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Report on Higher Ground camp in North Carolina

Higher Ground, the GCI Generations Ministries camp in Swannanoa, NC just celebrated its 10th anniversary with a camp session that included 145 campers and 70 staff. The camp theme was “Oasis”, with chapel messages focused on how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are an Oasis of Love, Family, Friendship, Life, Light and Safety. The emphasis was on God’s love and purpose for all humanity, and how we first Belong, then Believe, and then Become. Here are a few quotes from participants:

“This was, by far, the greatest week of the year. I’m going to be telling Higher Ground stories for years to come!”

“From the first chapel, I knew this was going to be different. The message was clear and carried throughout the whole week – God loves you…NO MATTER WHAT!”

There were several memorable activities this year. One was a camp-side game of capture the flag. Another, involving the boys, was to watch Pastor Bill Winn working a forge – pounding red-hot metal into the shape of a sword. Sparks flew and burned brightly against the dark night as the boys remained completely silent. As the flames died down and the steel cooled, Pastor Bill recounted what the Holy Spirit did in shaping Jesus “blow by blow” during his earthly life and ministry. He then told them of a similar work the Spirit is now doing in their lives – shaping them into the fullness of what God has made them to be in Christ.

Enrollment for Higher Ground in 2012 is already full, though a waiting list is being kept.

Report on Y.E.S. camp in Louisiana

Youth Extreme Summer Camp (Y.E.S.), the GCI Generations Ministries camp in Louisiana, was held last month at Chicot State Park in Ville Platte, LA. Participants included 110 campers and 65 staff.

The theme for the camp was “Planning a Road Map with Jesus.” Chapel messages helped campers understand that Jesus is always with them, including through life’s struggles and challenges. Campers were encouraged to journey in life with God’s grace as their “Roadmap.”

New activities this year included a game called “Do You Love you Neighbor?” Classes for teens helped them live as the dearly loved children of God that they are. The boys’ class was named “The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Class.” The girls’ class was named “Classy, Not Sassy Ladies Class.” Pre-teens enjoyed Insect Day at the Louisiana State Arboretum.

To watch a video of this year’s Y.E.S. camp, click on the arrow on the image below:

Ministry coach training

CAD ministry developer Ted Johnston conducted a day-long ministry coach training workshop on July 30 for 32 pastors, ministry leaders and ministry workers from several GCI congregations located in Northern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Participants were equipped to coach others who are active in congregational ministries. Some of the participants are continuing training to be certified as GCI national ministry coaches. CAD provides a certified coach for each first-time employed senior pastor and new church planter.

Concerning the value of ministry coaching, watch this video from GCI church planter Dishon Mills (click on the arrow at the center of the image):

To learn more about Dishon and his new church plant, click here.

For more Church Development videos posted on YouTube, click here.

For additional information about ministry coaching, email Randy.Bloom@gci.org.

U.S. regional conferences in Dallas and Orlando

Dallas regional conference

U.S. regional conferences were held on July 22-24 in Dallas, and on August 5-7 in Orlando. The theme of this year’s conference, held in eight locations, is “On Mission with God.” One more location remains: Denver, CO on September 23-25. For information click here.

Planning is underway for a new round of regional conferences in 2012. It is anticipated that there will be a conference at each of the 2011 locations, at about the same time of year. Watch Weekly Update for forthcoming details.

Workshop at Orlando.


Worship team at Dallas

SEP Florida report

SEP Florida campers and staff

GenMin’s SEP Florida camp was home to 54 campers and 24 volunteer staffers on July 27-30. The camp was held at Camp Kulaqua, in High Springs, FL. In addition to daily worship and Christian leadership classes, campers enjoyed an on-site water park, go-karts, mini-golf, basketball, volleyball, flag football, arts & crafts, and music and talent presentations. Several campers met Jesus for the first time. Two were baptized (with their parents present). Another is planning to be baptized at home.


GenMin camps and missions

Great Commission Trips: Bahamas, Zambia and Malawi

Click here for a report on the work of our young GCI missionaries who recently returned from a short-term mission trip to the Bahamas. And click here for the details about another group of missionaries heading out soon to Zambia and Malawi.

Pathways camp

GenMin’s Pathways camp was held in the beautiful hills of Jackson, OH during the week of July 17- 22. Participants included 134 campers and 65 staffers. Chapel presenters were Jeff Broadnax, Mike Greider, Jason Frantz and Ben Zacharias. “Living Loved” messages were illustrated with several dramas.

Though the weather was exceptionally hot, the camp was blessed with a new addition this year – air conditioning in the “chapelteria.” And the swimming pool was well used along with the climbing wall and obstacle course. A camp highlight was a concert from Christian singer Ayiesha Woods. It was learned that her grandfather attends a GCI congregation in Bermuda.

A key focus, as in past years, was an outreach event. It was coordinated this year by Pathways staffer Carrie Smith who worked with the Jackson County Family Services Division to host 27 kids age 8-14 for a few hours at camp one day. The kids enjoyed a block party with lots of games and swimming. The love they received from the Pathways campers and staff was wonderful to behold! Lots of fun, fellowship and laughter.





Transformational Church consulting

Church Administration and Development offers Transformational Church (TC) consulting to GCI congregations in the U.S. These services help congregations assess their current level of health and then grow in their participation in the ministry that Jesus is doing to transform lives. Here are reports from two GCI congregations currently receiving TC services.

Christ Community Church (CCC), Cincinnati, OH

Here is a report from CCC senior pastor, George Hart:

Last winter, we began the TC process by conducting a church health assessment, using LifeWay’s Transformational Church Assessment Tool (TCAT). This was followed by a day-long Discovery Retreat, facilitated by two of GCI’s TC consultants: Ken Williams and Ted Johnston. As a result, we’re now moving forward on several fronts. A key one is to reach out to the community around our church hall. We are doing so using a Word in the Street type outreach (Word in the Street is our annual urban mission outreach to the inner city of Cincinnati – we have adapted this mission format to reach out to the community nearby our place of meeting).

Our first outreach was held on July 10, with the theme “God’s Extravagant Love” (see picture). We started at 6:30pm with live music and free food. This was followed with worship songs and a children’s message. A giant ice-cream sundae was made to emphasize the extravagant love God has for children. There was also a short message for the adults emphasizing that no matter where they are in life or what they have done, God is not angry with them but wants to shower them with love. After the messages there were games for the children and fellowship for the adults. A number of members served, and many came out just to get to know our neighbors in the community. Here are some of the results:

  • One lady thanked us no less than 4 times for coming, and just before she left she made it a point to thank us again. She said, “It is so nice to see the kids playing together rather than arguing and fighting with each other.”
  • One man from Guatemala, who spoke no English, was sitting on a rock away from the crowd enjoying the music. He was introduced to one of our members who spoke a little Spanish and when he heard his native language, his whole face lit up. I happened to see him the following evening, and he gave me a huge smile.
  • During the time of fellowship several people from the community received prayer. One man prayed for said, “I have never felt such love.”

We have two more events like this scheduled – one in August and one in September.

[For a video interview with George concerning TC services, click here.]

Grace Family Fellowship (GFF), Toledo, OH

GFF recently began the TC process by conducting a church health assessment using the TCAT. Following that, GFF’s pastor, ministry leaders and key workers held a day-long Discovery Retreat which was facilitated by GCI TC consultant Ted Johnston.

During the retreat (see picture), the group sought the Holy Spirit’s direction for GFF’s next steps for their participation in ministry with Jesus – both within the congregation, and out to the community. Highly interactive discussions focused on understanding and utilizing the congregation’s strengths related to worship, community and mission. Time was also spent understanding GFF’s challenges in those issues, and seeking the Spirit’s direction for growth. The group then brainstormed action priorities related to their next steps. Following the retreat, Ted prepared a summary report setting forth the results. The report serves as a map for the journey forward with Jesus. Ted will coach the congregation’s pastor, Stuart Mahan, as GFF moves forward.

Church Administration and Development offers several types of Transformational Church consulting. If your congregation is interested, watch a short video by clicking here. If still interested, contact Church Administration and Development at 800.574.2299, or email any member of the Ministry Development Team. One of GCI’s Transformational Church consultants will help you choose an approach suitable to your circumstances.








Church-Next Training in October

Church Administration and Development announces that the fifth annual edition of Church Multiplication Ministries’ Church-Next Training will be held this October in Glendora, CA.


Church-Next Training provides resources for starting new churches and helping established churches become more effective on mission with Jesus. Topics covered include:

  • Theological foundations for starting new churches
  • Determining a focus group or community
  • Developing culturally relevant ministries
  • Developing church planting teams
  • Starting new worship services
  • Gathering people for a new church
  • Funding church plants


October 11-15, 2011


GCI home office, 2011 E. Financial Way, Glendora, CA.


Church-Next Training is open to anyone who desires to learn to start a new church, or re-start an existing church. Presenters include Dr. Joseph Tkach, Dr. Dan Rogers, Dr. Randy Bloom and Lorenzo Arroyo.

How Much?

There is no cost for registration, but if you plan to attend please be sure to contact Randy Bloom (Randy.Bloom@gci.org) as soon as possible to let him know your intentions. You will pay the cost for your own lodging and meals during the event.

GenMin camps and missions

It’s a busy summer for GenMin camps and missions. Here are two updates:

CrossWalk camp

CrossWalk’s last session was held in late spring with 72 volunteer staff members serving 68 campers. Camp director Mike Rasmussen reports that they learned the great importance of cross-training their staff. Several staffers were unable to serve due to other commitments. Fortunately, the remaining staff were able to fill in. As a result, the camp met a primary goal – having a one-to-one staff to camper ratio. They also met another important goal – to increase the number of unchurched campers. Mike reports that the next CrossWalk session in November will be a “Family Camp” instead of a “Teen/Young Adult Camp”. So far, there has been a positive response to this development.

Great Commission Trips – Bahamas

GC Trips director Janet Morrison reports that we have a group of young people currently on a short-term mission trip in the Bahamas. You can follow their progress on their blog.