Book: A Giant Step Forward

A Giant Step Forward: Toward an Emerging Culture of Liberation The next chapter of Grace Communion International By Greg Williams, Rick Shallenberger and Tom Nebel We’ve titled this book A Giant Step Forward because it describes our journey – first into doctrinal reformation, then into a greater understanding of our personal relationship with God, and now into leadership reformation. Our slogan in leadership development is healthy church. Our goal for GCI churches to be the healthiest expression of churches we can be. Believing healthy church requires healthy leadership, we wrote this book to lay out a plan for developing leaders. The book includes many tools that we have presented in Equipper articles and GCI Church Hacks.... Read the article

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My Christmas Epiphany

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” is more than a song, it’s a reaction to good news. By Tim Sitterley, U.S. Regional Director West I must admit up front that it took me some time to warm up to many of the songs of the Christmas season. Since they were not a part of my childhood, it was easy to lump carols with a deep scriptural heritage in with secular songs like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” And then I had an epiphany one day. Walking through a crowded shopping mall muttering “humbug” under my breath, I caught the words to “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” playing softly over the PA system. I stepped out of the flow of foot traffic and began seeing the crush of men, women and children frantically moving from store to... Read the article

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The Need for Discipleship

The Faith avenue creates the most spaces for disciple-making environments. By Heber Ticas, Superintendent of South America I recently had an encounter with a young man who desired to go deeper in his faith. He was brought up by parents who professed to be Catholic, but rarely expressed their faith. He felt that he knew about God but was not sure who God was for him. I could sense a heartfelt desire in this young man to embark on a journey of faith. He was longing for greater understanding of what it meant to be a follower of Christ. In other words, he was longing to be discipled. A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ, and discipleship is the process of maturing in Christ—learning how to live in and share his life and his love... Read the article

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Epiphany: Who Was Jesus?

By Bill Hall, National Director, Canada Who is this Jesus? That’s a question that has echoed through the centuries ever since the son of Mary and Joseph walked on this earth. Perhaps you recall this question being asked by Jesus’ disciples during that fateful boat journey where the disciples feared for their lives: And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying,... Read the article

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Faith Avenue: Intentional Disciplemaking

The key focus of the Faith Avenue is to help people grow as disciples of Jesus. By Randy Bloom, GCI Board Vice Chair How were you discipled? Reflecting back on your life, how did the church of Jesus help you grow closer to him, participate more with him, and grow deeper into the community of believers – his church? Perhaps you can clearly identify and describe various ways your local church has helped you grow as a disciple of Jesus. Sadly, some (many?) Christians aren’t sure how they were discipled. Upon reflection, they realize that while they have grown in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus, the process of growing closer to Jesus and into more active participation in his church and its mission was more of a process of... Read the article

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A New Column: Youth Vision

A column dedicated to the adults who are actively participating in the discipleship of children and youth. By Dison Mills, GCI Generations Ministry National Coordinator. As the recently named national coordinator of Generations Ministry (GenMin), I am proud to introduce you to Youth Vision, a new column in Equipper. Whether you are a parent, pastor, avenue champion, or ministry leader, our goal is to bring you information each month that will help you be more like Christ to the young people God has put in your care. The discipleship of our youth is not only for the benefit of our young people, but the process can bring new life to adult Christ-followers. In Acts 2:17, the apostle Peter reminds us that Jesus has ushered in a new... Read the article

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A Child Is Born…For Us

By Bill Hall, GCI National Director, Canada It has been my custom as Canadian Director to send a year-end card to Canadian donors thanking them for their financial support over the past year. As it is also the Christmas season, the image I select for this card features some rendering of the nativity scene. This year is no exception. In addition to my usual greeting and word of thanks, I decided to add a quote from Isaiah which is part of the chorus in that well-known Christmas favorite, Handel’s Messiah: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6... Read the article

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Suggested Readings for the 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 days of Christmas is a good time to remind ourselves of the story of Jesus. December 25 — Luke 1:26-56 December 26 — Luke 2:1-21 December 27 — Luke 2:22-38 December 28 — Luke 2:41-52 December 29— Isaiah 7:10-17; Isaiah 9:2-7 December 30 — John 1:1-18 December 31 — Matthew 2:1-12 January 1 — Mark 1:1-11 January 2 — Luke 3:1-22 January 3 — John 1:19-34 January 4 — Matthew 3:1-17 January 5 — Luke 4:1-13 Read the article

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Christmas Presence

By Cara Garrity, GCI Development Coordinator It seems Christmas sneaks up on me almost every year. Maybe it’s the busyness of the year-end or the daily routines that obscure meaningful passing of time. Maybe it’s overwhelming preparations or inattentiveness and distractibility. Whatever the cause, I wonder if you are like me and find yourself unprepared to be present to the sacred meaning of the Christmas season. The GCI worship calendar is designed to help orient us to Jesus as the center of the center. The liturgical calendar— through intentional and formational rhythms of worship— seeks to center and organize the lives of Christians around Jesus. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves manipulating or ignoring the... Read the article

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