January is one of my favorite times of the year because of GCIgnite! I look forward to it every year because I get to visit with friends from across the globe and anticipate meeting new ones. An integral part of GCIgnite is its welcoming atmosphere. There is great significance in being able to come just as we are: to come with our questions, burdens, and brokenness. Throughout the gathering, we learn that we are not alone and others seek answers too.
What’s amazing about this four-day summit is that we as a community learn and find answers from the Word, God’s voice, and from one another. It’s impossible to leave without having gained a new perspective of something, especially of our Triune God. The Spirit shows up and somehow reveals himself to each of us personally and reminds us of our calling, gently convicts us to do it, and reassures us that he is with us all the way. As the curious group is reminded of who God is, the answers are clear with the how’s and why’s. A safe and loving place where we are pushed and equipped to lead and serve others as we go back to our local contexts is what GCIgnite is all about.
The theme for 2019 was Renew: renewing our self, worth, rhythms, and our love for our neighbors. The gist of the theme is renewing all parts of our lives to be transformed by the living God who is constantly shaping us as he works through us. Our God is inviting us every single day to participate in this adventure with him and with others. There is beauty in knowing that through renewing our hearts and minds before God, our everyday life which can seem mundane, is turned into something wonderful as it becomes worship and as our response becomes an active choice of saying yes to him and trusting him completely.
Workshop sessions are where we dive into the details of Ignite’s theme. We were given the opportunity to step out of our comfort zones as we share and discuss such important topics as leading with doubt, sexuality, processing social media and current events, conflict resolution, and holistic love. Some of the workshops challenge us to shift our lenses and see things in a clearer, more meaningful way, like Rediscovering the Bible, Renewing Prayer Life, Church Worth, Financial Rhythms, and Rhythms of Self-Care. In these workshops, we are able to learn, share, and equip one another through the Spirit.
Pouring our hearts out through singing, worshipping God through art and journaling, playing board games, ping pong, and basketball, fellowshipping with one another under the snow, sharing a meal, praying with someone, dancing, lip sync competitions, taking photos together, and staying up to continue conversations that are honest and life-giving are some of the activities that happen at GCIgnite. There is so much joy in doing these little things because we get to do it with one another and Christ’s presence is pervasive through every single activity.
One of my highlights was taking the 5 Voices assessment and learning the gifts God has revealed in me. Through this, we were able to know ourselves more and what God has called us to do. It is so reassuring to think that he has designed each of us so intentionally and uniquely that we are invited to participate in the Kingdom work here on Earth, helping the body of Christ reach its full potential. Another highlight for me was when we walked around the room encouraging others and being encouraged. This time set to affirm someone of their gifts and be affirmed allowed us to feel seen, heard, needed, and loved by our GCI families.
We also gathered to share and pray for our local churches. This conference really is important for intergenerational ministries as the young adults are being empowered by each other and by people with more experience and wisdom to be the next leaders of GCI churches. Through this conference, we are reminded that when we go back to our local contexts, we should also start to pray for eyes to see who the next leaders of GCI are from our youth and children’s ministries. I am so grateful to be part of this church in which we are continually being filled up by others and being able to fill up others.
– Hazel Tabin