Tools for Building Healthy Churches

The links below connect to the Ministry Toolbox on GCI's newly-launched Resources website. The tools found there are designed to assist congregations in pursuing our healthy church vision.  Healthy church results from several factors, including the two addressed below: healthy leadership and healthy ministries. Healthy Leadership (REAL Teams) Healthy church leadership is pastor-led and team-based---what GCI refers to as REAL teams. For an infographic explaining what this means, click here. For videos that give additional detail, click on these links: Introduction to REAL teams Relationally connected Enthusiastically engaged Affirming Liberating leaders Healthy Ministries (Faith, Hope & Love Venues) ... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 30, 2018

Scripture readings for today: 1 Sam. 2:18-20, 26 • Ps. 148 • Col. 3:12-17 • Luke 2:41-52 The Most Boring Story in the Gospels (Luke 2:41-51) Introduction Note to preacher: You may want to begin this sermon with an anecdote telling about a time you got lost as a child, or a time you thought you lost your child or grandchild. Share your sense of panic and relief. It's part of life---sometimes kids get lost. Seeing something glittery, or hearing a familiar song, they wander off. Maybe you got lost when you were a kid---it's a terrible feeling when you realize you don't know where you are; when surroundings and faces look strange to you. It’s like a scary dream. But when it's one of your kids who is lost, the scary dream... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 24/25, 2018 (Christmas)

Note: This sermon is for Christmas Eve or Day, which begins the 12 days of the Christmas season (for a Surprising God post about Christmas, click here). A Speaking of Life video and discussion questions are not provided with this sermon. For a Bible Project video exploring Luke's account of Jesus' birth, click here. Scripture readings for today: Isa. 9:2-7 • Ps. 96 • Titus 2:11-14 • Luke 2:1-20 Jesus Shares Our Humanity (Luke 2:1-20) Introduction Here on Christmas Day [or Christmas Eve] our focus turns to the miracle of the incarnation and birth of Jesus. In chapter 2 of his Gospel, Luke gives us a glimpse of the early life of Jesus as a newborn, infant and adolescent. In doing so he intends to help us understand how Jesus... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 23, 2018 (Advent 4)

Note: This sermon is for the last Sunday of the season of Advent, which spans the four Sundays that precede Christmas day. To read a Surprising God post explaining the meaning of Advent click here. For four GCI-produced videos for Advent, click here. Scripture readings for today: Micah 5:2-5 • Ps. 80:1-7 • Heb. 10:5-10 • Luke 1:39-55) Doing God’s Will (Hebrews 10:5-10) Introduction Note to preacher: You may want to share a personal anecdote that answers one of the introductory questions. Have you ever struggled trying to determine God's will for you life? Have you ever feared that your decisions would lead you out of God’s will? Have you ever struggled trying to figure out how to determine God’s will? Have you ever felt... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 16, 2018 (Advent 3)

Note: This sermon is for the third Sunday of the season of Advent, which spans the four Sundays that precede Christmas day. To read a Surprising God post explaining the meaning of Advent click here. For four GCI-produced videos for Advent, click here. Scripture readings for today: Zeph. 3:14-20 • Isa. 12:2-6 • Phil. 4:4-7 • Luke 3:7-18 Aggressive Gratitude (Philippians 4:4-9) Several years ago, the book The Count of Monte Cristo was made into a movie that starred Richard Harris and Christian actor Jim Caviezel. The beginning of the film is set in the desolation of a hopeless island prison. Richard Harris plays an older prisoner who has found a way to survive in this dark place. As a spiritual survival technique, each morning... Read the article

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Sermon for Dec. 2, 2018 (Advent 1)

Note: With this sermon we enter the season of Advent, which spans the four Sundays that precede Christmas day. To read a Surprising God post explaining the meaning of Advent click here. For four Advent-themed videos from GCI, click here. Scripture readings for today: Jer. 33:14-16 • Ps. 25:1-10 • 1 Thess. 3:9-13 • Luke 21:25-36 The Hope of Hope (Jeremiah 33:14-16, ESV) For some music for the season of Advent, click here. Introduction Note to preacher: Begin with a personal anecdote. Here's a sample: Today is the first Sunday of Advent. In my house, that means eating Thanksgiving leftovers while putting up the Christmas tree. Advent, followed by Christmas is my favorite season of the year. Each year we put out a manger scene... Read the article

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Equipping for GCI’s Next Chapter

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders, [caption id="attachment_5219" align="alignright" width="174"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] October was a whirlwind month for me! As most of you know, on October 14 in Charlotte, NC, I was installed as GCI's new President (click here for a report in GCI Update). It is a privilege to be entrusted with this responsibility and I look forward to what lies ahead as, together, we enter a new chapter in GCI's story. The week following the handoff of the presidency to me from outgoing President Joseph Tkach, was followed by a busy week of planning and strategy meetings held with GCI denominational leaders from around the world. During those meetings, I introduced a new organizational structure for... Read the article

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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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