FAQ for VCI
(Frequently Ask Questions)
• What is VCI?
o VCI stands for Vital Church Initiative. VCI is a program supported by the conference focused on renewal for growing healthy, vital, fruitful, and missional congregations.
• Why would Aldersgate consider VCI?
o VCI is an opportunity for renewal and rediscovering God’s call for Aldersgate.
• What do we hope to get out of VCI?
o Keeping in mind the Great Commission, we want to rediscover God’s call for Aldersgate in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
• We have seen good growth (both spiritually and financially) at Aldersgate over the last two years. Why would we consider doing VCI if things are already going well?
o While Aldersgate has experienced growth over the last two years, God continues to call us to look outside of our church building to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Aldersgate faced some trying times prior to this renewed growth period and the tendency to rest after overcoming a period of stress is very human, but we must harness our strength to grow even more. This is an opportunity for us to build on the momentum we have experienced over the last two years while we, ourselves, continue to grow as Disciples of Christ.
• How does the VCI process work?
o VCI is a three phase process. Phase I is a nine month exploratory phase which includes 9 sessions to help us learn key concepts and discover what other churches have done. Phase II is 2 to 6 months long of self-study. During this phase we would work with a team of trained pastors and lay persons from outside of Aldersgate to determine Aldersgate’s strengths, areas of concern, and a set of strategic recommendations which we could pursue to improve our effectiveness of following God’s call. The process absolutely needs candid and involved churchgoers to support and enhance this insightful review. If Aldersgate decided to implement the strategic recommendations, we would proceed into Phase III and implement the strategic recommendations.
• What has been Aldersgate’s involvement so far in VCI?
o Aldersgate is currently in Phase I, having completed 4 of 9 sessions which make up the first phase. We have an 11 person team, called the “Away Team”, which has been participating in the sessions with 3 other churches – Frankenmuth UMC, Caro UMC, and Goodrich UMC. We are also looking for 12-18 voluntaries to participate as part of the “Home Team” as we continue to progress through the VCI journey.
• Do we have any examples where other churches have completed VCI?
o Yes, there are a number of examples where other churches have completed VCI. Examples include:
Grace UMC in Bay City – Two UMC in Bay City had decided to combine into one church called Grace UMC. Grace decided to go through VCI because it wanted to discover what its calling was now that it was one church instead of two churches. Before combining churches, one church had a typical Sunday morning attendance of 100 and the other church had about 75. Based on what normally happens when combining two churches, expectations would have been for Grace to have about 100 attending weekly services. Today Grace UMC is a very vibrant church with an average attendance for weekly services higher than what it was before the two churches combined.
Auburn UMC in Auburn – Based on going through VCI, Auburn UMC determined it needed to focus more on Christian Education. To address this they hired a Director of Christian Education.
• What does Aldersgate hope to get out of VCI and what changes do we expect?
o We are going into this with an open mind and don’t have any perceived expectations what changes this will bring. We are focusing on rediscovering God’s calling for Aldersgate and how we can make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
• Are we expecting the attendance at Aldersgate to grow as a result of go through VCI?
o While it would be nice if one of the outcomes from VCI was increased attendance at weekly services, we are expecting to rediscover God’s calling for Aldersgate. This includes how we can make Disciples of Christ, and how we, ourselves, can continue to grow as Disciples of Christ as well.