Tag Archives: witness

Evangelism the Focus of Mid-Year Leadership Conference 2020

Worship at a Mid-Year Leadership Conference.

By Carl Stagner

Even the most dedicated leaders in the church recognize the vitality of rest and renewal. When sunshine and warmth cloak the country from coast to coast during the summer months, opportunities for rest and renewal commonly come in the form of Church of God conferences and camp meetings. But often the most trying times in ministry arise in the midst of those long winters, and not just the kind that bring snow and ice. The Mid-Year Leadership Conference has faithfully served the Church of God movement as a respite for pastors and lay leaders needing a boost; sometimes, for instance, you simply can’t wait until Camp Meeting at West Middlesex, Pennsylvania. This year’s Mid-Year, which annually moves to different winter-havens, will take place in Charleston, South Carolina. Not only can attendees expect rest for body and soul, but also the chance to take a closer look at the role of evangelism in the church today. Continue reading

Taking the Plunge: Couple Chooses Life, Gains Life

Nick and Sidney Truax embrace after he baptized her.

By Carl Stagner

Young adults. Unplanned pregnancy. One, a wandering believer; the other, lost. The cards were certainly stacked against them. Nick and Sidney knew they had options—separation was on the table, and abortion wasn’t out of the question. A baby’s heartbeat, a wedding ceremony, a church that loved them, and a half-decade of patient prayer culminated this past fall when, accompanied by joyous applause, Nick performed the baptism of his own bride. Continue reading

From the Archives: The Great Commission at Home

By Luz Gonzales

Christ spoke to his disciples and said, “Go into all the world and make disciples” (Matt 28:19). The King James Version says, “to preach the gospel.” Either way you want to read it, this is a command to evangelize the world. You and I—men and women, boys and girls, preachers and laypeople—are privileged to be called of God for this world-evangelization task. However, it seems to me that we commonly misinterpret this text to justify “sending missionaries to a foreign field,” and this is a mistake. Continue reading

Mississippi Church Makes Jesus the Subject, Rallies with Churches Statewide

By Carl Stagner

Two-and-a-half years had built up to this single moment. Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Mississippi, would be the location of a church unity event bigger than any in recent history, and representing the widest spectrum of church and cultural backgrounds. Trey Hammond, who pastors Crossroads of Life Church of God in Byram, Mississippi, has held a special place in his heart for unity in the body of Christ. With this in mind, it was a no-brainer for he and his church to support and participate in the April 27 event, and the preparation leading up to the big day, which made Jesus the subject every step of the way. Continue reading

Learning Curves in Botswana

Long lines form outside ATMs in Botswana.

By Tim and Joy Coppess

We have encountered several learning curves in adapting to our new home. Our role in this first year is to build relationships and begin learning the language (Setswana) and culture of Botswana. Since people are drawn to their mother tongue, this focus will help us more effectively carry out our assignment of facilitating discipleship and leadership development. Continue reading

Pastor Engages the Enemy in Adventure of a Lifetime

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

Michael Aftermath: Post-Hurricane Help Needed Now (updated Oct. 31)

The cross remains on the Panama City church’s sign!

By Carl Stagner

One hundred fifty-five miles per hour. That’s how powerful Hurricane Michael’s winds were when the Category Four monster made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10. Meteorologists are calling the storm the strongest to ever hit the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew of 1992. In its wake, Michael left behind widespread catastrophic damage, leveling homes and businesses, and claiming the lives of at least nineteen, as the search for missing persons continues. The Church of God was not left unscathed; to date, two congregations have reported damage to their church building and their homes. As information continues to be collected by state ministry offices and Church of God Ministries, Church of God congregations across the country are already responding to the imminent and critical needs of funds, supplies, time, and labor. Continue reading

From the Archives: No Substitute for Christ

By George Selleck

The most important business or task that anyone will ever undertake is that of building the life that he is going to live. The most important feature of that life is whether it is going to count, and, if it is, for whom. Continue reading

Students Exemplify Unity Amid Diversity at ONE Event

ONE Event 2018 scenes (credit: Handel Smith).

June 20 and 21, 2018, marked another historic event for youth ministry in the Church of God. The ONE Event was designed to celebrate unity among students, and was sponsored by a leadership team that included representation from the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano), IYC, and NIYC. Continue reading

Celebrating Church of God Women in Leadership Around the World

A collage of Dorothy Colney, Mailes Ndao, and Courtney Rice.

By Megan DeBruyn

At the turn of the twentieth century, labor movements across North America and Europe were gaining momentum, and the landscape of a post-war society was beginning to shift. Birthed out of this movement came women’s suffrage in the western hemisphere, and International Women’s Day along with it. In the years that followed, this worldwide observance has taken on global significance for women in modernized and developing countries alike, seeking to rally around the common goal of female advancement, both politically and economically. Continue reading

Kingdom-Minded in Muncie: Mary and Cornelius Dollison

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Photo: The Dollisons and Kirby Avenue Church of God.

By Rachel Eldridge

Unity. Reclamation. These are tough goals. It’s easier to think about them than to do them, far simpler to dismiss them as buzzwords than carry them out, day by day, in the messiness of life. But for Mary and Cornelius Dollison and Kirby Avenue Church of God, unity and reclamation are part of life itself.

“‘Working together, involving all’ has been my motto, and I strive to live it every day,” Mary wrote in a recent column in her local newspaper, expressing gratitude for a Lifetime Achievement Award she recently received. Continue reading

Church of God Ministries Employee’s Video Goes Viral

By Carl Stagner

She posted the video at 12:34 PM on December 14. It was her first-ever Facebook Live video, and she would never have guessed what happened next. In less than twenty-four hours, the video was viewed by more than two million people on Facebook. As of this writing, that number has skyrocketed to 18.2 million. Tamera Wilkinson, executive assistant to Handel Smith of the Domestic Ministries Team at Church of God Ministries, is now known around the world as one who knows personally the power of listening to a still small voice. Continue reading

Hindus Convert to Christianity under CHOG Pastor’s Leadership

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Photo: Indian-American family at Bellflower Church of God picnic.

By Carl Stagner

Eight out of every ten men and women in India identify as Hindu. But did you know that an estimated 2.3 million Hindus live in the United States? Pastor Joel Kant has made evangelism to Hindus paramount as he serves Bellflower Church of God in the heart of the Los Angeles metro area. He’s passing along the baton of faith to anyone who will listen, all because one missionary took the chance on his grandfather in India many years ago. Leaving his secular job in 1985, Joel entered full-time ministry in India and witnessed divine healing, multitudes come to Christ, and the establishment of several new works. Over the past six years, Joel’s evangelism through Bellflower Church of God in Bellflower, California, has produced similar fruit. Continue reading

Donna Thomas: On Faith Stewart, Facing Fears, and Sharing Faith

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Photo: Donna Thomas

By Carl Stagner

Can you imagine taking Bibles into mainland China? Or negotiating the planting of Christian churches there? Can you imagine being met with fixed bayonets and machine guns upon arrival in Guatemala? Can you picture speaking to the inmates at a Latvian penitentiary? Or the prime minister of Guyana asking for your help? Donna Thomas can answer each with a yes, having stepped foot in eighty countries. She has led a fascinating life, marked by both challenges and triumphs. It all began when she followed the Lord’s call to missions after a hearing a sermon delivered by E. Faith Stewart. Since then, Donna Thomas has followed the Lord wherever and whenever he has said, “Go.” Continue reading

A Conversation with the Man Behind 70,000 Church Plants

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Photo: Samuel Stephens

1.2 billion people live in India. Among the vast range of needs in this massive country, there are very few that differ from other locations around the world. Yet the unique culture and diversity of language and landscape make India a truly one-of-a-kind place. There are sixteen major languages spoken by at least ten million people each. The predominant religion is Hinduism, but Islam’s influence is growing rapidly. Yet ringing through the noise of political and religious disunity, there is a gospel of hope and peace in Jesus Christ. Through the leadership of Samuel Stephens, God has planted some seventy thousand new churches—most in regions where the gospel had never been preached. In May 2014, this Indians leader paid a visit to the United States. While here, he spent some time with Jim Lyon and discussed life and ministry matters. Continue reading