Retreat planned to prepare congregations for Vital Congregations Initiative

Other churches can still join the VCI journey

A team of individuals preparing to facilitate the Vital Congregations Initiative within the Presbytery of Lake Michigan will host a retreat October 25-26, 2019 at Gull Lake Ministries near Richland.

Registration will begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday so that participants can gather for some introductory activities before dinner at 6 p.m. followed by worship, additional activities and fellowship. Saturday’s program begins with Bible study at 9 a.m. followed by conversations and presentations, lunch, and worship with communion. The retreat will end by 3 p.m.  

Those congregations already signed up to participate in the VCI journey are being asked to send their pastor and one Session member to the overnight retreat to learn about implementing the program. It is hoped that participants will be able to attend the entire event. However, those unable to attend Friday night may come for the Saturday session that begins at 9 a.m. (And a second ruling elder is welcome to attend the Saturday only session.)

But representatives from ALL congregations within the presbytery are also invited to attend the retreat. (Each congregation may send their pastor and one Session member to the overnight retreat and, if desired, a second ruling elder may attend the Saturday session.)

All retreat participants will learn about the basic ideas of VCI —including the seven marks of vital congregations and the two-year process that includes practicing prayer and faithfulness, casting a vision, and (re)forming intentional relationships — and the many different ways that these can be incorporated to enrich and revitalize congregational life.  For example, VCI encourages establishing pastoral cohort groups to encourage conversations and sharing ideas. The presbytery intends to invite all pastors serving in congregations to join these cohort group even if their congregation doesn’t sign up for the VCI journey.

The only cost to attend the retreat is an investment of your time and energy. All other costs will be covered by the Presbytery of Lake Michigan. However, if you register for the retreat and then do not attend (barring significant personal or work events), you will be asked to reimburse the presbytery $150 if you registered to attend both days and $35 if you registered to attend Saturday. Please note that registration must be completed via a link on the presbytery’s web site by 2 p.m. Thursday, October 17.

Have questions about the VCI program? Please contact one of the Vital Congregations Initiative Facilitators:

Have questions about registering for the retreat? Please contact the presbytery’s office manager, Sharon Carper, at