GCI Creative Community Christmas Ideas

GCI Creative Christmas Ideas As we approach Advent and Christmas many of our Hope Avenue leaders are thinking about creative ways to celebrate the season while still holding digital services. Check out the ideas below generated by our GCI Creative Community Facebook Page . Drop a comment below with any additional ideas, and join the Facebook group to share and garner tips, hacks, and new ideas. Christmas Service ideas: Wear the holiday on your sleeves: Ask members to wear Christmas sweaters and other holiday gear. If you're using Zoom snap a pic of the group. Deck your halls: incorporate Advent candle lighting into your digital service, and then have a manger scene or other Christmas symbols in the background for your... Read the article

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GCI Church Hack: Types of Mentors

As all GCI churches are making efforts toward better church health, one key focus across all avenues is the development of new leaders. Through mentoring relationships, ministry leaders are developed and the lives of both mentor and mentee are enriched. Check out this month’s Church Hack about the mentoring relationship. Read the article

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GCI Church Hack: Avenue Job Descriptions

The impact of the pandemic has touched every area of our lives, including the life of the church. Because of Jesus’ call to love our neighbors well, we have found innovative ways to safely worship together and developed new policies to keep one another safe. This means that there are new ways to serve within our ministry teams. A GCI best practice is to have job descriptions for every ministry worker for clear expectations and training. Click on the link to explore the new roles that might be a good fit for your congregation. Read the article

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PowerPoint Pointers

If you are using PowerPoint for your worship service, here are a number of tips to make things run smoothly. By Tim Sitterley, U.S. Regional Director, West In the not-too-distant past, movies were delivered to theaters on large rolls of film. The skill of the projectionist was to sync the film so that when one reel ran out on one projector, the next reel was already playing on the next projector. If they did their job, well the audience seated below was never aware of the reel change. Several years ago, I was in a theater watching the major motion picture Midway. It was the height of one of the battle scenes. Planes were flying in and out of the screen. Bombs were exploding. Everyone was on the edge of their seats. And the screen... Read the article

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Exalt, Encounter and Respond in Worship

Worship leaders have the blessing/responsibility to lead us in joining the heavenly hosts in worship. Here are three things to keep in mind. By Dr. Kathleen Horwood, Business Manager for GCI Canada and Pastor for Saskatoon. From Genesis to Revelation, we see that God’s people have been worshippers. We worship God for his faithfulness, his protection, his provision, his love. We worship because he is Father, Son and Spirit. Worship has never been confined to gatherings in the temple or church gathering. Rather, it can—and should—occur from the rising of the sun to the setting. Our Sunday gatherings, however, provide a time when God’s people can gather to worship him in concert with “our psalms, hymns, spiritual songs”... Read the article

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“I Saw, I Heard, I Felt Jesus Today”

A healthy church worship service is centered around Jesus. He is the center of our gathering, preaching, sharing communion, and dismissal. By Bill Hall, National Director, Canada I recently started to read A Lay Preacher’s Guide: How to Craft a Faithful Sermon, by Karoline Lewis. (She is the associate professor of biblical preaching at Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.) In the introduction to her book Lewis makes the following statement about what a faithful sermon should accomplish: Preaching assumes and then invites an actual encounter with God. How it creates an experience of God is the focus of this book. But first, the preacher has to believe that the Greeks were right when they pleaded, “Sir, we wish to see... Read the article

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Sermon Pericopes for RCL Year B

The revised common lectionary provides four scripture passages for each week of the year. The Psalm is primarily used as a call to worship. We choose one passage (pericope) to build each sermon upon and our Gospel Reverb podcast focuses on the four or five pericopes for each month. In addition, we often use a different passage for the Speaking of Life script. Click on the image below to download the list of the pericopes for year B of the RCL. Read the article

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Worship Presentation Platforms

Helping you plan a good worship experience. By Tim Sitterley, US Regional Director, West Those of us who have been a part of a church remember the infamous “worship wars.” We began to introduce songs that were not in a hymnal. New music, often written by young worship artists, spoke words relevant to the current generation. The challenge was how do we integrate the rich hymnody of the church with a worship song currently playing on Christian radio. For most congregations the early solution was the overhead projector. A blinding light shining through thin acetate illuminating a bare wall or screen. And it worked…sort of. It was hated by those who were familiar with holding a book and loved by those who wanted to be free to do... Read the article

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Churches Make a Difference

While we all acknowledge there is much to do as we "grow in grace and knowledge", it is good to note that Christianity has made significant contributions to matters of race and equality By Marty Davey, GCI Pastor, Jacksonville, FL and Woodbine, GA. We can probably all come up with examples of Christians or Christian churches doing or saying something that was—whether intentionally or not—racially biased or discriminatory. There are embarrassing examples in history of churches and preachers justifying slavery, even misusing Bible verses. In modern times we know there are hate groups who misquote or take scriptures out of context and burn crosses. While they may use his name, these are not true representatives of Jesus Christ. As... Read the article

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Grace and Hope

As we end Ordinary Time and prepare ourselves for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, it’s good to reflect on the source of our hope­—Jesus. By Robert Regazzoli, GCI pastor in Australia In the story of Les Miserables, Jean Valjean, upon release from prison, is invited into the residence of a bishop, and given a meal and a room for the night. During the night, Valjean steals some of the silverware and runs away, only to be caught by the gendarmes, who bring him back to the bishop with the stolen items. Rather than bring charges against Jean, the bishop gives him two silver candlesticks, and gives the impression that he had given the other items to him. Jean Valjean, who had been hardened and cynical as a result of his years in prison... Read the article

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