Texas Annual Conference Vibrant Church Initiative: Q&A
What is VCI?
Vibrant Church Initiative is an ongoing coaching type of process (not a program) that strengthens pastoral and laity effectiveness that is customized to fit each congregation and mission field, and structured in such a way that it can provide new ways year after year to strengthen your church, regardless of the size. VCI includes a peer mentoring component for the pastor and leadership development opportunities for laity and clergy that provides healthy growth strategies and renewed unity and accountability.
The fee for a church our size to participate in VCI is $1,500. Churches will be responsible for books and a portion of Prescription Specialists fees (if required). The fee is not paid to the TAC until the Consultation Report has been adopted by the church conference with the required 75% approval. The TAC is expected to invest an additional $25,000 or more in our church through the services provided in VCI. Who does it involve? Participating churches will recruit laity teams for prayer, and leadership in the VCI process that will work with the pastor and the VCI Team. Ultimately, the process will involve the congregation and leaders in submitting input and ideas, revisiting the mission and vision of the church and discerning the unique church God is calling it to become. The church completes the “self study” which gives the VCI consulting team information about the history, key financial statistics, pastor Birkman Lifestyle Grid, and leadership style and other statistics that help the team provide targeted recommendations. MissionInsite demographics are also obtained to better understand the mission field. A report from Faith Perceptions where a dozen (or more for larger churches) “mystery guests” are recruited to visit the church and provide feedback on their experience that is a key component in determining a congregation’s strengths and weaknesses.
All churches can benefit from focusing and pursuing their “potential” and preferred future. Over forty churches are currently participating in the VCI process in the TAC. Most Pastors and laity will say this unique process has been nothing but a positive force within their congregations. They consistently testify that the process provides a unifying and clarifying pathway to growth, strength and greater impact in their communities.
What happens during the Consultation weekend?
The biggest catalysts of the VCI process is called the Consultation weekend. It involves a consultation team of 3-6 clergy and lay specially trained individuals coming to learn more about your church through a series of discussions, workshops and interviews over a Friday/Saturday. The team interviews 8-10 leaders and staff members on Friday and conducts workshops and focus groups to get more insight about the church’s past, present and future. These meetings yield a VCI Report that is customized to your church, and read to the congregation that Sunday. Members are given a printed copy to review prior to a follow up meeting where the church will vote whether or not to adopt the “prescriptions” that the consultation team has provided to help your church go from good to great.
What do the prescriptions typically relate to?
The VCI reports, for example, might suggest ways to strengthen the hospitality system, connect more relationally with the community, clarify the church’s discipleship pathway or strategies for a particular ministry area.
What happens after the Consultation weekend?
Each church holds several town hall meetings to discuss the findings and ideas expressed in the report. The congregation votes at a Charge/Church Conference about a month after receiving the report whether or not to accept or decline the prescribed VCI action plan in its entirety. A 75% approval at the church conference is required to proceed. What happens if the report is accepted? The church is provided access to a coach that works with the congregation and pastor for the next 18 to 24 months of implementation to help the church grow healthier and more vibrant by focusing on 3-5 specific priorities. The leadership team and others are invited to read and discuss books and resources that are targeted to their areas of focus.
What is the role of the District Superintendent?
The DS serves as a “cheerleader” for VCI, aiding and encouraging congregations to participate and thrive in the experience.