Although the focus of missions is often on those who are called and sent, we believe that the total church is responsible for taking Christ to men, women, and children everywhere. Our churches voluntarily pool their prayers and financial support to accomplish together what none could do alone.
Yes, we are Pentecostal if by the term you mean that the Holy Spirit was given to the early church and continues to come, empower, and call the church to servant ministries.
No, we are not charismatic or Pentecostal if the emphasis is on speaking in tongues as the evidence of a spirit-filled life or is on the freedom for persons to speak in tongues at their own discretion in public worship.
In addition to the healing that comes through natural processes and the informed use of medication and surgery, we believe that at times God directly intervenes in the life of individuals to initiate and complete healing. We put into practice James' instructions to the young church: "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord" (James 5:14, niv).
Sometimes persons come forward following the sermon and request that the pastor anoint and pray for them. Sometimes people are given an opportunity to come forward before the pastoral prayer, to inform the pastor of an individual need (whether it be for physical, emotional, or relational healing), and to be anointed for prayer.
We do not demand of God or arrogantly instruct Him about the way healing should take place. We submit our petition and await His gracious action in our lives and in the lives of those whom we love. We do not believe that everyone is healed in the way that we would expect and hope, or even that it is best for everyone to be healed.
In praying for healing, we enter into a trust relationship with God; we trust that He will do the best thing for His kingdom and our lives. We believe He knows what is best, even though, for the moment, we may not be able to comprehend it (Job 9:10; Psalm 145:3).
In addition, strong evangelistic programs are resulting in new congregations being planted in strategic locations throughout North America and in a variety of international locations. By the year 2025, the Church of God plans to more than double the number of its congregations and constituents within the United States, Canada, and around the world.
However, believers who have been baptized in other church groups will find their baptisms honored. Persons who have been baptized as infants are encouraged to appreciate the act of faith on the part of their parents and to witness to their own decision for Christ through believer's baptism.
We rejoice in the provision of God for the salvation and eternal life of persons whom we shall never know, persons who are active in hundreds of other Christian groups. It will be a joy to get acquainted with all those persons in heaven!
Tithing is the foundation for a more complete financial stewardship. While many persons of the Church of God are tithers, tithing itself is not looked upon as a means by which one manipulates God in order to obtain material success. It is a spiritual discipline which is a reward in itself.
Many Christians not only give the first 10 percent of their income (tithe) to the church but also give additional offerings to help build church facilities and make faith promise commitments to mission causes.
We work and pray for Christ's coming (Revelation 22:20–21). The principal task of Christians, we feel, is to be involved in God's redemptive plan - sharing the gospel rather than speculating about the nature and timing of last things. Most Church of God congregations accept a range of opinions and beliefs on last things.
We are aware that the coming decades will be a time of crisis for the earth and its people. We are giving attention to a range of needs and issues that include the environment, peace and reconciliation, poverty and hunger, population trends, evangelism and church growth needs, and unity and interdependence in a society and world marked by cultural diversity.
We feel God has called us to be involved in ministering to the needs of people everywhere and to live responsibly in the whole universe. We seek to be a redemptive, reconciling force for peace in the years to come.
Some congregations and some individual Christians may tend toward a major involvement with social causes as an expression of their personal faith. Others may concern themselves principally with an individual expression of piety and often focus on personal religious lifestyles. There is room for both types of witness and concern.
We are not perfect! We strive to create and maintain an environment of acceptance, love and forgiveness in our churches. At our church, we call it A.L.F. Our relationships are built on our commitment to Jesus Christ – not on a strict and uniform doctrinal stance.
We cannot honor some actions and programs of these organizations. On the other hand, some programs, literature, and opportunities for service initiated by them are obviously Spirit-inspired.
We have occasionally taken the opportunity to cooperate with our Christian brothers and sisters in these organizations as the most effective way of doing some tasks and as an expression of Christian unity. A few congregations participate in the activities of the National Association of Evangelicals and the Christian Holiness Association. Most pastors actively participate in community ministerial and church organizations.
Church of God worship services are characterized by good singing. We sing hymns, gospel songs, choruses, and spirituals. Many excellent volunteer choirs sing a wide range of music, from simple gospel songs to the most challenging anthems. A time to greet each other and get acquainted is often included during or immediately following the worship experience.
Information is an excerpt from Oral and Laura Withrow’s, “Meet Us at the Cross” (Anderson, IN: Warner Press, 1999), 25–31.