Men After God’s Own Heart: Mike and Mugford Talk IYC

 In All Church of God, CHOG, IYC: International Youth Convention, Youth Ministries

By Carl Stagner

Two guys, from two different parts of the country, with two very different backgrounds. Two men after God’s own heart, raised to walk in newness of life by the same Lord, with a common heartbeat for the next generation. Otherwise separated by thousands of miles, Mike Thigpen and Jeff Mugford will be together again in Orlando this summer to talk to thousands of Church of God students about Jesus. Until then, their conversation about IYC generates fresh motivation to meet with one another at the landmark one hundredth year of the International Youth Convention of the Church of God.

Neither Mike nor Mugford are strangers to the Movement. Their extensive work in youth ministry—not to mention significant roles beyond—have helped conform individuals of all ages to the likeness of Christ. Having attended and facilitated at IYC in the past, and having been shaped personally by the ministry of IYC, Mike Thigpen and Jeff Mugford are particularly pleased to be back in the midst of the IYC phenomenon and as an integral part of how God will use this special year to reach young people.

Michael J Thigpen

Mike Thigpen

“I am so thrilled to be returning as one of the main speakers at the 100th year of IYC,” Mike reflects. “Over the years, I have witnessed the incredible transformation of young people’s lives through our Movement. My prayer is that we experience a true revival as we reflect on where God has brought us from and where he wants us to go.”

For nearly three decades, Mike has served the body of Christ in a wide variety of capacities, both stateside and around the world. A graduate of Anderson University, having earned both a bachelor of science in organizational leadership and a master’s in business administration, Mike “has the unique ability to capture, and connect with, all types of audiences. He seeks to encourage, empower, and motivate audiences to become passionate servant leaders, impacting the world by sharing the true and authentic love of God.”

“What makes this 100th-year celebration meaningful to me,” Mike adds, “is the chance to inspire young people to serve Jesus with passion and power. These times are unlike any we have seen, but the good news is that God is not surprised and has afforded us another opportunity to gather, be equipped, and serve. What a gift!”


Jeff Mugford

Jeff, spending much of his life at the opposite (west) end of the country, routinely made the trek to IYC regardless of location. His history in youth ministry spans three decades.

“I’m super excited to once again be at IYC,” Jeff explains. “My youth ministry years (1983–2005) were the best times and most impactful of my life. At first, I thought that I was asked to speak at the 100-year celebration because I just might be the former youth pastor closest to the first celebration in 1924 (haha!). But as I have been reading the IYC biblical text for the past six months every day (Psalm 145), I believe that the Lord has entrusted a message to me to empower our next generation of Church of God leaders. The ‘from generation to generation’ passage has especially stood out.”

Wyoming and Arizona are the settings in which Jeff served as a youth pastor. Arizona, California, and Oregon are among the locations he’s been in the lead pastor role. He and his wife Cindy are currently TIPS pastors (transitional interim) serving Rustic Hills Church of God in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“Here is a quote, and possibly the title of my [IYC] message as I have begun to prepare,” he concludes. “‘We make our choices and then our choices make us, we make our commitments and then our commitments make us.’”

The Church of God movement is gearing up to celebrate one hundred years of the International Youth Convention. The event is scheduled for June 27–30, 2024, in Orlando, Florida. Learn more and register at

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