First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Live and Share God's Love

Conference & Connections

On April 28th, six of us from First Church will have gone down to Madison for an Episcopal Invitation Gathering around an initiative that our church had been invited to join. (One of only six in the conference!) In the weeks preceding the meeting, people were excited. Another was at least halfway wishing that they didn’t have other commitments that day and could join us.

The initiative is called Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI) and it comes to us from the West Ohio Annual Conference. The following comes both from the invitational letter I received from Bishop Jung and materials sent in preparation for the training.
 
 
Originally developed by the West Ohio Conference in 2011, the Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI) provides churches and their pastors with an intensive consultation and clergy training/coaching/ resourcing model. It is designed to assist congregations that are currently plateaued, are in decline, or are on the way “up” but not sure what should come next— and have the pastoral leadership and potential resources to jump start a new life cycle of ministry fruitfulness.

How Does MCCI Work?

MCCI is comprised of a flight of churches in your conference each year that have been recommended by the cabinet as meeting this specific criteria, and are then prayerfully selected and invited by the Bishop to participate. For congregations that sign the MCCI covenant, a 2-3 year process is launched involving:
 
  • Concentrated new ministry leadership skills training each month for the pastor s, along with accountability for implementation back home.
     
  •  “Undercover Worshippers” who visit and worship, and then provide extensive feedback about their experiences
     
  •  A thorough self-study completed by each church
     
  • A three-day MCCI on-site weekend or “MCCI Express” day that culminates in a consultation report with three to five unique “prescriptions” (recommendations), or “ next steps the church needs to take to move from plateau/decline into  jump starting new fruitfulness.
If an MCCI church votes 75% or better to accept its prescriptions (via an official church conference), the decision is made to go forward. The pastor leads the organization of prescription work teams who implement the prescriptions, with the assistance of “prescription coaches” (ministry leader s who already have a successful track record in their own setting with that prescription) to help guide and advise.

The prescription coaches are underwritten by our conference, and continue to guide the pastor, implementation teams and congregation for up to two years.

The results of this revitalization resourcing initiative have been encouraging. For example, during the last year Cornerstone UMC in Portsmouth, Ohio celebrated 52 baptisms and 29 professions of faith. First United Methodist Church in Athens, OH saw weekly worship attendance growth increase by nearly 30 people.

MCCI congregations are connecting with young families and children. Neighbors are hearing the message of Christ for the first time. Catalytic outreach events to build relationships with the surrounding community, partnerships with schools, small groups proliferation, leverage of social media to connect with a new generation, and engaging more of the congregation to serve out of call and giftedness are only a few of the types of new fruitfulness unfolding on behalf of the message and mission of Jesus Christ.

Jayneann again. This month you’ll be hearing more about the possibilities facing us. I expect that Mike, Wes, Dick, Margaret, Jane and myself will be eager to share what we’ve already learned. Ask us. Make sure you listen on Sundays as we’ll be presenting more information each week leading up to that charge conference on May 21st where I hope we will approve going forward.

These are exciting times for the First United Methodist Church of Wausau!

 
 


If you have a student who is going to a United Methodist Camp this summer, First United Methodist Church of Wausau has scholarships available to help defray the cost. Please contact the church office.