Healthy Church Initiative
The Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) is a process designed to transform churches. The focus of HCI is on providing resources and strategies to church pastors, staff, laity, and congregations so that they in turn will be able to reach new people for Christ and become the church God wants them to be in their community. Many churches today are stagnating or declining, so the HCI leadership of the Iowa Annual Conference put together a team of talented coaches and consultants backed by a solid, proven process and began addressing the needs of the local churches. First UMC, Atlantic has been engaged in the leadership development portion of this program and we are now at the stage where we will be inviting a wider range of participants into the process as an intentional way of growing more faithful and fruitful as a community of faith. HCI involves three components: continuous learning, coaching, and a consultation. The theory is pretty basic – you learn, you process, you engage.
Three KEY steps toward Revitalization:
TRAINING: Leaders are made – not born – therefore the first step 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.
CONSULTATION: 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. After a year of learning and coaching , we have elected to invite a consultation team to our church. Our consultation is scheduled for the weekend of October 11th. The consultation team will take the information we provide in our upcoming Self-Study, feedback from mystery worshipers, and insights shared through interviews and will provide a report that names five strengths, five growth areas, and five prescriptions for our church. The church will then reflect upon and discuss the report and its implications for the next month. After the month is over, members of the church will vote whether to accept the recommendations in full or not. If the church does accept the prescriptions, the coach will continue to work with the church for the next twelve to eighteen months to complete the prescriptions.
ONGOING COACHING: 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. HCI Teams and Opportunities to Serve – these teams are redeveloping for the 2013 year – join us!
Prayer Team – Praying for First UMC, Atlantic to follow God’s purposes and plan for our local church.
Leadership Team – Our Church Council and Lay Leadership is charged with implementing and supervising HCI at First UMC
Vision Team – Helping to determine how best First UMC can engage and encourage participation in the ministries of our church, including the HCI program.
November Mission Projects
The boxes of missions kits are ready for delivery to Greenfield for In-Gathering on November 4th. We hope you will be able to attend – fun, food, fellowship, learning, and inspiration.
The schedule for the event includes: coffee & rolls will be available as well as a bazaar and bake sale from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Two 30 minute project presentations at 9:05 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. Worship service at 11:00 a.m., followed by lunch served by the UMW. At 1:00 p.m. there will be a quilt auction. Come and enjoy!
Our Sunday School children are collecting aid for Hurricane Matthew survivors, and we have donated some of our collected supplies to that project. We also provided some Flood Bucket clean-up supplies to the youth for their project of helping in those areas.
Your generous giving during our Blanket Sundays in October has resulted in a donation of $789.12 which will buy 157 blankets. This will also go to the In-Gathering in Greenfield.
“We are following God’s requirement that we assist without judging them or their situation” as we bring gifts to this, “our 37th year of following God’s expectations. The Iowa Conference has an excellent reputation of supporting UMCOR Depot and the Iowa-Nigeria Partnership. It is amazing that our 5 sites work together to accomplish our goal of over $1,000,000 in gifts each year.
In addition to our kits and other in-kind gifts, we support Church World Service; which includes our blanket offerings, P.E.T (Personal Energy Transport), Heifer International and Self-Help International.
In 2015 from undesignated funds, each of Iowa’s 8 districts received $4,000 for local food pantries, which included ours in Atlantic.
You see, working together we DO make a difference!
(Quotations from “Ingathering Alive, Thanksgiving Ingathering” booklet.)
You are invited to be a part of this important mission.
Together we can make a difference!