The Minnesota Conference has three revitalization processes designed to help existing churches find new ways to disciple people, share God’s love, and make a difference in their communities and the world.
More than 30 churches are involved in one of these processes at any given time. The processes are geared toward churches that are seeking a fresh vision, wanting to refresh their strategic plan, eager to become more vital and vibrant, and/or ready to explore new ways to connect with their mission field.
• Healthy Church Initiative: Designed to help churches grow spiritually, numerically, and in community impact.
• Missional Church Consultation Initiative: Created to prepare large churches for growth and the launch of additional physical sites.
• Choosing the Faithful Path: A 10-week self study that helps small congregations to explore the next step God is calling them to take—whether it's merging, closing, or going through a more intensive revitalization process.
The focus of these processes is on providing resources and strategies to church pastors, staff, laity, and congregations so they in turn will be able to connect people more meaningfully with Christ and become the church God wants them to be in their community. There are three main components to the processes are:
Learning: There are leadership development sessions for pastors and laity to build a foundation of common understanding, motivations for change, and best practices. Each session includes elements such as leadership training, congregational development, teaching, action plans, and spiritual development.
Consultation: Churches invite a team of trained consultants, who visit their church to identify strengths and concerns and provide recommendations to address those areas of concern. These consultations involve elements such as community study, analysis of key data, interviews with leaders, focus groups,
Coaching: Churches that accept the consultant recommendations receive coaching to assist with implementation of the ministry plan and leadership development.
Twelve churches started the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) or the Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI) in 2019. More than 15 additional churches are in the implementation phase of one of those programs, and others are engaged in Choosing the Faithful Path.
Healthy Church Initiative (HCI):
Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI):
Transformational processes are available to churches by invitation, and to participate, a church must be recommended by their district superintendent. If you have questions or are interested in learning more, contact Gail Johnson, congregational development associate, (612) 230-6125.
“The Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI) is providing Messiah UMC with an opportunity to look forward to a future filled with hope. Much is already going well. That often keeps us from anticipating what must change to ready for the next great thing that God could do. MCCI gets us ahead of the curve to jump-start a new trajectory in ministry. The monthly coaching sessions are among the best learning opportunities that I have experienced in ministry. They are a place to ask for guidance, to admit what I don’t know, to hear best practices for effective large churches, and to receive support from colleagues who are experiencing the same steps toward change and new beginnings.”
—Rev. Steve Richards, Messiah UMC (Plymouth)
“After the fact-gathering efforts of the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), the HCI leadership did a good job explaining to the congregation the strengths of Hastings UMC and the areas that need improvement. What I most appreciate about the HCI process is that we were assigned a coach to help us implement our plan and hold us accountable for making progress. The giving of time and treasure at Hastings UMC has never been higher. I believe this can be attributed to the confidence of the congregation in the HCI plan but also the commitment they see in our congregation to implementing. I have heard it said the ‘money flows to a vision’; well, HCI has given us a powerful and challenging vision that we have confidence reveals for us the correct path to follow.”
—Rev. Dr. Chris Kneen, Hastings UMC
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church