Listen to audio: https://cloud.gci.org/dl/MiscVid/Presidents-Update-June-2022.mp3
Watch video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHYqVm0kbek
GCI President Update | June 2022
You can see our Mission Statement handsomely displayed on this large wooden plaque gifted to the denomination by the UK Church in the 1990s. It looks good in our office and is a constant reminder of what God has called us to do.
Our Mission Statement – “Living and Sharing the Gospel” is historical and still spot on. This first part of the slogan is alive and vibrant. As I travel the world and meet with GCI folks, I see the fruit of the Spirit in the members. I see the amazing,
Christ-like qualities of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Our members shine brightly as they live out the Gospel in their personal lives. However, the second part of the slogan, “Sharing the Gospel” needs attention.
The good news is that when we talk to pastors in all regions around the world, no one argues against this observation. I think we have a consensus that we need to attend to this matter, and I can assure you that we are.
The theme for 2022 is “Compelled by Love” – which means being fueled and driven by the love of Christ that fills our lives to the point of spilling over to our neighbors around us. This is the only fuel that will properly operate the church in the manner that Jesus intends. Any other fuel of clever tactics or schemes that are empty of the authentic, unconditional love of Jesus will not do.
Permit me to come back to the example of Nehemiah. My mind has been captured by this story. Nehemiah’s mission was to rebuild the walls of his beloved Jerusalem. He began with prayer, seeking the Lord’s will, favor, and provision. Like Nehemiah, we acknowledge that all ventures of the church must begin with seeking the face of God, and the continued reliance on him.
The Lord answered Nehemiah’s prayer and gave him favor with the king, and the Lord worked through the king to supply the provisions (security guard for protection and then physical supplies to accomplish the project). We would call this arrangement a “strategic partnership.” We have more to learn about these types of partnerships as we journey forward.
I get ahead of myself in the story. On Nehemiah’s first trip to Jerusalem, he saw the rubble and ruins. He was “broken-hearted” and lamented. The context of the story sounds as if this was a lingering lament, not just a passing emotion. What are we lamenting? Rather than a broken wall, hopefully, our lament is lingering because of people we know who are living broken lives because they do not know the salvation and joy of a relationship with Jesus.
After the period of lament and utilizing the resources supplied by the king, Nehemiah rolled up his sleeves and got busy. Ministry is work that requires diligence and a great deal of energy and sweat. And the real genius in Nehemiah’s God-backed plan was that he was gifted to organize others and achieve the goal of including all the returning refugees. In church speak, we would call this “ –” You have probably heard me say that we are better together. It was true for Nehemiah, and it is true for you and me.
While Susan and I recently met with leaders across three of the four regions in Africa the notion of “intentionality” kept coming up. May I recommend that we be intentional in three areas? Intentional in prayer; intentional in lament; and intentional in our thought-out plans and execution. During our trip to Africa, the leaders agreed that we can’t just gather and talk about ministry concepts, these ideas need to become actions. The church needs to join the Lord of the Harvest in the white, abundant harvest field.
Speaking of ministry actions, it is my good pleasure to announce the efforts of Outside the Walls events that will be happening in the US this summer. In June we will be having OTW weekends in Grace Communion Ladson, SC, then in Grace Communion South Kansas City, MO. In July we will be on the west coast on Grace Communion River Road.
Behind the scenes, work has been happening working with the local pastors, their Love Avenue Champions, and Love Avenue team members to do the prayerful planning and preparation. Many Zoom video meetings have occurred as part of the training and preparation. Church Multiplication Ministries Coordinator Heber Ticas has been serving as a consultant for these events and the US Regional Directors have been actively involved as well. It has been “all hands on deck.” That’s how important it is for us to learn how our churches can better connect with our neighbors to spark meaningful relationships that can lead to knowing Christ and joining his church. Sharing the Gospel is a priority for us to become Healthy Churches.
These purposeful events are now upon us. Join me in a prayer of blessing…
Jesus, Lord of the Harvest and Holy Spirit the transformer of lives
We call on you our great Triune God to bless our OTW events that will happen in June and July
From the east coast to the middle of the country and the west coast
Please inspire the last-minute preparations
Bless us with comfortable, temperate weather
And most of all, please bring new people to us that we can love with your love,
and tell them about you
May each of these events be launching pads for other Love Avenue events to come in the future
We join you Lord Jesus in the Harvest Field, and we trust you for the growth
It’s in your strong and true name that we pray
I am Greg Williams, speaking about the life of the church.