Church Hack: Place-sharing Connect Groups

At GCI, we believe that a vibrant and healthy church goes beyond just Sunday services. It's all about meaningful rhythms and deep relationships. That's why we're excited to introduce our brand-new Place-sharing connect group curriculum! Join us as we explore the beautiful concept of place-sharing, following the example of Jesus, the ultimate place-sharer. Through three enriching sessions, you'll discover how to cultivate a deeper connection with Christ and one another, practicing this transformative practice. This month's Church Hack is our new Place-sharing connect group curriculum. To download and view the pdf, click here: Read the article

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A Summary of the 4 Es in a Healthy Church

Healthy leaders lead to healthy church, which leads to healthy leaders. Engage: recognize & recruit Healthy pastors/leaders create an environment of recruiting and invitation. We model a pattern of recognizing and inviting others into life with Christ and participating in the ministries of the church. We keep in mind the diversity of giftings and skillsets while recruiting developing ministry opportunities. We are intentional to find ways to involve all members in some way. We are sensitive to the work and calling of the Spirit in the life of others. We intentionally invite others in and give them opportunity for participation. We are intentional about engagement occurring in the life of our local congregations... Read the article

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Christmas Traditions

Diana Mayhew A favorite European/Romanian tradition from when I was in my teens was fasting for 40 days before Christmas and usually abstaining from meat and sweets. Family & friends would do this together, and we would share the hardships and temptations we would experience every day. It was wonderfully bonding. And then on Christmas at midnight, we would gather and eat all kinds of homemade treats, including Romanian traditional foods like, Sarmatule (pork and rice wrapped in cabbage pickled leaf) and Cozonac (sweet bread with cacao, nuts and/or raisins). Lance & Georgia McKinnon One tradition that we started when we got married was to set aside a night to decorate the Christmas tree. This was a learning curve for us,... Read the article

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What the Incarnation Means to Me

GCI Superintendents share their thoughts about the Incarnation Heber Ticas, Latin America As a child, my parents never celebrated Christmas, therefore my understanding of Christmas was influenced by my surroundings. Christmas was about lights, gifts, parties, time off from school, but never about the Bethlehem miracle where the incarnate Son of God becomes one with us in Christ Jesus. As my understanding of the Christmas miracle expanded, the Incarnation became very meaningful. Although the Christmas season still comes with lights, gifts, parties and now time off from work, the incarnation of the Son of God is at the center for me. I look forward to Advent with the expectation of pausing from everyday life to reflect on the... Read the article

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Church Hack: Advent

Advent is a season of expectation. But not the expectation of some far-off event, more like the expectation of a woman with child. It is the awareness of present life, and the knowledge that one day that life will burst forth into the world. In this sacred season of the worship calendar, we find ourselves waiting with great hope for the ultimate return of Jesus and the fulfillment of his unwavering promises. We stand on the lookout, ever ready to run towards him when we catch even a glimpse of his presence. Before we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, Advent calls us to remember God's faithfulness in our past and celebrate the promises for our future, especially the ultimate return of Christ, a time when all will be made right. ... Read the article

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TMAP and IMAP Samples

We hope that your journey in crafting the Ministry Action Plan (MAP) for 2025 is filled with inspiration. Following the release of last month's articles and MAP templates, we've received inquiries about what a typical TMAP or IMAP might resemble. To address this curiosity, we've attached sample versions, thoughtfully provided by Cara Garrity, our Ministry Development Coordinator. You can access these samples via the links below. If you happened to miss last month's article, you can catch up on it by following this link. TMAP TEMPLATE 2024_SAMPLEIMAP TEMPLATE 2024_SAMPLE IMAP TEMPLATE 2024_SAMPLE Read the article

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Celia’s Advent Longing

A children’s Advent story you may want to read at church. By Bill Winn, Pastor, Grace Communion Hanover Once upon a time—because all good stories begin this way—there was a little girl who loved her mother and father dearly. Her father was a blacksmith, and her mother sewed breeches and shirts for the sailors who lived in their small seaside village. [Breeches are short pants that fit snugly below the knee.] Celia was a bright child and full of wonder. She had a vivid imagination and a daring heart. Her family was not rich, but they also were not counted among the poor. Celia considered herself immensely blessed. Her family was kind and loving. They had all that they needed. Though her parents often struggled to understand... Read the article

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Liturgy Formation – Why is this Important?

Good liturgy keeps us focused on Jesus as our Center. By Jep , Associate Pastor GCI Baguio, Philippines Liturgy is derived from the Greek word - leitourgia, which means "work for the people." Liturgy, in the context of Christian spirituality, refers to the services, ceremonies, and sacraments that the church institutes as we worship Jesus. Liturgy can be about how we conduct a worship service, or it can be about personal worship. A worship service liturgy might include a greeting, opening prayer, sharing, offering, baptism, communion (Eucharist), reading of the word, hymns and other music, and benediction. A personal liturgy might include time in the word, time in prayer, and time in worship. Liturgy is indeed the work/participation... Read the article

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Until Christ is Formed in You

Spiritual formation parallels between the active waiting and anticipation of pregnancy and the season of Advent. By Afrika Afeni Mills, Faith Avenue Champion, GCI Charlotte My first pregnancy was not like Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus. There’s the obvious difference—while my husband and I experienced the pregnancy as a miracle, our child was not immaculately conceived. There are other differences as well. I was in my late 20s while Mary was a teenager. I was married, and though Mary was betrothed, she was not yet married. I deeply desired to be pregnant while Mary’s pregnancy was a surprise. I was surrounded by a village of loved ones who prayed alongside us for a child while Mary lived in a time when becoming pregnant in that... Read the article

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ADVENTures in the Christian Calendar

Advent is part of the scaffolding that enables us to climb up and around the beauty of the Gospel message. By Bill Winn. Pastor, Grace Communion Hanover Once in my early twenties, I was driving a large dump truck early in the morning on roads covered with a proper northwest frozen snowy slush! The ruts in the slush had frozen and once I got in them, I could not get out. Everything was too frozen and too slick. Because I’d grown up nineteen feet above sea level on the coast of North Carolina, I had little experience with icy conditions, so I laughed it off at first. It was all fun and games until the frozen ruts led me to a parked pickup truck. I managed to slow to around three miles per hour, but the weight of the truck times the... Read the article

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