The Church of God, with U.S. offices in Anderson, Indiana, began in 1881 as a movement waving the banner of salvation in Christ alone, the unity of believers, and the holiness of God’s people. Early leaders, such as Daniel S. Warner and Mary Cole, sought to forsake denominational hierarchies and formal creeds, trusting solely in the Holy Spirit as their overseer, and in the Bible as their statement of belief. These individuals saw themselves at the forefront of a movement to restore unity and holiness to God’s church. Their aim was not to establish another denomination, but to promote primary allegiance to Jesus Christ and transcend denominational loyalties. Jesus was the subject then, and Jesus is the subject today.
Since 1891, when the movement’s first missionary was sent to Mexico, the Church of God has continued to grow into a multinational community of faith. Average weekend attendance in the congregations of the United States and Canada totals approximately 230,000. There are approximately 2,100 congregations in the United States and Canada. Globally, the movement has work in eighty-nine countries and territories representing more than 7,800 churches and 887,000 believers.
In 1996 and 1997, the General Assembly initiated a restructuring of the work of the national ministries of the Church of God in North America. The result was the formation of Church of God Ministries, Inc. Priorities for the work of this organization are identified by representatives selected from the grassroots church. As the Church of God begins each new chapter in its history, Jesus remains the subject, and the dynamic story of the Church of God continues to unfold.