Vibrancy

Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

Throughout my letters and articles, you’ll notice I continually circle back around to the vision of Healthy Church. With Jesus as our chief cornerstone, Healthy Church is the clear path that the Holy Spirit is taking GCI. I am pleased there is enthusiastic support for this journey forward.

As I travel the globe building relationships and sharing a vision with pastors and churches in the 78 countries where GCI has a presence, I have my eyes open to Healthy Church sightings. I recently had multiple sightings on my trip to Accra, Ghana.

Under the leadership of African Superintendent Kalengule Kaoma and Regional Director of West Africa Emmanuel Okai, we held a wonderful three-day conference over the Easter weekend. During our leadership meetings, while sharing a story of one of the healthier churches in his region, Pastor Okai used the alluring word “vibrant.”

Vibrant means: energetic, bright and full of life. Energetic in the sense that there is passion and determination; bright refers to being brilliant, attractive and striking; full of life implies a life that is stimulating, dynamic, and life-giving. Vibrant is a powerful adjective to describe healthy church.

I quizzed Emmanuel on what factors fed into the vibrancy of the church he was praising, and he didn’t hesitate. He spoke freely about the following attributes:

  1. This church is not only multi-generational, but they also have active families with youth. Did you get that? Families where parents and children are actively participating and serving in the life of the church.
  2. There is outstanding worship with lively worship music. Not just a few songs that serve as an introduction for the sermon to come, but music where people are singing loudly, passionately and from their hearts. In Africa, the worship includes all ages dancing up the aisles to the front, waving their handkerchiefs, and worshipping with their entire being.
  3. Vibrancy hinges on the value of including all members in places where they best fit, with an eye on the younger emerging leaders. Emmanuel is keen about seeing the existence of “farm systems” where younger leaders are being groomed to take on significant roles in the church. This is more than a value or system; this is a culture that is formed over time.

I loved how Emmanuel shared these signs of health and vibrancy. He was passionate in wanting the other leaders to move in this direction, and I am fully on board with this goal. A great reminder he shared with the group is that many of our younger ones hold responsible positions in their workplace, and yet we tend to hold them back from greater responsibilities in the church. He asked the group “How old were you when you were ordained or asked to pastor your first church?” It gave me pause to think. I was 26 when I was ordained an elder, and I pastored my first church at age 30. I am grateful I was given the opportunity to participate in ministry at an early stage in my life.

I encourage you to thoughtfully consider these attributes of vibrancy. I invite you to join me in the quest to identify even more signs of good health as we live out a Christian life in this community called church.

Praying for a vibrant GCI,

Greg Williams

6 thoughts on “Vibrancy”

  1. Greg,

    I much appreciate the thought provoking points. I have always felt that our local congregations should be multi-generational and that we ought to be careful not to overly „compartmentalize“ our congregants into special interest groups that may become isolationist. Healthy church, so it seems to me, is a church where side by side Christians and „yet to become Christians“ of all ages and backgrounds can experience true Spirit led community.

    Regarding leadership opportunities in our church I think that perhaps we need to keep on working on setting aside prejudices. At the end of the day age is a secondary factor. God calls people of all ages into leadership positions. We should not shun youth and we should not shun the „elders“ (meaning those of a more advanced age). The Lord places us in His Body according to our given gifts. Every member is precious and a „leader“ is some way.

    Thanks so much for all you do.

    Every blessing,
    Santiago

  2. Thanks Greg for telling us about this vibrant church group in Ghana and how they all are participating. The joy they have received in the Lord is evident. This joy knows no age, gender or nationality, but joins us all together in One! Thru Jesus Christ by His Spirit we now are full of joy, peace and His Righteousness! Because He exist we exist. God now has called us to Preach Him to the World, the Good News for Everyone! Our health or vibrancy depends on us being used to Proclaim Him and as He Wills, He will add to His vibrant church full of life as He shares Himself with us now. 1 Jn 5:12, Eph 1:9-10

  3. Hi Greg.
    How invigorating it is to witness the vibrant congregations in Africa, making quite a change from worship in some of the smaller groups in Europe. The love of Christ is in us all but is expressed more actively on the African continent. Hope you can visit more members there, who would love to see you in person.
    Keep up the great work you have taken on!
    John

  4. Greg, thanks for sharing Ghana and vibrancy. I believe our very formal western churches have lots to learn from areas where there is aliveness and participation among all generational ages. We honor our cultural uniqueness but need to be open to learn from one another,

  5. When vibrancy lives within each of us as Christians, collectively, it will live explosively, within the Church and reach out to others. Vibrancy as a group or congregational attribute, starts with each and everyone of us as individuals. Vibrancy then, as a contagion, will be shared with others.

  6. Healty churches start with healty leaders. I have read several of the GCI Update articles. Your willingness to share your strengths and weaknesses is very inspiring. May we as leaders be willing to face our weaknesses and utilize our strengths to allow Jesus through the Holy Spirit create healthy chuches throughout our denomination. May Jesus bless your vision of healthy churches throughout GCI. Amen!

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