Chicago Church Celebrates Restart

 In All Church of God, Central, CHOG

By Carl Stagner

Play a game with a child and it won’t be long before you hear the words, “Do-over!” Sometimes it’s a request for another chance to get it right, and sometimes that means starting over. In the life of the local church, circumstances occasionally warrant a do-over—a restart, if you will. Decline in attendance and giving, a blurring of vision, or a loss of leadership are common among the triggers of a restart, but it often takes one person committed to the cause to lead the way. In the case of Central Church of God in the heart of Chicago, Illinois, the champion for the closing of the doors to the past, as well as the opening of the doors to a bright, new day, is a dynamic woman of God named Roberetta “Robbie” Young.

“The church had lost its zeal!” Pastor Robbie laments. “Everything we did was out of routine and habit. Members were not inspired, and no new souls were coming to the Lord. It seemed as though the church had lost its spirit.”

Pastor Robbie preaching on March 17. Credit: Vickie Smith.

The stage was set for the relaunch, but plenty of work preceded the ceremonial celebration the church—along with many special guests from near and far—had on Sunday, March 17. If defined as a restart, however, there had to be a stop first. A temporary closure would allow the core of the church to prepare adequately for a grand reopening.

“We had church meetings to discuss the process of a shutdown,” Robbie recalls. “I started with the ministers and deacons, and then the whole congregation. We discussed what we wanted the end to look like. We talked about what we would do during the shutdown, like training and changing our mindset.”

Ultimately, the grunt work was accomplished—on their knees and in strategic planning—and, after much of a year had passed, it was time to celebrate what God had accomplished. “It was a real celebration of life,” Robbie reflects. “We felt as if we were once dead but, because of Jesus Christ, we are now alive. There are two things I will remember most. First, the change and excitement from the remnant members. They formed teams and all the teams were in operation on that Sunday morning. They worked together with expectation and excitement. Second, I was happy to receive support from other Church of God congregations in the area. There were representatives from five Churches of God in the area!”

Celebrating through food! Credit: Vickie Smith.

Looking ahead, Pastor Robbie Young and Central Church of God are hopeful that God will do great things in their midst and through their ministry. Robbie is especially excited to see the fruit of their investment in their community, resulting in growth and the spread of the gospel to their neighborhood. “This process is changing the culture of our congregation,” she notes. “The members talk about who they are inviting and witnessing to.”

Would you join Pastor Robbie in prayer for Central Church of God and the opportunity that lies before them? Thank you! She offers specific requests as follows: “Pray that we continue to seek the Lord and not lose the momentum that the restart has given us. We do not want to get lost in the publicity of the work God has called us to do. We are here because of God and his work, not anything that we have done or expect to do.”

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

Feature (top) photo: Celebratory worship at Central Church of God on March 17, 2024.

Start typing and press Enter to search