Vital Congregations Initiative

Vital Congregations Initiative

The Vital Congregations Initiative is a process that brings mid council leadership to work alongside leaders of existing congregations in continually assessing, discerning and living into faithful actions that increase vitality through intentional spiritual practices that take them deeper into following Jesus Christ, so that their own lives are changed, congregations are transformed, and the mission of God spreads throughout particular communities and the world. 

The Presbytery’s Vision Statement is:

We envision dynamic leaders and healthy congregations who are vital to their communities, working together to share the way of Christ’s love, grace, and justice.

 Vital Congregations Initiative is one of the ways in which the Congregational Support Team (CST)  helps the vision become reality.  Learn more about this team on this page.

Presbytery of Lake Michigan Involvement

 September 2018 – Introducing the Vital Congregations Initiative (VCI)

The Presbytery’s involvement with VCI began with the September 2018 Presbytery Retreat/Stated Meeting at which Rev. Kathryn Threadgill offered the keynote address and presented workshops

November 2018 – First Wave Application

The Presbytery submitted its application to be selected as one of up to 20 presbyteries to participate in the First Wave implementation of Vital Congregations Initiative.   The initial application showed 15 congregations committed to the process.  There were other congregations who expressed interest in the process or wished to utilize some of the materials for their own process of revitalization.

 January 2019

 Our presbytery was selected as one of 14 presbyteries to participate in the First Wave of the Vital Congregations Initiative.  VCI facilitators Rev. Katie Hartwell, Rev. Kristin Stroble, Rev. Tim Marvil, Rev. Jim Hegedus, Rev. Scott Crane, and Rev. Mark Pawlowski began orienting themselves to the materials and the process.  During the year they would participate in training sessions to hone their skills.

September 2019 – Stated Meeting

Presentation by Rev. Scott Crane about “Rethinking Church Metrics” and the “Four B’s”

October 2019

A VCI Retreat for pastors and elders from 15 committed congregations plus others who expressed interest in some level of participation in VCI kicked off the fall season.

Fall 2019 – February 2020

Facilitators began regional VCI cohort meetings in preparation for implementation at the congregational level.   These groups met each month for support and mutual learning.

March 2020 – August 2021

The pandemic prevents in-person meetings.  Electronic contact is maintained.  And the National VCI staff provides training and encouragement via zoom.  Most of the congregations adapt to virtual worship and find creative ways to provide care and engage in community ministries.

September 2021

VCI facilitators conducted a survey about the importance of fifteen pastoral activities and ministry components. Conversations begin about how VCI can best support congregations in these activities and movement towards congregational vitality. 

Resources from the Office of Vital Congregations

Immediate Toolkit

Vital Congregations Manual

Information about Vital Congregation Initiatives

Office of Vital Congregations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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Next Stated Meetings

The next regular Stated Meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 9, 2024, and will be hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo.

 Visit the Presbytery Meetings page of this website and watch the eDIGEST for updated information about how to register for the meeting and where to find the presbytery packet. Decisions about whether to gather in-person or online will be made closer to the meeting date.

The Presbytery of Lake Michigan, 1511 Helen Avenue, Portage, MI 49002 | Copyrighted © 2022