Vital Church Initiative (VCI)
VCI is a process of renewal for growing healthy, vital, fruitful, missional congregations in the Michigan Area of The UMC. VCI offers our pastors and congregations a better future by providing hope to leaders who have lost their outward focus. VCI prepares them for systemic change that will enable them to once again answer God’s call to reach out to new people with the Good News. The overarching expectations are to be:
The process includes:
- Developing a new vision and strategy for communication and implementation
- Motivating congregations to embrace a new vision and mission
- Developing resources, ideas and personnel to prepare for change
- Embracing and implementing change
- Providing new tools and training to be the church for the 21st century
The above comes from the VCI Website where you can find more information about the program.
We started phase 1 of this 3 phase process September 2016. Phase 1 is titled "Shared Learning Experience." During this phase we have an "away team" that meets monthly with other similarly sized churches who are also entering into the VCI process. The "away team" also meets monthly with a "home team" to give and get feedback. Each month the teams read a book about church development as the theme of that month's discussions.
During Phase 1 the teams have been studying the Church Life Cycle and working to see where we are in that cycle. This included a survey of where the congregation felt about where we were in the cycle. The cycle and the congregations response can be viewed in the Life Cycle Handout - NPUMC 2016 - Response Summary presented at the February 5 Town Hall meeting in Mercer Hall.
Part of the process of creating and maintaining a vital church is knowing the demographics of the community that the church serves. For this purpose the teams choose the area within a 5 mile radius of Nardin Park. We know we have and will continue to have many members from outside the area, but we think that most new members would come from within this 5 mile radius. To get the demographics we used the Mission Insite Website to produce the following reports:
The VCI team held their 2nd Town Hall meeting on Tuesday May 2, 2017. The members in attendance discussed the VCI progress and held discussions at their tables. Please review the agenda, handout, and feedback from the meeting to learn more about our discussion. Thank you to all that attended!
Phase 1 ends this spring. At this time our church will vote on continuing into phase 2 of the process: "Consultation and Peer Mentoring,"
The weekend of March 9-11 was an exciting time! Seven consultants worked with us to help us make a map and strategic plan for our future. After worship Sunday morning we received the VCI report and the five prescriptions that are being presented to us for consideration and adoption at our upcoming Special All Church Conference on Sunday, April 22nd following our 10 a.m. worship service. Those who can vote at this conference are members of the church and you must be present that day to vote.
What Happens Next?
On Sunday April 22nd, at the special church conference, the VCI prescriptions were voted on and were passed by 85.8% of the voting body (a total of 194 people voted at the church conference). These prescriptions now become our church vision and roadmap forward through at least the year 2020. It is exciting to begin this work as we embrace the future that God is calling us into as a congregation.
Click here to read the VCI - First Letter Update from Pastor Melanie, detailing what happens next.