The Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) is a process designed to transform churches. The focus is on providing resources and strategies to church pastors, staff, laity, and congregations so that they will be able to reach new people for Christ. Many churches today are stagnating or declining, so HCI is a team of talented coaches and consultants backed by a solid, proven process that works with each church to address problems and develop contextualized solutions. After having successfully implemented this process in the Missouri Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church for several years, HCI is able to share this established method with other conferences and other Christian denominations. If you are ready to begin the process of growing fruitful congregations, we are ready to help!
The Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) has been developed over time with significant input and guidance from church consultants like Paul Borden, author of Assaulting the Gates, Hit the Bullseye and Direct Hit. A visionary group of church consultants and coaches passionate about the revitalization movement have worked to refine and perfect the HCI process over the years. Bishop Robert Schnase of the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church writes: ” The Healthy Church Initiative is key to growing fruitful congregations.” HCI is intended to be implemented at the denomination, judicatory or conference levels. If an individual church is interested in participating, we encourage you to contact the appropriate individuals within your denominational structure to find out how you can benefit from HCI.
The HCI process is immersed in intercessory prayer. Before beginning a consultation, HCI coaches and facilitators are praying for the local church and its leaders. The local church is asked to create a prayer team specially focused on this transformative process. Additionally, most local churches engage an outside worship leader for a Day of Prayer and Repentance prior to moving forward on any prescriptions. The purpose of Day of Prayer and Repentance is to ask for forgiveness in failing to join in God’s mission for the Church, which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The second purpose is to pray that God will give the leaders and congregation a vision for the church. Thirdly, God is asked to break open anew the hearts of those in the community who live without spiritual hope so that they may discover Christ Jesus through the people of the local church.
Leaders are made – not born – therefore one of the first steps in the HCI process revolves around the training of pastors and laity. Through Pastoral Leadership Development (PLD) and Lay Leadership Development (LLD) programs, HCI trains individuals to become leaders that are truly mission-focused. This is the step that prepares pastors and laity for the consultation process where true change begins to occur.
If a congregation could have implemented change themselves, they would have done it already. HCI coaches and consultants arrive armed with solid data and a wealth of experience to write individualized prescriptions that will revitalize a congregation. When the consultation process is complete, the congregation will decide to accept (or reject) the prescriptions. This decision truly alters the future of the church.
Provided the congregation accepts the prescriptions, experienced coaches will be there to help the team implement change. Coaches will help the team stay on task to fulfill the prescriptions, navigate any potential landmines and celebrate wins. This third step is crucial to ensuring that the training and consultation processes translate into a healthy, vibrant congregation that is focused on creating disciples for Christ.
If you’re ready to learn more about this process, we are ready to help! There are a variety of ways you can get started.