Great Commission Churches' Historical Relationship with Jim McCotter     

Since 1970 the Great Commission church movement has largely been a decentralized fellowship of autonomous churches under the leadership of Jesus Christ. That being said, among the early leaders from 1970 to 1986 Jim McCotter was the pastor with the most influence. Jim was a catalyst, a fruitful campus evangelist, a dynamic conference speaker and a visionary leader.  

Until 1983, there was no defined national organization that represented the movement. This changed in 1983 when Jim McCotter became the primary founder of Great Commission International (GCI), which later became Great Commission Churches (GCC). On his own initiative, Jim left the leadership of GCI in 1986 to pursue business ventures. Since he left over 30 years ago, Jim has had no leadership or ministry role with GCC, nor has GCC provided any sort of accountability to Jim. 

During the early years of our movement, Jim demonstrated a victorious and courageous faith that stirred Christians to make sacrifices for Jesus Christ and His mission.  As a result of Jim’s life and his teaching from God’s word there are many people who have been affected for Christ. At the same time, Jim and GCI were the subjects of criticism during the 1980s, including criticisms from some former pastors in the movement. The strongest criticisms were focused on Jim personally and on some of his leadership practices and teachings. 

Although we continue to believe that many of these criticisms were mischaracterizations of our church movement, some of them were accurate. As a result, the Lord led GCC to make some changes in our approach to leadership after Jim left. Since 1986, GCC leaders have earnestly sought to grow in maturity and humility in leadership by responding humbly to criticisms, developing personal and organizational accountability, seeking reconciliation with people, and cooperating with the greater body of Christ. In 1991 GCC conducted Project Care, a movement-wide effort to reconcile with any who had a grievance with us. This included the writing of the 1991 Errors and Weaknesses Paper in which GCC pastors acknowledged wrong practices and imbalanced teachings from the past.

As a result of these changes, GCC leaders have restored relationships with many from the past, including some who were among our and Jim’s most vocal critics. (For more information about this reconciliation process, click here). These changes in GCC over the past 30 years have been significant. We consider them to be absolutely vital in our desire to honor Jesus Christ as we minister to churches and to people in communities throughout the United States and the world.   

Today, GCC appreciates Jim’s role in the foundational years of our movement but we presently have no working relationship with him and we do not anticipate Jim ever returning to GCC in the future. Also, if a future opportunity to work together were ever to present itself, GCC leaders would first want Jim to embrace the significant changes in leadership that have taken place in our association and to pursue reconciliation with those former leaders with whom we have reconciled. 

If you have any questions about this statement, please contact the Great Commission Churches office at  .