Letter from Dr. Joseph Tkach – April 2014

Posted by colin on June 6, 2014 under Pastor General's Monthly Letter | Comments are off for this article

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, One day a reporter heard a story about an old Jewish man who had been going to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time. So the reporter and a team went to check it out and there he was!

Letter from Dr. Joseph Tkach

 

 

Grace Communion International - Living and Sharing the Gospel

April 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Every day, I marvel at how God invites us to participate in his ministry. As president of Grace Communion International, I am blessed to hear about the many wonderful ways God is working through our denomination. He is especially making an impact through the youth of GCI. We have a powerful generation rising up today, one that is making a true difference in the world and in our church.

As I look at the changing face of the church body, I feel a great sense of gratitude. These young people are a vibrant and diverse mosaic from a wide variety of backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures – but they are united in their commitment to live a mission-centered life for Christ.

These young people are known for their desire to have a measurable impact for good in the world. As part of an older generation myself, I feel encouraged when I see the shifting dynamic of our denomination. These emerging leaders have been equipped and empowered by GCI’s ministries, especially through our camps for elementary, middle school, and high schoolers. They have been enriched by “mountain-top experiences,” which have powerfully reminded them of God’s love. They return to the larger world energized and ready to give to others from what they have received.

This new generation of leaders remind me so much of Christ’s first disciples, who also had their own mountain top experience, standing with the resurrected Jesus before his ascension to the Father. The Gospel of Luke records that Christ “lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51).

I sometimes wonder whether the disciples were tempted to linger there at that place where they had been so close to their Savior. I even wonder if they might have wanted to stay and build a place to worship, as Peter wanted to do at the transfiguration, which was an earlier mountain-top experience  (Luke 9:33). It would certainly have been easier to stay on the mountain and continue worshipping with only close friends and fellow believers than to face the harsh realities to come.

But these disciples knew that they were meant for more than a mountain-top experience. They knew that their risen Savior did not want them to keep the good news to themselves. Before Jesus ascended, he told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The disciples had a mission – beginning close to home and extending to the whole world. And that mission continues today.

The young leaders in our denomination know that they too are called to minister where God has placed them – and they are doing so in a wide variety of ways. Daniel Leon, a college-aged member of our denomination in Eagle Rock, California, is investing his time and energy to support sustainable farming by providing local communities with much-needed equipment. Michelle Fleming and Ish Beloso have partnered with their local congregation to form a coffee shop ministry in Orlando, Florida that reaches out to those who might not set foot in a conventional church. And in the troubled city of Juarez, Mexico, the youngest member of her congregation, Naoko Gonzalez, has started a magazine for believers in her community.

Remember, our world was changed by a small number of faithful disciples. And these, and others, are continuing the work that Christ began so long ago. Jesus came as the Savior of all nations, and commanded his church to take this good news of inclusion to the whole world. It is vitally important for an older generation of the faithful to come alongside and support young believers, so that they too may be empowered to make a lasting impact. Through intergenerational support and connection within GCI and its ministries, Christians of all ages and backgrounds can give from what they have received and follow the light of Christ.

As we look toward summer, and our 2014 Summer Camps season, we also look toward the future of our denomination. I am truly delighted to know that the ongoing work of the gospel is being carried forward by a wave of energetic and creative young leaders, eager to exert positive influence for God’s kingdom. We know that the leaders of tomorrow are being trained today, and we are deeply grateful that our legacy generations are contributing to that momentum through mentorship, ministry, prayerful and financial support. Whether it be a college student returning to volunteer at a camp where he turned to Christ for the first time, or the financial gift of a grandmother with her grandchildren in mind, we know that the community of believers is made strong when each generation gives to the next, especially for the growth of God’s family. This attribute of inter-generational relationships continues to be a treasured hallmark of GCI.

Thank you for your faithful financial support. Your generosity allows us to share the good news of the gospel and equip a new generation of leaders to continue the important work that Jesus first gave to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20.

With love in Jesus’ name,


Joseph Tkach
President – Grace Communion International

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