The GCI Home Office works to serve our dedicated pastors, who shine brightly in their neighborhoods. Here are some words of appreciation from a few of our Denominational Leaders.
Eugene (and Lulu) Guzon
Superintendent, GCI Asia
Thank God for our Pastoral teams! In the last 20 years, our local churches, and our districts in the Philippines has been led almost totally by our lay pastoral teams. They continue to serve our congregations nationwide with selfless dedication and humility. We thank you, dear pastoral teams – our front liners of the faith, for responding to God’s call to serve our 70 congregations and about 30 fellowship groups towards our journey of becoming healthy churches.
We are grateful for your participation in worship, making disciples, and for reaching out to your communities demonstrating God’s love for them in many untiring ways. We are grateful to you for continuing to serve even in the face of many challenges and limited resources, yet abundant in faith and love for our great Triune God. Many of you continue to serve even in your senior years and some, even up to their last breath. I am blessed to have you all as friends and beloved co-workers in God’s work. I pray that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit renew your strength, sustain your passion, and refresh you always to live out and share the good news of Jesus Christ. May he bless you, your families and your communities exceedingly, abundantly. We need you; we love you and appreciate you all! On behalf of the churches and communities you care for, and the greater GCI family, we affectionately commend you all before God!
Isaiah 41:10 TPT
“10 Do not yield to fear, for I am always near. Never turn your gaze from me,[a] for I am your faithful God. I will infuse you with my strength and help you in every situation.[bI will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.”
October is Pastors Appreciation Month, and I am reminded of the privilege of working with you and your pastoral teams to participate with our Lord Jesus in his mission to the world.
You all serve Christ in unique circumstances in Asia, often challenging and difficult. Your dedication, loyalty, and humility towards the people under your care would surely be seen and felt by them, and most importantly, by our Lord himself.
It is a joy to see you and other leaders in the Asian region working together in unity and harmony. I am touched and edified by your friendship and exemplary servant leadership. The motto from GCI Home Office of “High Challenge, High Support, Grace Always” is something we can aim for.
I can find no more fitting words of encouragement and motivation than those of the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2: 19-20: “For what is our hope or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.”
May God’s blessings be upon you in participating with Christ’s ministry.
What a year 2020 has been! A difficult one for everyone – members and Pastors alike. Pastors have had to forego their usual spot at the pulpit and instead speak into tiny cameras and quickly acquire all kinds of zooming skills. There was no theology course to prepare them for Pastoring Pandemically…
Ministry has taken on new ways of serving, via zoom, telephone calls, masked and socially distanced visits depending on the regulations of the area. And maintain vigilance in keeping up with the latest Covid announcements and requirements.
One outstanding thing I have noticed with our Pastors is their deep desire to serve their churches and keep connected with the members, no matter what the circumstances hold! Their love for their congregations overflows through their conversations and activities they are able to undertake.
Eugene Peterson draws an analogy of members being like hikers who walk through the high country and come across magnificent views. Along the way of course there are valleys and fatigue and hunger set it. The Pastor is likened to the one who brings refreshment and recovery in the spiritual environment. The weekly services can be likened to refreshment stops providing spiritual nourishment, “bread from heaven” and refreshing waters to help rejuvenate and inspire the hikers to continue their journey through the week. The Pastor is also there to provide comfort and preside over funerals when a loved one passes, or anoint and pray for the sick, and compassionately work with the hurting and broken-hearted. The Pastor is a joyful part of the celebrations of life, conducting weddings, baptisms, the blessing of children – such an integral part of the life and journey of members.
J.B. London who was known as a ‘Pastor to Pastors’ preached his final sermon, aptly entitled – “Pastors Are People Too” Interesting that he preached this message at the end of his years, most likely with the loss of his youthful energies and the dawning and acceptance of his human frailties and mortality. These beg a deeper connection with life and loved ones and are often very productive years. That’s one thing I have noticed with our retired Pastors – they just keep on serving! Their wisdom and experience is a great blessing to those they are mentoring and serving.
And yes, pastors are people too — they have feet of clay, believe it or not, and they do get tired and sometimes grumpy…well, just a little. It’s always an encouragement to know that Jesus in His humanity grew weary in His travels, sitting beside the well for shade and refreshing water (John 4:6,7). Pastors too need to have that time – time out to sit at the well, time to drink in deeply of the living waters so that they are renewed. It is out of the ‘deep well’ of the life of Jesus Christ in them, that they serve. Their work is a participation in the work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As shepherds, they point people to the Good Shepherd, the ultimate source of spiritual nourishment and life. What a joy and responsibility they carry. Thank you for your prayers for them. The greatest gift you can gift a Pastor with, is yourself. And that’s one thing I have noticed with our members — loving and faithful members who show up regularly, who participate in the life of the church – who support and pray for the church and the generations to come — what a blessing you are to your Pastor. Thank you!
As October is Pastor Appreciation Month, most of all, thank you for your prayers for our pastors and their families. Perhaps you would like to find some practical ways to express appreciation for your Pastors as well. A card or note of encouragement always goes a long way, or any other creative ideas you may think of. I would like to conclude with Paul’s words to the church in Thessalonica: Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other [I Thess 5:12-13].
 E. Peterson: Five Stones for Pastoral Work, Grand Rapids Michigan 1980
Words cannot express my deep appreciation for all of you! You are amazingly resilient servants of our Lord! This year has been difficult to say the least and yet you have all maintained great attitudes and stayed focused on how you can join Jesus in being the Church. You have been creative in how you have stayed connected to your members and your neighbors, even though we have had to physically distance most of the year. I can’t imaging working alongside a more dedicated group of servant leaders. Please know that in the darkest of times, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are often making the greatest transformation of hearts and minds. We are not alone or without the great love and guidance of the One who makes a way where there seems to be no way. Please know that you are loved and valued, not just by the leadership of the denomination, but by our Lord and Savior Himself.