Historic Trail of Tears Connects Polk Homeschool Families

July 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Historic Trail of Tears Connects Polk Homeschool Families

by Dony & Kathryn Donev

During the past 10 years Polk County, TN has seen a shift in its demographics with an insurgence of families from New York, Florida, California and even Eastern Europe.  The latter location is perhaps overlooked not officially recorded having the most complex reasoning behind the numbers.  One explanation could be adoptions or perhaps another could be due to immigrants being attracted to Gateway Cities.  Such are the larger towns as Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Sanibel areas of Florida.  In California these would be Cerritos, South Gate, Long Beach or Sacramento.  And of course New York City provides the ultimate gateway. Therefore, these individuals are simply recorded as being from these Gateways.

Many of these families which have sought refuge, so to speak, in rural areas are ones that homeschool.  But this is not the reason for this article; for it is only natural that one leaving a busy urban area would naturally want to get away from all aspects of city life and create a more intimate learning experience for their children. Such is readily available through the natural amenities and safe seclusion along the original Trail of Tears which had many routes and roundup or dispersion points other than the three main roads which are thought of first. One of them just happens to be in Polk County, TN described below.

The Georgia Road or present day Federal Road was a route of the Trail of Tears with the Tellico Blockhouse as its starting point. The route ran from Niles Ferry on the Little Tennessee River near the present day U.S. Highway 411 Bridge, southward into Georgia. The road continued southward via the Federal Trail connecting to the North Old Tellico Highway past the present site of Coltharp School, intersected Tennessee Highway 68 and passed the site of the Nonaberg Church. East of Englewood, Tennessee it continued on the east side of McMinn Central High School and crossed Highway 411 near the railroad overpass. Along the west side of Etowah, the road continued near Cog Hill and the Hiwassee River near the mouth of Conasauga Creek where there was a ferry near the site of the John Hildebrand Mill. From the ferry on the Hiwassee River, the road ran through the site of the present courthouse in Benton, Tennessee. It continued south on Welcome Valley Road and then crossed the Ocoee River at the Hildebrand Landing. From this point, the road continued south and crossed U.S. Highway 64 where the Ocoee Church of God is currently located. Proceeding south near Old Fort, the route crossed U.S. Highway 411 and came to the Conasauga River at McNair Landing. Near the south end of the village of Tennga, Georgia stands a historic marker alongside Highway 411, which states the Old Federal Road was close to its path for the next twenty-five miles southward. This is some 15 miles from the historic Chief Vann Plantation. It would have been at this point in Tennga that the Trail of Tears would have taken a turn onto GA-2 passing the Praters Mill near Dalton Georgia to connect in Chattanooga.

The reason for this article is to make the connection which goes deeper than simply establishing the Hildebrand Crossing route with Welcome Valley and Old Federal roads as the connecting path of one of the last detachments of approximately 1,200 with the original Trail of Tears. A careful reader would quickly discern the obvious geosocial connection between the new homeschool families in the Polk area and the historical Trail of Tears, which was brought to light in a recent discovery in the Polk County TN Homeschool Network. Nearly a dozen of these families, which in the last decade made their journey to rural living in Polk County live nowhere else, but along the historic trail. Coincidence?  Perhaps.  Planned?  Doubtfully so because most were not aware of this information as this route of the Trail is not a popular one and as such has remained virtually enigmatic. Now, we are in a quest for the logic behind such happening as well as to see if there are other Polk Homeschoolers that happen to also live along this route.  If you have any contributing information to this ongoing project, we would love to hear from you.  Visit us at www.PolkHomeschool.com or reach out to admin@cupandcross.com.

National Church Survey to Reveal State of the American Church in 2021

March 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Media, News, Research

National church survey reveals important data about the state of the church in America today

The survey has been conducted for the past several years in several hundred congregations from all denominations across the United States. All collected national trends provide information about essential ministry dynamics and characteristics of the local congregation like:

  • Church Type & Membership
  • Teams & Leaders
  • Praise & Worship
  • Pastoral/Personal
  • Mission & Vision

Subscribe to ChurchInfluence.com weekly newsletter to receive free each published report containing important information about current church trends in America today.

Sample reports from the national State of the Church survey include:

  • 5 common church types across the nation
  • 3 financial characteristics of the average church in America
  • College education take over church leadership
  • 4 leading types of pastor’s teams
  • The growth of congregational ethnicity
  • 6 dimensions of leadership training for small churches (80-120 members)
  • Top 3 problems in church growth
  • 8 Successful strategies to communicate with your church volunteer teams
  • 4 age groups within the make of church membership
  • 7 factors that make your congregational ethnos
  • 20th century paradigm for church training still used today
  • How can you improve worship within a church service
  • 5 ways to improve how the community views your church
  • 3 successful ways how to really spend half of your time in prayer and meditation

Though, the majority of participants were among Western North American Pentecostal/Charismatic congregations, the National State of the Church Survey brings results of the state of the church much similar to the ones presented by the Pew Forum, Barna Research Group and Gallup. While the said researchers present a more holistic to the Christian body information, the National State of the Church Survey brings a special focus of statistical data on Pentecostal/Charismatic congregations, their structure, leadership and praxis.

 

30 Years of Miracles: 2012

January 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Media, News

MAKING a MOVE that MATTERS

In many ways, 2012 was an off-year.

The 2012 elections finalized President Obama in his second term in office. This became one of the reasons we authored Behind the Wall: Obama on Marxism and Pentecostal Identity. All and while, the whole world appeared to be off with the widely spreading Mayan Calendar of untrue “prophecy.”

In Cleveland, the ministry of Perry Stone announced a move of revival eastward toward the North Carolina mountains where the Church of God had first begun a century ago. As a confirmation, Rod Parsley teamed with a local TN church for the 12.12.12 BLESSING event. We also were able to participate in the 2012 America for Jesus campaign that was comprised by many smaller revival events.

But among anything else, 2012 was a mission test!

With the rising political tensions in Bulgaria, our churches were put into a new demographic predicament. One that was going to overtake the spiritual reality on the Balkans until the new Bill of Confessions was voted by Parliament on the last day of 2019. A president that changed the reality of evangelicals in Bulgaria for the foreseeable feature.

Preparing for this with unwilling anticipation, we were able to print two Bulgarian versions of the Bible in 2012. The 1871 Constantinople Bible which was the first whole Bulgarian translation of the Bible, and its 1940 revision, which was later smuggled in the country and used by evangelical churches under the Communist Regime.

With the end of the year approaching and anticipation growing over the 12.12.12 date we launched our annual Revival Harvest Campaign. In the midst of series of revivals, we were led to make a move that mattered even more. Though, the realization of its vital importance was revealed only seven years later. Looking back now, it is clear how the leadership of the Spirit had prepared it all to the smallest detail. As one final door for ministry unexpectedly opened in 2012, we ended the year preaching in Chichen Itza and though the End of the World did not happen just yet, our last revival event for the year finished with a multitude of miracles.

This book should have been published seven years ago in 2013. Its original subtitle was going to read “7 Years in Bulgaria.” Instead, it took seven years to finish it with all documents, research archives and new cases. Now, it is finally here and it finally reads like a story – not just choppy interviews, deposition documented testimonies or court records, but a story of struggle, strength and solitude. A story of life and a story of us.

1995-96 The establishing of the first Bulgarian Church of God in Chicago and its first split

2000-01 The contracted building of the ministry center for the Central Church of God in Sofia

2002-03 The church split in Southaven and what followed next

2005-06 The post-communist split of the Bulgarian Church of God and consecutive sub-denominations

2010-13 The social media network that cost us millions (of souls)

2016 The vote that forced to kill a church

2019-20 The sale of the ministry center for the Central Church of God in Bulgaria

READ: CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher

CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher

To Mark Alan
We know not why good people have to die,
but we do know we must tell their story…

Chapter I: Beyond the Church and into God

Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and upright that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.
That is your oath.
~Kingdom
of Heaven (2005)

 

Separation of church from politics of false religiosity

The phone rang heavy and long. It was 4 AM in Bulgaria, but I was already up. A friend on the other end of the line was calling from South Carolina with a warning of some bad situation. The following morning, I was going to be contacted by the Director questioning why we were ministering in churches outside of our denomination.

The truth was we had ministered in some 300 local churches across the Balkan country of Bulgaria crossing all denominational boundaries and gathering youth from just about every confession. God had used us not only to reach and minister and to lead, but to step into an untouched spiritual realm, to undertake an unfamiliar ministry paradigm and to approach a brand new dimension of reality where He was to be the center of it all. And we had obeyed without questions. Now it was time to pay the price!

* * *

Our denomination, the one to which I remain both critically loyal and loyally critical, spreads over some five generations. Through its century old existence, the struggles and tension between theology and praxis has been in the center. And there, in the very essence of Pentecostalism itself, while some are always celebrating and being celebrated in the office or temple, others are always pushed in the periphery of normal life, hidden from the world behind closed doors and seeking a much deeper experience with God.

These modern day mystics are not only forgotten, but often forbidden. For their riot for righteousness cannot be conceived, contained and controlled by the religious norms of organized officiality. They speak as prophets to a world they so fervently try to escape from, about a reality that does not exist in the normal believer’s mindset. A stage of spirituality that cannot be preached without being lived in the social existence. And a relationship of God that goes far beyond common relationism and into God himself. That God, Who does not abide in offices and temples, but on the cross outside of the city walls…

But I knew nothing of this until that cold winter morning when the phone rang through darkness of the night. Knowing what is coming, rarely changes what we have done to get here.

7 Years in Bulgaria: CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher
by Dony K. Donev, D.Min.
Upcoming Releases for United States (October, 2020)

Churches and Social Media

August 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, Media, News

Evangelism and World Missions

April 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, Media, Missions, News, Research, Video, What we do

Empowered by the vision for a continuous revival within the church of the 21st century, we have chosen to make the mission of our work this one statement: We help churches grow.

One of the approaches we have taken to accomplish this ministry goal is Evangelism and World Missions:

  • We have ministered for over 30 years now on three continents, 25 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico (Map of our global ministry)
  • We have spent seven consecutive years in missionary work in Bulgaria ministering to over 300 local congregations (Map of our ministry in Bulgaria)
  • Since 1990, we have helped in the planting and team training of over 25 churches in Bulgaria as well as the Bulgarian congregations in Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Atlanta, London, Spain, Cyprus and Palma de Mallorca

Beside personal presence and team building strategies, we implement the media in virtually every approach of ministry. We have published several research monographs as well as film series about our ministry work. Our team holds a weekly TV program called the Bible Hour. (Learn how we help churches build their own and unique web presence)

See also how we help churches grow through: