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Toward Healthy Church

Some GCI definitions for you and your leadership team

For the past several years we have focused on various aspects of healthy church, and we’ve done our best to stay true to our definitions, enabling you and your leadership teams to all speak the same language. Still, we’ve received several queries about how we define specific terms and we’ve been asked for some clarification. Since knowing language is important, let’s add clarity so that all of our GCI congregations and Fellowship groups are speaking the same language. We’ve linked several of the terms to videos presented by our GCI President. We have also included a number of linked articles we hope you will share with your teams.



Healthy Church

GCI President Greg Williams has encouraged us to be the healthiest expression of church we can be. A healthy church is focused on Jesus and is being led by him in the Great Commission of loving our neighbors, sharing the teachings of Jesus, and growing in faith, hope, and love. This link shares an article Greg wrote in 2018 about Healthy Church. Here is an article sharing how some of our pastors and leaders defined this in their own terms. Here is the Healthy Church Buzz.

Healthy Pastors/Leaders

Healthy churches start with healthy leadership. In GCI, we emphasize Team Based – Pastor Led congregations and fellowship groups. This article explains the difference between pastor-led, team-based, and Team Based – Pastor Led.

Three Avenues

We’ve tried a number of good motivating slogans over the years including believe, belong, become, and inward, outward, upward. This article explains why we chose the three avenues of Hope, Faith, and Love.

  • The Faith Avenue is about discipleship. As individual believers, are we growing in our walk with Jesus? Are we growing deeper as a community of Christian believers?
  • The Hope Avenue is about worship. Is Jesus being proclaimed in our church gatherings? Is corporate worship inspiring and are lives being transformed?
  • The Love Avenue is about engaging in our church neighborhood and witnessing to the love of Christ. Are we out there daily as we see demonstrated by Paul in Ephesus? Are relationships being built and cultivated so that witnessing happens naturally?

Check out the Three Avenues Buzz.

Hope Avenue

The Hope Avenue is summed up in the word worship. Worship is our response inside of Christ’s perfect response. We participate in the objective reality of Christ’s vicarious life of faith, prayer, worship, thanksgiving, and self-offering to the Father. Jesus is our eternal high priest who sweeps us up into divine worship. The Hope Avenue is a calling on the ministry to inspire and bring hope to the congregation on a Sunday worship. Under the guidance of a capable lead pastor and able ministry team, the healthy church knows their purpose for when and why they meet – to commune with Jesus. Here is an article that discusses three important elements of the Hope Avenue. And here is the Hope Avenue Buzz.

Faith Avenue

The Faith Avenue is summed up with the word discipleship. Christian discipleship is the disciplined habit of thinking and acting in Christ. Discipleship is growing closer to Jesus, becoming more like him, and moving deeper into Christian community with other believers. The calling on the ministry is to create spaces where disciple-making and spiritual growth can be nurtured. The Faith Avenue is where community is built through small groups, Bible study, missionaal and recreational activities. Here is an article on building Faith Avenue teams. Check out the Faith Avenue Buzz.

Love Avenue

The Love Avenue is summed up with the word witness – sharing God’s love and life with others. The GCI mission statement is Living and Sharing the Gospel. The sharing part includes reaching out to others and showing the love of Jesus to neighbors in practical ways. The Love Avenue is the person and presence of Jesus calling us to love, inviting us to join him in making new disciples, and empowering us through his Spirit to build the church and expand the kingdom. Pastors and ministry leaders are called upon to engage the community with tangible acts that reflect the love of God. It is the love of Jesus that compels us to proclaim the message and connect with those who don’t yet know they are reconciled. This article focuses on the why of reaching out to our neighbors. Here is the Love Avenue Buzz.

Avenue Champion

Champion, in this reference, does not mean winner. It might be helpful to think of it in the way we use the verb: to support, advocate, promote a cause. An Avenue champion is a person who supports the cause of the Avenue. We do not expect our Avenue champions to be experts or someone who has surpassed others in a competition. An avenue champion is the one who leads a team to support the congregation and pastor. More than a cheerleader, an Avenue champion works closely with the pastor, the team, and the congregation to fulfill the mission of the particular Avenue.

One thought on “Toward Healthy Church”

  1. Rick, thank you for this thoughtful “one stop location” article where we can all access the various practical tools in our GCI Home Office Healthy Church ministry toolbox and then revisit ideas together as leadership teams to fine tune or even relaunch a particular focus locally with the tools provided. Even doubles as an active to-do prayer list … exciting in deed!

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