Germantown Church of God
The Churches of God
The Churches of God, General Conference is a growing denomination dedicated to making better disciples, establishing communities of faith, and sharing the message of God's transformative love and salvation. The General Conference is in Findlay, Ohio, where the Winebrenner Theological Seminary is located. The church is divided into regional conferences. Germantown is a member of the Eastern Regional Conference which is located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Historical Introduction to the Churches of God
The Churches of God, General Conference began in 1825 as a result of the labors, revivals and ideas of John Winebrenner, a German Reformed pastor who ministered in and around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
During the late 1820’s, Winebrenner came to new theological conclusions about the nature and government of the Church, the importance of the regenerating experience of the new birth and the ordinances (Believer’s Baptism by immersion, Lord’s Supper and Feet Washing). He reaffirmed the belief that the Bible was the “only authoritative rule of faith and practice.”
In 1830 he joined five other ‘teaching elders,” or ministers, in central Pennsylvania in forming an “eldership” for the purpose of adopting a system of cooperation.
As Churches of God settlers moved west, they established new churches and elderships in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan. By 1900 the denomination had spread to Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Separate elderships had also been formed for churches in Maryland and West Virginia. The California Eldership began in 1948. Congregations from the Church of God chartered in Mississippi became the Mid-South Conference in 1983. <More>
Our Core Values
1. We value obedience to Jesus Christ in all situations.
2. We value each individual as one who matters to God.
3. We value dependence on and confidence in God’s ability to do more than we can ask or imagine; therefore, we are willing to take risks and expect that God will surprise us.
4. We value Christ honoring, culturally relevant worship.
5. We value evangelistic outreach ministry to those who do not yet belong to Christ and the church.
6. We value each believer growing in Christ likeness and serving in ministry based on their spiritual gifts.
7. We value vital reproducing congregations.
8. We value trained, committed and competent leaders (pastors and lay persons).
9. We value Christian unity within a diverse body of faith.
10. We value accountability among believers and congregations.
The full text of "What We Believe" can be found at the Churches of God General Conference
As witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ, we commit ourselves to make more and better disciples by establishing churches on the New Testament plan and proclaiming the gospel around the world. (Matthew 28:16-20, Ephesians 3:8-11, Acts 1:8)
Reverend John Winebrenner
The work of establishing the Churches that bear the name, Churches of God, General Conference, had its beginning in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania about the year 1825, under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of Reverend John Winebrenner.
Winebrenner was born near Walkersville, Maryland on March 25, 1797. His parents were members of the German Reformed Church, and he became a member also according to their ritual when he was two months old. He received his elementary education at the Glades School near his home, then attended an academy of Frederick, Maryland, and from there to Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He then went to Philadelphia and studied theology under Dr. Samuel Helfenstein, having in view the Gospel Ministry.
Winebrenner was ordained to the ministry on September 24, 1820 by the Synod the German Reformed Church in Hagerstown, Maryland, and was appointed as Pastor to the Reformed Church in Harrisburg.
His overwhelming consciousness of sin and his deep conviction of his lost condition, prior to his conversion, gave him a strong passion for souls, and commissioned him with an evangelistic message, such as was needed in that day when many churches were lacking of spiritual vitality. He vigorously addressed himself to the task of effecting a change in these conditions b y preaching an evangelistic Gospel and holding revival services with his own congregation and in other places as opportunity might be given. The congregation Winebrenner served protested against his evangelistic course so strongly that he withdrew from that religious body in 1825.
Winebrenner continued to preach wherever it was possible to secure an audience. His efforts resulted in thousands of conversions and the organization of numerous churches in a very few years in Dauphin and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania.
The first organization was effected and the first Bethel built in 1827 on Mulberry Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The work gradually extended over the state of Pennsylvania and then into other states.
Taken from "Teachings and Practices of the Churches of God, General Conference", 1959
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