This “From the President” letter is from GCI Vice President Greg Williams.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Shortly after our Denominational Conference in Orlando, GCI President Joseph Tkach and I were on what we call a “field trip”—an extended lunch to talk and share. On the drive to the restaurant, Joe looked over at me and said the time had come for him to decrease and for me to increase. His plan is that I “ride shotgun” alongside him throughout 2018, gradually taking on the duties of GCI President. This transition plan calls for me to write half of the GCI Update cover letters (like this one) and to be a guest presenter on our Speaking of Life program (click here to watch one). It is humbling and exciting to be on this journey, and I am thankful for Joe’s guiding hand. In this letter, I want to share some of the details of what lies ahead.
A major focus for us in the Home Office over the next few months is our move to Charlotte, the “Queen City” of North Carolina. After being in California for 70 years, we’re relocating 2,400 miles to the east, where we’ll be housed in the office building pictured below. We refer to the move as MOCHA (short for MOve to CHArlotte), and since it will be completed in April (only three months away!), we’re calling it MOCHA express!
MOCHA express involves a good deal of physical and mental exertion as we reconfigure Home Office operations to fit the new location: Is the server working? Where is the copy room? How do I get a cup of coffee around here? Then there are the many personal adjustments related to setting up new homes in Charlotte: Where is the post office? What’s the best grocery store? Who can I trust to work on my car? What’s the best route to the office?
Reconfiguring the Home Office team
The move also brings the emotional challenge of saying good-bye to California friends, family and some long-time GCI employees who are retiring or not making the move for other reasons (Joe will share details in a future issue of GCI Update). These changes in the Home Office team will leave some big holes that will need to be filled by adding new responsibilities to the employees who are relocating and by adding some new faces to the team. While it will be exciting to bring in some younger employees, it will also be a challenge to find our new “operational balance” as we land in North Carolina.
Strengthening international connections
A big challenge I face in preparing to take on the mantle of GCI President, is to gain greater insight into GCI’s international operations. I’m grateful that over the last four years I’ve been able to attend Joseph Tkach’s annual planning meeting with our international Mission Developers and National Leaders. These fine men and women have graciously accepted me, and I feel like I already have a strong, collegial connection with most of them. I look forward to getting to know all of them better as we partner together in the gospel work of Jesus.
I’m already laying the groundwork for what lies ahead. I’m surveying the international leaders to gain their insights and knowledge related to needed modifications to structures and working rhythms. I’m also making plans for the 2018 international planning meeting to be held in Charlotte in October. During this year, I’ll be making three strategic international trips to help me understand more clearly how the Lord is moving within GCI around the globe. I’m tremendously excited to have a direct part in all of this.
Passing the baton
In my work as Director of GCI-USA Church Administration and Development (CAD), I’ve greatly enjoyed making deep investments into the CAD team. I have great confidence in these trusted brothers and sisters, and can easily brag about the good job each is doing in serving our U.S. pastors and churches. Though I will still be available to the CAD team, what we’ve achieved together over the past three years makes it possible for me to focus more of my time within what Joe calls the exchange zone—the area on the track where, in a relay race, one runner passes the baton onto the next.
As I write, what lies ahead feels a bit weighty. Yet, because of Joe’s guidance, and the assistance of the other good people surrounding me, it also feels like a good fit. I have the peace of God that truly does pass human understanding. Thank you, Holy Spirit!
I solicit your prayers for Joe and for me as we traverse through our exchange zone, preparing to pass the leadership baton between us at the end of this year. I ask that you be in prayer concerning the many transitions that will be happening throughout 2018. Joe and I deeply appreciate those prayers, feeling in a tangible way the energy and comfort they provide.
With great appreciation,
Greg Williams, GCI Vice President