Nurturing a culture of generosity

This article is from CAD team member Randy Bloom. Randy serves as the Regional Pastor of the Eastern Region of GCI-USA. [caption id="attachment_981" align="alignright" width="150"] Randy and Debbie Bloom with their daughter and grandson[/caption] This we know: Our God is generous! We know this because we see all that, by grace, the Father has generously done for us and shares with us in Christ, by the Spirit (Ephesians 3:1-8; 2 Corinthians 8:9). It’s reasonable, then, to consider generosity as one of the hallmark characteristics of a Christian. Generosity is one of our core values. All we have (including our finances) belongs to God, yet he freely shares what is his with us so that we can live abundantly (John 10:10 NKJV)---a... Read the article

Read the article

Rebuilding larger congregations

Here are reports from GCI churches in Texas, Ohio and Florida that are rebuilding. All three have participated in GCI's Outside the Walls (OTW) training with Church Multiplication Ministries (CMM). The training included a major community outreach event, which by God's grace has led to new members in all three. Pathway of Grace Church - Mesquite, TX Pathway of Grace participated in OTW last summer. Here is a report from lead pastor Gabriel Ojih. [caption id="attachment_474" align="alignright" width="150"] Gabriel Ojih (left) with CMM's Heber Ticas[/caption] He knocked on my office door one afternoon with his little niece in tow. I was in a meeting, but we invited them in. He told us his name and said he lives in the neighborhood. He... Read the article

Read the article

Rebuilding smaller congregations

Many of our smallest congregations are trying new ways to join Jesus in reaching out to new people. In the article below, Bob Miller, who pastors GCI's church in Birmingham, Alabama, shares his congregation's story. [caption id="attachment_470" align="alignright" width="150"] Bob and Ruth Miller[/caption] Fellowship group-sized congregations often see themselves as too small to make an impact beyond their immediate members. That was our case at Grace Covenant Fellowship in Birmingham. But then God led us to change our place and mode of meeting, and that led us to shift our way of thinking about ourselves and our mission. Given that we are both small and aging, we prayed, wondering what role we might play as a church in being Jesus'... Read the article

Read the article

Helping a refugee family in Los Angeles

This article is from Janet Morrison who directs Great Commission Trips, one of GCI Generations Ministries' mission organizations.  The first time I saw them was at LAX---seven Congolese refugees from the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi coming to a new world, a new culture. Though they had heard many things about the U.S., they did not really know what they were getting into. Neither did I. [caption id="attachment_356" align="aligncenter" width="504"] Meeting the seven refugees at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)[/caption] The story began for us when we visited the GCI church in Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi back in 2011. A few years after that we heard that some of the refugees were allowed to move to Australia, and we... Read the article

Read the article

Welcome home to Ottawa

This article is from Fraser Henderson, one of the pastors in GCI's Ottawa, Canada, congregation. [caption id="attachment_328" align="alignright" width="300"] Fraser and Julie Henderson[/caption] It's hard to describe what it's like arriving in Canada in the dead of winter. The -13 degree Fahrenheit weather is likely to elicit a curse even from those with robust reigns on their tongues. For the refugees, despite the blistering cold and stark landscapes, there is one thing they can say about this new location they haven't been able to say for years and sometimes even decades: they are home. Many of those we have been sponsored to immigrate to Canada have chosen to make the sponsoring GCI congregation their spiritual home as well. ... Read the article

Read the article

Nova’s story

In this article, Nova Musafiri, a refugee who settled in Canada, tells his story. I left my country in April 1993 because of security issues: students were arrested, beaten to death and tortured because of a dictatorial regime, which reigned for over 30 years. I did not have a choice, but had to escape in order to save my life. [caption id="attachment_325" align="aligncenter" width="497"] Nova and his children[/caption] I went to Kenya to seek protection and I was accepted as an asylum-seeker and refugee under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In Kenya, refugees are not allowed to stay in the capital city, move freely within the country, work, study, or do business. I was sent to live in a... Read the article

Read the article

Here’s what renewal looks like

This article is from Regional Pastor Rick Shallenberger. Rick works with pastors and congregations in the upper Midwest and also serves as a contributing editor for Equipper. [caption id="attachment_158" align="aligncenter" width="289"] Rick and Cheryl Shallenberger[/caption] GCI has two chartered churches in Cincinnati, Ohio. Christ Community Church (CCC) on the east side is pastored by George Hart, and Christ Fellowship Church (CFC) on the west side is pastored by Dustin Lampe. By God's grace, both churches are in the midst of renewal. Here's what renewal is looking like in those two congregations. Both CCC and CFC moved to new locations within the past three years. Previous attempts to get involved in their local communities... Read the article

Read the article

Recommended discipleship resource

This article is from Calvin Simon who pastors New Creation Community Church, GCI's congregation in Norfolk, Virginia. [caption id="attachment_107" align="aligncenter" width="230"] Calvin and Erica Simon[/caption] As a pastor, I’m always on the lookout for resources to use in discipling people in the way of Jesus. Our congregation wanted a monthly discipleship class, so we started by studying the GCI booklet, The God Revealed in Jesus Christ. After completing that study, we were looking for something that would meet us in our everyday lives. I had recently been working my way through Cathy Deddo’s book (with study guide), The Letter of James: Knowing the Father of Lights in the Midst of Our Darkness. I knew at once that it was... Read the article

Read the article

Ministry rhythms that lead to renewal

This article is from Heber Ticas, senior pastor at Comunión De Gracia, GCI's Sun Valley, California, congregation. Heber also is the national coordinator for GCI-USA Church Multiplication Ministries. [caption id="attachment_119" align="aligncenter" width="237"] Heber and Xochilt Ticas[/caption] As I write this, I'm enjoying 80 degree weather here in Southern California. We've been having summer weather in the middle of winter for two months---it seems entirely out of rhythm! Sweaters have given way to t-shirts, and beach day is a real possibility. In our everyday lives, rhythms are natural occurrences, and it's no different in ministry. In both venues, the rhythms fluctuate from time to time as our surroundings change. And in... Read the article

Read the article

FaithTalk equipper: resources for fellowship groups

This article is from regional pastor Randy Bloom. [caption id="attachment_36" align="aligncenter" width="258"] Randy and Debbie Bloom[/caption] In GCI we have a vision for all kinds of churches for all kinds of people in all kinds of places. Some of our smaller congregations have realized that they are most effectively positioned to contribute to the realization of this vision by utilizing a fellowship group structure where people worship and fellowship in an informal environment that is attractive to new people who do not wish to be part of a more traditional, large church. Fellowship groups are an ideal setting sharing the word of God through interactive Bible discussions rather than traditional sermons. Sermons typically are... Read the article

Read the article