Church Hack: Power of the “And”

The world seems to be changing faster than humanity has historically experienced. In the past year or so the way we experience and participate in church has shifted in monumental ways. Our mission, to share the love of Christ, remains the same, but our methods must evolve. Check out this month’s Church Hack that emphasizes the power of the “and,” as well as the shifts that are occurring in the ways upcoming generations engage with church. #gcichurchhacks     Read the article

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Who Do You Say That They Are?

We should not label children (or anyone) based on a snapshot of their life. Rather, we should remind them of their true identity in Christ. For two years, I served as the director of the Boston ArtScience Prize, a project-based innovation program for high school students that helped them turn their ideas into reality. We served hundreds of young people from seemingly every walk of life at Cloud Place, a modern artist studio/scientist laboratory stocked with the latest creative tools and equipment. In the ten-year history of Cloud Place and the ArtScience Prize, there was never a physical fight. Those who care for high school students understand the significance of that statement. When talking with a group of educators and youth workers, I... Read the article

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The Grace of Giving

One of the measurables of a healthy church is when congregations and members practice what Paul called “the grace of giving.” By Bob Regazzoli, Pastor, Australia Let’s look at a biblical indicator - an example from the early church of a group of congregations who demonstrated what healthy churches believe and practice. During the time of the apostle Paul, the Christians in Judea were suffering the effects of severe famine, and Paul, following the lead of the Holy Spirit, was collecting donations (love offerings) from the various Gentile churches he was visiting to take back to Judea to assist their Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ. The immediate need was emergency support, but this would also be a powerful witness of the work... Read the article

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More Measurables for a Healthy Church?

Relationships, teachability and investment are three more measurables for a healthy church. By Danny Zachariah, Regional Director, India-subcontinent and church pastor Hyderabad, India Occasionally on a morning walk, I cross paths with a neighbour, a retired Air Force officer. Knowing that I pastor a church, he never forgets to ask me, “Is your church growing?” I know that his question is intending to ask if it is growing numerically, but I invariably respond, “Yes sir, it is, spiritually!” For most, growth in numbers is the only defining measurable for a healthy church. The reason for this is because the real metrics for a healthy church are hard to measure. Addressing this dilemma, Mike Bonem states, “The things that... Read the article

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Introduction to Our Connect Group

A personal story about the benefit of being in a small group. By David Howe, Pastor, Fort Wayne, IN A light snow was just beginning to fall as winter was moving into our state of Indiana. It was 6:30 pm and I pulled into the driveway of a friend. There were several other cars already there. This was our first time getting together to start our Connect group. Several members volunteered to host the group at their homes in rotation for our new Connect group. And most were inviting friends to join us. When I entered the house, my nose immediately smelled the lasagna that was being prepared for our dinner. We all brought a side dish to round out the meal. We had decided to start each meeting with a meal together, which enabled us to... Read the article

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Building Your Avenue Teams

The Apprenticeship Square and cascading the Healthy Church vision By: Aron and Joyce Tolentino, Pastors, Metro Manila, Philippines Restrictions on physical gatherings due to the pandemic have given rise to unique opportunities for virtual training and equipping. The process of cascading and pursuing the vision of Healthy Church has continued for us in the past year, and part of this has been the building up of our congregation’s Avenue teams. As with any change management exercise, if we are to foster understanding and ownership of the Healthy Church vision in our congregations, it is important to identify and develop people who can champion it. The role of cascading the vision does not belong to the pastor alone. The part to be... Read the article

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Advent Symbols and Readings

The advent symbols are full of significance relating to the Christmas season. Many GCI congregations celebrate Advent by having an Advent wreath on a table in the front of the sanctuary. The wreath encircles three purple (or blue) candles and one rose (or pink) candle. There is a white candle in the middle of the wreath. All are symbolic. Each week a theme is read, followed by a Scripture reading. A new candle is lit each week (along with the previous week’s candle), and a prayer is read. Advent Wreath The advent wreath, which is made of evergreens, points to the hope we have in God and signifies eternity and continuous life. The Incarnation of the Son of God did not end 12 days after Christmas, or at the cross. The Son of God... Read the article

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Advent: The Dark and the Light, the Origin and the Destiny

Advent, which means “coming” – or from the Latin “to come to” – not only illustrates the biblical teaching of trusting in God and waiting for a fulfillment of his promises, but it also offsets the commercial hype and focus of Christmas that is usually not focused on Jesus. I believe all of us would agree we need Jesus to come. “Lord, please return and fix this mess we live in.” Not only is the world messed up, but so are we. We hurt people without meaning to. We are easily offended. We are accused of evils and bad intents. We misjudge and are misjudged. We know we need God to make us right and to make the world right. We pray and watch for signs of his coming… and we wait, and wait, and wait in hope for evil to be... Read the article

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