Submitted by the Rev. Laura Rainwater
Coordinator, Whole Church Initiative, Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church
Whole Church Initiative (WCI) has been a valuable tool for building congregations for several years in both the legacy Yellowstone and legacy Rocky Mountain conferences. As WCI states, we live in a rapidly changing world. Our faith communities need to respond to rapid change. So WCI is moving in a new direction.
Churches are still invited to participate in the WCI process. WCI is designed to help church leaders grapple with the changes in their midst by being like a personal trainer for the church. No quick fixes or prescriptions. Instead, church leaders take a journey of discovery and discernment following the Holy Spirit. This process involves:
PRAY phase (8 weeks) – A team from the local church participates in Wesleyan spiritual formation practices
PARTNER phase (4 sessions) – A cohort or circuit of teams from several WCI churches gather once a month for a 5-6 hour learning session.
PRACTICE phase – This is when the talking, brainstorming and spending time with the Holy Spirit must give life to something new. Experiments occur to help grow something new.
This process hopefully leads to transformation of the church teams and their faith community. Joining with the Holy Spirit already at work is amazing!
WCI’s Something New is providing resources to church leaders to use on their own. We know that the 8+ month commitment is a challenge. Yet, the WCI resources can still be valuable tools to help church leaders prayerfully consider how to address the changes and challenges in the 21st century.
First – Church teams can go through a Modified WCI Process by using the WCI resources in a set order. Teams go through these on their own, or with other teams in their circuit. Materials and videos are provided. Learn more about this modified WCI process: mtnskyumc.org/files/content/wci/modified+wci+process.pdf.
Second – Church leaders can use any of the resources, materials and videos on their own at any time. These resources are available at: mtnskyumc.org/vitalcongregationsresources. Videos are offered as sessions: www.mtnskyumc.org/wcisessions.
Third – Additional resources that any church can use include are provided by the Conference: Readiness 360 and MissionInsite. More information and how to access these resources is available here: mtnskyumc.org/vitalcongregations.
The print resources are available as PDFs. However, many print copies from the previous WCI offerings are available. The only cost is for shipping. Contact Rev. Laura Rainwater for more information.
WCI has provided a process and multiple resources for churches throughout the Mountain Sky Conference for several years. Our hope is this will continue to resource, encourage, and bless our churches and ministries in this new religious landscape.
If you have any questions, please email Rev. Laura Rainwater, WCI Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.