Dear Ministers of Christ,
Hard to believe, but 2017 is nearly over! Before we dive into 2018 (and I’m excited about what lies ahead!), let’s take this opportunity to look back on some of the key messages we’ve addressed in GCI Equipper during 2017.
Our over-arching theme this year has been renewal—continuing our Spirit-led and empowered journey with Jesus both corporately (as a denomination and individual congregations) and personally (with a particular emphasis on the renewal of our pastors and ministry leaders).
Here’s a look back at our journey as seen in the 2017 issues of Equipper:
- The January issue addressed mutual commitments that are vital to our continuing renewal—to prayer, to high support and high challenge (always with grace), to preaching from the Revised Common Lectionary, and to discipling our children. Let’s continue staying true to them in 2018!
- The February issue looked at leadership renewal. My article emphasized team-based and pastor-led church leadership and we began a series on leadership, urging leaders to know yourself to lead yourself.
- The March issue addressed renewal through community outreach. This has been an important focus this year, one that will continue as God leads us “outside the walls” to impact unchurched people, giving them opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ. Click here for the index.
- The April issue explored the vital topic of our theological renewal. It introduced an essay by Gary Deddo (published serially) titled “Clarifying our Theological Vision.”
- The May issue looked at the renewal of pastoral priorities. My letter presented five priorities for lead pastors and others looked at priorities of preaching (using the RCL) and developing a strong leader core.
- The June issue stressed the importance of taking time for retreats and other spiritual practices as key to renewal. Click here for the index.
- The July issue prepared us for our GCI Denominational Conference held in Orlando, in August. It emphasized the importance of our family unity in GCI. Maintaining these close ties (“We Are GCI!”) is a vital factor in our continuing renewal. Click here for the index.
- The August issue was shortened to make room for our Denominational Conference in Orlando.
- The September issue celebrated our transformation as a denomination—a transformation clearly evident at our conference. God has done (and continues to do) a marvelous work in our midst! Click here for the index.
- The October issue continued celebrating our journey of renewal. I shared my observations (and Norva Kelly’s encouraging words) on GCI’s journey from trial to abundance.
- The November issue offered various resources that our churches and families can use in preparing for the upcoming Advent-Christmas season. Click here for the index.
This brings us to the December issue and our journey through Advent, which culminates in celebrating our Lord’s birth. My prayer for this Advent-Christmas season is that it will renew you in both spirit and body. Thank you for what you will be doing in this season to minister the grace of God into the lives of many as we enter into another annual cycle of Christian worship.
May God bless and keep you, and let’s meet again in 2018 as we launch into an exciting year of transition in GCI. More about that next month.
Your brother in Christ,