GCI: A Brief Introduction to Grace Communion International
Who we are
Grace Communion International began with a radio and magazine ministry in the early 1930s. With sincerity and zeal, we energetically preached that people should study the Bible and live the way it says. We need to take the Bible seriously and live according to the principles it reveals. Christianity is a lot more than going to church once a week — it involves a change in the way we think, and the way we live.
Christianity can be described as the way of “give.” We are to think about how we might serve others, instead of being concerned with what we can get from others. This is love in action.
As we study the Bible, we continue to grow in our understanding and continue to let God’s Word change the way we live. We focus on Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, and on his grace toward us. As God in the flesh, he showed us what God is really like. We are attracted to his compassion and mercy. We are compelled by his love and motivated to follow him.
God loved us so much that Jesus lived and died for our sins, so we can be saved by grace, as a free gift from God to us. We can trust our lives, both now and forever, to him who has such love!
When Jesus rose into heaven, he did not abandon us on our own. He sent the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and strengthen the disciples. God’s Spirit lives in us, changing our hearts, giving us new life in Jesus Christ — a life with love, joy, peace, and self-control. The Holy Spirit is a down payment of good things from God, a guarantee of living forever with God!
What we believe
- In one holy, loving, all-powerful and gracious Creator God who exists in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- That Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary, fully God and fully man, is both Lord and Savior.
- That Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross for human sin, that he was raised bodily on the third day, and that he ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father.
- That Jesus Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead and reign over all things.
- In the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who brings sinners to repentance, who gives eternal life to believers, and who lives in them to conform them to the image of Jesus Christ.
- That the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God, the ultimate authority for all matters of faith and practice.
- That Christians should gather in regular fellowship and live holy lives that make evident the good news that humans enter the kingdom of God by putting their trust in Jesus Christ.
- In the spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
- That salvation comes not by works, but only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
- In the resurrection of the dead, the saved to the resurrection of life and the lost to the resurrection of judgment.
We share these beliefs with Christians in many other denominations. We are members of the National Association of Evangelicals.
New life in Christ
God created us for a wonderful purpose: that we might live forever with him in joy and love. We praise him for his perfect holiness, love, and justice.
The problem is that humans do not know how to live in perfect love and justice — and we don’t even live up to what we do know. Humans ever since the beginning have disobeyed God and rejected his guidance and friendship. Even if we wanted to live with him, we are unable to bridge the gap that is between us. We are not perfect and we are not holy. We do not deserve to live with God forever.
But God’s plan cannot be thwarted. His love means that he wants to rescue us, and he sent Jesus for that very purpose. Salvation is his gift to us. We accept the fact that we need to be rescued. We admit that we have done wrong and that we do not deserve to live forever with God. We accept that Jesus has reconciled us to the Father.
We do not want to live the way of disobedience. We turn from our old self-centered approach to life and turn toward God, so we have a Christ-centered life. He lives in us by means of the Holy Spirit, to lead us in the way we live and think. We surrender to his leadership and try to obey what he says, since we know that he has such wisdom and love that all his commands are for our own good.
In Christ , the Bible tells us, we are a new creation — children of God. The Holy Spirit gives us new life. It’s not just us trying to live a good life on our own strength — it is God living in us, as we allow him. It is a dramatic change, as a new nature is put within us — a divine nature. We do not live for ourselves, but for Christ.
To symbolize the beginning of our new life, believers are baptized — dipped under water to picture the death of the old self and the rising of a new life, our sins washed completely away. We are following Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Christians always want to obey God, but sometimes we do not obey. The good news is that God continues to love us, for Jesus’ death has atoned for all disobedience. We are forgiven, not condemned, as we live with the wonderful hope of being with God forever and ever in incredible joy and love.
Just as Jesus had pain and sorrow in his earthly life, Christians also have trials and problems in this life. We sometimes struggle with poverty, disappointment, pain, hurt feelings and persecution. But in all our trials, we rejoice in the salvation we have been given in Jesus Christ. We rejoice in the love God has already shown us. We live the “give” way of life, willing to serve others, just as our Savior served us.
Welcome to the group
We want to help more people enjoy new life through faith in Jesus Christ. We want to help more people accept this new life Jesus offers, and we want to help each other enjoy the life he gives us. We want to help each other through our pains and difficulties, and we want to encourage each other as we live for Christ.
We offer weekly worship services, in which we gather to praise God, learn more about the good news in a Bible-based message, and encourage one another. We offer special worship activities for children and teenagers, and ministries for men, women, young adults, and support groups.
Small groups are also helpful. Groups of eight to ten members gather sometime during the week to pray, discuss the Bible, and support each others’ specific needs. This is the environment in which new believers can grow the most through the time and attention of a family-like group.
If you would like more information about the good news of Jesus Christ, if you would like to accept his offer of forgiveness and new life, or if you would like to join a small nurture group, feel free to contact us for further help. We love to help people enjoy new life in Christ!
For more information about our history, beliefs and ministries, to read more about the good news of Jesus Christ, to find a congregation near you, or to find the name and phone number of a pastor, click here or write Grace Communion International, 3120 Whitehall Park Dr., Charlotte, NC 28273 or phone 980-495-3977.