Vibrant Church Initiative FAQ
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 provide healthy growth strategies and renewed unity and accountability.
Each congregation pays a portion of the cost on a sliding scale according to church size, the balance being paid by the Texas Annual Conference. Participant churches pay for their books and materials for leadership development and for the coach that helps them during the leadership development process. Leaders serving on the VCI team at their respective churches will receive an information guide, workbook, and materials for leading training sessions.
Who does it involve?
Participating churches might recruit laity teams for prayer, vision, and leadership that will work with the pastor and the TAC Center for Congregational Excellence. Ultimately, the process will involve the entire congregation in submitting input and ideas, revisiting the mission and vision of the church and dreaming about the future of the church. The church completes the “self-study” which gives the VCI consulting team information about the history; key financial statistics, pastor DiscProfile and leadership style and other statistics that help the team provide targeted recommendations. MissionInsite demographics are also obtained to better understand the mission field, and about a dozen “mystery guests” are recruited to visit the church and provide feedback on their experience that is useful in determining a congregation’s strengths and weaknesses.
All churches can benefit from focusing and pursuing their “potential” and preferred future. The first dozen churches in the TX. Annual Conference to start this unique process have been quick to report back that VCI 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?
One of the biggest catalysts of the VCI process is called the Consultation weekend. It involves a consultation team of 4-6 clergy and lay consultants 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 into 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.
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 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.