By: Rev. Elizabeth Macaulay
The Minnesota Conference is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise $3.7 million to start new churches and revitalize existing churches through three transformational processes: the Missional Church Consultation Initiative (for larger churches), the Healthy Church Initiative (for mid-sized churches), and Missional Journey (for smaller churches). Below is the story of one church that was positively impacted by the Missional Church Consultation Initiative, and it is a powerful testament to what can be accomplished as more churches participate in revitalization efforts in the coming years.
Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester is in the midst of a spiritual and organizational revival.
Bishop Ough invited the congregation to be one of six involved in the inaugural Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI) group.
Led by Rev. Sue Nilson Kibbey of the West Ohio Conference, MCCI invites larger congregations with considerable potential to step into God’s dream for the future. Lead pastors meet monthly for excellent training in order to lead their churches to a new day. Lay leaders are invited to grow their sense of possibility and urgency for being church instead of playing church. Mission is clarified and the movement of the Spirit discerned in the unique contexts of each congregation. Coaches who have proven effective in their areas of ministry work with the congregation in order to provide resources and gentle nudging toward goals.
Because of MCCI, we at Christ UMC know more about who we are and what it is we long to share. We were given five “prescriptions” based upon our strengths and the assets within and around the church. By an overwhelming margin of support (94 percent), Christ UMC has committed to:
• Cultivate excellent support for children, youth, and families
• Change our organizational structure in order to facilitate action
• Create focus on excellence around welcome and discipleship
• Discern missional focus in downtown Rochester
• Create a signature ministry beyond being a swell building
How has life changed here? We’ve determined that our missional focus will be around breaking the cycle of poverty, with a focus on supporting families. Our worship and small group numbers are up. We’re having fun. More leaders are leading, more servants are serving. There is a palpable fizz of possibility in the air. We’re excited to keep the main thing the main thing: Jesus. We want to share his heart. Christ UMC is a tithe goal partner with Reach • Renew • Rejoice—meaning that we are giving 10 percent of our 2014 income over a five-year period (2 percent each year). We are living the fruits of the Reach • Renew • Rejoice vision.
Thanks to all who are making this possible. And stop by Christ UMC when you are in town. You are welcome here!
Rev. Elizabeth Macaulay is lead pastor at Christ UMC in Rochester.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church