Dear GCI Family and Friends,
In 2019, A Giant Step Forward – Toward an Emerging Culture of Liberation was published. I co-wrote this book with Rick Shallenberger and Dr. Tom Nebel.
The book was a bridge connecting the past leadership of the church under Dr. Joseph Tkach to the new era under my term as GCI President. It explained where we had come from and where we are going. By the grace of Jesus Christ, we have been on track and moving toward a culture of liberation.
The “Support – Challenge Matrix” was foundational in giving us our bearings for moving forward.
This updated matrix expands the concepts in each of the four quadrants. The quadrants of domination, abdication, and protectionism speak for themselves. They are places and spaces we have experienced, and we do not want to go back.Read More
Culture of Empowerment and Opportunity
We never want to hold anyone back. Our goal in GCI is to help all individuals find their gifting and calling so they fit into the body as the Spirit is orchestrating.
For those who have been following our writings and tools on the 4 Es, you already know that empowerment follows the sequence of engagement and equipping. It assumes that a seasoned Christian leader has recognized the individual and invited them into ministry participation. It also assumes that the individual has been guided around the Apprentice Square providing them with training and preparation.
The liberation of empowerment and opportunity means that this prepared person can operate with freedom and authority in their place of service. It is parallel to the old U.S. Army slogan – “Be all that you can be.”
Before we become too individualistic, let’s understand the importance of interdependency. In organizational culture, interdependency refers to how team members rely on each other for the functioning of their teams. Although every team has different responsibilities and day-to-day functions, on a basic level, it is the interdependence of team members that makes a group of coworkers a team.
You will recall that “team based” is a core value and desired practice of GCI culture. We can do more together.
Healthy Relational Dynamics (Best Fits)
The concept of “best fit” is simply where your talents, skills, and passions match with the work that you have been employed to do. Giant Worldwide suggests that having a 70% to 30% ratio is a good target to shoot for. This equates to being in your sweet spot for 70% of your working hours.
In GCI we like to think about the marriage of competency and calling. Examining a person’s education and experiential background tells part of the story. Then through counsel from references and discernment through prayers and good interviewing practices, we collaboratively conclude that this is the right person for the given position. “Works well with others” is an important reference comment we always want to hear.
Partnership and Collaboration
For GCI, partnership means that two or more people serving alongside one another share in the same vision and mission and will work together to accomplish that end. GCI’s vision is to be the healthiest expression of the church of Jesus Christ that we can possibly be, and our mission is to live and share the gospel. So, whether it is the home office staff working to back up our field staff and pastors, our field staff making their rounds through their areas of oversight, or our field pastors working with their ministry champions, we are all for each other and we work in positive ways to accomplish our vision and mission.
Collaboration means that all team members are valuable, and their voices should be heard. Many of our churches have been exposed to the 5 Voices training. The voices are categorized as nurturer, connector, creative, guardian, and pioneer. Each voice has a position of strength that helps the team process in thinking, planning and execution. It is a true expression of being a priesthood of all believers.
Meaning and Purpose
The foundational meaning and purpose come from being Christ-centered. We don’t put Jesus in the center — he is the center. He is Creator, Savior, and King! All that we do is sourced by Jesus — it is his faith that we receive and share; he is our hope that makes us hopeful for ourselves and others. It is the fact that he first loved us that empowers us to love God with our hearts, minds, and souls, and to love others as we love ourselves.
Some have asked why we preach from the Revised Common Lectionary and why we follow a more traditional worship calendar. The simple answer is Jesus. We want to preach about how he impacted people throughout the Old and New Testaments, how he is revealed in all of Scripture. We follow the worship calendar because it points to Jesus – his coming in the flesh, his active earthly ministry, his mission to go to Jerusalem and die for the sins of humanity, his resurrection, his ascension, his sending of the Holy Spirit and establishing his church, and of his pending return to establish the eternal kingdom. Can you think of anything with more meaning and purpose?
I find it fascinating that in 2019 when A Giant Step Forward was made available, it received little fanfare and was only read by a small number of GCI folks. This was due, in part, to the cancellation of our Denominational Celebration, where the book would have been distributed. And that’s okay. The time was not right for many of our people. I am encouraged to see how the book has gained traction and has helped to illuminate this journey we are on toward Jesus and the liberation that can only be experienced in him.
It is a good time to be GCI!
P.S. My new book, What if Jesus Meets Us in the Good, the Bad and the Messy?, co-authored with Mark Mounts, just came out. The centrality of Christ for all seasons and circumstances is the common thread throughout. I pray this book will be a blessing to you and to our worldwide fellowship of churches.