Wesley Park United Methodist Church
January 21st, 2017
It has been a privilege to work with the Rev. Dean Prentiss, the staff, leaders and congregation of Wesley Park United Methodist Church Wyoming, MI. We appreciate the information that has been provided for us, and all who participated in interviews, workshops, Bible Studies, self-study materials, Mystery Guest Reports, Mission Insite demographic reports, and events related to the Vital Church Initiative (VCI). The consultation team has considered your rich and meaningful heritage and we believe these prescriptions will help you find the way forward. Our prayer is that God will use this report and this process to motivate the congregation to do great things for the Lord’s mission in this community and beyond. Upon acceptance, these prescriptions must be the priority of the pastor and congregation’s time and energy for the next 18-24 months.
Worship is the first portal for most people into the life of the church. In order for worship to be inspirational and meaningful through prayer, music, and Word of God, it must offer quality, clarity of purpose, form and flow that allows “all people” to experience the presence of God. To achieve this, intentional worship planning is crucial. Interviews with staff revealed this is not being done. In watching the worship videos it was not clear which was the contemporary and which was the traditional. Reverend Prentiss wore robes at both services and the style of music and liturgy seemed to be similar. Mystery Guests who attended the 11 am service commented, “The music style was traditional (piano based, live choral performance … even though the music was considered contemporary.”
The consultation team as well as the staff interviews identified that the use of the laity in worship is limited in both services. More diverse voices are needed in worship in order to fully reflect the mission statement of Wesley Park UMC. Additionally, the Mystery Guests rated the speaker and message high, however in our interviews and focus groups we heard a hunger for biblical and spiritual connection through the message on Sunday morning.
Outreach events are not fully leveraged. There is no information gathered that would allow for follow up, invitation, and capitalizing on relationships to intentionally integrate those reached into the life of the congregation. While the church has made some connection to the community through the use of their facility, you have not created a way to develop personal relationships with the unchurched.
Too often staff are not included in regular staff meetings to adjust to changing dynamics that arise and engage in open communication around those programs and each other. The staff is too often left on their own to function like silos unconnected to the whole. The church staff must function like a team to help with congregational mission/vision. We support the Staff Parish Team that has recently begun reviewing and evaluating job expectations toward the end of creating alignment goals and accountability markers for staff.
Rev. Gary Step Lead Consultant
Rev. David Selleck Coach
Rev. LuAnn Rourke Scribe
Rev. Maureen Baker Team
Rev. Colleen Treman Team
Andrea Johnson Team
Town Hall meetings:
February 8, 2017 7:00 p.m.
February 15, 2017 5:00 p.m.
February 19, 2017 2:00 p.m.
Charge Conference: February 26 11:00 a.m.
The VCI Team from Wesley Park attends a six-hour training every month. It's important to have not only this "Road Team" but also a "Home Team" for VCI. The Home Team stays informed and engaged with the process, getting updates from the Road Team, and responding to God's inspiration to follow up on growth possibilities.
The Home Team for Wesley Park includes a representative variety from the church, including all of our staff and members of every committee. The Road Team will be sharing insights we are learning with the Home Team, and anyone and everyone from the church that wants to participate. This sharing will be held on the first Sunday of each month, at 10 am.
The Home Team Trainings will include a review of the books the Road Team has been reading and insights from our monthly trainings. Each month will also focus on one of the Five Practices of a Fruitful Congregation. We believe that by understanding and implementing these practices, Wesley Park UMC will grow in its vitality.
January: Radical Hospitality (Chuck Starnes)
February: Intentional Faith Development (Deb Hodges)
March: Passionate Worship (Rev. Dean Prentiss)
April: Extravagant Generosity (Heinz Herzog)
May: Risk-Taking Mission and Service (Duane Volkers)
One update on our VCI Road Team: due to time constraints and job responsibilities, Amy Carpenter is not able to continue her work on the VCI Team. She will be missed by the team. Amy will stay in prayer for the process and the church.
Wesley Park will join Byron Center, Aldersgate, Northlawn, and Greenville in Phase I. That means that small 6-8 member groups from each of these churches will gather together once a month for some education, and reflection on readings. These gatherings will be from 9 am to 2 pm, with a lunch provided, at Northlawn UMC (1157 Northlawn NE, Grand Rapids).
The dates are as follows:
September 12, October 10, November 14, December 5, January 16, February 20, March 12, April 23, May 14, and one make-up date if necessary: June 18.
The booklist that we will receive is:
The following is the information about Phase I provided by the VCI information we received.
VCI Phase One – Prepare to Plan: LCP
Goal: Create interest in the congregation.
Key Tasks: (Not necessarily in order and some may be concurrent)
Coaching is a key element for the overall Vital Church Initiative process. This first phase of VCI coaching is “support” coaching aimed at giving the coachee an introduction to the coaching experience. The intention is to lay a foundation for the directive coaching of the consultation and prescriptions phases of VCI.
1 - Orientation
FIVE PRACTICES OF FRUITFUL CONGREGATIONS, by Robert Schanse
2 - Lifecycle
Search ‘George Bullard Life Cycle’ on internet
3 - Our World Has Changed
RENOVATE OR DIE, by Bob Farr and Kay Kotan
4 - Conflict: Co-Causal for Good
CONGREGATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN ANXIOUS TIMES, by Peter Steinke
5 - Leading, Teaching, Preaching
COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE, by Andy Stanley
6 - Real Life Evangelism
UNBINDING THE GOSPEL, by Martha Grace Reese
7 - Focusing for Transformation
SIMPLE CHURCH, by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
8 - Focusing Outward
THE EXTERNALLY FOCUSED CHURCH, by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson
9 - Orientation: Peer Mentoring and Consultation Event
FIVE PRACTICES OF FRUITFUL CONGREGATIONS, by Robert Schnase