GCI Update

New Weekly Update format, completion of annual external audit

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Wong Tian Yu, son of our Malaysian national leader, Wong Mein Kong and his wife Chew Yeng. Mein Kong wrote on Friday, July 23:

I am writing this through the pain, grief and numbness from news that my son Tian Yu died this evening, July 22, in a plane crash while flying one of his students in Philippines. They are still searching for his body in the crash.

I will be flying to Manila tomorrow to meet up with my wife, Chew Yeng, and our daughter, Xiao Qing. They happened to be in Manila for Qing’s business trip this past week. Last Saturday, when Yeng arrived in Clark airport Tian was there to meet her. He took her on a flight Sunday morning and later accompanied her to Manila so she could stay with Qing. Yesterday (Thursday), Tian came to visit them in the hotel in Manila and stayed till this morning when he went back to his flight school to work. Then this evening the school called the hotel with the tragic news.

Please pray the Lord will give our family the strength as we go through this trying period.

Thank you for your love and concern and prayers.

Eugene Guzon wrote a beautiful tribute to Tian Yu for the GCI-Philippines website. Click here for the link. I hope you will take a moment to read it. Please join us in praying for the Wong family.

New Weekly Update format

This week we’ve launched our completely redesigned Weekly Update. Over the past year, our IT department has worked with the President’s Office and Church Administration to bring the Weekly Update into a cleaner, warmer and we certainly hope a more useful format.

Each new edition of the Update will include a cover message from me and have links along the left column to news from around the world, announcements, questions and answers, information from Church Administration and Development, prayer requests and updates, and other features. To read any of these, you can simply click on the links that interest you. In this way, the Weekly Update is designed to serve as a “one stop shop” for accessing GCI information and resources. We hope you find this helpful.

Besides being easier to read and providing an easy way to find information you need or are interested in, the new design will also reduce the number of email formatting problems many pastors have experienced with the Update. We will also be able to include more information and pictures in the Update without burdening those with slower Internet connections.

The Weekly Update is emailed each week to all U.S. Pastors and the International Mission Directors. It is then posted online at update.gci.org where anyone can read it.

If you have a need to share the Update with others, you can give them the link above, or forward your email copy to them. You can also print out the pages you want to give others. With the new format you can print only one page at a time, so you only need to print the ones you need.

We’d love to hear what’s happening in your church! If you’d like to submit material for publication in the Update, just email it to WeeklyUpdate@gci.org.

Annual external audit complete

I am pleased to report that the Grace Communion International annual external audit for 2009-2010 is complete, and that we received a clean report. Capin Crouse, a national auditing firm specializing in audits for non-profit organizations, has been the Church’s auditor since 2007. We are pleased to have them as a financial accountability partner as we strive to be good stewards of the funds we are blessed to receive in support of the gospel. The audit report is available to all members in good standing upon written request to the Treasurer’s Office at P.O. Box 5005, Glendora, CA 91740.

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

Santa Rosa, Philippines, anniversary

Eugene Guzon, GCI Philippines National Director (and current Santa Rosa senior pastor) reports that the Santa Rosa, Laguna congregation recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with the theme “Celebrating Life in God’s Love.” About 120 visitors and members attended.

The day began with a pancake breakfast. Photos were displayed showing the 10 years of shared memories, and learning activities were provided for the children. Then all gathered for a worship service, followed by lunch and a movie.

Update from GCI-Canada

From GCI-Canada director Gary Moore

Wendy, Kylie and I arrived safely in South Africa. I was able to speak at one of the Pretoria area churches last weekend. We had some family time this week, and were able to travel to the Kruger Park area and visit with relatives. We took the opportunity to do a day trip through part of the immense Kruger Park – world famous for its game. We saw four of the “big 5” (elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino), along with quite a few smaller animals. This weekend we are involved with a leadership training session in the Johannesburg area, and a combined service on Sunday. Your prayers that it will be a spiritually fruitful time together would be gratefully appreciated.

I’m delighted to let you know that Dennis Lawrence was able to officiate at his daughter Judith’s wedding on July 9! Judith married Nathan Knapp, son of Steve and Brenda Knapp of Scarborough, Ontario. Here are two pictures:











Report on trip to Liberia

Kalengule Kaoma, the GCI mission developer in Africa, reports on his recent trip to Liberia:

I have been corresponding with three contacts in Liberia for about a year. Recently, I spent a few days in Monrovia, Liberia. The visit produced fruitful results with one of the contacts through Pastor Robert Browne (with red tie, together with his executive team in the picture at right).

Pastor Browne has two small congregations in Monrovia and five others in rural areas of Liberia. Together, there are about 180 people including children. I spoke to executive and ministry leaders about their intentions of being part of GCI. On Sunday, I met and spoke to the church in Gardnersville, Monrovia (pictured below). The enthusiasm and excitement made all of us rejoice together in the Lord with praise.

Like most affiliations in Africa, the Liberian one is being considered within the bounds of God’s love (John 3:16) to work together in reaching and ministering to people where they are. The Liberian brethren strongly feel that they will benefit from GCI spiritual guidance and knowledge.

Four months before leaving for Monrovia, I lost contact with two other Liberian contacts. While in Liberia, I tried to call their phones but both of them were not reachable. However, after I returned to Lusaka, I have reestablished contact with the two leaders. They are eager for my return visit to Liberia.

Your continued prayers are appreciated for this new door.


GenMin camps and missions

It’s a busy summer for GenMin camps and missions. Here are two updates:

CrossWalk camp

CrossWalk’s last session was held in late spring with 72 volunteer staff members serving 68 campers. Camp director Mike Rasmussen reports that they learned the great importance of cross-training their staff. Several staffers were unable to serve due to other commitments. Fortunately, the remaining staff were able to fill in. As a result, the camp met a primary goal –  having a one-to-one staff to camper ratio. They also met another important goal – to increase the number of unchurched campers. Mike reports that the next CrossWalk session in November will be a “Family Camp” instead of a “Teen/Young Adult Camp”. So far, there has been a positive response to this development.

Great Commission Trips – Bahamas

GC Trips director Janet Morrison reports that we have a group of young people currently on a short-term mission trip in the Bahamas. You can follow their progress on their blog.

Church-Next Training in October

Church Administration and Development announces that the fifth annual edition of  Church Multiplication Ministries’ Church-Next Training will be held this October in Glendora, CA.


Church-Next Training provides resources for starting new churches and helping established churches become more effective on mission with Jesus. Topics covered include:

  • Theological foundations for starting new churches
  • Determining a focus group or community
  • Developing culturally relevant ministries
  • Developing church planting teams
  • Starting new worship services
  • Gathering people for a new church
  • Funding church plants


October 11-15, 2011


GCI home office, 2011 E. Financial Way, Glendora, CA.


Church-Next Training is open to anyone who desires to learn to start a new church, or re-start an existing church. Presenters include Dr. Joseph Tkach, Dr. Dan Rogers, Dr. Randy Bloom and Lorenzo Arroyo.

How Much?

There is no cost for registration, but if you plan to attend please be sure to contact Randy Bloom (Randy.Bloom@gci.org) as soon as possible to let him know your intentions. You will pay the cost for your own lodging and meals during the event.

Transformational Church consulting

Church Administration and Development offers Transformational Church (TC) consulting to GCI congregations in the U.S. These services help congregations assess their current level of health and then grow in their participation in the ministry that Jesus is doing to transform lives. Here are reports from two GCI congregations currently receiving TC services.

Christ Community Church (CCC), Cincinnati, OH

Here is a report from CCC senior pastor, George Hart:

Last winter, we began the TC process by conducting a church health assessment, using LifeWay’s  Transformational Church Assessment Tool (TCAT). This was followed by a day-long Discovery Retreat, facilitated by two of GCI’s TC consultants: Ken Williams and Ted Johnston. As a result, we’re now moving forward on several fronts. A key one is to reach out to the community around our church hall. We are doing so using a Word in the Street type outreach (Word in the Street is our annual urban mission outreach to the inner city of Cincinnati – we have adapted this mission format to reach out to the community nearby our place of meeting).

Our first outreach was held on July 10, with the theme “God’s Extravagant Love” (see picture). We started at 6:30pm with live music and free food. This was followed with worship songs and a children’s message. A giant ice-cream sundae was made to emphasize the extravagant love God has for children. There was also a short message for the adults emphasizing that no matter where they are in life or what they have done, God is not angry with them but wants to shower them with love. After the messages there were games for the children and fellowship for the adults. A number of members served, and many came out just to get to know our neighbors in the community. Here are some of the results:

  • One lady thanked us no less than 4 times for coming, and just before she left she made it a point to thank us again. She said, “It is so nice to see the kids playing together rather than arguing and fighting with each other.”
  • One man from Guatemala, who spoke no English, was sitting on a rock away from the crowd enjoying the music. He was introduced to one of our members who spoke a little Spanish and when he heard his native language, his whole face lit up. I happened to see him the following evening, and he gave me a huge smile.
  • During the time of fellowship several people from the community received prayer. One man prayed for said, “I have never felt such love.”

We have two more events like this scheduled – one in August and one in September.

[For a video interview with George concerning TC services, click here.]

Grace Family Fellowship (GFF), Toledo, OH

GFF recently began the TC process by conducting a church health assessment using the TCAT. Following that, GFF’s pastor, ministry leaders and key workers held a day-long Discovery Retreat which was facilitated by GCI TC consultant Ted Johnston.

During the retreat (see picture), the group sought the Holy Spirit’s direction for GFF’s next steps for their participation in ministry with Jesus – both within the congregation, and out to the community. Highly interactive discussions focused on understanding and utilizing the congregation’s strengths related to worship, community and mission. Time was also spent understanding GFF’s challenges in those issues, and seeking the Spirit’s direction for growth. The group then brainstormed action priorities related to their next steps. Following the retreat, Ted prepared a summary report setting forth the results. The report serves as a map for the journey forward with Jesus. Ted will coach the congregation’s pastor, Stuart Mahan, as GFF moves forward.

Church Administration and Development offers several types of Transformational Church consulting. If your congregation is interested, watch a short video by clicking here. If still interested, contact Church Administration and Development at 800.574.2299, or email any member of the Ministry Development Team. One of GCI’s Transformational Church consultants will help you choose an approach suitable to your circumstances.








Death of Jack R. Elliott

Jack R. Elliott died peacefully Sunday evening, July 24, with his wife Anne and his family at his side.

Mr. Elliott was a long-time employee of Ambassador College where he served in a number of capacities including Dean of Students and Facilities Director. He helped Herbert Armstrong develop the campus in Pasadena, CA. and founded Ambassador Club (and Spokesman’s Club), patterned after Toastmaster’s International.

After retirement, Mr. Elliott moved to Texas, where he served as an elder in the United Church of God. A memorial service was held on July 27 at the United Church of God hall in Big Sandy, Texas.