Greg Williams is the associate director of GCI Church Administration and Development, USA (CAD). On January 1, 2015 he will succeed Dan Rogers as CAD director.
Along with the rest of his family, Greg became part of WCG/GCI in the mid 1970s. “My father was afflicted with an arthritic condition that landed him in bed for a year. He was serving as a lay pastor with a small Advent Christian Church at the time. After completing the WCG Bible Correspondence Course, he led my family into WCG.”
Greg was a junior in high school when he and his family began attending WCG. “I abandoned my extracurricular athletic activities to observe the Sabbath. I joined in WCG’s Youth Opportunity United (YOU) activities. Through YOU I participated in two national track meets at the Ambassador College campuses in Pasadena, California and Big Sandy, Texas.”
Greg almost didn’t get to compete. At the time, he was employed at a park in Hendersonville, North Carolina. “My main function was park maintenance. The week before a YOU track meet I was working with another employee servicing a bush hog mower. We had sharpened the blades and cleaned the machine and as we were setting it down off the blocks my partner let go of his end and the 350 pound machine landed on me and broke my big toe. I was proud that the broken toe didn’t prevent me from attending the track meet and participating in the discus throw—I won second place!”
After attending a YOU leadership conference in Pasadena, Greg was offered a YOU scholarship to attend Ambassador College. He attended beginning in 1979. During the summer between his junior and senior years at AC, Greg was selected to be a ministerial trainee in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. “I had a fabulous experience working alongside four pastors who poured into my life in various ways. As a result, the sense of calling to pastoral ministry was planted in my heart and mind.”
Greg met his wife Susan (Lang) at AC and they recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. They were married on May 13, 1984. At the time, Greg was working at Imperial High School teaching history and physical education. “We attended the Glendora congregation while I worked at Imperial and then in May 1985 I was hired as a full-time ministerial trainee, working initially with Doug Horchak and then Dennis Wheatcroft in the Glendora congregation.”
In 1987, shortly after the birth of their twin sons, Glenn and Garrett, the Williams’ family moved to Denver, Colorado, where Greg served as associate pastor until 1991. Their third son, Gatlin, was born in Denver. Then in the spring of 1991, the family moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where Greg served as the senior pastor. He continued in that responsibility until 2006. After raising three boys, Susan was pleased to add female voices and input to the family when the twins married—Glenn to Crystal and Garrett to Marlo. “Gatlin,” notes Greg, “is single and available.”
Greg said this about Susan: “Susan is so often the voice of the Holy Spirit in my life. She is able to see details that I don’t see, and has a strong gift of mercy that helps her see and respond to people’s deepest needs. The cool thing is that while responding to those needs, she doesn’t let people skirt the truth of the matter. She helps them face the sometimes-painful truth within the embrace of a loving, relational connection.”
When asked about his most memorable moments as a pastor, Greg spoke about his family. “As a family man, I’ve always taken seriously the scriptural teaching of Paul for an elder to manage well his home if he or she is going to manage one of the churches of God. My marriage is not perfect and neither are my children, but by the grace of God we have been deeply blessed and experience incredible love within our family circle. My most memorable moments were the privileged times when I baptized my three sons and experienced the pride and sense of release as I handed each of them over to the eternal care of their heavenly Father.”
One of Greg’s strengths as a pastor was in mentoring young leaders. Two of GCI’s senior pastors along with several other elders and multiple ministry leaders were mentored and trained by Greg. This commitment to raising up leaders ties in with what Greg enjoys most about being a ministry leader and soon-to-be director of CAD. “I enjoy most seeing people coming alive in Jesus and then seeing how they blossom in that growing relationship. There is nothing more enjoyable than being in community with people who know Jesus and are growing in his amazing grace and knowledge.”
When asked what he enjoys most about being part of GCI, Greg said, “The national and international relationships of some of the most interesting, loving and diverse people across God’s green earth. As Joseph Tkach Sr. often said, ‘We are family!’ And I love the GCI family.”
Speaking about when he feels closest to God, Greg said, “I certainly enjoy my ‘solo time’ when I commune with Father, Son and Spirit. But I also enjoy those times when I’m in the company of two or three other believers and the Spirit is palpably active. At such times I find myself in deep awe and especially close to the one who is the head of the church.”
In looking back, Greg says he realizes his training to be CAD’s new director started back when he was mentoring new leaders. That training, which has never stopped, was not just within GCI. “For 10 years I worked with Youth for Christ, which is an international para-church youth ministry organization. I was exposed there to cross-denominational ministry and was actively engaged in youth evangelism. I remained connected to and active in GCI during that time; however I gained rich experience that helped shape me for the duties I soon will have as CAD director.”
Greg’s passion summarizes part of his excitement for his new responsibility “I love to network people together. One of my slogans to the CAD team is this: ‘Get the right people in the room for the right meeting with the right discussion.’ Helen Keller once said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’ I refuse to engage in the mission Jesus has given us apart from the company of others, and I am pleased with the amazing people that God has placed on our team.”
Greg listed three primary goals for the CAD team:
- Provide CAD services to pastors and congregations in ways that effectively help them participate in the mission of Jesus through existing and newly birthed ministries.
- Expand from four to six administrative regions in order to more effectively serve our pastors and churches. Each of the six regional pastors, partnered with a few senior pastors in their region, will oversee 45 to 60 congregations (the new structure will be implemented in January 2015).
- Continue our progress toward becoming a church planting denomination where all congregations are partners in church planting.
Concerning the third goal, Greg commented: “The idea of ‘partnership’ speaks to who we are in GCI—an extended family with deep relational connections.”
Greg recently announced new vision and mission statements for the CAD team:
- CAD vision: We envision Christ-centered, disciple-making churches where all kinds of people in all kinds of places are equipped for building up the body of Christ through missions and ministry.
Greg commented on this vision: “It’s the same one that comes from the lips of Jesus in the New Testament, reflecting the really good news that Jesus is the living head of GCI. He is alive and leading us well!”
- CAD mission: Developing and serving pastors, who develop and serve congregations, who live and share the gospel.
Greg commented on this mission: “It centers around how we develop, support and nurture our pastors from their point of entry into pastoral ministry through their retirement. Our pastors are the CAD team’s primary ‘clients.'”