A Brief History of the Church of God

COG"The Church of God began on August 19, 1886, in Monroe County, Tennessee, near the North Carolina border.  Former Baptist Richard Green Spurling preached in a millhouse along Barney Creek and eight persons formed a Christian Union for the purpose of following the New Testament as their rule for faith and practice, giving each other equal rights and privilege to interpret Scripture, and sitting together as the church of God.  Twenty-one years later the growing movement formally adopted the name Church of God.

Ten years after the organizational meeting, a revival at the Shearer Schoolhouse in nearby Camp Creek, North Carolina, introduced the doctrine of sanctification to the community.  Opposition to this doctrine led to severe persecution, but a spirit of revival prevailed and the Holiness believers experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that included speaking in tongues and divine healing.  Such experiences prepared the way for the explosion of the Pentecostal movement in the early twentieth century.

Under the leadership of our first General Overseer, A. J. Tomlinson, the Church of God adopted a centralized form of Church government with an inclusive International General Assembly (1906), launched a world evangelization effort beginning in the Bahamas (1909), inaugurated the Church of God Evangel (1910), and established educational opportunities for ministers and members (1918).  Today Church of God ministries include more than 7 million members in 178 nations and territories.  Some 36,000 congregations serve around the world, while regional and international ministries provide resources and support through our divisions of World Evangelization, Care, Discipleship, Education, and Support Services.

About History

For further information on the history of the Church God, see Living the Word: 125 Years of Church of God Ministry and Like A Mighty Army, both of which are available through Pathway Bookstore. Additional historical resources are at the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center.


About the Church of God

Since its beginning, the Church of God has been a movement" a moving church with a mission of ministry to the world. In this new millennium, God is leading the Church of God as a global movement prepared to meet the demands and challenges of ministry in the 21st century.

The Church of God consists of people just like you. Every person who attends a Church of God function, event or local congregation is recognized as a valuable member of the church body. About the Church of God presents a concise ministry review of the Church of God, its programs and ministries. If after visiting this site you should have any questions or inquiries about the Church of God or its programs and ministries, please don't hesitate to contact the Church of God.



Beliefs and Creeds


God anoints individuals to serve in various capacities in the church. He equips church leaders, pastors and lay persons with compassionate hearts and leadership skills which combine for effective ministry.

The administration of the Church of God at the international level is under the supervision of the General Overseer (Presiding Bishop), three assistants (executive bishops), the secretary general, and eighteen councilors constituting the International Executive Council of the church.

The International Executive Committee is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the church. These leaders are elected at the General Assembly, a biennial gathering of ministers and laity meeting for business, worship and fellowship. The state overseer provides leadership at the state or regional level and local pastors are appointed by the overseer in consultation and prayer with the local church

Tour the Campus

Download Hi-resolution JPEG photos (.zip file) of the campus. You will need WinRAR or WinZip to decompress and view the files.

The Church of God International Offices is located on 40 acres at the corner of Keith and 25th Streets in Cleveland, Tennessee. The campus consists of five primary structures, dominated by the four story World Evangelization Center, the original offices built on the site and completely renovated in 2005. The Discipleship and Education Center and the Leadership and Communications Center - both two story, 30,000 square foot buildings – were added to the campus in 2004.The campus also includes a Center for Ministerial Care and maintenance facility. A prayer plaza/garden ties the three primary structures together with walkways, statues, markers, and beautiful landscaping.

Guided tours of the three primary buildings are available through appointment by calling the Communications Department at (423) 478-7113 or by contacting us here.



For over 125 years the Church of God has been a distinctive movement focused upon communicating the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Presently, the Church of God has a world-wide membership of over 7 million with a presence in nearly 180 countries.


Our Campus

The Church of God International Offices is located on 40 acres at the corner of Keith and 25th Streets in Cleveland, Tennessee.