GCI Update

Reflection and Anticipation

This issue of Update is dedicated to reflecting on the past year. The image above is a word cloud, generated by combining all the 2023 Update letters from our president. A word cloud is a graphic that shows us which words were repeated frequently. The larger the size of the word, the more often it was used.

The words in the image reflect the most important GCI themes in 2023.

Read on to hear from Greg and look ahead to 2024.

Have a meaningful and merry Christmas,
Elizabeth Mullins
Update Editor

As we approach the end of 2023, there’s much to celebrate and be thankful for in our GCI journey! During my recent travels, I’ve been truly blessed to witness firsthand the remarkable ways the Spirit is moving in and through GCI and is moving us forward in unity.

Looking ahead to the coming year, I’m thrilled about the prospect of visiting four of our six global regions and attending regional gatherings across the United States. It’s a privilege to connect with many of you during these events, and I’m looking forward to sharing inspiring stories from across GCI through the GCI Update.

In addition to keeping you informed about GCI news, the letters, and stories you’ll find in the upcoming Update issues will center around our 2024 theme: Faith, Hope, and Love Integrated. This might sound familiar, as we’ve emphasized these values throughout this year.

Our ongoing pursuit of a Healthy Church involves a transformative journey to deepen our engagement with the neighborhoods where GCI congregations are present. We’re making progress, recognizing that becoming our healthiest expression takes time. It requires continuous learning, practice, reflection, adjustments, and execution—all guided by discernment of what is good to the Spirit and to us.

Throughout this period, our focus remains on a theological and practical orientation toward a holistic and interconnected approach to ministry. We firmly believe that this approach will help pastors and Avenue champions understand and execute the harmonious flow of ministry, reflecting the interdependent relationship of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

As always, Christ will be the only foundation we build from.

      • Christ’s first love given to us—because of his love we are filled and compelled to witness.
      • Christ’s faith imparted to us—because of his faith we are empowered for great commandment living and great commission sharing.
      • Christ who is our source of hope—because our hope is rooted in him, we can be the church, the hope of the world.

As we look forward to the coming year, stay tuned for the development of resources and articles that align with our Faith, Hope, and Love Integrated theme. Your continued support and participation are essential as we navigate this exciting and transformative path together.

Wishing you all a joyous conclusion to 2023 and anticipating a year ahead filled with growth, connection, and shared inspiration.

With hope and appreciation,
Greg Williams


Devotional—Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is a hymn that is sung by many, but only fully understood by some. Have you meditated on the grace that is being sung about in this hymn?

What Jesus did through the Incarnation, out of his grace and unconditional love for all of us, is beyond our comprehension. Jesus was willing to be born a human baby for a chance at a relationship with us.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:9-10,14

Experiencing that level of love always leaves me in awe and brings me gratitude knowing that God loves us all so much! We are made in his image. Why wouldn’t we want to unconditionally love others and give them the grace that is shown to us?

As you celebrate the birth of our Savior this month, may you reflect on the amazing grace he demonstrated to you and to all people.

Our graceful and loving Father in heaven, thank you for loving us. Thank you that we have a glimpse of what is in store for us by your grace. Help us love others as you do and be a reflection of your grace to those around us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Charissa Panuve
Suva, Fiji

In Case You Missed It

Here are the top 10 GCI resources from 2023.

1. 2023 Denominational Celebration: Gathering and worshipping with our members from around the world is always a highlight. Relive the joy and camaraderie — or experience it for the first time — with recordings featuring GCI stories sessions, GCS graduation, and keynote sessions, including worship services. During the keynote sessions, we experienced some technical challenges. We did our best to improve the final product for a better viewing experience.

2. Faith, Hope, and Love in Action: This year the theme “Faith, Hope, and Love in Action” guided our efforts, propelling us to make disciples through deliberate engagement, vibrant worship, and living and sharing our Christian faith. Check out these articles on workshops equipping our leaders around the world to embody this theme:

3. Jesus’ How-To: Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the most popular lead article from Equipper. It explores the challenges of adhering to the Great Commandments and introduces Jesus’ new commandment as a transformative shift in focus.

If you are looking for resources on ministry practices and more articles like this, subscribe today!

4. Devotional—A Shining Blessing: In Ordinary Time, we welcomed young authors to offer their insights on the theme, “God is in the streets.” We were blessed by the perspectives of the next generation of emerging GCI leaders as they shared their encounters with God outside of the walls of the Sunday church gathering. Don’t miss the chance to read the most popular devotional by Tongli Panuve in GCI-Fiji.

5. Surprise the World: In relationship with our Triune God and in community with one other, we engage in our neighborhoods shining the light and sharing the love of Christ. A book that has shaped missional living across all six GCI regions is Surprise the World by Michael Frost. In this quick read, Frost provides a framework that helps us develop missional habits in everyday lives.

6. Culture of High Support, High Challenge: In this letter, President Greg Williams explores the culture of GCI, emphasizing its foundation in the person of Jesus and characterized by the philosophy of “High Support, High Challenge, Grace Always.” Stay tuned for more insights and updates in the upcoming January 2024 issue as we continue to pursue GCI’s vision of Healthy Church.

GCI-US Home Church: Many of our faithful and longtime members no longer have a local GCI congregation where they can attend. We recognize that the church is wherever the body gathers and encourage your active participation in the Church in a local setting. Understanding that this may not always be possible, to provide high support we provide weekly sermons to help you stay connected with our fellowship. Click on the link to subscribe and receive our weekly messages of hope.

7. Healthy Church Challenge: Witness the dynamic talent of our youngest members as they share the good news of Jesus and how they experience his love.

8. Faces from the Home Office: The primary purpose of our Home Office is to offer support. Get to know some of our dedicated staff members who were highlighted in profiles this year.

9. Defining the 4 Es w/ Gavin Henderson Podcast: The 4 Es are the foundation for ministry development in the Avenues. Catch up on this episode to learn how practically to live out our theology in Healthy Teams.

10. President’s Video—3 Year Plan: In the January 2023 update, President Greg Williams highlighted the focus on leadership in the 6 Global Regions, urging pastors to build teams for the Ministry Avenues of Faith, Hope, and Love. Look back with this video, and reflect on our theme, “Faith, Hope, and Love in Action,” guiding us to make disciples through intentional engagement and vibrant worship. Stay tuned for an update on the culmination of our 3-Year Plan in our first January 2024 issue.

The Year in Pictures

In 2023 GCI gathered and worshipped.
Black History Celebration, Fayetteville, NC, US
Tenth Anniversary of congregation planted by families from Kenya, Leeuwarden Netherlands
Easter celebration for East Africa region, Kenya
Denominational Celebration, Charlotte, NC, US
Pentecost celebration, Suva, Fiji
Sixtieth anniversary celebration, Martinique
Baptisms, Clarksville, TN, US
Baptism, La Huaca, Peru
Baptisms, Malawi
Baptisms, Pasadena, CA, US
Baptism, Surrey Hills, OK, US
Baptism, Goodna, Qld. Australia
We loved and engaged our neighbors.
Youth Camp, Bicol, Philippines
Neighborhood Day Camp, Richardson, TX, US
Neighborhood Day Camp, Derby, KS, US
Neighborhood Day Camp, Market Harbour, UK
Neighborhood Day Camp, Big Sandy, TX, US
Outside the Walls, Bogotá, Columbia
Neighborhood Park Pop Up, Cleveland, OH, US
Community Live Nativity, Glendora, CA, US
Neighborhood Fall Festival, Ladson, SC, US
Neighborhood Back to School Give-away, Queens, NY, US
Christmas Parade, Surrey Hills, OK, US
Neighbor Day, Woodbine, GA, US
We learned and were equipped.
Faith, Hope, and Love in Action Workshop, Southeast Region, US
Faith, Hope, and Love in Action Workshop, Canada
Faith, Hope, and Love in Action Workshop, US
Leaders Retreat, Philippines
Faith, Hope, and Love in Action Workshop, Mexico
We graduated, retired, passed batons, and won.
Grace Communion Seminary Commencement Ceremony
Retiring Superintendent of Asia passes baton to successor
Retiring Chief Financial Officer passes baton to successor
Third place winners of Healthy Church Challenge, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Second place winners of Healthy Church Challenge, Suva, Fiji (One entry of many is pictured)
First place winners of Healthy Church Challenge, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Appreciation for Our Top Encouragers

One aspect of my role as editor of Update is to recruit people to contribute stories. I attempt to engage contributors from a diverse range of backgrounds, ages, and locations. Yet one of the common responses I receive is, “oh, I’m not a writer.”

It reminds of when someone says, “I’m not creative.” Perhaps they are thinking of a literal artist, like a painter. But here’s what I say to that. You are made in the image of a creative God, so yes, you are creative. Writing is telling a story, putting it into words. And you are made in the image of the greatest storyteller.

So yes, you are a writer because everyone has a story. Every congregation has a story.

I engage folks, requesting they write for Update. I assure them they will be equipped to tell their story because I can help by editing and refining the writing structure. I empower them by convincing them that they don’t have to be the pastor to tell the story, and their unique perspective is needed.

You, the reader, help with the final “E” in the 4 Es. When you leave a comment, affirming what the contributor has written, you are giving them much needed encouragement. We’re grateful.

Here’s a special mention for the members who left the most comments. Thank you for cheering us on!

      • Pastor Santiago Lange, Stuttgart, Germany
      • Bill Miller, Brighton, IL, US
      • Priscilla Krupp, Woodbine, GA, US

By Elizabeth Mullins, Publications Coordinator
Durham, NC, US

Regional Gatherings in 2024

Save the Date

Please join us for a weekend of training, appreciation, and worship. Everyone is invited.

See flyer below or visit our website here for more information.

Registration opens February 2024.

Registration Fee:
The Home Office will cover the registration fee for one pastor/facilitator per congregation and their spouse to attend a regional gathering. A coupon code will be sent with instructions on how to register in mid-February.

Each pastor/facilitator will need to book their own lodging for the gathering.

Hotel courtesy block links will be made available after registration opens. You may also consider booking other accommodations that work best for you (examples: hotel, Airbnb, VRBO, or accommodation with friends/relatives).

After the gathering, the Home Office will send a subsidy to your congregation via the send/draw to help offset the cost of one pastor/facilitator’s housing for the regional gathering. The amount will be set based on the average cost of the discounted hotel rate we were able to obtain for three nights.