Revised Common Lectionary (Year C)

The next Christian worship year (called "Year C" in the Revised Common Lectionary) stretches from December 2, 2018 through November 30, 2019 (Advent to Advent). The chart below (click it to download) will help you plan worship (including preaching) for the year ahead. For related worship resources on GCI's Resources website, click here. For a related series of posts on The Surprising God blog, click here. Read the article

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Sermon for November 25, 2018

Note on today's liturgy: November 25, 2018 is Christ the King (or Reign of Christ) Sunday. It concludes Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar, marking the end of the worship year (Year B in the Revised Common Lectionary). Next Sunday (December 2, 2018) we enter a new worship year (Year C) with Advent Season. Our focus today is the crucified and risen Jesus Christ, whom God exalted to rule over the whole universe. On this Sunday, we look back to Jesus' transfiguration, resurrection and ascension and forward to his appearing in glory as King of kings and Lord of lords. Scripture Readings: Dan. 7:9-10, 13-14; Ps. 93; Rev. 1:4-8; John 18:33-37 Sermon by Sheila Graham (from John 18, Daniel 7 and Revelation 1, drawing on ... Read the article

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What About Liturgy?

This article is by GCI-Germany Elder Santiago Lange. [caption id="attachment_10141" align="alignright" width="130"] Santiago Lange[/caption] Liturgy is an important aspect of worship in the Christian faith. It helps us mature in our relationship with Jesus. But to gain that benefit, we need to understand what liturgy is, and how it is used in various worship traditions. Unfortunately, some Christians condemn all “church traditions” and “liturgical practices” (whatever they may mean by those terms), seeing them as cloaked attempts to undermine and weaken the authority of the Bible. But, is that actually the case? Are worship traditions permissible? In England, at the Tower of London, every afternoon at exactly 4 PM there is an... Read the article

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Worldview Conversion: The Power of Liturgy

This article from Ted Johnston looks at the transformative power that a gospel-shaped liturgy has in converting a person's worldview to Christ. [caption id="attachment_10000" align="alignright" width="120"] Ted Johnston[/caption] Though, in the minds of many, the word liturgy conjures up images of rigid, formulaic worship, when rightly shaped and followed, liturgy is a powerful tool for converting a person's worldview to Christ. Liturgy is a biblical word. The New Testament uses the verb leitourgia to speak of service (ministry-worship) within the church. It then uses the noun leitourgos to speak of those who lead worship, with Jesus being the supreme leitourgos. From these Greek words comes the English word liturgy, which means "the... Read the article

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Kids Korner: Teaching Kids About the Christian Year

Kid's Korner this month is from GCI Equipper Editor Ted Johnston. [caption id="attachment_340" align="alignright" width="150"] Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)[/caption] We'll soon begin a new cycle in the Western Christian worship year, which begins with Advent Season (the period that includes the four Sundays prior to Christmas day). This year, December 2 is the first Sunday in Advent, so now is the time to prepare. GCI strongly encourages its congregations to structure worship in accordance with the Christian worship calendar, following the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). To help congregations do that, we publish here in GCI... Read the article

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Preparing for a New Year of Ministry

With Advent and the start of a new year of ministry (worship and witness) at hand, this issue helps us think about three key aspects of healthy church--- worship liturgy, church leadership and worldview conversion. From Greg: Adjust Your Posture Greg Williams urges church leaders to embrace a vital aspect of Healthy Church---having a posture that is open to receiving new, younger leaders. Healthy Church: R.E.A.L. Teams (part 2) This infographic continues our series looking at team-based ministry. Worldview Conversion: Addressing Idolatry Charles Fleming addresses a key aspect of a Christ-centered worldview. Worldview Conversion: The Power of Liturgy Ted Johnston explores the role of liturgy in whole-life discipleship. What About... Read the article

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Worldview Conversion: Addressing Idolatry

This article from Charles Fleming continues our series exploring Worldview Conversion and the related topic of Whole-Life Discipleship. [caption id="attachment_9926" align="alignright" width="119"] Charles Fleming[/caption] For some people, a discussion about worldview seems rather academic and abstract---far removed from day-to-day life. But for those wanting to live a life that is transformed in Christ by the Spirit, few things are more central, with profound real-life implications. As Ted Johnston notes in his earlier article, our worldview determines how we ...view all sorts of issues: God, politics, truth, education, abortion, marriage, the environment, race, gender, economics, what it means to be human, the origins of the... Read the article

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Healthy Church: R.E.A.L. Teams (part 2)

Last month we defined a healthy leadership team as a R.E.A.L. team---one that is relationally connected (R), enthusiastically engaged (E), affirming (A), and involving liberating leaders (L). The resources below are designed to help congregations develop R.E.A.L. teams in alignment with GCI's healthy church vision. REAL Teams videos. The videos linked below address four defining and essential characteristics of a R.E.A.L. team. We encourage you to show, then discuss these videos over the course of several team meetings (click on the links to watch online or to download). Introduction to REAL teams Relationally connected Enthusiastically engaged Affirming Liberating leaders REAL Teams infographic. Click on the image... Read the article

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From Greg: Adjust Your Posture

Dear Congregational Leaders: [caption id="attachment_7376" align="alignright" width="119"] Greg Williams[/caption] I'm not easily disheartened by setbacks, and I thank Jesus for that gift. Recently, though, I was deeply impacted when one of our young pastoral couples left us. I'll not share the details, but I want to note that the situation showed me a need our congregations have to adjust their posture (spirit, orientation) to be more open to receiving new, younger leaders and members into the GCI fold. Though I usually write with a positive, what to do, approach, I sense the need to address in this letter what not to do. I want to share with you three exhortations, and I'll end each with a positive prayer. Exhortation #1 Don't... Read the article

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