Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As you will see from the reports in this issue of the Weekly Update, summer is a busy time for our churches and denominational ministries. Many churches are involved in community outreach, camps and mission trips. This summer the denomination is hosting training conferences around the globe. In all these activities, we seek to participate with Jesus in the ministry that he is doing in the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the Father’s mission to the world.
Our denominational training programs help equip our members for ministry with Jesus. As an example, note the announcement in this issue concerning Church-Next Training. This event, being held in October in Glendora, CA, equips prospective church planters, church planting teams and pastors who wish to re-plant an existing church. I’ll be one of the presenters, along with Dan Rogers, Randy Bloom and others. Be sure to let Randy know right away if you are planning to attend.
Please pray for one another, for our congregations and for GCI events like our camps, mission trips and training conferences. Always remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.
Love from my family to yours,
Nearly 200 people from the West Harlem community of New York City joined GCI’s Manhattan Community Church (MCC) for an Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 2. With the theme “Freedom in Christ,” MCC members served free hot dogs, hamburgers, and bottled water outside on a beautiful day in the city. Children of the community joined with the congregation in arts and crafts, and guests were invited to take free books. During the worship service that day, members of the community joined the congregation in a discussion of where Jesus is working in Harlem and what true freedom really means with Christ. This outreach was part of the congregation’s summer initiative to bring the Church to the Streets by building lasting relationships in the community.
The Sunday worship service on July 24 at New Hope Christian Fellowship (the GCI congregation in Eagle Rock, CA), was particularly joyful. Six youth and one adult were baptized! Each newly baptized person was given a baptism certificate and a white towel with the New Hope logo and the word Servant in gold lettering. The towel is a reminder that Jesus took a towel and served his disciples by washing their feet.
New Hope pastor Glen Weber and youth leader Mat Morgan baptize James Moody:
James Moody baptizes his son D’Andre:
Pastor Glen Weber (far right) stands with newly baptized members (left to right): Ttendo Williams, James Moody, D’Andre Moody, Collin Ledbetter, Stephen Hamme, Sara Garcia, Trey Carlisle, Nicolette Galvez and Angelica Galvez (Nicolette and Angelica were baptized a few weeks previously). Fourteen youth have been baptized at New Hope over the last twelve months.
In attendance to witness Sara Garcia’s baptism were five generations of her family (all have been baptized through GCI/WCG); left to right: Teresa Cruz, Nickie Vargas, Christina Garcia, Isaiah Romero, April Galvez and Nicolette Galvez.
Here is a report from GCI-Canada National Director Gary Moore concerning his recent trip to South Africa.
Wendy and I joined with Tim Maguire (GCI’s National Director for South Africa and Missions Director for Southern Africa). We presented two day-long leadership training seminars, one in the Johannesburg area and the other in the Cape Town area. We were pleased to see the continued maturity and growth in the leaders and other members. People are processing the core concepts of Trinitarian theology well and are feeling a renewed excitement in sharing the gospel from the perspective that God loves all people and that all indeed are included. They have their challenges, including lingering effects of the global recession. However, they are tackling life’s challenges with strong confidence in our Triune God’s faithfulness.
After the trip to Cape Town, we visited a church plant in the community of Westlake. The Cape Town South GCI congregation is parenting this plant in an area with significant numbers of immigrants from other parts of Africa. It is inspiring to see this initiatives.
We were also inspired to hear about Tim’s recent trips to Mozambique. He is working there with 87 churches (with a combined attendance of about 4,000) that have now joined GCI. This development testifies that we are indeed participating where God is already at work!
A combined worship service in Johannesburg with 154 in attendance:
Participants in the leadership seminar in Cape Town:
Silver Meadows Camp
Silver Meadows is our youth camp in Western Canada. It recently completed its 2011 camp session with 30 workers, 35 teen campers and 11 pre-teen campers. Daily Bible studies covered the Living Loved curriculum provided by Generations Ministries. It was well received, and resulted in the Ask the Pastor sessions having some deep and thought provoking questions. Two baptisms took place the final day, and campers donated $600 in offerings to be dedicated to the SEP South Africa camps this year.
– Gary is GCI’s National Director in Canada.
On July 9 we held a graduation dinner in Bogota for nine couples who completed a church sponsored marriage class. Three of these were leaders of other denominations who took the class so they could use it in their own congregations. One couple and their family, who are new to the gospel, have begun attending with us.
On July 24, we were visited by John and Nhora Lamb of the Brussels, Belgium, congregation. John, who pastors the Brussels church, presented the sermon and gave a report about what GCI’s mission work in Malawi. The same day we had with us missionaries Daniel and Marilyn German who are working with New Tribes in Africa. Daniel motivated us with a short message on missions. Two missionary ladies working with New Tribes in Bogota joined our congregation about two years ago. They are a source of motivation for us in our local missions work.
Prayer is requested for the success of my upcoming visits to Argentina, Peru and Mexico.
Hector is GCI’s National Director in Colombia and Missions Director for Latin America.
Great Commission Trips: Bahamas, Zambia and Malawi
Click here for a report on the work of our young GCI missionaries who recently returned from a short-term mission trip to the Bahamas. And click here for the details about another group of missionaries heading out soon to Zambia and Malawi.
GenMin’s Pathways camp was held in the beautiful hills of Jackson, OH during the week of July 17- 22. Participants included 134 campers and 65 staffers. Chapel presenters were Jeff Broadnax, Mike Greider, Jason Frantz and Ben Zacharias. “Living Loved” messages were illustrated with several dramas.
Though the weather was exceptionally hot, the camp was blessed with a new addition this year – air conditioning in the “chapelteria.” And the swimming pool was well used along with the climbing wall and obstacle course. A camp highlight was a concert from Christian singer Ayiesha Woods. It was learned that her grandfather attends a GCI congregation in Bermuda.
A key focus, as in past years, was an outreach event. It was coordinated this year by Pathways staffer Carrie Smith who worked with the Jackson County Family Services Division to host 27 kids age 8-14 for a few hours at camp one day. The kids enjoyed a block party with lots of games and swimming. The love they received from the Pathways campers and staff was wonderful to behold! Lots of fun, fellowship and laughter.
John Stott, one of the most significant Christian leaders of the 20th century, died at age 90 on July 27.
Time Magazine named Stott alongside Nelson Mandela and Bill Gates as one of the “most influential people” of 2005. He was once described by Billy Graham as the “most respected clergyman in the world today”. Stott’s leadership of the evangelical movement helped move it from a rather narrow-minded fundamentalism after the Second World War, to the fastest growing section of global Christianity it is today.
For a memorial tribute to Stott’s life and ministry, click here.
GCI member Hazel Roberts was recently ordained Minister of Congregational Care at Christ Presbyterian Church (CPC) in San Leandro, CA.
Hazel’s husband, Jim, pastors One in Christ Community Church (CCC), the GCI congregation in San Leandro. CCC rents space from CPC, where Hazel has worked for twelve years as parish administrator. Among other duties, Hazel manages the use of CPC’s facilities by seven churches (including CCC), a day care center and several Boy Scout troops.
On June 5, Hazel and Jim attended a special CPC service in honor of their pastor (Hazel’s boss), who was retiring. Near the end of the service, Hazel was called forward with the announcement that she was being ordained! This was a surprise to her, and on her way up, she exclaimed, “But I’m not even a Presbyterian!” CPC’s pastor replied, “We decided not to hold that against you!” The whole congregation came forward to lay hands on Hazel. She was given an ordination certificate, a stole to wear around her neck, and a gold and silver cross necklace. The next Sunday (Pentecost), Jim was scheduled to preach at CPC and CCC. Unfortunately, he woke up ill and so Hazel, newly ordained, filled in – helping both congregations celebrate this special day that speaks to Christian unity.
Some Weekly Update readers wish to print out hard copies of all or part of each issue to give to others. Here’s how:
1. Go to the online version of the Weekly Update at https://update.gci.org and print from there.
2. To print just the text from the “From the President” cover letter, click on the title of the letter (below the “From the President” banner). This will take you to a webpage with just the President’s letter displayed. Print it from there.
3. All other articles in the update are viewed from the website and may be printed from there as well.
Church Administration and Development announces the upcoming Church-Next Training event.
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
- AND MORE
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.
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.