GCI Update

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Greg and Susan Williams

When I recently toured the Holy Land nothing was more striking and mind-expanding than standing on the Mount of Olives and imagining the myriad of thoughts racing through the mind of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem in the final week of his earthly ministry.

He expressed this poignant lament – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37 ESV).

Jesus expresses tremendous sorrow that Israel continually rejects God’s call for repentance and refuses to embrace the Kingdom of God. Even more personal is their rejection of him as their promised, true Messiah – even as he intermingled with them, displaying miraculous acts of incredible kindness, revealing to them the deep teachings of God, and sharing gracefully in all aspects of life.

The metaphor used by Matthew likens the Godhead to a mother hen (a rare biblical use of a feminine image for God). The image of a mother hen whose intent is to gather, nurture and protect her offspring. It fits well with Jesus’s words about his impending crucifixion – “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32 ESV). Uniting all people to himself – in a relationship of total forgiveness and pure love – was his purpose then and for all time.

What did Jesus see from the Mount of Olives that day? Perhaps the temple, the center of worship, with people scurrying about from court to court attending to daily sacrifices? Did he envision through his eyes of deity the days of old with Abraham bringing Isaac to the altar for slaughter? Or was he looking forward in time, to the scenes I saw of the crowds gathered at the Western Wall in a cacophony of prayer? I believe it was all of the above, and more.

From our vantage point on the Mount of Olives we located the movement of Jesus from the area of the Last Supper and upper room from the south of the city, down into the Garden of Gethsemane in the Kidron Valley (the garden of “thy will be done”). It was in the garden where Jesus was arrested. He was then taken back to the south of the city to the house of Caiaphas the high priest, where he was tried by the Sanhedrin. There he was, beaten and spent part of the night in a cold, dark dungeon beneath the house. On Friday morning he was sent to Pontius Pilate at the Antonia Fortress on the north side of the temple mount; then he was bounced back to Herod at his palace in the city, and then back to Pilate before he was taken outside the city wall to hang on the cross from noon until 3:00 pm.

We could take in the geography of the events from the Last Supper, the kangaroo trial, the agony and eventual execution of Jesus from our vantage point on the Mount of Olives, and yet our view didn’t compare to what Jesus must have taken in from that same spot. The moment of his melting heart for Jerusalem signaled his passion and the salvific events that would unfold. Our moment at the mount was a restored heart that signaled our strong, uncontrollable emotion for acceptance – to embrace and worship the Jesus that has been drawing us all along.

May your Holy Week services and your celebration of Easter join your heart even closer to the one who conquered death and the grave, and who continues to draw all people to himself.

GCI Site Searchability

In an effort to make our resources more accessible, we have added a search feature in GCI.org that allows you to search all of our sites at the same time, including Equipper, Update, and Resources.GCI.org.

As shown in the image below, to search a keyword or phrase, click on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of the page. A search bar will open, and you can type into it, revealing relevant resources and articles from our database. Please refer to the following image for a visual guide.


ACCM Intensive Course at Celebration West

This follow-up article was written by Anthony Mullins, GCI National Coordinator in charge of developing Pastoral Residents, Interns and Coaching. Anthony led an ACCM Intensive course on Christian Leadership directly following the Regional Celebration West on April 8 and 9.

We concluded the Portland intensive with ten credit students and one audit.  It was a highly participatory atmosphere with rich interaction.  I focused our time on the Christology of our Leader, Servant-Leadership, Team-Based Leadership, Coaching, Healthy Pastoral Leadership in the Community, and Formation.

I began the teaching by stating my motivation; they would all become a little better in their ministerial calling.  What excites me is ten of the eleven participants requested to have a GCI-certified coach as a result of the class.  It’s outstanding to know they will have the guidance, perspective, and accountability that comes with coaching, going forward.  Several of them are currently working on a Ministry Action Plan.

The participants were highly complimentary of the depth of the workbook material.  Well done ACCM team!

LiLY Women’s Conference

LiLY logoThe Women of Edgehill Community Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio would like to invite you to their 16th Annual LiLY (Living Life for You) Conference “Joy Intact,” held April 26th-28th, 2019 at the Embassy Suites in Beachwood, Ohio.

This is a weekend filled with wonderful worship, inspired speakers, lots of laughs and simply enjoying the presence of the Lord.  The conference is attended by a diverse group of women and teens (Bonfire Sessions for ages 13-17) from every stage on their journey. We come from different churches and denominations.  We are about meeting at the feet of Jesus and making him known.

We keep the registration prices low, meals are included, and you can fill your suite with up to six women to cut the cost of the hotel.  This is a great opportunity for you, your family or group of friends to come together and share a weekend in Christ with no judgment or expectations.

Follow the link for more information. http://www.edgehillcc.org/lily

Tamar Gray, Assistant Pastor
Edgehill Community Church
Cleveland, Heights Ohio

Regional Celebration Registration

Making plans for summer? Don’t miss out on registration for the Southeast Celebration.

In 2019, GCI will host Regional Celebrations in the USA:

  • June 7 – 9: Central – Dallas, TX
  • June 21 – 23: Southeast – Charlotte, NC
  • September 27 – 29: North Central – Noblesville, IN
  • October 25 – 27:  East – Ocean City, MD

Click the image below to for more information and registration options.
Regional Celebrations 2019 Banner


GCI Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to our winning photographers: Matthew Arquero, Lucas James Malmkar, and Laura Griffin Hayden!

1st Place - Matthew Arquero
1st place – Matthew Arquero
2nd place - Lucas Malmkar
2nd place – Lucas Malmkar
3rd place - Laura Hayden
3rd place – Laura Hayden
To view more photos from the contest, click on the image above.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first GCI Photo Contest. Stay connected for future contests and events!

Devotional – Peace Be With You

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).

In what is commonly known as the “farewell discourse,” Jesus tells his followers what they should expect to transpire in the near future. But he tells them—as well as his followers in the 21st century, to not be discouraged, for he will give them Comforter, who will dwell with them (verses 16-17). The “peace” he mentions is a rendering of Shalom, which was used as a greeting and as a farewell. But more than a greeting it gives a sense of wholeness or completeness.

This Shalom/Peace was again mentioned by Jesus when he appeared to his disciples behind the locked doors after his crucifixion. He then breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit (John 20:19-22).

Like those disciples, we are often confronted by stress, fear or simply overwhelmed by our day-to-day lives. That’s when we need to turn those moments over to the Holy Spirit, and live in this Shalom/Peace. It is that shalom/peace that wraps around us like a young child wrapped up tightly in her baby blanket when the night is cold or she is in need of comforting.

Prayer: Jesus and Spirit, help us to give our stresses and fears over to you. Surround us with your wholeness and may we feel your comfort to be able to weather the storms of life.  


By Bill Hall, National Director – Canada

We Are GCI Series – Pastor Profile – Anthony Walton

We Are GCI Series is a collection of videos where various GCI leaders and members are highlighted.
In this episode, GCI Pastor, Anthony Walton, shares a little about himself with why he likes to serve in GCI and how his guilty pleasure has zero guilt.