are now virtually nonexistent. The past thirteen years have ushered in a new era of learning to work together to transform culture. As a result of strategic partnership between churches, schools, and government, there has been an explosion of extreme love in Florence, South Carolina. Pastor Clyde Odom of King of Kings Church of God has brought this incredible story of transformation to light. Continue reading

Texting for Transformation: Focus 40, Next Step Discipleship

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By Carl Stagner

Church of God Ministries wants you to have the tools you need to grow in your faith and effectively share the love of Christ. Through the Transformation Team, Church of God Ministries offers you the opportunity to receive daily text messages: to encourage new believers, and challenge all Christians to be agents of God’s extreme love. Continue reading