HEALTHY CHURCH INITIATIVE (HCI) UPDATE
The congregational vote occurred the first Sunday in June, and this faith community has said yes to implementing the action items presented to us by the HCI consultation team. Seventy-five people were in attendance for our church meeting; and of those 75 people, 67 voted yes to move ahead with phase 3 of the HCI process and begin working on the HCI action items. I am excited to be a part of this process as we work together to discern the different directions God is leading Hope UMC for the future. So you may ask—what now? Well, as I see it, now the hard work starts for our congregation as we decide how best to implement these HCI action items. The five action items and the timeline for completion are as follows:
- Mission and Vision.The coach, or someone designated by the coach, will lead an all-church workshop on mission and vision, building on the statements of mission, vision, and welcome that you have already developed. Following the workshop, a team of 2-3 people, as well as the pastor, will revise and finalize a mission and vision. The workshop will be held by September 2018, and the mission and vision will be adopted by the Leadership Council by November 2018. The mission and vision will then be communicated widely and consistently in all church bulletins, newsletters, agendas, and more.
- Leadership Structure. The congregation will develop and implement a more effective and simpler accountable leadership structure to facilitate communication and better identify and equip leaders. The coach, or someone designated by the coach, will conduct an all-church workshop on accountable leadership. Following the workshop, a small team will develop a simplified leadership model tailored to Hope UMC. This model will be reviewed by the coach and District Superintendent and approved at a church conference by December 2018. Implementation will begin immediately upon adoption.
- Discipleship Pathway. This church will develop an intentional process for growing followers of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This process will build on visioning you did in 2005 and 2012. A part of the pathway will be the development of small groups for all ages. A team organized by the pastor will design a discipleship pathway for approval by the Leadership Board by July 2019. The coach can provide resources.
- Worship Evaluation.To continue the tradition of inspiring worship, this congregation will evaluate the current worship experiences in light of their mission, vision, and future. You have a unique opportunity to create multiple worship services to reach new groups of people. These differences could be in style, purpose, and/or the day and time they are offered. A workshop for the congregation will be provided by someone appointed by the coach. Following the workshop, the pastor, in consultation with the coach, will appoint a task group to evaluate the worship opportunities and develop a proposal for the Leadership Board by January 2020. Implementation will begin as soon as feasible after Board approval. A possible resource is Taking Flight with Creativity by Len Wilson and Jason Moore.
- Faithful Stewardship.We heard a number of comments about being more intentional about the use of the church’s resources, whether that be building space, finances, or staffing.
- Building space. While the church has great indoor and outdoor space, the way it is currently used allows little room for growth of ministries. A task group, in consultation with the pastor and coach, will conduct an assessment of building use during fall 2018. The results will be presented to the Leadership Board by January 2019. The Leadership Board will develop a plan or facility use and best use of available space.
- Finances. The church will implement a stewardship campaign that aligns with the mission and vision. This will be done by a task team that is appointed and overseen by the Finance Chair, in consultation with the pastor and coach. This will be done annually.
- Staffing. Following the adoption of the mission and vision and the establishment of the simplified Leadership Board, the pastor, the Board, and the coach will align the staffing needs of the congregation.
As part of preparing for this important work, I will be taking 4 weeks away from the church in August. I will be using 2 weeks of my vacation time and will also use my spiritual formation and continuing education leave to cover the weeks I will be gone. This will be my time to ground myself spiritually for the work to come. I do want to shout out a big thank you for all the hard work of the HCI team. They were the drive behind this program, and it was their efforts that made things happen. Their enthusiasm and commitment and their willingness to put in the work is what has brought us to this point in our HCI journey.
I also want to shout out a big thank you to you, the congregation. You also did the work by participating in the HCI book studies, participating in the HCI consultation weekend, attending and asking questions at the HCI town meetings and, if able, being present for our church meeting on June 3. Regardless of the vote, your commitment to Hope UMC and your commitment to our future was evident. Thank you all!
I close with sharing the scripture that Kathy B. offered at our church meeting. This is Apostle Paul writing to the people of Ephesus: In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. (Ephesians 4:1, The Message) The road is before us—God’s work to be done. Amen!