After Easter: Movement’s Mission Continues

 In All Church of God, CHOG

By Carl Stagner

Arising on the last day of March this year, Easter snuck up on many a layperson. For lead pastors and worship leaders, however, the pinnacle Christian observance came as no surprise—these ministers of the gospel were preparing for Passion Week events and activities ever since the Christmas rush subsided! And while church staff everywhere crashed on the couch Sunday afternoon (with many opting not to clock in at all on Monday morning), any break quickly faded in view of a busy spring and summer—at the local level, throughout district and state, and across regional and national networks.

On the other side of an incredible eighty-six commitments to Christ at Mountain Park Church, there’s no time to waste with discipleship and spiritual growth opportunities. The spiritual awakening on Easter among the Phoenix, Arizona, congregation is worth celebrating—and such celebration will certainly come. But that doesn’t stop the church from moving on to matters of seemingly subtle, yet profound importance: rest! Indeed, the next preaching series kicking off the Sunday after Easter is titled “Refresh: Reflect, Rest, Respond.” Especially in our fast-paced society, perhaps one of the most underrated values, sometimes overlooked in discipleship, is the vitality of slowing down and spending time with the Lord, investing in the soul. Mountain Park, with a history of holistic artistic expression and care—on their rooftop venue and in connection with their partners at a little higher in elevation—doesn’t depart from their DNA in so doing.

Regionally and statewide, Church of God youth, pastors, and congregations look ahead toward conferences and camp meetings with great anticipation. Some events, like the Central Indiana Church of God Spring Revival, takes place outside Mooresville, Indiana, nightly during the last week of April. At the state level, Dallas, Texas, hosts the second of several Texas Church of God regional events in 2024. Others are looking forward to the first of several NIYC regional events in 2024; the New Jersey State Joint Convention signifies the partnership that best describes the approach in 2024 before the previously outlined new format takes shape in 2025.

Pastor Charlton Scullard preaches on Easter Sunday at Mountain Park Church.

With the 2024 Regionals taking shape at the national level, Church of God pastors and ministry leaders are finalizing plans to make the trek to Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, and Columbus, respectively. Easter represented new life and fresh hope across congregations everywhere again this year; the new partnership-driven Regionals are already infusing new life and fresh hope into the direction of the Movement. The innovative model opens up numerous possibilities that inspire pastors to think outside of the box—the Misfits partnership, May 15–18, for instance, puts market-disruptors and community-based approaches to kingdom advancement rise to the fore. Pastors’ Fellowship, the 100th anniversary of the International Youth Convention, various regional and local revival meetings, not mention countless other camp meetings, leave the Movement with much for which to prepare even as the dust settles from yet another exhilarating Easter.

Because, after all, Easter isn’t the end of the story. It’s only the beginning. Pastor Crystal Colp, of First Church of God in St. Joseph, Michigan, published the following devotional thoughts on the day after Easter:

“In the Gospels, after the Resurrection, there are brief accounts of what happened next. There was no ‘business as usual’ for the disciples of Jesus at this point. Why? Because they now fully understood—Jesus was not just a good Rabbi. He was the Messiah! He was the resurrected King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So, what now?

“Now, it was time to live out what they had just celebrated. Now, it was time to put feet to their faith. Now, it was time to engage with the world around them, changed forever by their resurrected Savior!

“Today is no ordinary Monday for Easter people! Today and every day after, our call is to live what we celebrated yesterday. Today and everyday, after we are to engage with our world, changed forever by our resurrected Savior, so that others can be changed by him, too!

“Treat today as no ordinary Monday. Today is Extraordinary Monday—the day we get to live a life proclaiming to all around us that we are Easter people, changed forever by our resurrected King! Easter is an everyday, all-of-life reality for those of who call Jesus Savior—let’s commit to living out and sharing what we say we believe!”

It’s after Easter, and the Movement’s mission continues.

Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

Feature (top) photo: First Church of God (St. Joseph, Michigan) on Easter Sunday.

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