Friday, July 19, 2013

by Amy J. Jagger

In a world that’s always changing, isn’t it comforting to know some things stay the same?  Yep, God is still in the life-changing business and He continues to do so through summer church camps; specifically, Bear Lake Church Camp near Albion.

I had a chance to chat with Lila Ward, 4th grader, and Brooks Longenbaugh, 5th grader, about their recent church camp experiences.

When asked what the best part of camp was Brooks didn’t hesitate, “A game called Mayley.” (After he described it to me I think it should be called Mayhem!)  Lila paused and responded, “That’s a hard one because there’s sooooooo much cool stuff.”  However, when pressed to give a specific answer, she too mentioned the cool games!

As our elementary focus this summer at church has been on growing in height, in wisdom, and in love for God and others, I asked how church camp had helped these young campers grow in their faith.  Lila jumped right in, “I definitely grew in love for God.”  Brooks felt that the week had helped him grow in wisdom.  Interestingly enough, both young people were quick to give credit to the twice a day small group Bible Study for helping them dig deeper in the Word and applying it to their lives.  Lila said, “The leaders picked their words so carefully and really helped me understand.”

I asked both Lila and Brooks to share one area they were unsure of or perhaps nervous about and tell how
our awesome God took care of them in that situation. 

Brooks honestly shared, “I was a little worried about who would be in my cabin.  Would they be nice?  Would I make friends?  But everyone was super nice and there weren’t any issues.”  Lila too, was a bit hesitant about others she would come in contact with yet she too, shared that by the end of the week, she and a new-found friend were partner-sliding down the gigantic hillside Slip-N-Slide.  What a blessing that both kids could share concrete and personal examples of how God can be trusted... no matter what!

And finally, when asked if she would return to Bear Lake Camp, Lila gave an emphatic, “YAY!!!!!!”  (That’s Kid Language for, “I can hardly WAIT until next year!”  :-)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013



Since early March our church has been praying for who God might be calling to lead our ministry of worship arts. Over these months, the elders, church staff, adult leaders, staff committee and leadership team have affirmed a candidate we believe God has brought our way. We believe God has answered our prayer!

We are excited to announce that we have extended a call to Holly Parks to become our Pastor of Worship Arts and she has accepted. Her first Sunday leading worship here will be Sunday, July 7th. Holly has been the Worship Minister at Broadway Christian Church in Fort Wayne over the past 7 years, a church that Bob Yawberg planted. She was previously on staff at Westview Alliance Church and has lead worship in a variety of conferences. Holly and her husband Mike live in Fort Wayne with their two daughters Mackena??? (12) and Emily (10). Mike is very supportive of Holly in ministry and is the owner of Precision Glass.

We are thankful for Holly’s experience, her maturity in the Lord and her sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading. We pray that God will use Holly to help us grow in our passion to worship and increase our intimacy with the Lord as we gather to worship. I am personally praying that we as a church will be receptive to Holly’s leadership as she leads the effort to bring us into the presence of God on Sunday mornings.

Let’s pray for the Parks family in the days ahead as they say goodbye and begin this transition. Let’s make plans now to celebrate this summer and say to this wonderful family, “Welcome Home to First Church of God!”  

Keep Lookin’ Up! Grace,

Pastor Johnny McCallister

Monday, June 3, 2013

It started with a challenge last fall in the 4th grade small group. Pairs of children were handed $10 and encouraged to see if they could take the money and grow it for the Lord. What would they do? How would it work? Elizabeth Wagner and Mattie Dahms took the challenge to heart. Just last month, the young ladies hosted a lemonade stand at the Wagner garage sale. God can be trusted no matter what and He proved that to the girls by turning their $10 seed money into $110 to be given back to Him. The young ladies decided to gift the Boomerang Backpack Program. Way to live out 1 Timothy 4:12 Elizabeth and Mattie!


1200 West DePoy Drive  |  Columbia City, IN 46725
260-244-5959  |