Celebrating the Good: Local Church Testimonies, Reports Spread Hope
By Carl Stagner
Scrolling, swiping, and clicking on from post to post and picture to picture isn’t the thrill it once was for a lot of people inside and outside the church. While the instant gratification of a “like” or a “retweet” has always been a fleeting satisfaction, more and more people of all ages are discovering the vast wasteland of negative sentiment and overall bad news saturating the social media landscape today. This filtered glimpse of reality can leave pastors and churches feeling like they’re on an isolated island of positivity surrounded by a sea of gloom, but signs of the goodness of God at work in our world emerge steadily, even in the worst of times. The connections we enjoy in the Church of God movement remind us that when one church grieves, we all share the sorrow. But, when one church celebrates a victory, that’s a victory for all of us.
In Ohio, there’s a congregation in the midst of revival that hasn’t stopped for three years. In the Southwest, there’s a Hispanic ministry that’s broken out of their comfort zones to reach families in the midst of a pandemic. In the Great Plains, separate churches have come together “under one roof” for the sake of the kingdom. There’s a church in the Pacific Northwest that has broken ground on tremendous expansion. Are you aware? If you are, you just might have heard it first in CHOGnews—or you will in a story coming to your inbox soon.
Reports and testimonies from local churches of such victories never cease, and they continue to give hope to the pastor of the small church, the missionary disconnected from family and friends back home, and the lay leaders determined to make a difference in their community. God is at work—even when we don’t see it. Thankfully, CHOGnews and Church of God Ministries social media channels collect and publish those good-news stories that need to be told, those anecdotes of divine intervention, those testimonies of life-change, and those reports of salvation and baptism.
Since 2011, CHOGnews has published nearly two thousand articles chronicling the ongoing work of God in the Church of God and the ripple effects the stretch far outside the movement. Even in the most tragic stories shared, the thread of hope found only in Jesus Christ is clearly visible. These accounts of a local church’s bold steps of faith, risk and reward, discipleship, raising up new leaders, and church growth—to name a few—aren’t just their stories. These are our stories. And they are certainly God’s stories—what power and creativity our Maker has!
Still, most of these stories would have never been written if Church of God Ministries hadn’t known about them. Someone sent us an e-mail or a tweet, gave us a phone call, or wrote us a greeting card with a “tip” on a story we simply had to pursue!
Thank you to all who have helped share the stories of the Church of God. But we want to hear from more of you. There are so many testimonies that haven’t yet been told. There are projects local churches have initiated where transformation is happening, but we haven’t heard. There are unsung heroes of the faith whose humility, though admirable, keeps their stories quiet.
You can help. Today we have an easy way to share stories and baptism reports. Simply fill out our online forms and submit! We will rejoice with you, and so will our readers from across the Church of God and beyond.
Baptism report: https://cgm.formstack.com/forms/baptism_report
Story to share: https://cgm.formstack.com/forms/sharethestory
*Feature (top) photo: Baptism at Community Church of God in Clio, Michigan (January 2021).