Tag Archives: VBS

Native American Ministry Advances Amid Wild Weather in South Dakota

Tornado this year near Allen, South Dakota.

By Carl Stagner

Two tornadoes have touched down within a few miles of Pass Creek Church of God in Allen, South Dakota, this year. One of them struck during Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly, while Tim and Kim Wardell, Global Strategy missionaries to Native Americans, watched the news coverage helplessly, more than 1,800 miles away from home. Though everyone was safe and overall damage was minimal, the tornado left one family in Allen homeless. While South Dakota is often associated with cold and snowy winters, the state does rank fifteenth in the nation for annual tornado activity. In view of this, and the great need to protect the congregation, locals in need, and work camp guests, the Wardells are looking to the Lord and his church to help them turn a vision into reality. Continue reading

New Jersey Church Faithful in the Face of Adversity

Volunteers from Highland Park assist local community for veterans.

By Carl Stagner

Sometimes, on the scale of size and influence, smaller churches can feel insignificant. The truth is that the impact of the smaller churches among us cannot be overstated. The Church of God in Gloucester City, New Jersey, for example, has a rich history of impact for the kingdom. Highland Park Church of God also has benefited from pastoral longevity; as senior pastor Bill Dilks prepares for retirement later this year after twenty years, associate pastor Debra Conner surveys the faithfulness of Highland Park, encouraging the congregation to press on in ministry during this time of transition. Through community partnership, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the New Jersey church believes God will do many more amazing things in their midst. But they’re not waiting for some elusive big breakthrough to live out their purpose—Highland Park carries on the work of the gospel, even in the face of adversity. Continue reading

Dayton Churches Distribute Love in the Wake of Disaster

Salem Church disaster relief team removing debris from yard.

By Carl Stagner

Memorial Day weekend wasn’t all barbecues and sunshine across the Midwest. Especially from central Indiana to the Dayton, Ohio, area, festivities were cut short on May 27 due to an outbreak of tornadoes, the likes of which most residents had never seen. More than a dozen tornadoes touched down between the state line and the Interstate 75-Interstate 70 interchange, with winds up to 170 miles per hour in the worst twisters, one of which was a half-mile wide. To make matters worse, these storms came after dark and hit many low-income neighborhoods the hardest. Without hesitation, the Church of God sprang into action, offering assistance wherever it was needed. Even since the newness of the tragic events has worn off and the national spotlight on Dayton has dimmed, congregations like Salem and Hopeland continue to distribute helping hands, supplies, and love in the wake of disaster. Continue reading

A Place for Kids: Convention 2019 is for Children, Too!

By Carl Stagner

Children’s ministry is set to make a big splash at this year’s Church of God Convention, and not just in the expansive swimming pools, water slides, and splash zone. Kid’s ministry programming has returned to the Convention, and it’s slated to be better-than-ever this summer at the World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida, a city home to Walt Disney World and other attractions families will love. Warner Press and Church of God Ministries have partnered together to create KidzLIVE!, an original VBS-like experience in the mornings and structured childcare in the evenings. Pastors and laypersons with children will be excited—and perhaps relieved—to know their kids will have a place of their own while they take in all that Convention 2019 and General Assembly has to offer. Continue reading

Georgia Church Gives Food, Health, and Life to Community

Children, families are important to Community Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

When Jason McClendon was a child, there were grown-ups in his life who spent quality time with him. One gave him his first Bible, and said, “Jason, God will do something special in your life.” That moment may have seemed insignificant to the one who said it, but to Jason, it meant the world. Over the years, he’s not forgotten that blessing, he’s learned to love authentically, and he’s developed an especially soft heart toward children. The pastor of Community Church of God in Macon, Georgia, says, “Now, I have the privilege to look into a child’s eyes and say, “God has the ability to take you to places you’ve never been!” It should come as no surprise then, that when the need became clear for a summer feeding program for local children, Community Church of God rose to the occasion. Continue reading

Simply Ministry: Arizona Churches Respond to Teacher Walkout

By Carl Stagner

There wasn’t much time to respond, but there was no question what had to be done. When public school teachers in Arizona went on strike beginning on Thursday, April 26, the church community didn’t hesitate. Uninterested in taking sides or entering the political fray, the church saw their role as simply ministry. For the single parent who must work during the school day, the church was there. For the student who relies on the school for daily sustenance, the church was there. For a community divided, the church was there with a message of hope. With no certain end to the teacher walkout in sight (as of Tuesday, May 1), Church of God congregations were among those hardest at work to meet the needs of their neighbors. Continue reading

Missouri Church Holds VBS for Kids with Special Needs

VBS 2017 at South Side Church of God.

By Lydia Sergeant

South Side Church of God in St. Louis, Missouri, held a fantastic Vacation Bible School late in the summer. This was their second year to host a Bible school that not only included children from their own church, but also families of children with special needs. Continue reading

VBS Reimagined: Mobile Experience Reaches Families Where They Live

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Photo: Fun with bubbles at the local apartments.

By Carl Stagner

Summer may officially begin at the solstice, but in the church world, you know it’s summer when flyers for Vacation Bible School start popping up everywhere. A quick survey of churches across the country reveal much of the same curriculum utilized from Group, Lifeway, or Standard publishing houses. Creative, intricate props and stage design transform church sanctuaries, hallways, gymnasiums, and fellowship halls into caves, mountain-top panoramas, and underwater adventure parks. Like many Church of God congregations, Adamsville Road Church of God in Elkhart, Indiana, has been there, done that. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. But they began exploring the possibility of doing something a little different this year. As a reflection of a community-oriented outreach strategy for the summer, Adamsville Road Church of God opted to take VBS on the road. Continue reading

Homeowner’s Garage Becomes Sanctuary for Neighborhood Kids

By Carl Stagner

After a full day at work, she comes home and opens her garage door. That’s when they come. Often in droves. The approach Angela Conti now takes to spreading the gospel may be unconventional, but it’s exactly what God has called her to do. After serving as a missionary to South Africa, God asked her what she was doing to reach the lost back at home. “What was I doing for the children I drove past every day in my subdivision?” she pondered. Continue reading

St. Louis, Missouri: VBS Has Left the Building

SSCHOG_VBS_StLouis_Marygrove_signB_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

A few years ago, South Side Church of God in St. Louis, Missouri, poured significant resources into marketing their summer Vacation Bible School. VBS attendance had waned, and nearly all participation came from the children of the church. They determined to make sure every family in the area knew about VBS at South Side. After hand-delivering 1,500 flyers to homes in the community, reality hit them square in the face. Not uncommon to cities across the country, it seemed that the church on every corner was holding a VBS. South Side was in competition with the other, larger churches with bigger budgets and more to attract children. That summer, two families ended up coming from the community—and they only came because they mistakenly thought they’d come to a church down the street from South Side. Maybe there was a better way. Maybe God was calling South Side Church of God to take VBS on the road. Continue reading

Church of God Adventures in VBS

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By Jonelle Frazier

Whether you think it’s a spiritual blessing, a fun week of volunteering, or a (much-needed) break from your kids, you’ve probably had some experience with Vacation Bible School. Every year, local churches work long and hard to put together a week of summer fun and Bible education, each church adding its own flavor to the well-known week. Continue reading