Every part of life is enriched by the presence and power of Jesus who is active in our world. As several authors have noted, no one has ever impacted civilization the way Jesus has:
Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50 years and Aristotle for 40 years. Though Jesus taught for only three and a half years, his influence infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined years of the teaching from these greatest of philosophers. Jesus painted no pictures that we know of, yet some of the finest artists of human history such as Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from him. We don’t have any poems written by Jesus, yet the works of Dante, Milton and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by him. Jesus composed no music; yet Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the music they composed in his praise. No one else has ever spoken with the authority with which Jesus spoke. He was unique. [Author unknown]
There has never been, nor ever will be anyone like Jesus. He alone is the Son of God become human for our salvation. And how wonderful that he shares his ministry with us!
Here in GCI Weekly Update, we often highlight ways our congregations and members are participating in ministry with Jesus. In this issue, you’ll find accounts of GCI churches in the United States and in Spain joining with Jesus in connecting with unchurched people in the area surrounding where they meet. I hope you’ll be inspired, and that their examples encourage similar outreach elsewhere.
As we move forward in the new year, let us remember our calling to prayer. As I often note, prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. In prayer (both private and together) we join with Jesus as he, through the Holy Spirit, communes with his Father and ours, interceding on behalf of all humanity. Let us continue to be praying people in 2012.
My prayers are with you all,
Outreach in Madrid
This report is from Pedro Rufian in Spain.
GCI members in Madrid are thanking God for the opportunity to participate, along with most of the Evangelical churches in Spain, in “My Hope” – three television programs that presented the gospel for the first time on two nationwide TV stations in Spain. We hope these programs provide a means for many Spaniards to hear and respond to God’s call to come to Jesus Christ and accept and receive his love and grace.
We have received several phone calls from people who watched the programs because they had known about them through one of the 5000 brochures we distributed in the neighborhood where our congregation meets. The brochures offered a free subscription to our GCI magazine Verdad y Vida. In Villamanta, a small village of around 1500 inhabitants where I live, we distributed 500 brochures. We received a call from a family asking for a subscription to the magazine. We will follow up with a personal visit.
Outreach in Ohio & Indiana
The videos below are interviews with GCI senior pastors Jim Valekis (Tipp City, OH) and Roger Abels (Fort Wayne, IN). Each pastor discusses what his congregation is doing to connect with the unchurched community nearby where their church gathers for worship.
As noted in the January issue of Equipper, February in the U.S. is designated as Black History Month. George Hart, one of GCI’s pastors in the Cincinnati, OH area reports that Black History Month has been an important tool for outreach in his congregation. Here is what they have planned this year:
Feb. 5: Soul Food Dinner Social with Betty Daniels Rosemond who was a Freedom Rider in Mississippi in the early 60s. Betty was honored along with other Freedom Riders by President Obama last year.
Feb. 12: Unity Quilt . Members will contribute to a quilt symbolizing how Christ has sewn us together in love.
Feb. 18: Celebration Dance.
Feb 19: Performance of the Little Miami Select Women’s Choir. The choir has won state competitions and will participate in the World Choir Games in Cincinnati in July.
New FaithTalk training videos
The CAD Ministry Development Team offers training to facilitators of FaithTalk groups – a type of small group designed to connect with unchurched people. Training and other resources are available at FaithTalk equipper at http://faithtalkgroups.blogspot.com/. Posted below are new facilitator training videos – one about building community (with Pat Shaw) and the other about including children (with Charles Albrecht).
To participate actively and skillfully in mission with Jesus in an increasingly post-Christian world means significant change for most churches. The video below is of a 55 minute seminar at a recent Verge conference. Presenter Mike Breen (along with others from 3DM) offers helpful tips for transitioning your church to being more missional without killing it in the process.
The following is from Gary Moore, GCI director in Canada.
We are saddened to announce the death of Anne Robey-Graham, wife of Gordon Graham who pastored GCI churches in Canada for several years. To read Anne’s obituary, click here.
Gordon and Anne lived in Arizona for the last several years. Here is a short note from Gordon:
Anne and I had a wonderful marriage for five years less one week. I am returning to work as a research professor at a university in Arizona on January 9. I have learned that it is better to be engaged in meaningful work than to face empty days. I have stopped trying to plan life out in great detail, so who knows, I may see you all again in the years ahead!
If you would like to send a card or note to Gordon, his address is:
Gordon Graham6607 E Saddleback Street
Mesa, AZ 85215
Continuing education program
CAD has posted an updated edition of the Pastoral Continuing Education Program Guide at http://tinyurl.com/8xabmsp (sign in required). The primary change is the addition of books to the approved reading list.