Tag Archives: worship

AU Presents 53rd Annual Candles and Carols

A festive & full house at Reardon Auditorium for Candles & Carols.

The Anderson University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance will present the 53rd annual “Candles and Carols” Christmas concert on Friday, December 1, 2017, at 7:30 PM in Reardon Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Continue reading

Story in Song: Ten Churches Unite to Worship the Lord, Celebrate Our Heritage

By Carl Stagner

Our story, God’s story. The message of the Church of God movement lives on in large part because of pioneer men and women who not only lived it, but tied it to that which speaks to both soul and mind—music. It has been said that the Church of God is a singing church, and after Christ alone, it has been our songs that have brought our common experiences together in beautiful harmony. When voices ring out that there is joy in the Lord, we know it to be true. When we sing of the kingdom of peace reigning within, that’s our story! When the familiar refrain, “I am a child of God” is heard, Church of God people from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between resonate that glorious truth. It should come as no surprise then, when word got out that Stanton First Church of God in Stanton, Kentucky, would host a heritage hymn sing-along, Church of God people from ten congregations showed up—and a bit of heaven came down. Continue reading

Renovation for a Church, Renewal for Far Rockaway

Pastor Arthur Davenport speaks at the building dedication.

By Emily Ploetz

On the Sunday morning, October 8, worship filled the room in the First Church of God of Far Rockaway, New York. The service was unlike any typical Sunday morning gathering for a very special reason, six months in the making! Far Rockaway had been under a full-scale renovation for half a year and, after everything had been completed, Pastor Arthur Davenport invited the congregation to join in a procession of prayer and worship. There was much rejoicing at this celebration because everyone there knew that God had blessed them in so many ways. Continue reading

In the Midst of Revival: Crosspointe Kilgore-Longview, Texas

Baptism at Crosspointe Church is a common occurence.

By Carl Stagner

When you’re baptizing someone nearly every week and the walls must come down to make more room in your sanctuary, you’ve got to wonder if revival is breaking out. At the two campuses of Crosspointe Fellowship Church of God in the Texas communities of Kilgore and Longview, God has clearly been on the move in many mighty ways. Led by Pastor Efrain Cirilo, Crosspointe has seen their worship center and children’s classrooms run out of space. In the past couple of years, total attendance has more than doubled to an average of 400 on Sundays. And, it was just last year that they added the second campus at Longview. While no magic formula exists for revival, the church did enact a handful of specific strategies to become a growing, healthy church. Continue reading

IYC High School Band Goes ‘On Tour’

Photo: Liberation sporting their IYC2016 T-shirts.

By Carl Stagner

Just a few weeks remained until the big event. Though it was the first time these seven high school students had met, the responsibility to lead worship for thousands of teenagers in San Antonio, Texas, was on their shoulders. Whether they liked it or not, they had to learn to work together quickly. But almost immediately, it was clear that these once-strangers would become forever friends. After fulfilling their second and final obligation this July—leading worship for Leadership Summit in Anderson—they knew it wasn’t the end. God was calling the IYC2016 High School Band to keep it going, under a new name. Liberation has created quite the spiritual stir, exemplifying the rise of young leadership in the Church of God, and catching the attention of churches and state youth conventions across the country. Continue reading

Dale Gruver: Known for Worship, Called to Preach

Photo: Dale Gruver

By Carl Stagner

You know it when you see it—that deep love for Jesus, visibly overflowing from a heart that understands the gravity of what the Savior has done. It’s truly contagious, clearly communicating the reality of Christ to a world devoid of hope. Dale Gruver’s got it, and believes everyone can have it, too. Widely known for high-energy, joy-filled worship leading, Dale was called first and foremost to preach the gospel. After nearly a decade-and-a-half of providing worship leadership for the local church, camp meetings, and conferences, Dale accepted a senior pastorate in Alliance, Ohio, with similar enthusiasm. Though Dale’s full embrace of God’s call only came to pass a couple of years ago, extensive investment from mentors and his wide variety of ministry experiences prepared the man who rises to the pulpit at First Church of God. Continue reading

ONE Gives Students Glimpse of Heaven, Desire to Change the World Together

By Carl Stagner

Some had likely never worshiped in Spanish before. Others had probably never experienced firsthand the high-octane energy of urban gospel. History suggests that few had likely ever been in a setting where three cultures converged in the name of Christ. But that’s exactly what happened at the first-ever ONE event, which took place at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 21 and 22. The result was a glimpse of heaven and a renewed desire to change the world together. Continue reading

Gaither Vocal Band to Kick Off Wichita Convention

Photo: The Gaither Vocal Band

By Carl Stagner

Across the Church of God—more accurately, across Christendom—the name Gaither has become synonymous with the best of gospel music. With a sense of holy pride in two of its own, the Church of God has celebrated the extensive reach of Bill and Gloria Gaither for several decades. From “He Touched Me,” to “Because He Lives,” to “The Family of God,” several classics found in the Church of God hymnal have come to us from the pens of Bill and Gloria. The Gaither Vocal Band, featured on just about every one of the highly popular Gaither Homecoming videos, has touched audiences around the world with the hope of Jesus Christ set to music. We couldn’t be more excited to announce the Gaither Vocal Band as kickoff worship artists for Church of God Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas. Continue reading

The Church of God in the U.S. Celebrates Thanksgiving

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Photo: Turkey giveaway at Jubilee Christian Church, Boston, MA (courtesy jubileeboston.org).

By Carl Stagner

In the Church of God in the United States, Thursday, November 24, 2016, will not just be another day to stay home from work. While many must clock in on Thanksgiving Day, others who don’t have to are choosing not to sleep in, kick back on the sofa, and watch football all day. Instead, they’re choosing to give back. Ephesians 2:10 is written on the tablet of their hearts, and their appetite for serving others is greater than their appetite for turkey and all the trimmings. They understand that thankfulness and giving go hand-in-hand, and that such values must not be restricted to the fourth Thursday in November. Nevertheless, in worship, in teaching, in good works, and in fellowship, the Church of God loves to celebrate Thanksgiving. Continue reading

Worship Today: An Interview with Five Church of God Worship Leaders

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Clockwise from lower left: Chad Harlan, Kendyl Terry, Doug Irving, Mandy Bohm, Kenneth Spiller. Jesus is the subject!

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God has long been known as a singing church. We’re a group that sings our theology, and we worship the Lord with joy! Of course, the Church of God has a history of worshiping through instrumental music, prayer, Scripture reading, as well as other arts, including a more recent expression—dance. A look back reveals what worship looks like in the movement has evolved over the years. Methods and forms have changed, but necessary elements have remained the same. While there is much to celebrate, there are certainly also ways we can improve. In the following interview with Church of God Ministries (CGM), five Church of God worship leaders offer their reflections on worship in the church today: Doug Irving, of Pennway Church (Lansing, Michigan); Kenneth Spiller, of Parkgate Community Church (Pasadena, Texas); Mandy Bohm, of Teays Valley Church (Scott Depot, West Virginia); Chad Harlan, of First Church (St. Joseph, Michigan); and Kendyl Terry, most recently of Highland Park Community Church (Casper, Wyoming). Continue reading

Convention Artists Equip Church of God with New Worship Resource

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By Carl Stagner

These young women and men are not in it for the entertainment. If they were, you might see them come and go, offering little more than a performance. But these featured worship leaders for the Regional Conventions and IYC2016 are going way beyond providing convention-goers with a temporary worship experience. Alanna Story, products of the Church of God themselves, have set out to resource the Church of God with practical tools for the local church. Continue reading

Arizona Youth Groups Band Together, Experience Revitalization

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Photo: Youth worship at Arizona Youth Camp 2016.

By Carl Stagner

Incredible things happen when churches sacrifice their own agendas and ministry plans to unite under the banner of Christ. Apart from each other, congregations are making great strides to advance the kingdom. But together, they can do what none could accomplish alone. In Arizona, students and youth leaders are setting the example for their older counterparts. Organized youth gatherings had ceased, yet the need for relational connectivity was palpable. The budget for a major production did not exist but, working together, several churches could make a life-changing convention possible. For the past five years, they’ve made it a reality. Continue reading

Church of God Band Bridges Generational Gap with Fresh Take on Hymns

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By Carl Stagner

They’re Church of God, born-and-raised. They’ve sung the hymns and let the truths therein sink deep into their hearts. The harmony and conviction resonating from the saints of old still ring in their ears. Sadly, so does the clanging of discord and disharmony caused by worship wars. Though worship wars may not be as prevalent as they once were, there still exists a generational gap in many churches across the country surrounding worship styles. Alanna Story, known for their gifts of worship leadership at the Church of God Convention and numerous youth conventions, is doing something about it. Recognizing that the younger generation often misses out on the depth of the hymns, while the older generation often overlooks the value of the new, Alanna Story is set to release an album that bridges the gap. 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

Quartet Takes CHOG Heritage Music Beyond the Movement

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By Carl Stagner

One night at a little Baptist church in Tennessee, a team of Church of God musicians, worship leaders, and pastors proclaimed the message of Christ and the Church of God in song. After a particularly meaningful song, the quartet’s pianist spoke up regarding the problem of suicide in our culture today—how two young ladies had recently committed suicide back home. Responding to the tugging of the Holy Spirit, a lady within the sound of the pianist’s voice stood up to testify that she had come to that same depressed place in her life—it seemed like giving up was the next step. But God had told her to come to church that night, and this young lady’s life was forever changed. The quartet’s name is Common Bond, and theirs is a bond of perfectness reflecting the love and power of Jesus wherever they go. Continue reading