Great Commission Ministries

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“In Soviet Russia, Leader serve YOU! ”

Great Commission Ministries (GCM, The GC, or the Gizzle-nizzle) is an American Christian denomination which hails itself as "The Un-Denomination" and claims about 10,000 adherants on college campuses and in po' folk college towns in the U.S., Tobago and Djibouti.

History[edit | edit source]

The GCM Blitzkrieg Bus circa 1982 near the University of Central Mexico.

In 1972 a commando chaplain unit from Vietnam was sent to a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Orlando, Florida, underground. Still wanted by the government, they survived as soldiers of fortune.

Upon the initial unit enrolling in various universities and community colleges for cover, they merged with Campus Crusade for Christ, an evangelical outreach. Convinced that the word "crusade" was not militant enough, the commando unit (now known as the GCM Core Leadership Matrix) came up with a new title for their aggressive evangelism outreach -- the Blitzkrieg. (The tactic is now known as simply "the Blitz," and taking place mostly on campus chalkboards.)

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can financially support ... GCM.

Early years[edit | edit source]

A vintage photo of an early GCM worship team.

After a meeting of the Campus Crusade governing council, the Leaders of the Blitzkrieg movement found themselves not only disbarred from "Cru" but many were also expelled from their respective universities. Homeless and on the run, they purchased a bus and began to compete with Campus Crusade, planting campus cell groups wherever their bus broke down.

After substantial growth and the threat of losing recent converts to the ever-growing Jesus Movement, the Blitzkrieg leaders and their bus driver, Leroy Martindale, decided to draft a governing document and form the basis for what became Great Commission Ministries. Ninety-three percent of the Leaders decided that they agreed on four "authentic points of relevance for their emerging heart-movement of compassion and outreach." The other seven percent were forced to listen to an 8-track recording of Gary Coleman saying "What 'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" repeatedly in the bus with all the windows duct taped shut until they complied. Those points are:

  • That seven Contemporary Christian songs must accompany every meeting, including church services, cell groups, weddings, funerals, bar-mitzvahs, retreats, leadership retreats, retreat meetings, retreat planning meetings, retreat pre-planning prayer and fasting meetings, post-retreat debriefings, and quiet times. No hymns allowed.
  • The word "clergy" must be replaced by "Leader" and "laity" with "non-leader."
  • Speakers must have shirt-tails untucked at all times.
  • Credits do not transfer from other denominations, or seminaries and colleges, except from ITT Tech.

Adolescence[edit | edit source]

As the movement began to grow, it began to try newer, bolder, in-your-face methods of raising support for GCM Leaders, discipling members, and spreading the message to the world. GCM began a television studio in 1984, producing such hits as "Charles in Charge (of Your Soul)," "Small Wonder" and "She's the Sheriff." The shows, particularly "Charles in Charge (of Your Soul)," were originally 15-minute-length infomercials designed to be shown at homegroups to promote the concept of accountability to one's disciple. But the 15-minute spots gained popularity, and were later sold to networks, which in turn crammed the shows with 15 minutes worth of commercials and passed them off as sit-coms.

After the television venture and other crackpot ideas faltered, the GCM Core Leadership Matrix decided that pyramid marketing was the best strategy. No longer passing a plate like the denominational churches do, they began a method by which each Leader was commissioned to recruit 8-10 supporters, who would in turn recruit 8-10 of their own. Each supporter pledged a certain amount per month to support the Leader. After raising enough support and being in a GCM church for at least a decade, a supporter could become a Leader as well. But in the late '80s GCM had an overabundance of Leaders and few supporters, and began stricter controls on who could become leaders. This tightening of the belt resulted in breakaway companies such as Amway, Primerica, United Paramount Network, and Pre-Paid Legal.

The movement plateued in numbers until the mid-'90s, when the Core Leadership Matrix determined GCM was poised for a period of breakthrough.

Mid-Life Crisis[edit | edit source]

The GCM Blimp go boom at the Pac 10 Conference Foosball Championship in 1998. Oh the humanity.

The 1990s was a period of malaise for GCM, as typical Generation-X campus Leaders sported the shape of a W on their forehead (for "whatever") and muttered a collective "sha, right" to any and all plans to shake things up. All homegroup Leaders wore ratty plaid shirts and baggy courdurouys, which didn't lighten the mood any.

Things changed after Friends went off the air -- Leaders began to focus on the importance of "community" to make up for the lack of Friends.

The GCM blimp crashing at the Pac 10 Conference Foosball Championship in 1999, followed by the 9/11 attacks two years later, inspired the Core Leadership Matrix to circle the wagons and refine GCM's international program to reflect the values of Community, Compassion and Combustibility prevention.

Controversies[edit | edit source]

The Hive Mind

Note: This article concerns a current event. Information may change on any given Sunday.

Artist's rendering of Hive Mind interface.

In spring 2008, the GCM Core Leadership Matrix met to discuss the possibility of using cybernetic technology, the biblical concept of being "one mind," and postmodern Leadership methods to enhance the level of service GCM HQ offers its churches and missions. The prototype program, released in March 2008, was nicknamed the "Hive Mind," and was intended to provide a wi-fi link between the brains of GCM Leaders and staff. A test period was announced for June 2008. Some Leaders called the proposal "Orwellian" and preferred instead to continue with existing re-orientation sessions for wayward Leaders and staff. Supporters say the Hive Mind project will lead the way for churches around the world and, with the removal of disagreement and dissent from the Body of Christ, GCM HQ would save hundreds of thousands of dollars (TTD) per year in leadership training manual costs. The two camps have "agreed to disagree," and the master plan is expected to go forward as planned.

The Spelling of the Word "Leader"

The Djibouti congregations of the GCM prefer the European spelling Leadre. The Leaders of Western congregations constantly bicker and belittle the Djibouti Leadres in an effort to enforce the authentic spelling of the word Leader.

Quality Women

Certain Leaders in the GCM believe that snootiness and elusiveness are the hallmarks of a "quality woman", though some hold it is simply a characteristic of typical suburban females. Leaders hold that any woman who does not meet those qualifications should remain single and that all men in the congregation should actively seek out "quality women" for marriage. Opponents believe that "quality women" must also be able to rhythmically sway to the music of Chris Tomlin. Even in weddings.

How Long a Song Should be Considered Contemporary

Some Worship Leaders contend that any song more than one month old should not be played at a GCM event. Since authentic worship can only happen with contemporary music, they maintain, and songs older than one month are not truly contemporary, they cannot be a part of worship. Other Leaders say that songs older than one month but younger than they are should be considered "old skool" and be played occasionally.

Mascots as Leaders

Photo of the one-time deacon nominee for Crimson Tide Life Fellowship.

Some congregations at larger colleges believe that college mascots can and should be raised up as leaders. They feel that a college mascot can draw in hoards of potential supporters, thinking that a mascot's service at a football tailgating party is something other "crowd-pleasers" like snooty but attractive girls cannot provide.

Mascots have renown amongst the congregation, a winsome personality, and unimpeachable character. Therefore, mascots can meet the GCM qualifications for deacons and elders.

The Duke University GCM ministry decided against making the Blue Devil an elder in 2002, as he did not meet the qualifications listed in I Timothy 3.

GCM church plant Leaders at the University of Alabama attempted to make "The Crimson Tide" a deacon in 1987. After half of the congregation died of brevetoxin poisoning during the pre-recognition banquet/swim party/beach outreach held in the Gulf of Mexico, the Leaders decided to "have a cooling-off period" to re-think the Crimson Tide's ordination recognition.