GCI Update

Faith, Hope, and Love in Action

GCI President, Greg Williams, shares how in 2023, GCI will focus on our theme of “Faith, Hope, and Love in Action.” We will be emphasizing moving from ministry concepts to active participation with Jesus in ministry. We rely on Jesus to guide us in being effective ambassadors to our neighbors.

Program Transcript


Faith, Hope, and Love in Action
GCI President Update | January 2023

Greg Williams

Happy 2023! We are beginning an exciting new year with new hopes and new possibilities.

In 2022, we promoted the theme of “Compelled by Love.” We understand that it is the pure love of Jesus that allows us to see others being included in his sacrifice and love. We teach a universal atonement in that when Jesus died, all humanity was included in his spilled blood. Therefore, the reconciliation of mankind to the triune God was made available to “all” in Jesus. God is not counting our sins against any of us. When he looks at us, he sees Jesus standing in our place for us. This is the good news we identify as the gospel. And this is our mission: to live and to share this gospel.

As we look ahead to what 2023 holds—in GCI this means moving into Year Two of our 3-Year Plan—we ask how does this mission play out for our six global Regions of GCI? We share the same vision of “Healthy Church” that is reflected in the same structure of “Team Based–Pastor Led” with the ministry Avenues of Faith, Hope, and Love. So where do we need to focus on? Leadership is part of our focus.

Fleshing out the clear role of the Pastor to build his/her team – with called and competent leaders who can champion the ministry Avenues of Faith, Hope, and Love – is a must to further our movement toward Healthy Church.     

As each Superintendent leads their Ministry Directors to train, educate, and coach on these important steps forward, we realize that each region is working at its individual pace as the Spirit is guiding. And that’s okay. The critical factor is that we are all progressively moving in the same direction – and that direction is always keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and growing in our participation in his ministry of faith, hope, and love. Eugene Peterson was right when he said, “It’s a long journey in the same direction.” And that direction is always toward Jesus.

Year One in our shared global plan was focused on learning the ministry concepts and developing a common language. Having visited almost all GCI regions in 2022 and participating in pastoral conferences, I was pleased to see how the concepts are being grasped and talked about. We are out of the starting block.

In Year Two, our GCI theme for 2023 is “Faith, Hope, and Love in Action.” This is moving the concepts into action. It is our faith goal that as we better understand the ministry of Jesus conceptually, that we follow through with better participation.

Allow me to explain what I mean by better participation. It’s one thing to know that it is the commission of the church to make disciples, and it is altogether another experience to participate with Father, Son, and Spirit in actively making disciples. This is where the Love Avenue comes in for us to become intentional about engaging and building meaningful relationships with those who don’t yet know Christ.

Then as new people are coming along, it is imperative that our Hope Avenue is vibrant. Every Sunday gathering needs to be a time of inspiration in worship of Jesus, experiencing the power and presence of the Spirit, as believers come together corporately.

Following up on where the Love and Hope Avenues have helped us reach new believers, the action of the Faith Avenue will then help them learn how to walk with Jesus and find their place in the life of the church. The Apostle Paul describes a progression of moving from the milk of the word to the meat of the word. This is a relationship with the Savior that is maturing in understanding and reliance. GCI’s role is to help others become committed followers of Jesus.  

The hope that I cling to is that GCI will make disciples who will make even more disciples.

The effectiveness of how the church is operating in the Faith, Hope, and Love Avenues has a major impact on how the mission of Making Disciples is fulfilled. I believe you can see just how critical it is for GCI to move from knowledge to practice. Faith, Hope, and Love in Action mean that we are focused on Jesus and relying on him to channel his faith, hope, and love into us, so we more effectively operate as his ambassadors to a broken, hurting world.

To speak candidly, I fully realize that not all our churches are the same. Some are smaller and aging and in their twilight years. By the grace of God, some are experiencing renewal, and yet others are celebrating their history and closing their doors. Please know that this is the cycle of the church and that your denomination still loves and cares about you deeply. There is no judgment or hard feelings.

For the smaller churches, you will be hard-pressed to build out the Faith, Hope, and Love Avenues to the scale that you would like. Please don’t feel bad about this. Continue to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and think about ministry through the lens of Faith, Hope, and Love, and participate as you are able.

I have advised our Superintendents and their team of leaders to identify the congregations that have the greater capacity of size, adequate funding, opportunity in their neighborhood, and teachable leaders who are willing to try new methods, and we begin there. You have heard the expression that “life begets life” – so, this is our long-range thinking. If we can help the healthier churches among us to become even more vibrant, then these renewed congregations have the potential to become mother churches that give birth to daughter churches – bringing new followers to Christ. This will be an incredible marker to indicate that our shared vision of Healthy Church is being fulfilled.

Let me pray for us.

Father in Heaven, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit, we are at the beginning of a New Year on our calendar. We thank you for being faithful in our past and especially for our shared journey in GCI. You have brought us such a long way and have never left us or forsaken us.

We stand here now as we roll our calendars forward to 2023. We stand in the faith, hope, and love of Jesus and we collectively ask you that we can better join you in your purpose of drawing all men and women to yourself. That your Kingdom can grow from a small seed to a huge, expansive bush where all birds can be gathered and find refuge and peace.

Thank you, Spirit, for unifying our fellowship with a shared plan that has a common vision, common structure, common strategies, and a plan full of faith goals that can only be fulfilled as you build the house.

Father, we humbly ask that the Faith, Hope, and Love of Jesus would become even more alive and tangible among our churches and members. May the light of Jesus shine brightly through our people, and Lord add new members as it pleases you.

In a year’s time, may we look back on 2023 and see the amazing ways that you answered this prayer.

In the mighty name of Jesus!

Amen 

I’m Greg Williams, updating you about the life of the Church.


Dear Family and Friends,

Happy 2023! We are beginning an exciting new year with new hopes and new possibilities. In 2022, we promoted the theme of “Compelled by Love.” As we look ahead to what 2023 holds, we ask, how does this mission play out? I hope you will watch this first video update of the new year. In this update, I describe our focus and theme for 2023.

I also have some exciting news from the Home Office. Allow me to introduce our new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Rose Hamrick. To learn more, visit her bio here.

Mat Morgan, who has served as GCI and GCS CFO since November 2005, will be retiring next month. Stay tuned to read more about Mat’s faithful and competent service to our fellowship in a future Update issue.

Grateful for healthy transitions,
Greg

Denominational Celebration—Register Now!

Advent Retreat—Hobart, TAS, AUS

For decades we have held annual retreats to enable members to gather from around the state for fellowship and learning.  The priority has been to find facilities that provide accommodation, meals, and space for fellowship and meetings all in the one location.   At the end of each retreat, we discuss what went well and ideas for the following year.

Each year a theme or book of the Bible is chosen as the focus.  November works best for our members (end of spring here).  This year we decided make it an Advent Retreat.  We searched online and found two large, well equipped homes in a Swiss style village (with more accommodation just up the street) in the Tamar River Valley, near Launceston.  A brochure inviting members from around Australia was sent out earlier in the year.  We ended up with members from three other states joining us.

At our 2021 retreat, we studied the life of Paul, so this time we decided to focus on Paul’s apocalyptic gospel.  In short, New Testament apocalyptic writing focuses on God’s plan in Jesus that brings a cosmic victory allowing all people and all creation to share in his loving life of communion and peace for eternity.  We discussed key passages in Paul’s writings that use apocalyptic language to communicate this good news, helping us see the bigger picture of what God has in store.

We began with a service late Sunday afternoon and held two morning sessions during the week, Monday through Thursday.  We ate most meals together in local restaurants.  On Monday afternoon, we enjoyed a river cruise.  All Tuesday was spent exploring the beautiful Tamar River Valley.  On Wednesday, we gathered for lunch and a relaxing afternoon in a spectacular gorge and park in Launceston.  We concluded with a brunch and a visit to a local museum and art exhibition before saying our goodbyes on the Thursday morning.

We plan to hold another Advent retreat in November next year.

By Pastor Phil Hopwood
Pastor, Tasmania, Australia

Live Nativity—Glendora, CA, US

On the evening of Saturday, December 10, GCI Glendora accomplished our most challenging neighborhood event yet: a living nativity. We called it “The Greatest Gift: A walking tour of the first Christmas.”

We wanted to take advantage of this great opportunity to share the good news of Jesus, the true reason for this joyous season.

Our theme focused on the birth of a new King, Jesus Emmanuel, who is God’s greatest gift to the world. Guided 45-minute tours were given every 15 minutes starting at 5:30 p.m., with the last tour at 7:30 p.m. Nine groups went through, with a total of 115 guests.

The tour itself consisted of six acts in four different areas at the church facility. We also had a petting zoo in the parking lot for the children to enjoy before or after the tour.

We are beyond grateful for the members and friends of GCI Glendora who saturated the event in prayer for two months, and for those who put in extra time and energy to make this event special.

We’re excited to keep the momentum going as we remain obedient to Christ and continually seek to love God and love our neighborhood!

 

 

By Jillian Morrison
Associate Pastor, Glendora, CA

The Orchard—Latest Cohort Graduates 

The Orchard is proud to announce its latest round of graduates from the program. In September, the following leaders completed their six-month commitment:  

      • Anthony Caputo 
      • Michael Guibord  
      • Sherry Kinzie
      • Mike Kinzie 
      • David Marquis  
      • Marlene Reed  
      • George Relic  

The Orchard is an online, project-based mentoring program that I facilitate with my cofounder, Mako Nagasawa. It supports Christ-followers in discerning their ministry calling, equips them for participating in the work of Jesus Christ, and assists them in carrying out projects of their own design.  Find out more about The Orchard here

Most of the projects focused on the Love Avenue, and the participants used The Orchard to help them plan how to better connect with their neighbors. As one participant commented, “The Orchard got us moving in the right direction — developing leaders who live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and make disciples like Jesus.”  

We congratulate The Orchard graduates on their achievement! 

By Dishon Mills
Church Planter, Charlotte, NC
National Coordinator, Generations Ministry

Christmas Parade—River Road, OR, US

On December 3, the GCI River Road congregation joined in the annual Light Parade with the community of Junction City.  This year had record turnout of floats and spectators.  The overall theme of the parade was Polar Express, and we decided to go with the theme that best represented us.  We chose “The Island of Misfit Toys.”  We had our own live Bumble, Yukon Cornelius, and Charlie in the Box.

We had great participation in putting the float together as well as those who actually walked and rode on the float.  Those that walked handed out candy and toys, while wishing everyone Merry Christmas.

It was a cold clear night, but worth the interaction with many of the local residents of Junction City.  It was decided after the event to make the float bigger and brighter! We will remain the Island of Misfit Toys as well.

Many remembered us from our “Christmas in July” and our Trunk or Treat.  We are becoming known in the community and look forward to many more opportunities to get involved.

 

 

By Linda Sitterley
Pastor, River Road, OR

 

Celebration Childcare—Volunteers pay no registration fee!

Prayer Guide—January 2023

“As to the ‘state of the world’ if we have time to hope and fear about it, we certainly have time to pray.” ―C.S. Lewis


Join us in prayer this month as we thank our triune God for another year of lessons and blessings to come. Click the link on the image below to download the January Prayer Guide and check out what’s happening in our fellowships around the world.  #WeAreGCI

 

Never miss a day by receiving this Prayer Guide straight to your email inbox before the first of the month! Sign up here.

Devotional—Jesus Calms the Storm

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And waking up, he rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Be silent! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”  Mark 4:35-41 NRSVUE

Epiphany means “manifestation,” and this passage reminds us that all of Jesus’ life was manifesting or revealing who God is. In the darkness of the night, a fierce windstorm suddenly came up violently tossing the boat as the high waves began to fill it with water. The disciples grew fearful believing their lives were in danger. Meanwhile, amidst all the frantic activity, Jesus was quietly asleep. He looked undisturbed by the winds and waves buffeting the boat, in stark contrast to the panic of others.

The disciples in their displeasure came to Jesus and woke him up. They accused Jesus that he was not only unaware that they were about to die, but that he didn’t care! Strong words!

Jesus then stood up and rebuked the wind and waves. He said, “Peace! Be still.”

As quickly as the storm appeared, the sea became absolutely quiet. There was “great calm.” The disciples stood in awe that Jesus speaks his authority over the violent storm. They were led to ask, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The disciples asked the most important question: who is Jesus?

Mark records the many miracles of Jesus showing his power over diseases, demons, and death. Jesus demonstrates his deep compassion and concern for all people. He is aware of our fears and tendencies to panic.

No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, Jesus is with us, he is for us. He is powerful, and yes, he cares! This is Jesus, who reveals the heart of the God.

Prayer
We thank you, heavenly Father, that you are all in all. Thank you that you are aware of everything that we go through in life. Lead us to a deeper knowledge and faith in you always. May we learn to have peace. May we learn to be still. Amen.

By Dr. Carlos M. Pizarro
Pastor, Quezon City, Philippines

 

 

We Are GCI—Anne Stapleton

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

In this episode, get to know GCI Pastor Anne Stapleton. She shares her journey in Christ’s ministry and how gardening comforts her.

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

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