GCI Update

Church Health: Lessons from Timothy and Titus

Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

Have you ever noticed the relationship the apostle Paul had with his younger proteges? In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote like a father figure, calling Timothy, “my true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). In his second letter to Timothy, Paul writes more like a professor to a student: “Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, and my suffering…” (2 Timothy 3:10-11). Timothy has journeyed around the Developing Others square with Paul, knowing what he teaches, and how he conducts himself in a range of circumstances related to church life. The relationship blossomed to the place that Paul calls Timothy “my fellow worker” (Romans 16:21). He was a colleague, or as Paul was famous for saying, “a yoke-fellow.”

Paul also had a close relationship with Titus, a Greek Christian whom Paul calls, “my loyal child in the faith” (Titus 1:4). Unlike Timothy, who had grown up in the faith through his mother and grandmother, Titus was a testimony to a changed life in Jesus and how Gentiles were being grafted into the church. Titus, who spent 15 years in missionary trips with Paul, was the one who carried the second letter to the church at Corinth (“the severe letter”). Paul identifies Titus as his partner and fellow worker (2 Corinthians 8:23). Paul knew that Titus would handle matters in Corinth in the same spirit and style as himself.

There was a lot of physical movement in Paul’s role as the apostle to the Gentiles, so frequently Paul sent Timothy as his ambassador. First Corinthians 4:17 tells us Timothy was sent to Corinth to remind the people there of Paul’s ways and teachings. Paul told the believers in Thessalonica he was sending Timothy to strengthen and encourage them in their faith (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Correcting false teaching and establishing sound doctrine was always a priority (the young New Testament church had to be discipled). We also see Timothy appointing elders and establishing church administration. (Paul’s letters tell us Titus did similar work.)

In Ephesus, Paul left Timothy behind to oversee the church. Paul had given three years of attention to the church in Ephesus, and it is known as one of the healthiest of the New Testament churches.

Paul also empowered Titus, sending him to straighten out Crete. Crete was the wild frontier where the gospel had only recently arrived. Paul describes the Cretans as, “rebellious people, idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision; they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for sordid gain what it is not right to teach. It was one of them, their very own prophet, who said, ‘Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons’” (Titus 1:10-12).

Paul gave Titus a ministry action plan, “I left you behind in Crete for this reason, that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you…” (Titus 1:5). In other words, “be a living example of what a Christian should be. Don’t just go there and teach what a Christian should be like, but show them what they can be, just as you were transformed in Christ.”

What a great compliment to both Timothy and Titus that they could be trusted lieutenants who could be assigned to a church and a region that allowed them to be the second generation of leaders in the New Testament church.

Summary

What do we learn about church health from the parallel stories of Timothy and Titus?

  • Pastors/leaders have different backgrounds and different personalities. Timothy appears to be more tender-hearted and prone to melancholy, and yet an able teacher for furthering and defending the gospel. Titus seems competent and trustworthy to carry out his assignments – even if he is working with brutes and liars. Paul invested heavily in both young men.
  • Churches are in different stages of development and can differ in the challenges they face. Even mature churches will face challenges when the glory isn’t channeled back to God. We have no other choice than to work out of our present reality.
  • Discipleship is the ongoing work of the church. Sound teaching is great, but it is only impactful when the fruit of the Spirit is evident in the lives of the leaders, and they are living their lives in community with the church and neighborhood.
  • Development of future leaders will always be the ongoing work of the church. True mentoring is a lot of work and takes a lot of time – Titus traveled with Paul for 15 years. Because of Paul’s skillful, intentional development of Timothy and Titus, I am certain these men took to heart the charge from 2 Timothy 2:1-2 to purposefully pass along the faith and ministry skills they learned to other reliable men and women. Timothy and Titus could mentor well because they had been mentored well.

Titus’ successor, Andreas Cretensis, eulogized him in the following way: “The first foundation-stone of the Cretan church; the pillar of the truth; the stay of the faith; the never silent trumpet of the evangelical message; the exalted echo of Paul’s own voice” (Philip Hughes, Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians).

Titus and Timothy were excellent proteges who faithfully followed Paul as Paul walked in the footprints of Jesus. Brothers and sisters, isn’t this the same echo we want to resound in the young proteges who are under our care? May the faith go forward with the future Timothys and Tituses to come.

Dedicated to developing others,

Greg Williams

Anthony Mullins Commissioned as Southeast Regional Director, USA

Anthony & Elizabeth Mullins
Anthony & Elizabeth Mullins

In spring, Paul David Kurts, Regional Director of the U.S. Southeast Region, was offered a full-time position with the Air National Guard. It was an amazing offer he could not resist. I asked Pam Morgan to step up as the Interim Regional Director to help during this transitional period. Even though Pam already had a full-time position as Operations Coordinator in our Home Office, she graciously accepted the additional responsibilities and challenges. I am grateful to Pam for all her hard work and sacrificial love and service to the pastors and members within the Southeast. Pam has done a tremendous job of helping pastors and treasurers bring their Monthly Church Reports and Financial Reports into compliance. Pam also worked to host a fantastic Regional Celebration this summer in Charlotte, NC. Thank you Pam!

The plan was to have Pam serve until a full-time Regional Director could be identified and freed up to serve the Region. After much prayer and many discussions, I would like to announce that Anthony Mullins has agreed to serve as the Regional Director and is excited to lead and serve the pastors in this region as they join Jesus in “being the church” within your congregations and fellowship groups as well as to your neighborhood. Anthony and his wife Elizabeth have served in GCI in many capacities over the years, from being a youth pastor in Atlanta, to Director of GenMin – overseeing our regional camps, to heading up our Intern and Pastoral Resident Programs, and overseeing our GCI Coaching Program. I believe Anthony will serve well and will help share the vision we as a denomination are embracing. Please welcome he and Elizabeth in their new role of service. Anthony will step into the role on September 1.

Mike Rasmussen

Mission Trip of Firsts

The following story was written by Lee Berger about the Crossing Borders mission trip summer 2019.

Children’s home with love
Visiting the children’s home with love

Fifteen missionaries of all ages completed their 8-day mission trip across the Mexican border on June 30, 2019. In its 14th year of ministry, the group was able to come alongside a variety of indigenous pastors, children’s home directors, parachurch ministers and other servants to share the love of Christ through words and actions.

fun crafts
Making Crafts & enjoying Bible lessons

There were a number of “firsts” on this trip. Normally crossing the river border in our vans can take between 45 minutes and 3 hours each way. The daily crossings on this trip were amazingly rapid, with one crossing only taking 12 minutes—what a blessing!

One of our ministry partners had recently purchased a new piece of land to begin developing as a ministerial training center, a Christian school for neighborhood children, housing for mission teams, and more. Our Crossing Borders team was honored to be part of the groundbreaking and the first day of physically clearing the land of trash and brush.

 

Immigrants tent city in Mexico
Immigrants tent city in Mexico

For the first time, we visited a holding center for immigrants seeking to enter the U.S., with people from Cuba, Central and South America, Africa and other regions. Their stories of sacrifice to seek a better life were amazing and heart-touching.

 

Singing together
Singing together

We have assisted a Mexican pastor for many years with various outreach projects, but this was the first time we attended his Sunday morning church service. We were asked in advance to provide a special time of Bible lessons, craft projects, and fun songs for the church youth—which we gladly did! We were blessed to share a meal prepared by his members and to enjoy a time of good fellowship across cultures.

Completing repair projects
Completing repair projects

There were many more activities and special conversations during the week, each one provided by God to start or build meaningful relationships. Everyone stayed safe and well, and many people were blessed with physical necessities and encouragement that comes only from the
heart of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers and other support for this mission ministry of GCI.

 

Donating 172 pair of shoes
Donating 172 pair of shoes

God willing, we will be heading back to Mexico December 6-9. We are in need of “shoebox gifts.” Last winter our gift box totals dropped to about 800. We could use at least 1200 boxes to be able to bless the children God places in our path. If you could gather gift boxes from your neighborhood, church, club, family or any other group, they would be hand-presented
by our Crossing Borders missionaries to many needy children, along with a gospel message and lots of personal love.

See details at: https://cbmission.org/shoebox.html

Calgary’s Second Anniversary

The relaunched Grace Communion Church in Calgary, Alberta celebrated its second anniversary on July 21, 2019. There were over 30 in attendance including the President of State of the Heart Ministries, Dr. Ross Jutsum and 18 adults and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, now living in our city. This added much joy to our worship of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior who died for all.

The congregation, meeting in the Upper Room of a local community center was reminded by pastor David Sheridan of the major changes that took place two years ago after a church split – a move to Sunday morning, a new location in the heart of the immigrant quadrant of the city, a new pastor, a celebration of communion on a weekly basis and a new-found joy in the Lord.

Ross Jutsum led worship including musical pieces from two recent CDs – In Christ Alone and Music from the Heart. A heart-warming segment was having all the children come to the front and use percussion musical instruments to accompany Ross. Members enthusiastically responded to God’s love for them with a rousing rendering of How Great Thou Art!

The service ended with the cutting of an anniversary cake and a potluck meal – with a grateful heart that Jesus will come again in glory as King of kings over all nations for a worldwide celebration of joy!

David A Sheridan
Pastor, Calgary Congregation

Death of Pastor John Amadala

Portrait of John Amadala
Pastor John Amadala

We regretfully pass on the death of Pastor John Amadala, pastor of the Kitale, Kenya, congregation and member of the African National Leadership team.

According to Anthony Gachanja, Regional Director for East Africa and National Ministry Leader for Kenya, John Amadala died last week, August 12th of a suspected heart attack.  John retired from his teaching career at the end of July 2019.  He is survived by his wife, Jeniffer and four sons.  During his service in GCI, he has served as a board member, chairperson of Ecclesiastical Council of Elders and local pastor of Kitale.

Death of Linda Holladay

We were saddened to learn of the recent death of Linda Holladay, long time GCI member and wife of Pastor Charles Holladay of Bloomington, MN. A memorial service was held Saturday, August 17th at Hillcrest United Methodist Church. The following article is an excerpt from her obituary originally published here.

Linda Holladay
Linda Holladay

Linda Holladay, of Belle Plaine, passed away at her home on August 3rd, 2019. Her final weeks and days were spent surrounded by family. Though her life was shortened by ocular melanoma, the impact she made on those around her will be a lasting one. Linda was a selfless person in all aspects of the word, always thinking of others before herself, even up to the day she died. She kept a positive attitude throughout and her faith in God never wavered.

Linda was born in Wauseon, Ohio on March 15th, 1952 to Kenton and Marilyn Deily. She grew up the oldest of seven children and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of a large family. She left home to attend Ambassador College in Big Sandy, Texas where she met the love of her life, Charles Holladay. Linda and Charles married in 1976 and were blessed with four children. They moved around the country before eventually settling in Belle Plaine. Linda attended Living Grace Church, where she enjoyed playing hymns on the piano. She also enjoyed tending to her flowers and absolutely loved spending quality time with family, most notably, her grandchildren.

Linda is survived by her loving husband of 43 years, Charles Holladay; daughter Kari (Dylan) Valliere; daughter Julie (David) Wuggazer; son Andy (Tara) Holladay; son Steven (Amy) Holladay; eight grandchildren (soon to be nine); siblings Jo Ellen (Larry) Mavis; Greg Deily, Karen (David) Lintz; Wendy Karcher; Jeff Deily; Connie (Randy) Roberts; and 28 nephews and nieces. Linda was preceded in death by parents Kenton and Marilyn Deily and daughters Lindsey and Erin Holladay.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the ocular melanoma foundation. Linda’s donation page can be found at the following web address: www.ocularmelanoma.org/linda-holladay

Regional Celebration Registration

Harvest Your Blessings! Don’t miss out on registration for the North Central or East Celebration.

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

  • 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

 

Come & Drink Crusade – Nassau, Bahamas

Register Now!

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”

You are invited to join us for four days of celebration, fellowship and Christian outreach at our 12th annual Come & Drink Crusade.
It takes place at Courtyard by Marriott, Junkanoo Beach, downtown Nassau, Bahamas, October 11-14, 2019. This hotel is the ideal site for a fall get-together for the entire family. Rooms rates are $160.00 per night double occupancy, all taxes included. Space is limited, so register today.
For more information, email Robert.Mckinney@gci.org  or call (242) 424-4062.

ACCM Christian Leadership Intensive

Would you like to take a step toward becoming a healthier leader in Grace Communion International?

Consider attending the ACCM Christian Leadership Intensive in Hickory, North Carolina, on August 30-31. This two-day intensive has been carefully crafted for ministry leaders, pastors or any GCI member who desires to take a deeper dive in leadership from a Christian point of view.  Grace Communion Hickory will be the host church for this training event.

GCI President Greg Williams, wrote about ACCM, “I have used and taught the ACCM material and in my opinion they are outstanding. These classes help fulfill the ongoing educational pathway for our bi-vocational pastors, so please take advantage of this opportunity.”

If you have any questions, contact Anthony Mullins at anthony.mullins@gci.org.

A Deep Well

“A person’s thoughts are like water in a deep well, but someone with insight can draw them out” (Proverbs 20:5, GNT).

Have you ever considered the effect that a well-used bucket could have on your relationships?

The proverb above describes our purposes and motives as water in a deep well. Many of our deepest thoughts are rarely shared with others, yet they are often the driving force behind who we are and how we behave. Reasons for this lack of sharing can be many: natural reticence, lack of trust, past hurts, the belief that no one cares anyway or sheer lack of opportunity. Like the water, the deepest parts of us are not freely available, but thankfully this proverb has a second part.

In response to the metaphor of a deep well, the proverb offers hope. “But someone with insight can draw them out.” This implies that like drawing water from a well we need to take our bucket and deftly and gently drink from the depths of another person. Practically, it requires a skilled combination of time, listening and good questions, so that we can more fully understand and appreciate those with whom we rub shoulders.

God seats us in Christian community because we need to both hear and be heard by other human beings, but the benefits of understanding and applying this proverb are not just for Christians.

How many misunderstandings could be avoided if we took the time to explore, ask questions and listen to others before forming an opinion? How many deep, lasting and healing friendships could be forged if we all took the time to truly consider one another? What would be the impact on the relationships with our children if we drew out their deepest thoughts with consideration and skill?

Prayer: Father, thank you for your continual and ongoing teaching. Give us the wisdom to come alongside and take the time to really love and know those whom you have brought into our lives. Amen.

By Gill Khoury
Pastor
Red Hill, South Africa