GCI Update

President’s Video – Pastor Appreciation

As we’re finishing 2022, GCI President Greg Williams summarizes some steps that we can take next as we move forward in our vision of Healthy Church and participating with Christ in his ministry.

To check out the Place-sharing series Greg mentions, please visit gci.org/placesharing

Program Transcript


GCI President Update | October 2022
Greg Williams

We are finishing up our 2022 theme of Compelled by Love. Please realize that we don’t stick this in a file and move on to the next thing. In fact, we have recently produced a video series on the art of “Place-sharing.” I highly recommend that all our members check this out, and it would especially be important for our pastors and ministry leaders to engage with this learning.

What if? (I’m known for that introductory question). What if Love Avenue Champions and Love Avenue Teams really dug in on this learning? I believe this can truly enhance how we approach our mission of Living and Sharing the Gospel.

Sunday, October 9th is celebrated as Pastor Appreciation Day (some use the month of October to say kind words and offer gestures of appreciation). As President of GCI, let me say a huge Thank You to our pastors! Your role is day in and day out, and it is true that ministry never sleeps. I love what Paul says about elders in his letter to Timothy:

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” 1 Timothy 5:17 (English Standard Version)

In my spirit of gratitude please indulge me to offer some words of explanation as well. Last year Superintendent Mike Rasmussen and the US Regional Directors shared an updated job description for the job of pastor. It is summarized in the 4Es – Engage, Equip, Empower and Encourage. These are the areas of emphasis that Paul spoke about in the development of the saints within the community of the church. These focus areas are crucial if GCI is to become a family of Healthy Churches that effectively operate as “A Priesthood of All Believers.”

Pastoring will have a general feel of recruiting, training, entrusting, and coaching a team. Hence our ministry model of “Team-Based Pastor-Led.” I am sure that many of our pastors felt a sense of “High Challenge” when this new job description came out. You clearly saw the sharper laser focus. Please be reminded that in GCI, when we bring “High Challenge” that we will also bring “High Support.”

The first line of support is your Regional Director to walk with you as you shed some old ways of operating and try on new practices. GCI is also able to supply you with coaching as you prayerfully sort out your personal Ministry Action Plan (MAP). Oversight from a caring Regional Director along with helpful encouragement from a ministry coach is a great platform toward positive outcomes.

As we are learning new ways of joining Jesus in his ministry through our pastors and churches, we will look to add more training on the 4Es. I can assure you that I will be writing on the “Why” questions related to the 4E’s and our Equipper writers will be offering ideas and methods for the “How” questions. The High Support will continue.

My beloved pastors around the world, can I make a deal with you? Can we use this final quarter of 2022 to deeply consider how the 4Es will impact how you spend your time and energy in 2023? Will you seek the Spirit’s guidance in helping you construct a personal ministry MAP? Then will you share your MAP with your Regional Director and be poised to really hit the ground running in 2023? This would do your President’s heart good to know this is happening throughout our fellowship.

These steps we are asking you to take are greater steps toward Healthy Pastoring for the vision of Healthy Church. We see this path toward greater liberation in Jesus, and also greater participation with Jesus.

Let us pray. 

Father God, Lord Jesus, we enter your courts with praise and thanksgiving. Thank you for choosing and appointing our pastors as under-shepherds of Grace Communion International. Thank you for helping them (men and women alike) to walk in the counsel of the Godly and to guide our precious members through the dark valleys and the green pastures. Holy Spirit, may you continue to strengthen them, encourage them and empower them to point their members and neighbors to Jesus. We ask these blessings in the name of the Great Shepherd and the true Pastor of our church, Jesus.
Amen!

 

Praise for Our Pastors

We asked our members to tell us why they appreciate their pastors. Click the image below, and read what they had to say!

Warren Wilson Retires

Join us in honoring Warren Wilson, longtime pastor, who retired in August.

Cards may be sent to:
Warren & Lorraine Wilson
220 Waverly Way
Clarksburg, WV 26301-4047

Congratulations, Warren and Lorraine! We are very grateful to you both for your faithful service and love for Jesus’ church.

We asked Warren to share his reflections.


I retired at the end of August after 34 years in full-time ministry. It’s amazing how quickly 34 years can fly by. Now I’ll be able to spend more time with my wife, Lorraine. She and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary on September 16, 2022. I’m also looking forward to spending more time with our two sons and daughters-in-law, our five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren and two step great-grandchildren. It should be a lot of fun!

My faith journey in GCI began in the early 1960s. Our family listened to the radio broadcast, and we moved to Southern California in 1964. Shortly thereafter my sister Janet and I began attending church and were welcomed warmly by the members.

In 1968, I began attending Ambassador College in Big Sandy, TX, where I met my future wife, Lorraine Holtkamp. During my time there I really didn’t feel that I was being called into the ministry. So, after our graduation and marriage in 1972, we moved back to Southern California. We moved around and attended various congregations, finally ending up in the Bay Area in the early 1980s.

While attending the San Jose church, I began to sense that I was being called to ministry. I was ordained an elder in 1986 and hired into the full-time ministry in 1988. In the summer of 1994, we were transferred to Clarksburg, WV, where I served as their senior pastor. Little did I imagine how things would change in six months, and that I’d serve the rest of my ministry in West Virginia.

It was a difficult time in 1995 as some of our members left. But through it all, I encouraged the remaining members. We are saved by God’s grace, not by our attempts to keep the law. We were wrong — it’s been humbling to accept that. The scripture that has meant the most to me in our transition is Galatians 5:1.

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. NLT

The thing that has been the most meaningful to me during my years in ministry is the chance to serve the members and to share their joys and sorrows. I can’t imagine doing anything that would be as meaningful as that.

Now that I’m retired, I’m looking forward to seeing how God wants to use me going forward. I don’t believe he’s finished with me yet, so I pray and look forward to him revealing to me what’s next. I still want to serve him and serve others wherever and however I can.

Pastor Warren D. Wilson

David Sheridan Retires

Join us in honoring David Sheridan’s retirement. He served as GCI pastor for over 48 years.

Cards may be sent to:
David Sheridan
101 Cramond Close SE
Calgary Alberta
T3M 1C1

Congratulations, David! We are very grateful to you for your many years of faithful service.

We wanted you to hear from David, in his own words.


Early memories start at Ambassador College in England and include teaching Physical Education at Imperial Schools and teaching geography on the College faculty. Twice touring the Holy Land and participating in the archaeological excavations in Jerusalem were outstanding experiences.

In Canada, I pastored congregations in Newfoundland (St. John’s and Corner Brook), Saskatchewan (Prince Albert and Tisdale), and Alberta (Calgary, Lethbridge and Red Deer.) The most meaningful and enjoyable part of pastoral ministry was visiting precious members in their homes – a less formal setting. A short teaching from the Holy Scriptures added an important spiritual dimension to these enriching experiences.

Moving with the doctrinal reformation of our denomination from the bondage of painful legalism and authoritarianism to God’s amazing grace, from deception and blinding heresy to the truth of the gospel and Christian orthodoxy was the major highlight. Then along came Incarnational Trinitarian theology enhancing our personal relationship with God and keeping Jesus as “the centre of the centre” of all we say and do. These transformations brought much freedom and joy.

As a long-time fan of Roger Federer, I continue to play singles tennis. Having completed ten marathons, I continue with long-distance running but now reduced to 10-kilometres. Espionage spy thrillers (Tom Clancy/Vince Flynn) bring a welcome change of pace along with cheering on the “Red Devils” – the Manchester United soccer team! Studying theology with the understanding that Jesus is “perfect theology” remains a life-long interest.

I am blessed to have my four beloved children and eight precious grandchildren all living here in the city of Calgary. Spending family time together and watching the little ones grow is an ongoing source of joy.

After 48 years in the ministry, walking daily in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior, and participating in the life and love of the triune God is always the number one activity.

David A. Sheridan
Calgary, Alberta

Newly Hired Administrative Assistant

Please help me in welcoming Lucellie Santibanez Enerio – warmly known as Lucy.

Lucy was hired on June 7 part time as an Administrative Assistant in the President’s Office. After only a couple of weeks it was clear that she was a natural part of our team. On June 27, she transitioned to full-time employment.

Lucy’s background is in Music Therapy. She completed her Master of Music with a major in Music Therapy (MMT) at Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX, in May this year.

Lucy is a joy to work with. She is a self-starter and brings a skillset much needed in our office. Her organizational skills, creativity, and fresh eyes approach are a blessing to the Home Office.

Lucy works closely with the Operations Coordinator assisting with projects in the President’s office and Church Administration. She is cross training in other departments such as Facilities and Member Services.

Pam Morgan
Operations Coordinator

Newly Hired Member/Donor Services Rep, Incoming & Outgoing Sr. Accounting Clerk

We are pleased to announce our newest employee, Diana Mayhew, who will be serving as GCI’s Member and Donor Services Representative. Alongside assisting members and donors, she also processes all the donations to the Home Office and local congregations. Diana has a background in finance and accounting and attends the GC Steele Creek church plant. Born and raised in Romania, Diana brings an international perspective. Please join us in welcoming Diana.

We are also pleased to announce that Connie White is taking on a new role as the Senior Accounting Clerk. Connie was the Member and Donor Services Representative and is actively training Diana in that position. Connie has significant accounting and donation experience. She now processes all of GCI & GCS’s payables and receivables, maintains banking and investment entries, and works with Robert to keep the general ledger correct. In addition, Connie also serves as the Hope Avenue Champion for GC Charlotte. Please join us in congratulating Connie on her new position.

Last but not least, we announce Susan Williams’ decision to retire from full-time employment. Susan has served GCI for many years as a pastor’s wife, GCS Registrar, and Senior Accounting Clerk in addition to several years of service in Public School finance departments in both North Carolina and Georgia. She will continue to work on-call in the accounting department to assist in making a smooth transition for Connie. Susan will also continue to serve GCI as a church elder and alongside her husband, President Greg Williams. She is excited to have more time to devote to family and especially her grandchildren, as well as pursuing other personal interests. We wish Susan much joy and contentment as she enters this new chapter of life.

Robert Meade
Comptroller

Newly Appointed Asst. Secretary of the Board & Comptroller

We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has appointed Pam Morgan, GCI Church Operations Coordinator as Assistant Secretary. Pam will serve alongside Evelyn Dailey in this role assisting the Secretary in facilitating Board directives. Please join us in congratulating Pam on this appointment. She will continue with her other substantial responsibilities coordinating the operations of the President’s Office.

We are also pleased to announce that Robert Meade has been promoted from Budget Manager to Comptroller. Robert has already been fulfilling many comptroller duties. Comptroller responsibilities include managing all aspects of the accounting department, corporate budgets, external audits, cash flow estimates, etc. Robert is also enrolled in an MBA program with a scheduled completion next year. He will continue to report to the Chief Financial Officer. Robert has served GCI faithfully for 36 years and is well prepared for his new position. Please join us in congratulating Robert Meade on his new role!

Mat Morgan
Chief Financial Officer

Newly Appointed Publications Coordinator

Please join me in congratulating Elizabeth Mullins on her promotion to Publications Coordinator. Elizabeth was hired in January 2022 in the role of Publications Assistant. Throughout the year she has contributed to the Media Editing Teams and taken on the role of GCI Update Editor, championing stories of how the Spirit is moving in and through GCI. The change in role takes Elizabeth from part time to full time employee.

On September 12, we also acknowledged her ministry in GCI and ordained Elizabeth as an elder in service to the denomination. Anyone who knows Elizabeth knows her love for Jesus and his bride. Her foundational voices are Creative and Guardian, which equip her to see into the future and pursue excellence for the church, while also honoring the legacy and protecting the integrity of the organization. She brings refinement to GCI Media content through her creative ideas and editorial skills. She also embodies the GCI core value of inclusivity, seeking for accessibility and representation in all our content. Through her role in the Home Office, her ministry will continue to make an impact across our fellowship through our publications and other content.

Read her Employee Profile here.

Michelle Fleming
GCI Communications Director

GCI Disaster Relief Fund

 

If your congregation is sharing the gospel about Jesus in your neighborhood and still has available funds and a heart to help members impacted by major disasters like the Hurricane Ian, one of the best ways to do so is to donate to the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund helps provide members in disaster areas with emergency needs such as food, water, medicine, clothing, temporary housing, home and/or church hall repairs, temporary local pastoral salary expenses and other emergency needs. Monies received into the Fund that are not immediately needed will remain in the Fund to be allocated in future disasters.

In previous years, money from this Fund has helped members recover from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, storms and flooding in Bangladesh and Honduras, an earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands, typhoons in the Philippines and an earthquake in Haiti.

If your congregation would like to donate to the Fund, you can set up a one-time donation through GCI Online Giving (https://www.gci.org/online-giving/) by selecting Give for Disaster Relief under the drop-down menu.

If your congregation prefers to send a check, make it out to Grace Communion International, indicating clearly on the memo line that the donation is for the GCI Disaster Relief Fund.

Send the donation to:
GCI Disaster Relief Fund
Grace Communion International
3120 Whitehall Park Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28273

Thank you for your prayers and financial contributions to help members of the GCI family who are suffering.

2023 Denominational Celebration Childcare – Volunteer to Receive Discount!

Devotional – Not I But Christ

The apostle Paul was a remarkable man of God and his posture of complete reliance on Jesus speaks to us today.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 KJV)

This is a case where the King James Version really got it right. The life found in Christ is also sustained by the faith of Jesus in the believer. It is not a self-sustaining life, rather a Jesus-dependent life. His faith, his hope, his love imparted to us, are moving us closer to being more like him.

Compared to our lives, Paul’s life seems spectacular. Yet Paul eagerly wants us to know that Jesus is just as real to us as he was to him.

It was Jesus who found Saul and transformed him into Paul, who became the prolific apostle. Let me suggest it is always Jesus who finds us. It his goodness and kindness that leads us to repentance, not human-engineered goodness (Romans 2:4).

It is important to note that Paul never forgot where he came from and what his former life was like.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15)

Paul saw himself as the chief of all sinners. In this personal letter to Timothy, he is assuring Timothy that the focused purpose of Jesus is to save sinners (all of us). And, if Paul himself could be saved, everybody else is salvageable too. This brings us back to the “Not I, but Christ theme.”

As I continue to read through Paul’s writings, I am continually reminded just how Christ-centric Paul is. Consider how many times Paul uses the phrase, “in Christ.”

Being in Christ may seem like something beyond our physical comprehension. The Bible speaks to this concept in several descriptive ways. Jesus tells Nicodemus you must be born again (John 3:3, 5). Paul speaks to becoming a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then in his letter to the Ephesians he talks about being redeemed and adopted as sons and daughters.

When Christ saves us, by the Spirit, he places us within his own sphere and joins us to him. We belong to him. As the praise song says, “I am yours, and you are mine.” There is a closeness and a union that is not fragile nor dependent on our daily emotions or good works. We are united with him because of him. We are “in Christ.” Hallelujah!

During this month when we show our appreciation to our pastors, it is fitting to conclude with Paul’s words, “Follow me, as I follow Jesus.” And it is his good pleasure to be doing his good work in us. This gives assurance beyond assurance.

Prayer:

Lord, be with the pastors around the world. Give them peace, resting on the truth that Christ is alive in us. Bless them with wisdom and discernment as they follow you, Jesus. In your strong name, you are our assurance. Amen!

By Greg Williams, President

 

 

 

We Are GCI – Dishon Mills

The We Are GCI series is a collection of videos highlighting various GCI leaders and members.

In this episode, get to know GCI Pastor Dishon Mills, how he experiences Christ, and why he genuinely enjoys bad sci-fi.

You can view other We Are GCI episodes here: We Are GCI
Facebook: Facebook We Are GCI

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Prayer Guide – October 2022

 

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