Monthly Letter from Dr Tkach — February 2014

Posted by colin on February 7, 2014 under Pastor General's Monthly Letter | Comments are off for this article

February 1, 2014
Letter from Dr. Joseph Tkach  

Grace Communion International - Living and Sharing the Gospel


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There are so many areas that God continues to shape within our organization, bringing changes we could have never imagined. He has guided important decisions that have helped bridge us to the future role we play in his ministry. I’d like to share a story about one of those areas.

Four years ago it became clear that we needed to redefine our system for training new pastors. Dan Rogers, our Director for Church Administration & Development in the United States, asked Greg Williams to coordinate the building of such a program. Knowing we would need to design and grow an effective program from the ground up, Greg spent a lot of time reading about intern programs, studying how other churches develop pastors, and interviewing people interested in becoming a part of this new program.

Developing the GCI Internship Program has allowed our team to evaluate the role of pastor and help to prepare a new generation of leaders who can shepherd our congregations in the coming decades.

First group of GCI interns (From left to right) Skylar Lewkowicz, Hillary Irusta, and Jason Frantz 

You may be aware of the first group of interns who came through the program from my previous letters. One of those graduates now fills a role as senior pastor in Kansas City, Missouri. Another serves as an associate pastor in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the third is working with Youth for Christ in Oregon. I’m delighted to see that there is a new wave of interns now completing the program and taking on responsibilities in our congregations.

As we participate in the work of the gospel, developing new leaders and pastors is a central component. They not only step into leadership roles as existing leaders move on, they also bring fresh ideas and contact with new communities. This is an important model for our family of churches, as it is for all churches.

Someone who knows the importance of this idea is Jeff McSwain. Jeff is the founder of Reality Ministries, an established outreach in Duram, North Carolina. He has a successful track record for developing young leaders throughout his ministry. You may already know him from our You’re Included video interview series on the GCI website. As he has built a successful ministry that will now continue to make an impact, he now starts as the developer and coordinator of our internship program. He will join Greg and others in the ongoing effort to recruit quality candidates into the program as well.

Dan Rogers and Greg Williams lay hands on Jeff McSwain during his ordination. 

We just finished a formal intern orientation with the addition of Jeff. One of the highlights was his ordination on Sunday, January 5. The ministry work that Jeff has been doing is an extension of the person God made him to be, and we’re glad to have him with us.

We want the interns to know we are soldidly behind them and that we will actively coach them through these two years of training. We are here to help! This isn’t something that should be done alone, especially within the body of Christ.

As Greg emphasized at the orientation, “This is not meant to be an assembly-line program that produces pastors. We want these young leaders to see God’s call on their life so that they can be who God is calling them to be – not just to fill our needs.” Our desire is to offer a program that seeks to meet the needs of those in training while also providing multiple opportunities. He then shared that our previous graduates have shown a desire to start new faith communities, and some want to move into planting churches. “We won’t be surprised to see up to 50 percent of our interns desiring to go into church planting.”

I’m sure by now that you can gather my enthusiasm for the growth of our GCI Intern Program. Such a program sees growth only as God blesses it. We pray that God enables us to add new interns this fall. We’ve already experienced success, and we are confident the program will continue to provide qualified pastors and church planters well into the future. Please join me in praising God for this program and asking him to provide us with qualified applicants.

Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support, which make this and our many other ministries possible. Together we are ensuring that Grace Communion International will continue to lead others to experience God’s grace and glory as we live and share the gospel.Your brother in Christ,

Joseph Tkach President – Grace Communion International

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