Hello Brothers and Sisters,
Even during COVID, it’s important we continue to seek God for his direction and continue to plan and strategize as we see the Holy Spirit leading. We cannot pause and wait for COVID to die completely to be about the Father’s business. Jesus hasn’t stopped his ministry of leading and loving, and neither should we. We may need to think outside our old ways of doing things and remain flexible, but we need to keep moving forward as best we can.
In November, leaders from across the nation gathered in Oklahoma City, OK, for our 2021 U.S. Planning Meetings. Those attending included Greg Williams (President), Mathew Morgan (Chief Financial Officer), Pam Morgan (Operations Coordinator), Michelle Fleming (Media Director), Cara Garrity (Development Coordinator), Dishon Mills (GenMin Director and pastor), Jeff Broadnax (East Regional Director), Anthony Mullins (Southeast Regional Director), Rick Shallenberger (North Central Regional Director, Tim Sitterley (West Regional Director and myself (North America and Caribbean Superintendent).
We gathered to pray and evaluate how things have been progressing within the United States and how we can be more effective in casting GCI’s vision and strategies of Team Based/Pastor Led, Love Faith and Hope Avenues, etc. We discussed how we can come alongside our dedicated pastors and fellowship group facilitators to provide the high support and high challenge as well as the tools to make their jobs as easy and clear as possible. Discussions included events for 2022, including Love Avenue training and tools, a development and resource catalog for GCI leaders, 2023 Denominational Celebration, and what our congregations will look like in the future as “hybrid” congregations who not only host face-to-face worship services, but also live digital worship services for their online members.
We discussed how we can better love and disciple our online members beyond just providing a weekly online service. Many of these challenges will take more than a couple days of meetings, and we don’t have all the answers, but we are confident the Holy Spirit knows exactly how we can best “be his church” in the months and years to come. If we keep our hearts and minds open to his lead, we will find his way forward. God is very faithful!
As part of being the church we took one afternoon to do some physical work in the Ministry Training Center in Surrey Hills. We swept floors, helped install new lights and picked up trash around the property. This is something that the constructions company pays someone to do each week. By pitching in and doing these things we saved money that can be put to use in better ways in the new building. We all got a bit dirty but we were so glad to be able to participate in what is happening in the build.
I want to thank all who gathered for these meetings, but I also want to thank all our pastors and fellowship group facilitators who have been faithful for many years and even decades for being flexible and creative in how to be the church during this pandemic and as we move forward.
I love and appreciate you all!
Michael D. Rasmussen
Superintendent, North America & Caribbean
Regional Director, Central US