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
healthy and 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 ministry.
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
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, Paul
Hillman, Joy Murphy, Judi Ryan, Brad Schottke, Jodi Seese, Liz Snyder, Ric Wiltse, Margaret
Bulgarello, Sara Lowe, Matt Witkowski, Deanna House, and Jen Schottke.