Dear GCI Family and Friends,
Faith, Hope, and Love in Action has been the theme of GCI for 2023. Our superintendents and their teams of leaders have been teaching, coaching, and supervising to help our “Team Based—Pastor Led” congregations become intentionally focused and active in the ministry Avenues of Jesus.
What will it look like as these efforts take root? Allow me to paint word pictures of Healthy Church.
Let’s assume that the Love Avenue champion has been identified and is in place, and that a capable team of missionally-minded people is empowered to organize and mobilize the congregation into relational activities outside the walls of the church and into the surrounding neighborhood. Are you with me?
We can also assume that under the pastor’s guidance, exegetical work has been done. First, the neighborhood’s demographics and rhythm of activities and events have been clearly researched and identified. In a parallel project, an exegesis of the people who make up the congregation is also being done. What are their backgrounds and life experiences? What strategic relationships and connections do they have? What spiritual gifting is present? What passions are expressed by the collective group?
The exegetical work of both neighborhood and congregation leads to some initial planning. What events will the church sponsor? And a very important second question, what will be the come-back event? Are there places and spaces where the congregation can join in with community events or community agencies?Read More
Along with the pastor and other Avenue champions, the Love Avenue champion will consider the congregation’s annual calendar of events and annual budget. The calendar needs consideration for the flow alongside the activities and events of the other Avenues to create a harmony of church life. The budget needs attention to make sure we count the cost of the efforts we will sponsor. And a budget should reflect the missional vision and priorities of the congregation.
For more information, check out our Love Avenue resources.
We have a long history of doing weekly worship services. However, it is like other routine activities; after so much repetition, our worship services can become stale and lose a sense of purpose and excitement.
Hope Avenue champions and their teams provide a fresh start to recapture what we do to ensure an inspirational weekly worship service. The preparation for a Sunday service does not happen the night before or the morning of. The Hope Avenue teams are seeing that an inspirational service requires intentional planning. Planning meetings may need to be held weekly for a while as you reestablish fresh ideas and approaches.
The Hope Avenue team is an important cog in the wheel too. They see a broader picture than simply having good sets of worship music. The team works toward providing clear signage, welcoming greeters, church information services, quality coffee and snacks, clean restrooms, well-functioning sound systems, children’s classes, and well-prepared, Christ-centered preaching following the seasons of the worship calendar. The Hope Avenue is crafted as a safe, friendly environment where the love of Christ is expressed and experienced. Now that’s the church we all want to attend!
For more information, check out our Hope Avenue resources.
The responsibility of the Faith Avenue champion and team is broad. Helping members from all ages and stages of life to grow in their walk with Jesus and within the community of the church is a high calling.
Offering strategically designed connect groups in a well-crafted seasonal rotation is key to meeting the needs of the multi-generational church members. There will be classes offered for “New Believers” at least once a year (veteran members can brush up too). There will be connect groups that support the Love Avenue by providing places of soft entry into the church community. Connect groups can include multiple topics and styles. They might include targeted Bible studies, book clubs, marriage enrichment classes and discussions, racial awareness classes, etc.
The Faith Avenue team will have organizational oversight of neighborhood youth camps, church campouts, church picnics, and the sharing of communion with members who are unable to attend the Hope Avenue gathering. Once again, under the leadership eye of the pastor and coordinated along with the other Avenue champions, the Faith Avenue efforts will need to fit the calendar and the budget as well.
A well-run Faith Avenue demonstrates the church being the church between Sundays. It’s a church we are called to be a part of as we actively participate with Jesus in his mission and ministry!
For more information, check out our Faith Avenue resources.
Grace Communion Seminary (GCS)
Hopefully you will click on the links for each of the Avenue resources to take advantage of the helpful ideas and recommendations. Another wonderful opportunity for higher academic support is through Grace Communion Seminary. GCS is offering diplomas in the focused areas of faith, hope, and love. The diploma is a 21-credit hour program comprised of seven courses that will help the learner to think more theologically and become even more grounded in the ministry expressions of Jesus.
We celebrate GCS in this issue of Update. We congratulate them on the recent graduation ceremony that took place in North Carolina and support their continued commitment to educate ministry leaders and pastors all across the global regions of GCI. Read more about the commencement ceremony here.
On the road to healthy churches,
P.S. We held our Denominational Celebration early this month. Look for my recap in our next issue, August 9.