Church Fosters Culture of Transformational Truth, Sees Souls Set Free
By Carl Stagner
It wasn’t even Easter, yet the life change taking place at one Dayton, Ohio, congregation was reflective of experiences commonly reported on Resurrection Day. Of course, every Sunday is a celebration of the victorious King of kings in Church of God congregations everywhere, but the weeks leading up to Easter at Moraine City First Church of God were especially transformational. While it’s hard to pinpoint precisely what the Lord has had in mind in this recent glimpse of revival, it’s clear that the church is fostering a culture of truth—and such truth is setting souls free.
Prayer, preaching the gospel, and the invitation may seem simple in practice, but these are the basics that Pastor Donald Curtis identifies as fundamental and instrumental to the work they’re seeing God accomplish at Moraine City First Church of God. Sometimes the leaders of a church feel unnecessary pressure to modify their message to conform to societal standards of relevancy, yet Pastor Curtis recognizes the innate relevancy in the timeless truth of the gospel.
Expounding upon John 8:32, he maintains, “It’s our belief that prayer and preaching the gospel without fear or favor is what we need, though it might not be what the world wants. That doesn’t mean we have to beat someone over the head with our Bible; however, it does mean that we do need to tell the whole truth.”
Pastor Curtis never imagined living in Ohio. Considering his Kentucky heritage, any relocation that made sense in his mind would take him farther south—not north. In spite of this expectation, God opened doors to Dayton and Pastor Curtis couldn’t be more pleased. Not only have the friendships he’s forged in his new hometown inspired and nurtured his mission and heart, but also the opportunities for effective ministry there have been spiritually rewarding.
“Pastoring the church at Moraine City has been a struggle, at times, but the blessings have certainly outweighed any struggles that we have had,” he explains. “God has been using the church to reach more of the community, the lost, and the family members of the church.”
With a background in international missions, Pastor Curtis has led Moraine City First Church of God to be active locally, nationally, and globally. A variety of projects at home and abroad, tangibly expressing the love and truth of Jesus Christ, find their source of support at Moraine City First Church of God. Within the four walls of the church, wonderful things also continue to transpire.
“We have been very encouraged with an increase in the number of youth in our church,” Pastor Donald Curtis explains. “Our new youth leaders have been very motivated and caused a lot of excitement in the youth program. We have also had a wonderful time with a monthly widows luncheon. This has given my wife and me time to be with the widows, and allows them to share some of their struggles, as well as their victories. A third, but very important source of encouragement to the church, has been our music ministers. We have been blessed with new singers and wonderful music ministers…. Good singing with a great message makes a tremendous difference! The last thing is that we have started small group Bible studies. This has been a great addition to the church because the congregation is not only getting to know one another better, but more importantly, they are in the Word of God!”
Certainly, the Dayton church is not without its struggles. Even the victories won have not come without challenge. Pastor Curtis reminds everyone that “We must be aware of the tactics that the devil has against the church and be victorious over his manipulations.” Therefore, and especially in the post-COVID season in which we find ourselves, Pastor Curtis stresses the essential focus of the Church of God.
“Stay focused on our purpose,” he concludes. “Know that God has a plan, and we need to be simply faithful servants doing his will and not getting distracted to the right or to the left. As things become increasingly more strained in the world, it’s my desire to see the church become more solid and more relevant so that the world will see what we have known all along—that Jesus is truly the answer!”
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.
Feature (top) collage: Recent baptism at Moraine City First Church of God.