GCI Update

GCI Worship Calendar

Greg and Susan Williams

Dear Church,

By now you have likely viewed my video update inviting you to come together in the keeping of the annual cycle of worship that we call “GCI Worship Calendar.” Our denominational calendar is designed to guide and direct our worship out of the seasonal flow of celebrating the life and salvific work of Jesus. We are not simply borrowing or importing another calendar. We are endeavoring to design a calendar that our church family around the world can embrace.

The initial diagram of the annual calendar that we sent out rightly displays Jesus in the center. I especially like the outer ring that shows the progression of our Lord’s coming, life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and the continual building of his church. Is there anything greater, that we can rally around and make the focus of our praise and worship? A Christ-centered church is “Healthy Church.”

I just completed an outstanding week of meeting and planning with the GCI Superintendents. They are all enthusiastic and supportive of having a GCI Worship Calendar. However, through their wisdom and experience, they have convinced me that some of the wording of our initial design deserves reconsideration. So, we will take the necessary time to provide a revision that will allow us to move forward together.

Keep in mind, the calendar is a framework that guides us through the seasons of the life and work of Jesus. Living out of this calendar and ordering our worship must be done nation by nation, and literally congregation by congregation. There is more education to come and much more practice as we seek to make Jesus the center of our center. This is a long journey in the right direction, and I solicit your prayers as we attempt to craft a calendar that rightly represents who we are.

Please know that our desire for a GCI Worship Calendar is not a step into legalism or ancient rituals of the historical church. Pure and simple, this is a step toward Jesus, the true object of our worship. I am convicted that our GCI Worship Calendar can be unifying and life-giving to our global church, and I especially believe it will be a blessing to our children and grandchildren.

To the Glory of Jesus,
Greg Williams

GCI 2020 Denominational Celebration

Save the Date!

 

Nairobi Conference

Pastor Anthony Gachanja, regional director for East Africa, shared the following in his monthly church report.

Our GCI conference this year was held in the outskirts of Nairobi. The attendees were invited from all congregations across Kenya. We were blessed to have two attendees from our neighboring country, Uganda. The height of the conference was the commissioning of the church building in Nairobi. Both events were conducted by Kalengule Kaoma, Superintendent of Missions in Africa.

Fall Fun at Big Sandy

Saturday, October 26, Grace Communion Big Sandy hosted its annual Fun ‘n Fall festival. Pastor Jerome, Helen, and the congregation spent weeks preparing the church grounds for games and activities to bless the families in their community with wholesome fun.

It was a successful day spent connecting the church and community through fun seasonal activities. Saturday morning, the Rotary Club held its popular Waffle Breakfast at our church building. Then, after many hours of preparation and set-up, the Fun ‘N Fall carnival started. The event featured a Pecan Festival, Kid Zone, train rides, a bounce house, games and more.

Key helpers in the church and community included Rick Peterson and his team, along with the volunteers from Big Sandy High School and Elementary School, the Lions Club, Sally Allen and SFG, our Big Sandy Police Department and Mayor Parsons. It was a joyful time of fun and togetherness.

Sunday worship was led by Carlos Gutierrez and his team. They sang hymns and songs from the 17th century to the 21st century, showing the great continuity of praise and thankfulness that is a hallmark of the Body of Christ. To celebrate Pastor Appreciation month, all the pastors were honored for their service to our congregation. The Sunday service featured a heartfelt message from retired Pastor Sonny Parsons on God’s continued blessings upon us. It was a big weekend of thankfulness at Grace Communion Big Sandy.

 

 

Randy Bloom’s Retirement & Jeff Broadnax’s New Role

Randy Bloom Portrait
Randy Bloom

On Saturday, October 26th, during our Celebration in Ocean City, Maryland, surrounded by pastors and members from the Eastern part of the nation, Regional Director Randy Bloom announced his upcoming retirement. Randy has decided to step down as Regional Director on May 1, 2020. It is with some sadness and yet excitement for Randy and the next phase of his life, that I share this news with you all. 

Randy and his amazing wife Deb, have been a blessing to GCI for the past 44 years. Randy was hired as a Ministerial Trainee in 1975 and has pastored four congregations since. He has also served as a District Superintendent, Regional Pastor and currently as Regional Director. Randy was the brave soul who pioneered our Church Multiplication Ministry (CMM) and our Church Planting Ministry, for which we are eternally grateful. Thankfully, Randy is not finished serving our denomination nor the Body of Christ. Randy has been nominated and accepted a position on the GCI Board of Directors. He will also continue to be an instructor for Grace Communion Seminary. Let me give a shout out for his Church Planting Class which is outstanding, one of the best I’ve taken.

 Also at the Celebration in Ocean City, after much prayer and discussions, it was also announced that Jeff Broadnax will replace Randy as the Regional Director for the Eastern Region. Jeff is currently serving as Randy’s Associate Regional Director and is spending time getting to know the pastors and members within the region.

Jeff Broadnax Portrait
Jeff Broadnax

On May 1, 2020, Jeff will step in as the Regional Director. Jeff joins our team with many years of experience. He was ordained as an elder in 1989 and has served in pastoral positions in nine different congregations across five states from the west to east coast. He has worked with teens and young adults across the nation as well as our Generations Ministry Coordinator (GenMin). He also teaches the Trinitarian Youth Ministry class for Grace Communion Seminary. Along with Jeff, we are blessed to gain the wisdom and insight of his lovely wife Karen.  

 We are thankful God continues to provide qualified individuals who love God, this denomination and all her members. I pray you all have a blessed week.

Michael D. Rasmussen
Superintendent, North America & Caribbean
Regional Director, Central US

Transformational Team Communication Training

After a few initial training sessions in 2019, we sat down with one of our TTC leaders, Rick Shallenberger, to answer a few questions about TTC, a training experience GCI is offering leadership teams in the coming year.

What is the purpose of TTC? TTC stands for Transformational Team Communication, and that’s exactly its purpose, to help teams communicate more effectively in order to be more effective. TTC focuses on the 5 Voices we all have (Pioneer, Connector, Creative, Nurturer and Guardian), and how to use them effectively in a team environment. Though each of us has access to all five voices – or methods of communicating ideas – we also have a foundational voice, one we use more than the others. Others in the team have different foundational voices and if we encourage each person on the team to give what their foundational voice offers, the team is stronger, more productive and communicates more effectively. TTC focuses on the strengths of each voice as well as the challenges – weapons system – each voice uses under stress.

How is it helpful for leaders? About 82 percent of people feel their contribution in a meeting is undervalued or unheard. This is because some voices are stronger – louder and more forceful – than others. Some voices are future-focused while others are present-focused. By listening to all the voices in a team environment, we make fewer mistakes, better team decisions, and all feel they are part of the decision-making process. Communication increases dramatically when you believe your voice is being heard and valued. Better communication leads to better relationships, which leads to healthier leaders, which leads to healthier churches.

Will it impact members? Absolutely! When the team is communicating effectively, members also feel heard and learn to trust the team. It leads to team-based, pastor-led congregations, and members all benefit from the greater communication and relationships being built. Another plus in learning how to listen to and appreciate the strengths of each voice is that there is an increase in feeling valued and giving value to others. The tools shared in TTC will benefit leadership teams, congregations, and pastors, as we learn to listen to and value what others bring.

Bill Winn, Pastor of the Hanover, Virginia, congregation, graciously gave us a review of his experience attending TTC Training.

TTC training was eye-opening for me. The value of this training for our ministry leaders and our general congregation cannot be measured in dollars, but it took a significant financial investment for GCI to provide it, and we are grateful.

The Father, Son, and Spirit desires that our churches and our leadership teams function as healthy as they are able. TTC engages the way we each naturally communicate and seeks to call out the best expression of our voices and then to call us up to the highest level of faithfulness to the church. We at Grace Communion Hanover are immensely grateful for GCI’s investment in Transforming Team Communication.

It was like looking in a mirror. The investment GCI has made in time, finances, and human resources to provide Transforming Team Communication is of such great value that to fail to take advantage would be a tremendous loss. Thank you GCI for providing such insightful training.

TTC is transforming the way my team and I communicate. I think that’s the point. So far we are finding liberating joy in learning how to best use our voices and how to hear others in love. The generous contributions to GCI make this sort of training possible and as a direct beneficiary of those donations, I wanted to write to say thank you.

Hope

I have never played much golf. And when I did, it showed. My friend called my approach the “hit and hope method.” And he was almost right. He thought I just hit the ball, and hoped it went in the right direction. Actually, I just hoped to hit the ball.

Much of life can be this way. What passes for hope is often wishful thinking. We hope our team wins, that tomorrow is better than today. Let’s face it – these hopes often let us down. Hence the old saying, hope makes a good breakfast, but a poor supper.

Have you ever had hopes that were disappointed? That’s something we all share.

Yet this is not the biblical notion of hope. The hope of the gospel is something far more robust, lasting and life-changing – and eternal. The hope of the gospel is grounded in the person of Jesus. Paul can succinctly say that Jesus is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1).

This is a hope not dependent on circumstances, external situations, pressures and outcomes. This is a hope that transcends all situations. It is not the absence of trials, pressures or stresses, but the assurance of Jesus’ presence in the midst of these things, and indeed every part of life. It’s a hope that never disappoints. It’s participating in the life of the “God of hope” through the power of the Spirit, a hope that inspires us, and through the Spirit creates joy and peace in our innermost being. It’s the hope in our Lord Jesus Christ that enables us to endure patiently and work energetically in love for others.

May the hope of Jesus encourage, empower and guide you.

Prayer: And may we share Paul’s prayer: 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. (Romans 15:13)

John McLean Portrait

 

By John McLean
Superintendent
Carina, Australia

GCI Stories | Ottawa, Canada

Watch video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z66iAWwCG1w

GCI Ottawa is a congregation of Grace Communion International.
This church saw an influx of immigrants coming to Canada and recognized the need to help the new immigrants become integrated into society. The church walks alongside the immigrants helping them settle into their new home country as permanent Canadian citizens.

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