Spiritual Practices for Easter Season

As we observe the fifty days of this Easter season, let’s recommit our allegiance and devotion to God. By Jillian Morrison, Associate Pastor, Glendora, California “Let go of everything that doesn’t serve you and embrace my joy.” This is what God inspired me to practice every day during the Easter Preparation season (Lent). Regardless of how you may have observed the season, consider what God might be leading you to let go of and embrace in this new season of the Christian Worship Calendar. We are now in the Easter season, the fifty days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost, a time in the worship calendar that gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we just celebrated: The resurrection of Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of the... Read the article

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Christ Centered Engagement

There is a big difference between following the mission of the church and becoming a parachurch ministry or organization. By Bill Hall, National Director, Canada It was an interesting conversation that day in Toronto. I was there as the Saskatchewan representative of Food Banks Canada’s national advisory council. I had been involved for a few years in running a food bank in my community and was also Executive Director of Food Banks of Saskatchewan. During a break between meetings, I asked a friend why he was so passionate about helping the hungry. He responded that he wasn’t a person of faith; rather, he considered himself a humanist and believed in supporting the dignity of all people. As such he had a heart for those living in... Read the article

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Listening to the Spirit

The Love Avenue includes listening to the voices of your church neighborhood. By Sam Butler, Pastor, Ravenna, MI Have you ever been in a conversation with another person, where they are talking but you are already working on your response? This is more common than we would like to think. We often listen from the perspective of our own agenda rather than listening to what the other person is actually saying. (Link to article on autobiographical listening) The art of listening can often be a lost skill. This has particular application when it comes to the mission of the church. Compelled by the love of Jesus Christ we desire to participate with him in what he is already doing in our communities. We want to be “out there” doing... Read the article

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Church Hack: Easter Prep

Easter Sunday is the most attended church service every year. It is also a great opportunity to invite those who don’t normally attend to visit your church, whether you are meeting online or in person. Here are some steps to make your Easter service last beyond the Hope Avenue experience on Sunday. #GCIchurchhacks Check out the links on page two for resources and graphics for your Easter service. https://resources.gci.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/2022-CH3-Easter_Love_Ave_Pkg.pdf Read the article

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I’m Feeling Left Out…

What is the place for long-time elders and other church leaders within the new focus on the Love, Hope, and Faith Avenues of a healthy church? By Glen A Weber, Central Region Support Team, Coach Leadership in our denomination has been on a constant trajectory of growth over the past few decades. I began serving in ministry in late 1972 (fifty years ago next fall). Church leadership involved having a pastor and occasionally an associate pastor if the church was large enough. Pastors would often ordain elders. Typically, the standard for ordination of an elder was based on the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3/Titus 1, but rarely with any job description. Elders served “at-large” simply being “pillars” in the church and... Read the article

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Welcoming Guests and Visitors

Prepare now for the guests and visitors the Spirit will lead to your church. By Daphne Sidney, Superintendent Australasia Have you considered how it might feel to be a first-time visitor to your local worship service? While long-time members may be very comfortable surrounded by familiar faces and friends, it is easy to forget how that first encounter with church might feel. In the positive, I have heard stories of members who recount their early days as newcomers to the church – and how much they appreciated the brethren who befriended and included them. They appreciated the hospitality of being invited to a member’s home for a meal and the intergenerational friendships which were formed. In the negative, there are too many... Read the article

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A Heartache for Our Neighborhoods

Jesus’ heartache for humanity informed his mission. Does it inform ours? By Heber Ticas, Superintendent, Latin America We often express a feeling of deep sorrow and anguish for others as a “heartache.” We use phrases like, “my heart aches for you,” “my heart is torn,” or “my heart is broken.” We are moved as we observe the pain, anguish, and misery that our fellow neighbor may be experiencing. In our shared humanity, it is impossible not to be moved. Although these experiences usually tend to occur around those who we are already in relationship with, there are times when the strings of our hearts are tugged by a story or event that it’s not as close. Events in our community, our state, our country can pull at our... Read the article

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New & Improved GCI Branded Microsite

  The GCI Microsite is a resource we provide to help you have a professional and easy to customize a website. This month, we added support for events to our GCI easy website template (aka “Microsites”). You could use this, for example, to promote your Easter service, or other special services during Holy Week on your website. To see this in action, check out this demo website: https://micro.gci.church/garwood/ You’ll see the Good Friday service featured both in the 4th banner and the left feature block farther down the page. There is also a new “Events” page in the menu. These items only appear when you have added at least one event in the site editor. By default, we select the earliest occurring event to feature,... Read the article

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New Curriculum: On Being with Jesus

On Being is a four-part interactive connect group curriculum, designed for biblically-based, dynamic discussions around being a disciple. We are excited to release, part three of the series On Being with Jesus. Being with Jesus – is a six-week series that reflects on the themes of the person of Jesus, our identity in Christ, and our participation in ministry with him. Being with Jesus Facilitator Guide – Full-color Version – DOWNLOAD HERE Being with Jesus Facilitator Guide – Grayscale Version – DOWNLOAD HERE Being with Jesus Participant Workbook – DOWNLOAD HERE Facilitator Best Practices – The introduction was developed to assist leaders in the formation... Read the article

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Church Hack: Gospel Fluency

As we take a deeper dive into the Love Avenue, we can’t forget the whole reason for joining with our neighbors in community. We are compelled by love, Christ’s love, which fills and transforms us, compelling us to share that love with those around us. In his book, Gospel Fluency, Jeff Vanderstelt suggests that many Christians struggle with sharing the good news of Jesus because we do not see our lives through the lens of the good news. As we practice examining our lives through the gospel, we naturally begin to share our stories with the truth that God is with us and moving in all the circumstances of our lives. To learn more about Gospel Fluency, view and download this month’s Church Hack here: ... Read the article

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