Organizational News

All of us at GCMI would like to give you our thanks for your continued partnership. Your gifts of prayer, support and encouragement empower us to find and train disciples in the nation’s crossroads. We are humbled and grateful at the opportunity to share our vision with you, and we love to hear feedback about the work God is doing in your home communities! Please feel free to share your stories with us via our website, on Facebook or by replying to this email.

Several of our mission catalysts will be travelling around the country in the next month, some here to NYC, and others to visit supporters in other areas. Pray that the next month will be a blessed and fruitful time, and that the Lord would protect each member of the GCMI team.


Listening Well by Theron Guild

Listening is an important component of ministry among those we may not fully understand and who are resistant to our message. At times, it can be a temptation to want to have ‘super guru’ spiritual insight. We see ourselves applying great understanding neatly and precisely at just the right moment of ministry—resulting in Satan sprinting for cover with his tail between his legs. More than that, we want to see the advance of the new heavenly order in the lives that we long to see touched and molded.

However, it does not always work this way. In reality, providing well timed, eye-opening insight is more the exception to the rule. More often than not, individual ministry encounters give us opportunities to see the world from a completely new perspective. Answers do not come easily, and we may even end up on the receiving end of a lesson in the ‘classroom of life.’ In these situations, something more is required of us. Like all good students, we need to have our “listening ears” on. We need a posture that takes us beyond impulsive reactions, judgments or immediate solutions. We must walk the fine line between a “teaching posture” and that of a “seeker of understanding.”

In order to be true ministers of the Word, we must realize that discipleship is costly. It requires a significant level of personal involvement and investment. Our ultimate model, Jesus, invested time, was involved in the lives of his disciples and, through the incarnation, became a listener before he was a healer. God, even though he needs not and knows all, chose to be involved in the lives of his people, and he listened and responded to their suffering with Jesus’ incarnation into our context. God significantly invested in us, even so far as the cross.

Listening well to someone who is entrenched or even nominally engaged in a different religious worldview requires patience, persistence and time. Listening to someone who is experiencing serious life trauma, dissonance or addiction can be draining. An ability to listen to someone who feels a deep rift between themselves and ‘established religious norms’ is indispensable in the context of our broken world because without it we cannot establish a frame of reference by which to understand. Only with this understanding can our ‘intentionality’ hope to carry any meaning or weight in the ears of our listeners.

Everyone has a Story by Seth Bouchelle

I’m not completely sure how online marketing works, but between the previous books I’ve bought and whatever other information my computer is hoarding, I’m constantly getting Amazon recommendations for books on Muslim evangelism. At first this excited me, because it wasn’t long ago that the missions world was thinking of the 10/40 Window—the geographic strip containing the majority of the Muslim world, consisting of North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia—as an impenetrable block, closed off to the gospel. But after some reflection, I began to grow nervous. I began to fear that dealing with “Muslims” as a singular group, speaking as if they are not disparate peoples from many different cultures with diverse life experiences and worldviews, would actually raise as many obstacles as it would prevent. The same standards apply as when we minister in the lives of anyone: before we can adequately speak the gospel into someone’s life, we must first be willing to listen and understand their story.

Our Bengali Muslim friends are anything but homogenous. I was sitting at a restaurant in Jackson Heights with three Muslim men a few months ago, all from the same part of Bangladesh. When I started sharing the gospel with them, I realized I had not spent adequate time listening in order to understand to whom I was ministering. The first words out of one man’s mouth were, “I don’t want any of this.” It turns out he’s into new age and is a Muslim in name only. “Music is the only experience of God,” he told me. His table mates laughed. Next to him was a man who remains Muslim to please his family, but he hasn’t practiced in any way for a long time. I had come on the invitation of my friend Salam, who tries very hard to follow the religious laws that his financial status and family life allow. He has no time from work to go to Masjid (Mosque) but he wishes to understand how to please God. I believe that there is only one gospel, and that it speaks to each of these men. But in the scope of the pastoral and evangelistic needs of the Muslim world, these friends represent but a small cross-section of the diversity that we may encounter as ambassadors for Christ. Let us not get so caught up in the larger vision of what God is doing to bring the Kingdom in the Muslim world, that we forget that God wants to work in the lives of individual people.


A Word From Jared

I remember one of the new house churches that I started several years back. There was much about it that was so dynamic, and I was really excited to be a part of it. However, I missed some key cultural cues, and eventually it fizzled out. I still refer back to some of the lessons I learned in that new start-up. One of the key things that the GCMI team is applying to cross-cultural evangelism is to listen carefully. In order to communicate the Gospel across cultures, to make disciples, and to start new groups of believers, we must learn to listen well. And we never stop learning. Pray for us so that we will carry out the ministry of the Gospel of Christ with wisdom and understanding as we encounter the nations in our cities.

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