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VCI Consultation Report

Trinity is now participating in an exciting church ministry - the Vital Church Initiative (VCI).
VCI was born out of the Healthy Church Initiative developed by the Missouri Annual Conference
in 2006. In 2010 West Michigan partnered with the Detroit Conference to bring it to Michigan,
calling it the Vital Church Initiative. VCI is a team-based, leadership development and discovery
process to help churches more effectively fulfill the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ
for the transformation of the world. VCI helps existing congregations transform into more healt
relevant and missional churches. The three-phased program is customized to meet the unique
needs of each congregation building on strengths and identifying opportunities for more fruitful

Phase I – Shared learning Experience 
Pastor/s and laity team meet for (9) Saturday sessions over the course of 10 or 11 months
learning key concepts, best practices, and effective strategies of peer churches. Trinity’s
peer churches are Chapel Hill UMC in Portage, University UMC in East Lansing, Marshall UMC
and Okemos UMC. Team members are required to read an assigned book or article prior to
the session. 

Assigned reading for VCI:

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, Robert Schnase
Life Cycle of the Church, George Bullard
Renovate or Die, Bob Farr & Kay Kotan
Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times, Peter Steinke
Communicating for a Change,  Andy Stanley and Lane Jones
Unbinding the Gospel, Martha Grace Reese
Simple Church, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
The Externally Focused Church, Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson

Phase II – Consultation Event and Peer Mentoring
Over the course of 2-6 months a team of pastors and laity develop strategic
recommendations or prescriptions to pursue
in order to move to even greater
effectiveness. These recommendations are reviewed with the congregation
at town hall meetings and voted upon at a church conference.

Phase III – Implementation of Prescriptions
During this phase the congregation implements the strategic recommendations
approved by the congregation. The church is assigned a coach who mentors the pastor/s
through the implementation phase. We are currently in Phase III.

VCI team members include: Pastor David Nellist, Doug & Laura Brant, Amy Heiney, Paul Hillman,
Joy Murphy, Judi Ryan, Brad Schottke, Jodi Seese, Liz Snyder, Ric Wiltse,
Margaret Bulgarello,
Barbara Braun, Sara Lowe, Matt Witkowski, Deanna House, and Jen Schottke.