Dear GCI Family and Friends,
Susan and I had the wonderful opportunity to join Australasia Superintendent Daphne Sidney and 90 or so pastors and ministry workers for a “Compelled by Love” conference. We met on Thursday and Friday with the leadership and began with training sessions in “Appreciative Inquiry,” conducted by Ambassador College of Christian Ministry (ACCM) Director John McLean. This grace-based process of how we set our minds and attitudes to think on what things are noble and good is incredibly helpful for ministry teams who are seeking to determine what is good to the Holy Spirit and to us.
John’s training set the tone for National Team members Dennis Richards and Peter Edalere to speak about the model of Team-Based Pastor-Led. This gave a great overview for how we see pastors building their teams and provided oversight as we dug into the need to have “Ministry Action Plans” (MAPs). These MAPs help teams set attainable goals that help them move toward our vision of Healthy Church and make progress toward their Three-Year Plan.
This is the first gathering Daphne has been able to host since the onslaught of COVID. The ability to meet face-to-face, to hug necks, to sing worship songs in corporate worship, to share meals, and to simply be together was met with deep enthusiasm and appreciation.
More members were able to join the celebration over the weekend, and I was able to give them a pictorial update of the GCI family around the world. Sharing faces of brothers and sisters from Africa, Canada, the US, and the UK warmed their hearts immensely. The training continued as several pastors and avenue champions shared concepts about the Love, Hope and Faith Avenues of ministry. A highlight to me was seeing that the presenters are moving beyond concepts and are growing as practitioners. They are organizing their teams, developing plans, and trying new approaches to the various ministries of the church. Dare I say that they are discovering how to better join Jesus in what he is doing in and through our expression of the local church.
During the Saturday sessions, newly ordained Pastor Helen Callaghan gave a wonderful summary of Michael Frost’s book, Surprising the World. She aptly pointed out how the instruction in the book is simple and straight-forward, and centers on how we as believers can engage the not-yet-believers through meaningful relationships. Helen pastors a small church in Sydney with mostly aging members, so she was quick to point out that age is not a factor keeping us from loving and knowing our neighbors.
As I travel the world and spend time with our GCI church family, I am refreshed and encouraged to see how the material that we are producing at the denominational level is being embraced and applied. These materials are meant to center us more and more into the relationship and ministry of Jesus, who is the center of the center. It does my heart good to see so many presenters who have grasped what we are teaching and where we are going as a worldwide denominational family. Our sole purpose is to ground ourselves in Jesus, and to build out from him as our true foundation. As we receive the faith, hope and love that originates in him, it channels through us as we reach out to a broken, hurting world.
It is a beautiful journey that we are on as a collective fellowship around the world. Read more from Daphne here. And by the way, your brothers and sisters from Australia say “G’day.”
P.S. I am extremely pleased with the good work that John McLean, Registrar Nadia Worthing, and other faculty members are doing through ACCM to equip ministry workers around the world. Please see the details in this issue of Update.