From Greg: Coaching matters

Dear pastors and ministry leaders, [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] I'm an old athlete! In high school I participated in football, basketball, baseball, wrestling and track. I wish I'd played on the golf team because golf is my chosen sport in the current phase of my life. Throughout the years I've been trained and supervised by multiple coaches with quite different levels of expertise and coaching styles. Many of them emphasized conditioning and discipline, believing if you get in shape and know your plays to the point you run them efficiently and consistently, you will win ball games. Quoting the great Vince Lombardi, my football coach often told us that Fatigue makes... Read the article

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From Greg: Our calling to be fundraisers

Dear pastors and ministry leaders: [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] I have significant experience as a church pastor and the director of a non-profit ministry. In those roles, I've talked with many people about money and I've raised a lot of funds. Yet, perhaps like you, I've not thought of myself as a fundraiser. As a principal leader in your church or ministry, you know your organization well, and that knowledge positions you to be a chief spokesperson in raising funds to help supply the financial needs of your organization. The goal of most of the articles in this issue of Equipper is to acquaint you with fundraising and to offer tips and tools to assist your... Read the article

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From Greg: Live and preach generosity

Dear pastors and ministry leaders: [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] My father was an apple grower. One of his personal pleasures was loading up the pickup truck at the end of the harvest season to take apples to the widows and elderly around the area. He gained great joy from distributing free apples and was reluctant to stop. It's a sad irony that he sustained a debilitating injury by falling from a ladder while picking apples to take to the shut-ins. He spent the last six years of his life in a nursing home as a paraplegic. One of his regrets was his inability to keep providing apples and service to others. [caption id="attachment_1157" align="alignright" width="150"]... Read the article

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From Greg: Our journey of rebuilding

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders, [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] Rebuilding GCI is the theme for this issue of Equipper. That theme came into focus for me during the U.S. regional conference held in February in Ontario, California. Our Intern Program coordinator, Jeff McSwain, stepped out in faith and began his address to the conference by boldly declaring, “To the naked eye, we are a dying church!” As you might expect, the audience was a bit stunned. But then Jeff pointed out that we serve an amazing God who has marvelous plans to rebuild us. Jeff's intent was not only to point out our challenging present condition, but also to help us sense what God has for us going... Read the article

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From Greg: The refugee crisis—how can we respond?

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders: [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] In 2014, nearly 60 million people were displaced from their homes and native countries by war. The spotlight in 2016 is on the crisis in Syria where almost half the population have become refugees, leading to the largest migration in human history. This global refugee crisis must not be ignored. But how can GCI congregations respond? [caption id="attachment_360" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Syrian refugees in Hungary (via Wikimedia Commons)[/caption] In January I attended the GC2 Summit near Chicago. It addressed the global refugee crisis and the church's response. Before the conference I wondered... Read the article

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From Greg: Keys for renewal in our churches

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders: [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] I hope you like the new format for Equipper. It's formatted to be read on a wide array of digital devices including computers, tablets and smart phones. This format allows greater flexibility to link to outside articles, embed videos and in other ways more effectively equip you with disciplemaking ministry resources and tools. We invite your feedback using the "leave a reply" feature at the bottom of the page. Last month's issue of Equipper focused on what renewal looks like within our very small congregations (we call them Fellowship Groups). This month we look at what renewal looks like within our... Read the article

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From Greg: Operating from abundance, not scarcity

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders: [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] During our 2015 end-of-year CAD team meeting we broke into groups to list our strengths and challenges, and to identify objectives for 2016. Though good ideas emerged, I noticed the challenges getting the most attention in ways that almost were threatening to become the focus of our planning. I say “almost” because in one of those Holy Spirit “aha moments” we agreed we should focus on our strengths, not our challenges. That shift changed how our plan for this year took shape. There’s an important principle here that I think applies to the planning you do within your congregation. I believe we... Read the article

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From Greg: Our theme for 2016

Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders, I’m excited about 2016, in part because I recently received the best Christmas present ever—the birth of Emory Grace Williams, my first grandchild. I’m also excited because we serve a great God who declares that he is "making all things new” (Revelation 21:5 ESV). In doing so, he assures us that his “compassions,” which are “new every morning,” truly “never fail” (Lamentations 3:22-23). [caption id="attachment_136" align="aligncenter" width="244"] Meeting my granddaughter[/caption] With confidence in God and reliance on his faithfulness, I’m pleased to announce that Year of Renewal is the GCI-USA theme for 2016. As you turn your calendars forward, I encourage you to focus... Read the article

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