Dear GCI Family and Friends,
The GCI National Advisory Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (U.S.) has been doing good work for our denomination. For this month’s presidential letter, I have invited the Council’s co-facilitator Jeff Broadnax to give us a timely update. (Dishon Mills is the other facilitator.) Much of the Council’s work is done behind the scenes, so it is appropriate to provide an overview of their focus and list the action steps that have been taken. I thank Jeff, Dishon, and the Council for helping us tackle the societal challenges that easily divide. They do this with the posture of beginning with Jesus, seeing Jesus in the process and knowing that all things wrap up in him. Jesus is truly the one agenda.
Pentecost represents God’s intentional declaration of racial, ethnic, gender, and generational diversity and inclusion within his kingdom mission. The church celebrated Pentecost last month so it is timely to give an update from the GCI National Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the U.S.
We continue seeking the Lord’s discernment for ways GCI can reflect the unity and diversity of the Triune God in a fractured nation. In the U.S., the racial, religious, socio-political divisions have metastasized both in our citizens and within the Body of Christ to the point that even the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) create inner conflict for many. Some in GCI have wondered if the denomination has become political or taken our eyes off Christ to embrace a secular agenda by using DEI language.
The answer to all those concerns is a resounding NO! The Council has only one agenda, his name is Jesus! But Scripture does charge believers to be awake and have the eyes of their hearts spiritually enlightened (Eph. 1:17-19).
To that end, here are highlights of what the Council has been up to since 2020.Read More
Oct. 2020 – Nov. 2021: The Council met monthly to pray, study, assess, and discuss areas to celebrate God’s work in GCI regarding racial, gender, cultural, and generational diversity and healing. We also discerned and recommended areas for improvement.
Nov. 2021: The Council recommended GCI hire a Christ-centered consultant to provide specific training to our U.S. leadership to facilitate racial healing, spiritual oneness, diversity, and inclusion within our culture, media, and messaging at the national, regional, and congregational levels. We prayerfully assessed five potential consultants and recommended Pastor Miles McPherson’s biblically based program called The Third Option Similarity Training.
April 2022: President Greg Williams announced the selection of the Third Option Training saying, “This DEI initiative is not a passing fad. Rather, we intend it to be a permanent cultural shift within GCI, and the training will continue to be passed along to our U.S. pastors and churches over the next couple of years.”
Sept. 2022: Thirty members from the GCI Home Office, GCI Board, the regional directors, and the Council experienced the training with Miles McPherson at the Home Office in Charlotte.
Oct. 2022: Pastors Annette Nettles, Al Talison, Tracy Winborne, and Charles Young officially rotated off the Council after faithfully serving an initial two-year commitment. We’re grateful for their service.
Dec. 2022: An agreement was reached between GCI and Miles McPherson to train 10 leaders to facilitate the Third Option Similarity Training. Eight leaders would be trained from the U.S. and one from the Caribbean.
Jan. 2023: Karina De La Rosa, Kairis Colter-Chiari, Bermie Dizon, Philip Doele, and Jose Lopez were added as members of the Council.
May 2023: The following seven Council members became trainers of The Third Option: Bermie Dizon, Tamar Gray, Terry McDonald, Dishon Mills, John Newsom, Gabriel Ojih, and Ron Washington. Additional trainers are Susan McKie (U.S.) and Michael Mitchell (Caribbean). Stay tuned for future rollout of the training in 2024.
The National Advisory Council for DEI will continue seeking the Spirit’s direction to equip and encourage local leaders and pastors to engage and empower their congregations, as Greg Williams stated, “to participate with Christ more purposefully and actively in his ministry of reconciliation.”
Just as on Pentecost, we pray GCI members will boldly declare the wonders of God with diversity, equity, and inclusion, knowing the Body of Christ only has one agenda—his name is Jesus!
Editor’s Note: Typically, Update is published twice a month, but we’re taking a break after the Denominational Celebration. We’ll be back in your inbox July 26.