The Growing Healthy Churches (GHC) network is a joint venture of the Midwest and Pacific Conferences targeting the resourcing and re-energizing of pastors and congregations for health and growth.
The sole purpose of this initiative is to make Christ’s Great Commission central to the mission of BIC churches in the Midwest and Pacific Conferences.
Why This Initiative?
We as pastors and churches need to retool for ministry in a post-Christian culture. Recent studies show that post-Christian beliefs are on the rise in North America, including increased skepticism over who Jesus was and is; decreased engagement with the Bible; and declining church attendance.* In order to recenter on Christ’s command to make disciples in our local congregations, we are suggesting a multipronged approach to equipping and energizing our pastors and churches.
The GHC initiative will begin fall of 2016 with congregational assessments, and run through the end of 2017, with monthly learning community meetings beginning January 2017. If all goes well, we hope to form a new group in each of the next three years.
The Growing Healthy Churches network has five primary components to which each participating pastor and congregation will commit:
1. Congregational assessment — We will use the Natural Church Development survey to assess the current health of each participating congregation.
2. Prayer team — Each congregation will put together a prayer team focused on praying weekly for the congregational vision, the community, and the mission of making new disciples.
3. Monthly learning community — The learning community will be a monthly, daylong meeting of participating pastors and their staffs. Our hope is to develop a peer accountability environment that will provide ongoing exposure to new ideas, learnings, and practices. Participants will read one book each month and be prepared to discuss the reading at the learning community meeting. Learning communities will be facilitated by Jeff Piepho (Midwest Conference) and Bob Beaty (Pacific Conference), with additional resourcing from Bishop Perry Engle and regional coaches as available.
4. Regional gatherings — There will be two regional gatherings per year for each regional conference (Midwest and Pacific). The gatherings will focus on encouraging and training congregations and sharing best practices. One gathering will take place in spring at the annual meeting and another in the fall.
5. Coaching — Each participating pastor will be assigned a ministry coach to provide ongoing support and accountability toward personal and congregational health and growth. This monthly meeting may be in person, via phone or Skype.
The cost will be shared between congregations and each regional conference. The cost to each congregation will be $1,495 for the year or $125 per month. This will include the cost of one assessment, materials, books, coaching, and resourcing at the regional gatherings. Extra books and materials for staff members and any travel costs will be extra.
Who Can Participate?
In year one, we are limiting participation to five congregations from each regional conference. Personal invitations will be extended, with open positions to be filled as they become available.