It Takes a Team: An Interview with CHOG Ministries’ Xen Riggs
By Carl Stagner
How much do you know about what goes on inside the office at Church of God Ministries? Who conducts necessary office work so others may travel the world with the hope of Christ? It’s the behind-the-scenes work that enables Church of God Ministries to carry out the work of Christ. When you support the unrestricted portion of the World Ministries Budget, you support our missionaries, our projects at home and abroad, and so much more. In the following interview, get to know one of the faces behind the scenes. His name is Xen Riggs, and your support of the “basic budget” makes his vital ministry possible.
What is your position at Church of God Ministries, and what does it entail?
I am the new director of Chaplain Ministries. My work revolves around serving our Church of God chaplains as their advocate, endorser (for institutional chaplains), an equipper providing educational opportunities and resources, and as a connector empowering them to interact in collegial circles of encouragement and mutual support among fellow chaplains and with Church of God congregations.
What makes the role of chaplain so vital in our communities? In which arenas do we see our men and women working?
Our chaplains are found in a plurality of settings such as hospitals, retirement homes, prisons, and in all branches of our military. I am still working on discovering all the settings in which our chaplains have been serving. Our chaplains go into these places primarily as ambassadors of mercy and hope to people in very challenging situations that cause them to experience a critical level of vulnerability. When I served as a hospital chaplain, the passage of Scripture that seemed most akin to this work is found in Matthew 25:31–40. Chaplains literally go to the “least of these” and serve them where they are, so that they can experience firsthand the compassion of Jesus Christ that becomes a tower of strength and the light of hope for people in the midst of crisis situations—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
How were you introduced to the Church of God? What do you value most about the Church of God?
My father and mother are both Church of God pastors. My faith was born, and has been enabled to develop and flourish, in the Church of God. I have loved our movement’s heritage as a fellowship of inclusive believers who have chosen the message of the kingdom of God, over the values of the world, to such a degree that a great unity in the Spirit has resulted in our golden moments. The determined quest to make this kingdom visible in the power of the Spirit, and through faithfulness to God’s Word, has never ceased to inspire me.
When did you feel called to ministry? How did the AU School of Theology and chaplain ministries come into play?
My parents recognized God’s work in me from a young age and gave me many opportunities to participate in their ministry as co-pastors of a small church in Michigan. My time as a student with the AU School of Theology enabled me to explore further this sense of call which God confirmed through the doors he opened up for me as I continued to grow. Chaplaincy served to affirm those gifts and abilities, some of which I remained unaware before this season of ministry. My time as a hospital chaplain also drove me to depend on God, rather than my abilities in such a way that made that season a sanctifying experience.
When you’re not at Church of God Ministries, what do you like to do?
I enjoy reading and re-reading the works of C. S. Lewis; eating dinner with my wife, Amber Bentley-Riggs; and training for the upcoming 5K run, which is something Amber and I enjoy doing together.
Church of God Ministries relies on your financial support of the unrestricted portion of the World Ministries Budget to enable basic, necessary operations to continue. Support the behind-the-scenes work of the Church of God today at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org/world-ministries-budget. Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org/chaplain-ministries.