Tag Archives: urban ministry

Big Apple is Mission Field for Regional 2020 Host Church

Brooklyn Bridge, New York City

By Carl Stagner

Home to more than 8.6 million people, New York City is the most populous city in the United States. The “Big Apple,” as it’s commonly called, is also the mission field for the Church of God of East New York, a congregation which has had a growing influence on the borough of Brooklyn for ninety years. Before a portion of the Church of God descends on the “city that never sleeps” next September 18–20 for the third-and-final Regional Convention 2020, ministry leaders from across the city and places far beyond will return for an anniversary homecoming at the church pastored for the last thirty-eight years by Clifton McDowell. A recent interview with Pastor McDowell shed light on what healthy, enduring ministry looks like among millions of neighbors in such a diverse, fast-paced, and densely populated environment. Continue reading

From the Archives: The City is God’s Gift

By Samuel G. Hines

I believe that the urban pastor must be a lover of the city. If he is attracted to skyscrapers as some people are by mountains, if he can enjoy the often strange and irreverent city sounds as some people enjoy hearing birds chirp, more power to him! But whether he can “fall in love” with these things or not, he has to love them. Continue reading

Kingdom Production On the Rise at God’s Warehouse, Albuquerque

By Lane Webb

God’s Warehouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a ministry, placed in the heart of a red-light district, that looks to inspire change for the less-fortunate through acts of Christlike love. This nonprofit organization has been responsible for transforming the lives of the homeless community by providing limitless compassion for each person in need of their help. 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

Baltimore Church to Reclaim, Revitalize Urban Neighborhood

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Photo: A game of basketball in the Franklin Square neighborhood.

By Emily Ploetz

West Baltimore—one of the lowest socioeconomic areas in the state of Maryland. Over 84 percent of Baltimore city residents qualify for free or reduced lunches. This area is also close to the violence and unrest that made headlines in 2015. All of these hardships from the past continue to affect residents in the present, but there is a resiliency that is carrying the community to a brighter future. In January 2016, the nonprofit community development corporation, known as Operation Win in Life CDC, was launched. This program came from a dire urge to fight back against past struggles and enhance the quality of living for the people in West Baltimore, focusing specifically on the square block area surrounding Celebration Church at Monroe Street. 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

Church of God in San Francisco: An Outpost of Grace

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By Carl Stagner

“This definitely isn’t the Bible Belt,” Pastor Mike Moberg explains, as he considers the unique aspects of the prevailing culture in San Francisco. “But when you find yourself saying somebody ought to do something, it’s kind of a dangerous thing.” Mike and his wife Ann began ministering at the Church of God in San Francisco, California, in 1994, and haven’t let up since. While it’s not glamorous spreading the gospel in the city of the Golden Gate, it’s certainly of eternal significance. Like other urban ministry centers, Church of God Outpost struggles for income and attendance, yet celebrates stories of life change you won’t hear anywhere else. This San Francisco ministry team isn’t concerned about a full house, however; they’ve realized they were the ones God was calling to be bold and offer grace to the “least of these.” Continue reading

Frisbee and Guitar: The Urban Ministry of Two AU Sophomores

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By Carl Stagner

They’re musicians, but they’re not out to make a name for themselves. They sing and play guitar together, but they’re not a band. They lead worship and minister to people on the street, but they aren’t ministry majors. Logan Hauer and Josh Paff are just two Anderson University sophomores who were available when the Spirit said, “Go.” Now nearly every Saturday afternoon, they spend their time in downtown Anderson, Indiana, lifting their voices heavenward and engaging in a ministry of presence among the “least of these.” Continue reading

Urban Ministry in Greece Reaches Lost, Crosses Borders

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By Carl Stagner

Pastor Vassilios Tsirmpas is driven to reach the lost. This lawyer-turned-pastor of the Church of God congregation in Athens, Greece, has determined to engage the culture in community activities that paint Christianity in a new light. While the message remains the same, the gospel is communicated in a way that effectively connects with a world unfamiliar with church. By fostering relationships with the poorest of the poor, building bridges across generational and cultural divides, and taking action to make the community a better place, Vassilios is exemplifying Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation to God and humankind. Continue reading