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Empowering and Encouraging

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

So that they may become part of our GCI leadership DNA, in 2023 we will continue to focus on the 4 Es of leadership development and ministry actions – Engage, Equip, Empower and Encourage. This letter will be focused on Empowering and Encouraging.

To empower simply means to give power or authority. I’m reminded of Matthew 28:18 where Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” Just as Jesus is fully enabled to act, he wraps us into his mission. We, too, are permitted to go and make disciples, baptizing and teaching all things about Jesus. There is confidence in going when we know we are backed by Jesus, and when we realize that as we go, he is always present with us. That’s empowerment with real power.

In the February 22 Update, I wrote about the practical ways Jesus included the original disciples in the feeding of the 5,000. This was a wonderful example of how he equipped and prepared them for what was to come in the commissioning of Matthew 28, when he sent them out into the world to make more disciples and to establish the community of the church. Both accounts display doing ministry with Jesus – one was directed by the earthly Jesus, the second from the heavenly Jesus by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

We then see that empowerment comes after an appropriate training period. Empowerment includes an endorsement, a sending, and a backing. (For further study, explore the times when Paul sent his son in the faith, Timothy, as his representative.)

True-life stories help to better paint the picture. See the story below of an important lesson learned by Rick Shallenberger as he took advice from his mentor on adapting his approach with an intern.

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P.S. Are you looking for a fun way to empower your members aged 8-17? Encourage their involvement in the Healthy Church Challenge! Videos selected in the first round will be shown at the Denominational Celebration. Final winners will receive a prize. Here’s more information.

Equipping the Saints

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

Let’s begin this Update letter with a scriptural passage.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13 NLT)

The various church offices are a gift that Jesus himself, through the work of the Spirit, gave to the church. Note what the Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible says about church leadership:

As the apostles, prophets, and evangelists were special and extraordinary ministers, so “pastors and teachers” are the ordinary stated ministers of a particular flock, including, probably, the bishops, presbyters, and deacons. Evangelists were itinerant preachers like our missionaries, as Philip the deacon (Acts 21:8); as contrasted with stationary “pastors and teachers” (2 Timothy 4:5). [Typically] The evangelist founded the Church; the teacher built it up in the faith already received. The “pastor” had the outward rule and guidance of the Church. The bishop had regional oversight with a group of churches.

This is a general explanation of church polity, an overview of the offices and operations of the church. (GCI uses the title regional director rather than bishop.) Our specific purpose for this article is found in verse 12. The primary responsibility of all church leadership is “to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” This equipping is careful preparation for the followers of Christ to recognize and understand how they fit and how they participate with Jesus through the community of the church.

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Jesus—the True Disciple Maker

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

As we find ourselves in the season where we rehearse the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, it turns my mind toward the way Jesus equipped and developed the disciples. He used a dynamic combination of teaching and modeling to pour into their lives, and all the while wrapped into a relationship of interaction and friendship.

Jesus did not allow ministry to be a spectator sport. He used everyday opportunities to train his disciples to see and serve (“see” because people have value and worth). The feeding of the 5,000 is a marvelous narrative of how Jesus equipped his followers.

In John chapter 5, Jesus spent a lengthy session of teaching about his authority and how he is doing the work of the Father. These works testify to who he is, the Messiah. Then we read in chapter 6:

Sometime after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. John 6:1-15 NIV

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Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

A few months back, Communications Director Michelle Fleming shared an assessment tool that Replicate Ministries uses in helping to debunk several myths about ministry. Replicate Ministries encourages all the churches and leaders they serve to come on board to what they call, “All Play, Everyday Disciple-Making Movement.” I really like this catchy phrase. It points to the biblical posture of a priesthood of all believers. It also reminds me of a slogan we sometimes use in GCI, “making disciples who make disciples.”

In the spirit of an “all-play” mentality, I am writing a short series on the 4 Es of pastoral ministry – engage, equip, empower, encourage. (Keep in mind that our Avenue champions need to think and operate out of the 4 Es too.) My first entry is on engagement.

To engage, in the purest sense, is to recognize and recruit. Everywhere we look, we see people who need Jesus. When I say need, the needs can run the gamut from forgiveness, to healing, to meaning and purpose in life. Maybe the person you see is simply looking for acceptance or true friendship.

Several years back, Christian researcher and author George Barna informed the church that the greatest need in Christianity was for Christian believers to be engaged in relationships with non-believers. This engagement runs deeper than just hanging out and being friendly. It means befriending another, taking the time to listen and hear the good and the bad, and everything in between. It means sharing life experiences and making lasting memories. It means being there in tough situations and in times of celebration. It means talking to God about your friend as well as talking to your friend about God. It is life-on-life; it is place-sharing.
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Lent AND Easter Preparation

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

As I travel around the world visiting our various GCI regions I hear and learn many new things. I become informed about cultural nuances, and I am asked to clarify various aspects of what we believe in GCI, and how our theology informs our practices.

In my recent trip to France, I engaged in a lively discussion with our leaders. They shared that many of the GCI members are former Catholics, and their view of Lent is based in traditional Catholicism. Based on their past experiences, they view Lent as a works-based practice that is intended for a Christian to establish their personal worthiness. It feels like a backward step into legalism, and a move away from the vicarious atonement of Jesus that alone makes us worthy.

The French leaders went on to express that the phraseology that we have used, “Easter Preparation” is acceptable, and our members can embrace it. For former Catholics, it aligns with our grace-based Christ-centered focus.

In the greater Christian community, Lent is celebrated by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians. The practices in observing Lent and the importance placed on it vary. The conundrum for GCI is that in primarily Protestant-based regions, using Lent as terminology to describe what we call Easter Preparation is acceptable and interchangeable, and therefore it has appeared in some of our GCI publications. Please understand that this is not intended to create confusion, nor is meant to be offensive to any of our former Catholic members (be they in France or any other country with strong Catholic influence).

It is extremely important to know that the GCI worship calendar is informed by GCI theology. The pure intention is to rehearse and celebrate the salvific events of Jesus Christ. In no way are our celebrations designed to throw us back on ourselves and place our eternal salvation on human works. Our goals are to point to Jesus, be focused on Jesus and to worship him only. This alone is why we promote and support the GCI worship calendar.

For our members who have had challenging experiences and carry painful memories associated with Lent, please use the terminology “Easter Preparation.” We have openly asked our leaders across the international churches to contextualize the tools that we provide from the Home Office. We have often experienced that clear communication is difficult, especially when translating from one language to another.

In France and several other countries, I have been asked why I only carry the title of President and why the title of “Pastor” is not included? Most understand why Pastor General was dropped because General is a military title. The sentiment that members convey is that they see me as the Pastor of the denomination, and I embrace this role.

This letter is written out of my pastoral heart to extend the care and love for our members who may have experienced misunderstanding and hurt. Written out of my pastoral mindset, I desire that all of us in GCI relentlessly pursue Jesus and see that he is central in every season, year in and year out.

Everything begins and ends with Jesus. This is the focus of a healthy church. This is the focus of GCI. May God continue to bless us as we keep Jesus the center of the center.

Greg Williams

P.S. Are you interested in a fuller explanation of the primary worship days and seasons? Check out this list.

Faith, Hope, and Love in Action

GCI President, Greg Williams, shares how in 2023, GCI will focus on our theme of “Faith, Hope, and Love in Action.” We will be emphasizing moving from ministry concepts to active participation with Jesus in ministry. We rely on Jesus to guide us in being effective ambassadors to our neighbors.

Program Transcript

Faith, Hope, and Love in Action
GCI President Update | January 2023

Greg Williams

Happy 2023! We are beginning an exciting new year with new hopes and new possibilities.

In 2022, we promoted the theme of “Compelled by Love.” We understand that it is the pure love of Jesus that allows us to see others being included in his sacrifice and love. We teach a universal atonement in that when Jesus died, all humanity was included in his spilled blood. Therefore, the reconciliation of mankind to the triune God was made available to “all” in Jesus. God is not counting our sins against any of us. When he looks at us, he sees Jesus standing in our place for us. This is the good news we identify as the gospel. And this is our mission: to live and to share this gospel.

As we look ahead to what 2023 holds—in GCI this means moving into Year Two of our 3-Year Plan—we ask how does this mission play out for our six global Regions of GCI? We share the same vision of “Healthy Church” that is reflected in the same structure of “Team Based–Pastor Led” with the ministry Avenues of Faith, Hope, and Love. So where do we need to focus on? Leadership is part of our focus.

Fleshing out the clear role of the Pastor to build his/her team – with called and competent leaders who can champion the ministry Avenues of Faith, Hope, and Love – is a must to further our movement toward Healthy Church.     

As each Superintendent leads their Ministry Directors to train, educate, and coach on these important steps forward, we realize that each region is working at its individual pace as the Spirit is guiding. And that’s okay. The critical factor is that we are all progressively moving in the same direction – and that direction is always keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and growing in our participation in his ministry of faith, hope, and love. Eugene Peterson was right when he said, “It’s a long journey in the same direction.” And that direction is always toward Jesus.

Year One in our shared global plan was focused on learning the ministry concepts and developing a common language. Having visited almost all GCI regions in 2022 and participating in pastoral conferences, I was pleased to see how the concepts are being grasped and talked about. We are out of the starting block.

In Year Two, our GCI theme for 2023 is “Faith, Hope, and Love in Action.” This is moving the concepts into action. It is our faith goal that as we better understand the ministry of Jesus conceptually, that we follow through with better participation.

Allow me to explain what I mean by better participation. It’s one thing to know that it is the commission of the church to make disciples, and it is altogether another experience to participate with Father, Son, and Spirit in actively making disciples. This is where the Love Avenue comes in for us to become intentional about engaging and building meaningful relationships with those who don’t yet know Christ.

Then as new people are coming along, it is imperative that our Hope Avenue is vibrant. Every Sunday gathering needs to be a time of inspiration in worship of Jesus, experiencing the power and presence of the Spirit, as believers come together corporately.

Following up on where the Love and Hope Avenues have helped us reach new believers, the action of the Faith Avenue will then help them learn how to walk with Jesus and find their place in the life of the church. The Apostle Paul describes a progression of moving from the milk of the word to the meat of the word. This is a relationship with the Savior that is maturing in understanding and reliance. GCI’s role is to help others become committed followers of Jesus.  

The hope that I cling to is that GCI will make disciples who will make even more disciples.

The effectiveness of how the church is operating in the Faith, Hope, and Love Avenues has a major impact on how the mission of Making Disciples is fulfilled. I believe you can see just how critical it is for GCI to move from knowledge to practice. Faith, Hope, and Love in Action mean that we are focused on Jesus and relying on him to channel his faith, hope, and love into us, so we more effectively operate as his ambassadors to a broken, hurting world.

To speak candidly, I fully realize that not all our churches are the same. Some are smaller and aging and in their twilight years. By the grace of God, some are experiencing renewal, and yet others are celebrating their history and closing their doors. Please know that this is the cycle of the church and that your denomination still loves and cares about you deeply. There is no judgment or hard feelings.

For the smaller churches, you will be hard-pressed to build out the Faith, Hope, and Love Avenues to the scale that you would like. Please don’t feel bad about this. Continue to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and think about ministry through the lens of Faith, Hope, and Love, and participate as you are able.

I have advised our Superintendents and their team of leaders to identify the congregations that have the greater capacity of size, adequate funding, opportunity in their neighborhood, and teachable leaders who are willing to try new methods, and we begin there. You have heard the expression that “life begets life” – so, this is our long-range thinking. If we can help the healthier churches among us to become even more vibrant, then these renewed congregations have the potential to become mother churches that give birth to daughter churches – bringing new followers to Christ. This will be an incredible marker to indicate that our shared vision of Healthy Church is being fulfilled.

Let me pray for us.

Father in Heaven, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit, we are at the beginning of a New Year on our calendar. We thank you for being faithful in our past and especially for our shared journey in GCI. You have brought us such a long way and have never left us or forsaken us.

We stand here now as we roll our calendars forward to 2023. We stand in the faith, hope, and love of Jesus and we collectively ask you that we can better join you in your purpose of drawing all men and women to yourself. That your Kingdom can grow from a small seed to a huge, expansive bush where all birds can be gathered and find refuge and peace.

Thank you, Spirit, for unifying our fellowship with a shared plan that has a common vision, common structure, common strategies, and a plan full of faith goals that can only be fulfilled as you build the house.

Father, we humbly ask that the Faith, Hope, and Love of Jesus would become even more alive and tangible among our churches and members. May the light of Jesus shine brightly through our people, and Lord add new members as it pleases you.

In a year’s time, may we look back on 2023 and see the amazing ways that you answered this prayer.

In the mighty name of Jesus!


I’m Greg Williams, updating you about the life of the Church.

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy 2023! We are beginning an exciting new year with new hopes and new possibilities. In 2022, we promoted the theme of “Compelled by Love.” As we look ahead to what 2023 holds, we ask, how does this mission play out? I hope you will watch this first video update of the new year. In this update, I describe our focus and theme for 2023.

I also have some exciting news from the Home Office. Allow me to introduce our new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Rose Hamrick. To learn more, visit her bio here.

Mat Morgan, who has served as GCI and GCS CFO since November 2005, will be retiring next month. Stay tuned to read more about Mat’s faithful and competent service to our fellowship in a future Update issue.

Grateful for healthy transitions,

Reflecting on Important 2022 Themes

Since this entire issue of Update is dedicated to looking back at 2022, we gave our hardworking president a break from writing. In place of a letter, I combined all of Greg’s letters from the entire year and generated a word cloud. A word cloud is an image composed of words in a particular text, in which the size of each word indicates its frequency or importance. You will see by this image, that the word “Jesus” occurred more than any other word in the president’s letters. As it should be! Amen?

Allow me to point out another word. Greg mentioned his wife, Susan, so often that she showed up in our word cloud. How appropriate! We’re grateful for Susan and her tireless devotion to our denomination. I am sure our members around the globe who received a visit from our president in 2022 were equally blessed by Susan’s presence. Thank you, Susan.

Have a meaningful and merry Christmas,
Elizabeth Mullins
Update Editor


President’s Video—For God so Loved

In this month’s Update, Dr. Greg Williams talks about the significance of Jesus’ coming into our world and how our Father loves us beyond our comprehension.

Program Transcript

For God so Loved
GCI President Update | December 2022
Greg Williams

In late September I visited our brothers and sisters in Manila, Philippines. I arrived, either late in the night or early in the morning, around 4:00 am. To my surprise, I found the airport decorated with Christmas trappings. One Canadian-Filipino fellow traveler was so moved, she requested that I take her picture in front of the nativity scene.

In my mind, I was thinking “Jesus sure came early this year.” But we know, he is always here.

John 3:16-17 is one of the most important passages revealing the mind of God toward humanity. Both verses are of equal importance.

16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3: 16-17 (NRSVA)

“For God so loved” – what is the genesis of this love? When did it kick in? Was it at the fall of Adam and Eve? At the flood when God started over with Noah and his family? At the tower of Babel when he confused the languages. Perhaps when the prophets and kings failed?

Certainly, God’s heart was broken by the suffering of his children. The reality is that the Triune God was ahead of human history. John, the same author of the Gospel we just read, declares in Revelation 13:8 that Jesus was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

In essence, Jesus coming in the flesh was always God’s plan. The design for the second member of the Godhead to become a flesh and blood human was in the mind of God before the creation of Adam and Eve. In a small way, it’s kind of like a nativity scene in September.

God’s love is before what we call the beginning. And John 3 verse 17 tells us his love is a rescuing and restorative love. The incarnation of Jesus wasn’t intended for him to come and judge humanity in its fallen state. Humanity’s brokenness was highly visible, and the sting was felt by all. We were, as the line from O Holy Night says, “in sin and error pining.” So, Jesus didn’t come to rub this in. He came to make things right.

This child who came into the world, not in a palace with attending servants and nurses, but to an animal stall or cave, with lowly shepherds attending, was the embodiment of God’s love for the world. We celebrate this entry into the world because it was the greatest of miracles.

C.S. Lewis called the incarnation “the Grand Miracle.” He wrote: “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. … Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. … It was the central event in the history of the Earth—the very thing that the whole story has been about”
– C.S. Lewis, Miracles

Jesus always was, is, and will be, God’s plan of salvation. The incarnation is the central and greatest miracle that we all benefit from.

By a miracle that passes human comprehension, the Creator entered his creation, the Eternal entered time, God became human; it is reason to fall on our knees. And why did he come? Jesus became human with the life mission to die and rise again for the salvation of all people. Think of it this way, the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension do not happen without the incarnation. It is for this very reason that we walk through the season of Advent, to prepare our hearts and minds for the crescendo of the coming of Jesus into the world.

So to all the GCI family, I say, “Come let us adore him.” May your Christmas season be filled with Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father.

From Susan, me, and all your friends at the Home Office – A Very Merry Christmas!

Team Based—Chair Led

Dear GCI Friends and Family,

From time to time, I invite a guest writer to share with our church audience. It is my pleasure to have GCI Board Chair, Randy Bloom, as our guest writer this issue. Check out our interview here.

In Him,
Greg Williams

Grace Communion International exists as a beloved part of the universal church of Jesus. It exists to preach the Gospel of Jesus, and to make disciples as it participates in his ministry. GCI also exists as an organization recognized by and functioning under the laws of the US government. As such, it has a necessary structure for fulfilling its mission, as it is led and directed by the Holy Spirit. Under the direction and support of the Board, this structure is headed by the GCI President, Dr. Greg Williams, along with the Home Office staff and regional superintendents around the globe.

As Chair of the GCI board, I have been asked to explain the purpose of the board and how it functions.

The board provides high-level direction and support for the work of the church, mostly from behind the scenes, leaving the more visible aspects (the administrative aspects) of church ministry and mission to the President and his team. But the “behind the scenes” work of the board provides a solid foundation and pathway for the work of the church. The board also provides an extra layer of accountability within GCI – the President is accountable to the board. The primary responsibilities of the board include serving as a governing body (not involved in day-to-day administration or management) to:

      • Ensure the integrity of GCI’s theological framework and doctrine
      • Establish and maintain the vision and mission of GCI
      • Set basic policies (regarding personnel, finances, risk management, etc.)
      • Maintain financial health
      • Hire and support the President.

GCI theology and doctrine.

The “heavy lifting” of developing and establishing the foundational theological framework and doctrine for GCI has been accomplished by the prior work of the board. Today the board maintains the ongoing integrity of our theology and doctrine and is responsible for any future adjustments or clarifications as revealed by the Holy Spirit. The board has a doctrinal committee that reviews and decides doctrinal issues that arise from time to time.

GCI vision and mission

The mission of the church has been clearly set by Jesus: to preach the gospel and make disciples. This is the purpose of GCI (and any church). How that mission is lived out—what it “looks like” in various locations and cultures—needs to be worked out by the President, superintendents, regional directors, and pastors within the 69 countries in which GCI has a presence. With the Spirit leading, Greg and his team have developed missional plans and strategies for pursuing our GCI vision of “Healthy Church.” Greg keeps the board updated regularly on the development and progress of these plans.

Financial health and accountability

Through various committees, the board works to ensure GCI’s financial health. It reviews and approves the annual budget. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) provides quarterly financial updates to the board. Several committees are involved in managing the annual audit and providing oversight of investments. The CFO is also accountable to the board for all financial management systems, ensuring GCI operates according to established legal requirements. We are happy to say that every year GCI receives an “Unqualified Opinion,” the highest audit rating possible.

Support the President

While the President is accountable to the board, the board is also accountable to support the President. The board does this through its review and support of the President’s initiatives. More specifically, the board chair provides more focused support. I do this by maintaining regular contact with Greg. We talk regularly by Zoom. He shares his plans and ideas with me on a consistent basis, and he is open to suggestions and ideas from me. We have been friends and colleagues for many years, so our working relationship is professional and relational. We get along well, and communication is easy between us. He has often described our working relationship as one of coach and coachee.

I think it is important for people to realize that no one person “has the reigns of authority” within GCI. The President is accountable to the board and while the board has a Chair, the Chair is accountable to the board. Responsibility and accountability are shared. The board is, I hope, a good working example of “team based—chair led.”

Board composition

You may be wondering, “Who comprises the board? What kind of people are they?” I am honored to serve alongside a group of men and women who are experienced and competent in a variety of fields essential to the effective work of the board. Some are highly accomplished in various aspects of finances, management, and legal work. Some are experienced pastors. The board directors are as diverse as they are competent. What they all share in common is love for Jesus, for people, for GCI, and a respect for their fiduciary duties. To learn more about GCI board directors, click here.

Grace Communion Seminary board

An additional blessing, I encountered when I accepted the nomination as GCI board chair was that the GCI board chair also serves as the chair for Grace Communion Seminary. I enjoy serving alongside GCS President, Dr. Michael Morrison and other GCS board members. The GCS board fulfills the same purposes for the seminary as the GCI board serves for the church – to ensure the seminary mission, vision and finances are upheld and managed with integrity. The GCS board is comprised of directors who are experienced, competent, and committed to GCI and GCS. To learn more, visit GCS board.

As I was preparing to retire, I spent a great deal of time pondering and praying about “what was next,” what Jesus may have had in store for me in his ministry. Being asked to serve on the GCI board came as an unexpected surprise, and it has been a great joy to serve alongside GCI and GCS board members. The work is challenging in a good way and fits well into a very fluid retirement schedule. Serving on the board provides an opportunity to continue to work with dear friends and colleagues and serve GCI pastors and congregations in the U.S. and around the globe.

Randy Bloom
GCI Board Chair

Successful Transitions in the Philippines

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

Greg Williams with the Filipino National Ministry Team

I recently had the pleasure of joining Dr. Eugene Guzon, many Filipino leaders, and the Asian Regional Directors in Manila for a historic week of meetings and events. Dr. Guzon and I have been working together for more than two years to move the Filipino governance from a Corporate-Sole model to a Board-Governed and National-Director-Led model. Mat Morgan and our Home Office Legal Department played a significant role in helping rewrite the bylaws for the Philippines and helping them through national registration modifications. The other significant milestone was recognizing and commissioning the four members of the National Ministry Team (NMT).

Settling out these significant changes took much time, prayer, and discussion from leaders on both sides of the pond. We arrived at a place where it seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us. The story below from Dr. Guzon describes the details of what took place. From my perspective, I exhale a resounding hallelujah and amen!

I am excited and expectant about how the Lord moves in and through our new structure.


On September 25 – October 2, Greg Williams visited Manila for a series of strategic meetings with ministry leaders of GCI Philippines and the Asia region. The week ended on a high note with a face-to-face combined worship service – the first of its kind since the pandemic hit in 2020.

Ministry Meetings

Wong Mein Kong

Dr. Greg spent time with the Philippines’ National Ministry Team (NMT) to discuss organizational matters and ministry directions towards the pursuit of Healthy Church, with a focus on leadership transition planning at the national level.

He met the Faith, Hope, and Love Avenue teams of GC Crossway (Manila) for updates and coaching on the development of a Ministry Training Center (MTC). MTCs are part of GCI’s initiative for growing emerging leaders through strategic ministry equipping within the life of the church, in line with the Healthy Church vision.

Dan Zachariah

Another key meeting was between Dr. Greg and the new seven-member Board of Trustees of GCI Philippines. The board members are (pictured at the top, left to right) Dr. Eugenio Guzon, Audie Santibanez, Jerome Manriquez, Romeo Pusta, Vicky Constantino, Dr. Ana Lasco, and Timoteo Sotalbo. All these board members are GCI elders in the Philippines. The formation of the board is a milestone as the Philippine National Office transitions to the legal status of a religious non-profit organization, following a two-year study in consultation with the Home Office, with the goal of providing a better legal and organizational platform for a team-based, elder-led ministry.

Dr. Greg also spent time with 70 leaders – Community of Practice (CoP), board members, district directors, pastors, and ministry workers from across the Philippines to help provide a deeper understanding of GCI’s vision, team-based leadership model and culture, and to give updates from other areas around the world.

Dr. Greg’s visit was an opportunity to convene the GCI Asia CoP, composed of Eugene Guzon, Wong Mein Kong, and Dan Zachariah. This meeting was also attended by Pastor Devaraj Ramoo and his wife, Parameswary, from GCI Malaysia, and Pastor Aron Tolentino of GCI Philippines. The discussions provided clarity and contextualization for the Healthy Church vision and guidance on plans for the region over the next few years.

Overall, these gatherings were edifying, timely, fruitful, and beyond expectations.

Combined Metro Manila Worship Service

On the last day of Dr. Greg’s visit, 605 members were in attendance for a face-to-face combined worship service in Metro Manila. Many more members were able to watch the service online. The sermon was about Jesus as our true foundation and our participation in the great commission through healthy Avenues of Faith, Hope, and Love. His message was very well received!

During the service, Dr. Greg commissioned the two team-based leadership bodies serving GCI Philippines: the Board of Trustees (named above) and the NMT composed of Rex dela Pena, Dr. Eugene Guzon, Audie Santibanez, and Aron Tolentino. Pastor Audie Santibanez, who serves as NMT team member and Metro Manila District Director, was also commissioned as Deputy National Director.

Commissioning Audie Santibanez

It was a joyful culmination to a meaningful week, and a celebration of God’s continuing faithfulness to GCI in the Philippines and the rest of Asia.


Eugene Guzon HeadshotBy Eugene Guzon
Asia Superintendent and Philippines National Director