GCI Update

Priesthood of All Believers

photo of communion
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

Martin Luther promoted the idea that every Christian believer is a priest regardless of his or her full-time occupation. He likely based this on the writings of Peter and Jude and from which comes the phrase, the “priesthood of all believers.” Ministry is for all of us. Therefore, if you are a Christian you are a priest.

Notice Peter’s words, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 NRSV).

We are all priests in that we join Jesus and participate with him in his active ministry to the world around us. As active participants with Jesus, we each play different roles as we are uniquely gifted. For example, not all Christians are called to preach or lead, yet we are all called to serve according to our giftedness. Notice what Paul says to the Christians in Rome.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:4-8 NIV)

God calls you to use your gift diligently and cheerfully. There is incredible joy in Christian service, and it is even greater when we experience this together in community.

You have probably noticed that we in GCI have been teaching and practicing “team-based” ministry. We believe we are better together. I recently heard Scott Ridout, President of Converge, make the statement, “Team will out think, out produce, and out live the individual leader.” That statement is confirmation of what we’ve been up to in GCI.

Our Media Team has produced some outstanding tools to help us better understand the concepts of team-based ministry. In the Team-Based Pastor-Led Prezi presentation, there is a slide that provides a macro view. At first view it may look like the solar system, and with further examination you see how multiple ministries flow out from the foundational venues of Faith, Hope and Love. This slide is only a basic beginning of what ministries could exist within the life of the church, and we encourage the local church to expand the expressions of ministry based on the unique giftedness of their members and the opportunities their context makes possible.

Our Lord has made you with a unique mix of spiritual gifts. When you add those gifts to the gifts of others in your fellowship group or congregation, much can be done. We can always do more together than we can in isolation because this is how God planned it. In his first letter to the Corinthians the apostle Paul makes it clear that the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts and that Jesus is Lord over the church. The church is a body made up of many parts, and God has placed us within the body as he wills. All of this is for a common good, that the Triune God gets the glory and that the church is built up.

In our divine participation, we are also called to participate with one another. So, brothers and sisters, I encourage you to diligently and cheerfully take your place in the body and together, we can all take another step forward into Healthy Church.

Joining all GCI priests,

Greg Williams

Updates in Hyderabad (India) and Nepal

Nepal

Asia Superintendent Eugene Guzon together with Regional Director for the Indian Subcontinent Daniel Zachariah flew from India to Kathmandu and Taplezung, Nepal, for pastoral visits and a series of meetings with ministry partners there. Over the last 15 years, our denomination has been involved in some medical outreach work, children’s ministry and leadership training with a ministry partner in Kathmandu.

Opportunities for participating in God’s work in the Indian Subcontinent are being explored to deepen our relationships and strengthen our participation in living and sharing the gospel in Nepal.

Prayers are needed for the work in Nepal to thrive and for the encouragement of Christians even in the face of mounting challenges. We ask for prayers for wisdom, protection of Christian leaders and members.

Hyderabad leaders meetings and Easter celebrations

Superintendent Eugene Guzon visited Hyderabad, India, for a Good Friday service and Communion, leadership meetings and an Easter celebration from April 18-21, 2019.

He was assisted by Regional Director Daniel Zachariah, who organized personal and group meetings with the Hyderabad leadership team on Saturday, April 20.

The Easter celebration was very encouraging as 52 members and guests enjoyed excellent breakfast meals together, the warm fellowship and worship.

Prayers are requested for the continued health of the congregations in India, and for guidance and direction of pastoral teams as they conduct their strategic planning and leadership training in the next few weeks.

– Eugene Guzon and Daniel Zachariah

West African Leadership Conference

From left to right around the table: Kalengule Kaoma, Nsama Kaoma, Gardner Kunje, Margaret Okai, Emmanuel Okai, Greg Williams, Takalani Musekwa, Margaret Musekwa, Jane Gachanja, Anthony Gachanja

Greetings from our brothers and sisters in Africa!

Greg Williams, GCI President and Mat Morgan, GCI Secretary-Treasurer recently participated in the West African Leadership Conference held in Accra, Ghana. Formal meetings were attended by Kalengule and Nsama Kaoma, Superintendent of Africa, Emmanuel and Margaret Okai, Regional Director of West Africa, Gardner Kunje, Regional Director of Central Africa, Takalani and Margaret Musekwa, Regional Director of South Africa along with other pastors, spouses and members from West African
countries.

What a privilege and blessing to see how devoted GCI members are participating with Jesus in this part of the world where exciting things are happening! While there, we shared and learned from helpful presentations on the theme of “healthy church,” and participated in lively worship with our brothers and sisters from West Africa, including Ghana, Benin, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo. Some members from other West African countries were not able to attend due to visa complications, cost and other travel realties. Although absent, they remain in our thoughts and prayers.

President Williams, Superintendent Kaoma, and Regional Director of West Africa, Emmanuel Okai dedicated a new church building in Katunse, just outside Accra, that also served as our meeting place part of the conference. The building is beautiful and modern, sitting on about 15 acres of land that also contains a school, a soccer field, apartments and other church support facilities. Papaya, coconut and other trees populate the property, which is dotted with healthy goats and chickens.

We are happy to report that the members in Ghana are enthusiastically participating with Jesus in sharing the gospel as a vibrant and healthy expression of him. The Katunse church is a shining example of a healthy church that is developing leaders, planting churches and has developed a local financial infra-structure that supports Gods’ work in that region. They are planting new congregations around Accra. Eight of 11 churches in Ghana now have their own buildings. We thank God for what he is doing through his servants in this area and for their example of living and sharing the gospel in this healthy church environment.

After the conference ended, we were able to visit the newly planted Cape Coast church facility and pray with pastor Pastor Isaac Bright Buckman and his wife Lois, Deacon Earnest Dadzie and his family, and Mr. Sam Ofori. They are celebrating their new building, still under construction, and looking forward to sharing the good news about Jesus in this community, not far from the infamous slave castles.

Thank you for your prayers for our brothers and sisters who live so far away, but who we are closely connected with through the love and hope that comes only from Jesus. We are all GCI!

– Mat Morgan

Crossing Borders Participation Opportunities

Crossing Borders provides twice-a-year mission trips into Mexico.  Here are some important reminders and requests:

  1. We have openings for anyone age 15-99 to come along on our summer mission trip to Mexico.  Our 27th trip will be June 22-30.  Please consider for yourself and let others know about this opportunity.  Details at:  www.cbmission.org
  2. We are in need of a camp host(s) for the summer trip — one or two people to stay at camp on the U.S. side of the border and cook meals and do some laundry.  Very important support for the mission trip!  Let us know of anyone interested and we can discuss in more detail.
  3. For our winter trip Dec. 6-9, we are in need of additional shoebox gifts for the children in Mexico.  We thank God for those in various churches, clubs, school groups, neighborhoods who send/bring us shoebox gifts every year.  But our number of boxes has decreased lately, and we could use an additional 400-500 boxes.  Could you organize a group to pack and send gift boxes that we hand-deliver to needy children in Mexico?  For more info, click on Shoebox tab at: www.cbmission.org.

Feel free to call Lee Berger with any questions:  903-746-4463

GCI Ghana Building Dedication

Dedication of Ghana Church Auditorium by Dr. Greg Williams, GCI President

On Resurrection Sunday, April 21, 2019, history was made when the President of Grace Communion International, Dr. Greg Williams, unveiled the commemorative plaque to officially dedicate Ghana’s GCI Church Auditorium on the church’s 15-acre property at Kutunse, 20 kilometers north of Accra, Ghana’s capital city. The facility, which was started in the early 1980s as a small meeting place for Spokesman’s Club, has undergone several changes, climaxing in its current two story 1,000 seater capacity form.  It was funded from donations from our members in Ghana and from resources of the national church.

Pastor Williams, in dedicating the facility prayed for God’s blessings on the members who would use it for God’s glory.  He was assisted by Pastor Kalengule Kaoma, GCI Superintendent of African Missions and me.

Prior to the dedication, Pastor Kaoma officially unveiled the GCI Africa cloth which was “outdoored” and used for the Resurrection Sunday service, which was attended by 585 members (including 104 children).  374 members participated in the Communion service that was led by Pastor Takalani Musekwa.

Pastor Emmanuel Okai

LiLY Women’s Conference

LilY Women's Conference

The Edgehill Community Church (GCI) LiLY Conference was held April 26-28, 2019.  The Conference was a huge Holy Spirit-filled success. Ninety women and teens came to the Embassy Suites in Beachwood, Ohio, and experienced our theme “Joy Intact” based on  Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

LilY Women's ConferenceThe praise and worship during the weekend was powerful and transforming.  We spent time journaling and getting to know each other.

We were reminded that we are God’s masterpiece with a story of our own to tell by Vicki Hart from Cincinnati. While Gail Dudley of Columbus spoke of how we should place ourselves in a position to be ready to receive an abundant life, by being full participants in what God is doing and clothing ourselves with strength,  putting on clothes of praise, shaking off the dust, rising up, sitting at his throne and freeing ourselves through Christ Jesus.

LilY Women's ConferenceTammy Mason Johnson of Cleveland led our teens the entire weekend in getting to know what it means to have “Joy Intact” with Jesus as the focus. On Sunday Tamar Gray, Assistant Pastor of Edgehill Community Church, wrapped up the weekend with a reminder of things that block our joy and how to recognize and avoid these pitfalls.

Next year’s LiLY women’s conference will be April 24-26, 2020.  We are excited to see what God has in store for us.

Regional Celebration Registration

Harvest Your Blessings! Don’t miss out on registration for the North Central 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

 

Devotional – Perseverance

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

In the face of persecution and the spectre of death, Paul writes to the believers at Thessalonica to help strengthen their faith and encourage them of the glorious return of Christ.

He reminds them that God is so committed to us that he himself works in our lives and performs the sanctifying and redeeming work that we desperately seek.  His work in our lives is so complete that his cleansing touch reaches every fibre of our being: spirit, soul and body.  Being made in the image of God, we are trinitarian beings in microcosm having diverse faculties of spirit, soul, body – yet united in and as one fundamental person, like a single, seamless fabric.  The “fall” affected every aspect of our being. Nevertheless, our God of peace will restore the inner peace that will resonate the fullness of life within us.

As we wait upon our Lord, who will surely come, let us be assured that our God remains committed in restoring us to the glorious creation that he meant us to be.  The process of sanctification is not a “do-it-yourself” program but the dynamic activity of Father Son Spirit in our lives.   Let us be encouraged to submit, participate and persevere in the restoring work of our creator. “The glory of God is a human being who is fully alive,” said St. Irenaeus.

Prayer:  Thank you Lord, that your love is so vast that you remain committed to see me restored to the fullness of life.  Thank you for reaching into the very depths of my being and removing the brokenness to ultimately reflect your life and love through me.  Help me to remain faithful and allow your cleansing work in my life.

 

By Danny Zachariah

We Are GCI Series – Jonathan Martinez

Watch video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdnzVhvjISY

We Are GCI Series is a collection of videos where various GCI leaders and members are highlighted.
In this episode, GCI Pastor, Jonathan Martinez, is joined by his beautiful family and shares a little about himself and why he likes to serve in GCI and in what ways he connects the most with God.

May 2019 Prayer Guide

Click the image below to access the May 2019 Prayer Guide.


Al Barr Celebration of Life Ceremony

The Celebration of Life memorial service for Pastor Allan Barr, will be held on Saturday, May 25, 2019, 11:00 a.m. at:

Liberty Baptist Church
1077 Highway 314
Fayetteville, GA 30214