The GCI Western Regional conference took place this past weekend, February 19-21.Â This conferenceâ€™s theme was Renewal: building on the foundation of Jesus’ faith love & hope. A fantastic weekend that was filled with reunions, new friendships, new partnerships, workshops, breakout groups, food, and of course, Jesus!
The weekend kicked off Friday afternoon around 4 p.m. as many checked into the Double Tree hotel in which the conference took place. We were welcomed to the sight of old friends, new faces, worship, and food.
A few hundred GCI members gathered from various states, all on the western half of the country, to join, talk, and be rejuvenated.
There was time for fellowship, collaboration, partnerships, and rejuvenating of our spirit as we settled in for the weekend at hand.
Saturday came and we all got ready for a day full of learning, discussion, and a willingness to listen to what the spirit is doing in GCI, as well as our own individual churches.
Gary Deddo, the president of Grace Communion seminary, was the first to speak and went over the â€œTheology of Renewal.â€
After that, aÂ few pastors were able to share some of the great things happening in their churches. All of this was greatly encouraging, as we were able to see growth, hope, and most importantly, the Holy Spirit in action in the midst of peopleâ€™s lives.
The meat of the conference were the multiple workshops that were made available to everyone.
These ranged from â€œIdentifying Your Focus Group & Missional Pathwaysâ€ to â€œCoaching Practiceâ€ to â€œLeadership and Team Ministry.”
There were a total of 10 workshops for people to choose from over the course of two sessions.
Within these groups, there was equipping and a lot of discussions about various aspects of ministry, life, and relationships.
Dan Rogers lead a workshop during the first half that was all about the â€œfellowship group.”
Not all churches are big enough to warrant a formal service, and so the alternative is to have a small group in which you are able to focus around a particular scripture and dig deep into it and learn how to dissect a verse, as well to as see how the Holy Spirit is talking to us through it.
Another workshop was led by Jeff Mcswain and focused around youth ministry.
As we know, the youth are a major part of the growth of any church and a vital aspect to the health of a congregation. This session delved into how to approach that entire conversation of youth, how to get them to attend, what are some steps to take, etc.
These are just a few topics, but from what was discussed, everyone came back from their workshops with some new tools or insight to use back at their home church.
Saturday night ended with the commissioning of Mervin Walton, who recently became the Senior Pastor of the GCI church in Beaumont, CA.
The weekend concluded Sunday afternoon after some worship and a sermon delivered by Joseph Tkach. It was a wonderful sermon focusing on our identity as children of the living King, before anything else in life.
Our next upcoming event will be Converge West, similar to the regional conference, but focusing more on youth in our camps and missions.