The Church of God (Holiness) began on March 29, 1883 with the founding of the Centralia, MO Church. The people involved were come outers from the Methodist Church and had been active in the Southwest Holiness Association. Their concern for leaving the mother church centered around their interest in propagating the doctrine of entire sanctification.
They believed that this was a biblical doctrine and described the teaching as a second definite work of God’s grace worked in the heart and life of the believer subsequent to regeneration, at which time the believer is cleansed of the effects of original sin and is completely submitted to the controlling hand of the Holy Spirit. The motivation of the born again believer who is entirely sanctified is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. The founding fathers felt that the mother church had neglected her responsibility to preach this message.
About 120 anglo congregations in the USA are affiliated with the Church of God (Holiness). A large concentration of these congregations is located in the states of Missouri and Kansas. The Home Missions Department has a work with the Haitian people in New York City, a Navajo mission including about 10 congregations, a rapidly-expanding work among Hispanics in the U.S. who now have 11 congregations, and a work in Mexico.
The World Missions Department has works in Africa—Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria; Asia—India and Myanmar; British Virgin Islands—Tortola and Virgin Gorda; British West Indies—Anguilla and Cayman Islands; Central America—Panama; Eastern Europe—Ukraine; Middle East; Oceania—Papua New Guinea; South America—Bolivia and Colombia; U.S. Virgin Islands—St. Croix and St. Thomas; West Indies—Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and St. Vincent.
In addition to the Kansas City College and Bible School, the COGH has many day schools around the USA. Mt. State Christian in West Virginia; Kirksville Christian in Kirksville, MO; Ft. Scott Christian in Ft. Scott, KS; Mt. Zion Bible School in Ava, MO; Gravette Holiness Bible School in Gravette, AR; and Overland Christian Schools in Overland Park, KS (affilated with KCCBS), are the larger schools. Other Christian day schools are sponsored by and are operated in local churches.
The Harmony Hill Youth Ministries is an effective youth emphasis. The ministry maintains a beautiful campground about 10 miles east of Fulton, MO. Each year they offer ministry to young people through their boys’ camp, girls’ camp, and youth camp. They also have weekend retreats for married couples, singles, and senior citizens.
The printing establishment for the movement is called the Herald and Banner Press. It is located next to the KCCBS campus. A thriving bookstore offers a good stock of books, tapes, CD’s and other Christian items. Sunday School literature for all ages (The Way, The Truth and the Life series), devotional books, and the periodical The Church Herald and Holiness Banner are published at this site as well.
The Church of God (Holiness) is an association of autonomous congregations. They are held together by common beliefs and an annual General Convention. Each congregation may send a delegate to the General Convention each June to represent its interests. One vote is allowed for every 25 members in the congregation who are born again. The main function of the General Convention is to elect members to various boards and committees from its delegates.