Peace News‎ > ‎

Bishop Ough Invites Peace to the Healthy Church Initiative

posted Sep 4, 2015, 11:54 AM by Gary Walpole

Peace United Methodist Church has been invited by the United Methodist Bishop of the Minnesota to participate in a new adventure that can broaden and deepen our experience as a community of faith and has the potential to move us into the future with a strong and healthy foundation. The new adventure is called the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI).

HCI is designed for clergy and lay leadership teams of a few mid-size congregations to engage in practical learning and skill development.  The goal is to help congregations make the essential shifts to be vital and relevant in connecting to our changing culture.

Areas which are addressed during the HCI are: How can the Church be relevant and faithful in a country that is no longer only Christian nor deeply religious? How can we make our faith story relevant for today? How do people of faith engage in the world with the power of God’s love in a way that is healthy, redemptive and transforming?

The world is changing.  Those who live in the United States are increasingly "spiritual but not religious" and those choosing to participate in any religious organization regardless of which world religion it may be associated with is now at an all-time low of just over 20%. This is the context in which we are called to be living as the Church of Christ in a new way!

It is in such a world where the Peace Community of Faith wishes to increase growth as an inclusive, healthy, and vibrant congregation. It is the Healthy Church Initiative which can help us grow to become more of what we wish to be in the future.

Over the past ten months many leaders of Peace United Methodist Church have been discerning and exploring if we should participate and accept the invitation of Bishop Ough. 

The Healthy Church Initiative is an intentional two to three-year process with the following commitments: 

Congregational Learning: 

The pastor and key lay people commit to three monthly Saturday gatherings in the fall with assigned reading as preparation for the Healthy Church Initiative. The pastor continues to participate in a peer mentoring group during the implementation phase. 

Congregational Preparation: 

·       compilation of a self-study

·       completion of Natural Church Development inventory

·       participation in Mystery Guest Survey

·       learning your mission field

·       formation of key teams

·       workshop for leaders led by outside facilitator 

Weekend Consultation – a three-person team will spend the weekend at the church to: 

·       interview staff and key leaders individually

·       conduct two focus groups

·       lead a congregational workshop

·       experience Sunday morning worship and education

·       offer their initial observations to the leaders naming 5 strengths and 5 concerns

·       prepare and present a full written report in collaboration with church leaders within two weeks naming the strengths, concerns and 5 strategic recommendations. 

Informational Gatherings: 

The congregation holds two meetings within 30 days after the consultation to discuss the report with recommendations. 

Church Conference Presided at by District Superintendent: 

To move forward, the congregation must agree to adopt the entire action plan as developed by the leaders with the consultation team. 

Monthly On-Site and/or Phone Coaching for 15 Months: 

The coach will meet with the leaders/pastor monthly to further develop and implement the action plan. The coach may also conduct workshops as needed. 

Evaluation and Celebration: 

The congregation will evaluate progress on spiritual, numerical and missional growth goals, and define next steps for continued health and vitality.  They will evaluate if they need coaching for an additional 3-6 months. 


$3,000 plus a self-investment of 1% of annual operating budget for new/emerging ministries in response to recommended initiatives. Services include: NCD survey ($300); Mystery Guest Survey ($2000); Group Training ($1,700); Weekend Consultation ($2,000); Coaching ($6,000), Peer Mentoring ($1,000). The Annual Conference is investing $10,000 per church in this process. 

As always, exciting days lay ahead for the people of God who are part of the Peace community of faith. If you have any questions or would like to be involved please contact me at or call me at 651-484-2226. 

Grace from Gary