So how do you know that GCI is going to have an international event? Well, one good sign is that I am wearing a barong today. So, a shoutout to all my friends in the Philippines.
On Tuesday, March 2nd the GCI Managers held our monthly meeting. The top agenda item was to discuss whether we would go forward with the Denominational Celebration in Charlotte. Pam Morgan had met with the hotel managers and they expressed what they could do. We initially were thinking that even if we were limited to 500 attendees that it could work.
The longer we talked about details, like “How do you keep GCI members from hugging and shaking hands? Is cutting the conference from 1,000 participants to 500 a good idea? And so on. It became clear and evident that we must go virtual. The Holy Spirit led us to a unanimous decision, and instead of despair, there was a fresh wave of energy and excitement.
In reality, we at the Home Office are getting a taste of what our field pastors experienced over the past year – the challenge to go digital.
So, the “behind the scenes” work began.
Tech research. Do we have the right equipment? Enough of it? Who has participated in a virtual conference and knows what quality we can achieve? What portions will be pre-recorded and what portions will be live? How do you schedule such a weekend with 24 time zones around the world?
There have been multiple trips to Best Buy, and packages showing up daily.
My office has been staged to be a studio and we have experienced pilot tests of the equipment. Then there will be a dress rehearsal before the actual event. More details than planning a wedding (and we have one of those coming up in the Williams family on Oct 3). We expect to have four different studio sets throughout the Home Office, so this is gonna be an epic production no doubt.
What are the benefits, or value-added?
- Our Media Team is developing new skills that will be utilized in the future. I envision live and live-stream gatherings in the future.
- Our budget for “on-site” has been repurposed to assemble needed equipment and staging.
- This will be a tremendous test for doing online webinars, and we expect to do many more webinars in the future like this.
- The greatest value-added is that instead of 500 participants we are hoping to connect with thousands of members from around the world.
How can you participate?
- YOU NEED TO REGISTER TO GET ACCESS (https://www.gci.org/events/2021)
- Make plans to watch as a congregation or a group. Having a retreat planning team of 4-5 people to plan and host your church’s watch party.
- Especially create spaces for Hope Avenue Leaders. This includes Hope Avenue champions, Children’s Ministry teams, and Worship Ministry teams to utilize the workshops.
- Use this as an opportunity to engage and immerse your congregation in the Hope aspect of ministry. This can be an amazing re-launch event to bring you out of the throes of COVID.
- Check out many more ideas on the Make it A Church Retreat link on the event page (https://www.gci.org/events/2021)
If you cannot be with a group there is certainly value in Individual participation. The Celebration is created for engagement:
- Q&As in the workshops and the main sessions
- Breakouts in the workshops
- Join the Facebook Group to connect with members from around the world.
Use the hashtag on your screen to share your Celebration experience and check out takeaways from others.
Here is the “fine print” portion:
Your registration entitles you to the two components of the Denominational Celebration: the live broadcast on July 23-25 and the recording of it.
The live broadcast is happening in real-time; this means attendees will not be able to stop and start the broadcast at their own pace on July 23-25. The event is happening in US Eastern Time.
Once the broadcast has completed on July 25, been edited, and uploaded then you will have access to the full conference to watch at your own pace and preference. We will get it out as soon as our small but valiant group can manage!
So please do not panic if you log in at your own time zone and the conference is already underway from that Eastern Time start – simply join in from where we are and know you will have access to the full conference recording a short time after the conclusion of our gathering.
Keep in mind that these are privileges for those who have paid registration.
The overall greatest aspect of the Virtual Celebration is that we shall Worship & take Holy Communion together.
To get the most out of this denominational event think of these three stages:
- Intentional Local Preparation
- Make the weekend experience special and revel in the celebration.
- After the event, review the learning and let the shared experience soak into the fabric of your church as you participate in the ministry of Jesus!
May the Lord bless our global event and I will see you July 23rd!