Ministry rhythms that lead to renewal

This article is from Heber Ticas, senior pastor at Comunión De Gracia, GCI's Sun Valley, California, congregation. Heber also is the national coordinator for GCI-USA Church Multiplication Ministries. [caption id="attachment_119" align="aligncenter" width="237"] Heber and Xochilt Ticas[/caption] As I write this, I'm enjoying 80 degree weather here in Southern California. We've been having summer weather in the middle of winter for two months---it seems entirely out of rhythm! Sweaters have given way to t-shirts, and beach day is a real possibility. In our everyday lives, rhythms are natural occurrences, and it's no different in ministry. In both venues, the rhythms fluctuate from time to time as our surroundings change. And in... Read the article

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From Greg: Keys for renewal in our churches

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders: [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] I hope you like the new format for Equipper. It's formatted to be read on a wide array of digital devices including computers, tablets and smart phones. This format allows greater flexibility to link to outside articles, embed videos and in other ways more effectively equip you with disciplemaking ministry resources and tools. We invite your feedback using the "leave a reply" feature at the bottom of the page. Last month's issue of Equipper focused on what renewal looks like within our very small congregations (we call them Fellowship Groups). This month we look at what renewal looks like within our... Read the article

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Preaching from the lectionary

This article is from pastor Sam Butler. [caption id="attachment_39" align="aligncenter" width="297"] Sam and Denise Butler[/caption] Several months ago I was challenged to consider using the lectionary to shape my preaching-teaching and worship planning. I say “challenged” because I was accustomed to “doing my own thing” in planning my sermons, and the idea of using someone else’s pre-determined structure did not sit well with me at first. Despite my initial resistance, I decided to give the lectionary approach a try. I began by studying the meanings of the seasons of the historic, orthodox Christian worship calendar as outlined in the lectionary, and then looking at the Scriptures that the lectionary assigns to each week... Read the article

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FaithTalk equipper: resources for fellowship groups

This article is from regional pastor Randy Bloom. [caption id="attachment_36" align="aligncenter" width="258"] Randy and Debbie Bloom[/caption] In GCI we have a vision for all kinds of churches for all kinds of people in all kinds of places. Some of our smaller congregations have realized that they are most effectively positioned to contribute to the realization of this vision by utilizing a fellowship group structure where people worship and fellowship in an informal environment that is attractive to new people who do not wish to be part of a more traditional, large church. Fellowship groups are an ideal setting sharing the word of God through interactive Bible discussions rather than traditional sermons. Sermons typically are... Read the article

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Sermon summary: Jesus in the Dark

Here is the summary of a sermon for Palm Sunday written by pastor Lance McKinnon (Revised Common Lectionary, year B) [caption id="attachment_47" align="aligncenter" width="260"] Lance and Georgia McKinnon[/caption] Mark 15:33-37 (NRSV) When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "Listen, he is calling for Elijah." And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." Then Jesus gave a loud cry and... Read the article

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Renewal In Our Fellowship Groups

The February Equipper focuses on renewal in our smallest congregations (we call them fellowship groups). The five articles in this issue are linked below. Enjoy! - Ted Johnston, Equipper editor From Greg: Operating from abundance, not scarcity What is a fellowship group? Faithtalk Equipper: resources for fellowship groups by Randy Bloom Sermon summary: Jesus in the Dark by Lance McKinnon Preaching from the lectionary by Sam Butler Read the article

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From Greg: Operating from abundance, not scarcity

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders: [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] During our 2015 end-of-year CAD team meeting we broke into groups to list our strengths and challenges, and to identify objectives for 2016. Though good ideas emerged, I noticed the challenges getting the most attention in ways that almost were threatening to become the focus of our planning. I say “almost” because in one of those Holy Spirit “aha moments” we agreed we should focus on our strengths, not our challenges. That shift changed how our plan for this year took shape. There’s an important principle here that I think applies to the planning you do within your congregation. I believe we... Read the article

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What is a fellowship group?

Recently, Greg Williams emailed all GCI-USA primary pastoral leaders to notify them that CAD has published a new version of the Church Administration Manual, which defines three types of GCI-USA congregations: non-chartered fellowship groups, chartered fellowship groups, and chartered churches. The two fellowship group types apply to congregations averaging less than 15 people in worship service attendance. The manual describes how fellowship groups are structured and alternative ways for them to operate depending on their sense of mission/vision, available resources, needs and preferences. For additional information about fellowship groups, click here to download the August 2015 issue of Equipper. Read the article

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From Greg: Our theme for 2016

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders, I’m excited about 2016, in part because I recently received the best Christmas present ever—the birth of Emory Grace Williams, my first grandchild. I’m also excited because we serve a great God who declares that he is "making all things new” (Revelation 21:5 ESV). In doing so, he assures us that his “compassions,” which are “new every morning,” truly “never fail” (Lamentations 3:22-23). [caption id="attachment_136" align="aligncenter" width="244"] Meeting my granddaughter[/caption] With confidence in God and reliance on his faithfulness, I’m pleased to announce that Year of Renewal is the GCI-USA theme for 2016. As you turn your calendars forward, I encourage you to focus... Read the article

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