Healthy Church Initiative

Doing ministry  from  the  ground up

Doing ministry  from  the ground up

“We’re living in times different than ever before. Some would call it unprecedented times,” says Rev. Dr. Barrie Tritle, “And because of that, we need to think differently and strategically.”  Rev. Tritle, who serves as lead pastor of First United Methodist Church in Iowa City, is also the convener of the Bishop’s Operational Team, which was formerly known as the Healthy Conference Initiative. “We’re serving the bishop as an advisory council group that helps to think about ways to help this ...

Announcing new Associate Directors of Congregational Excellence

Announcing new Associate Directors of Congregational Excellence

Christenson, Drake to be Associates for Congregational Excellence   Bishop Laurie Haller has announced that Rev. Ryan Christenson and Rev. Melissa Drake will be the two new Associate Directors for Congregational Excellence.   Describing the role, Bishop Laurie Haller said, “the Associate Directors for Congregational Excellence are of critical importance for our conference because they will be working directly with local congregations around vital ministry. These churches, in return, will be ...

Prayer and Mission

Prayer and Mission

Ryan Christenson, Northwest District Field Outreach Minister shares ideas for churches to expand their prayer life and mission.

Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

Just outside of Cedar Rapids is the small township of Bertram, once a railroad town and now the center of a sprawl of new housing developments. “The church in the town is the only institution,” says Bertram UMC pastor Jenny Seylar. “And part of being the only institution is that a lot of people in the town claim the church as their church, although our worship attendance is 25 to 32 on any given Sunday. So we see a lot of people come to our events, we see people come to our special things at the...

First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

Marva Philipsen and her husband have been attending First United Methodist Church, located in downtown Ottumwa, for about five or six years. They found it friendly and warm, and small groups helped them to get involved and connected. But it’s an older church, with an aging membership, and, she explains, it has perhaps tended to be a bit too inward focused. That’s where First UMC was at when they began the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), a process which Marva has been closely involved with. “I ...

Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

While the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) has been in place in the Iowa Conference for four-plus years, many congregations were putting elements of the initiative that equips clergy and laity to reach new people into practice prior to its official inception, and sometimes since without having fully implemented the program. One such church is Greenfield United Methodist Church, with its free health clinic and another ministry called Fields of Faith. Free Clinic Ministry  The church’s health ...

Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

An already fruitful and thriving ministry at the Manning United Methodist Church was blessed to grow and reach more people through the work of church members and pastors involved in the ministry, aided in part by the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process. With The Source worship service and its parent Recovery Bible Study ministry, Manning UMC is touching hearts and helping to repair lives in its congregation and the broader community, in a team effort that has flourished for years between the...

Revitalizing a congregation

Revitalizing a congregation

Sheldahl United Methodist Church is living into their Healthy Church Initiative prescriptions by trying new ways to build relationships with their community. This piece, written by Dawn Sargasso Pauls, appeared in the March issue of North Polk Iowa Living magazine. Click here to read this article on page 18.  Revitalizing a congregation Sheldahl UMC follows four “prescriptions” to get the focus it needs There was a feeling of uncertainty at the Sheldahl United Methodist Church. “The ...

HCI brings ‘amazing changes’ to Mt. Ayr UMC

HCI brings ‘amazing changes’ to Mt. Ayr UMC

Founded in 1856, Mt. Ayr UMC is a rural southern Iowa congregation. It’s a friendly, welcoming church that cares about its relationship with the community. And as such, Mt. Ayr welcomed the opportunity to be one of the pilot churches for the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), a program designed to help strengthen leadership and grow churches. Prescriptions for a Better Church Mt. Ayr’s pastor, Rev. Charles “Skip” Rushing, praises the HCI process. “As the process goes along, and the more intense...

Healthy Church Initiative—Outward focus brings church to the community

Healthy Church Initiative—Outward focus brings church to the community

On January 21, 2016, the Rev. Bob Farr, Director of the Center for Congregational Excellence and a member of the appointive cabinet in the Missouri Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, held a lively question and answer workshop at the Iowa United Methodist Conference Center on the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process.   The workshop was open to anyone with an interest in the Healthy Church Initiative and in attendance were coaches, pastors, lay people, consultation team members, ...



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