Rev. Barrie Tritle presented on the Healthy Conference Initiative on Sunday afternoon at the Iowa Annual Conference Session, offering a brief history of the initiative and an update on its progress towards alignment of the Conference around its Vison, Mission, and Strategic Priorities.
The hope is for the work of this team to assist the Conference to thrive, he said.
The Healthy Conference Initiative (HCI) Team, or Bishop’s Operational Team, was formed in 2015. Spiritual Leadership Incorporated (SLI) was also hired at the time as adaptive process coaches for the Team and the Bishop’s Appointive Cabinet. The initiative grew out of the work of the Conference’s Strategic Priorities’ Design Task Force.
Both bodies have the task of helping to remake the Iowa Conference into a change agent that inspires and supports the next generation of Iowa United Methodists.
The HCI Team is working towards becoming a Healthy Conference by focusing on three values:
developing spiritual leaders who model a community that loves, learns and leads together; creating environments that foster transformation; and establishing processes that bear fruit.
Part of the Team’s work has been to create new teams to deal with different aspects of the adaptive challenges faced by the Conference, said Rev. Tritle, and how that differs from technical work.
“Adaptive change is tough stuff,” he said.
Technical work refers to tasks where the path to a solution is clear and current knowledge will be sufficient. This work is best done by a task group or team.
Adaptive work is when problem-solving where current knowledge will not do, and a group will have to learn new ways of moving forward. Problems are also not best solved by experts or those in authority in these cases, but rather by those encountering the problem. This work is best done by an operational team.
Eight District Operational Teams were formed for the process in April with the core principles, practices, processes, and accountabilities taught by SLI coaches as their foundation.
These include the Cabinet Operational Team, Communities of Faith Team, Leadership Systems Team, Communication Engagement Team, Culture Transformation Team, and the Faithful Stewardship Team.
As a result, statements of Mission and Vision for the Conference have been developed for consideration.
Mission of the Iowa Annual Conference: Inspire, equip and connect communities of faith to cultivate world-changing disciples of Jesus Christ.
Vision of the Iowa Annual Conference: God’s hope for the world made real through faithful leaders, fruitful communities, and fire-filled people.
A Wildly Important Goal (WIG) has been developed as well, said Rev. Tritle.
Its states: “All United Methodist churches in Iowa will have a process of intentionally forming disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by the year 2020.”
He noted for Conference Session attendees as well that two things have been performed in terms of structure changes.
One is the elimination of the Ministry Cabinet, as it did not fulfill a constructive purpose as it was being lived out. The second is that the Team has endorsed the work of the Rules and Order Committee to streamline the Conference Rules of Order, and to separate staffing out from the Rules of Order, returning that to the role of management.
The hope is for all churches in the Conference to have a Healthy Conference process in place by 2020.
The HCI Team is filled with hope for the future of the Iowa Annual Conference, Rev. Tritle said.
“Hope is going to be made real,” he stated, before leading those in attendance in chanting the Team’s motto, “Hope made real!”
All this work is directed toward the call to love, learn and lead the way forward through the adaptive issues and opportunities before the Conference, he said.
“May God bless us as we continue to align ourselves with God’s vision, mission, and Strategic Priorities,” said Rev. Tritle. “And may we be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ for the sake of God’s mission in the world.”