Wanted: Leaders for Vibrant Church Coaching Process

Date Posted: 1/23/2014

Bishop Huie dreams about 100 TAC churches entering the VCI (Vibrant Church Initiative) process in the very near future. This is a dream for our conference.  In order to turn this from a dream to a reality, your gifts are needed.  Read about how you can help make that possible and become a better leader at the same time.

Is your church ready to thrive? To date, 16 TAC churches have adopted the Vibrant Church Initiative process as their model to jump-start a new lifecycle in their respective churches. Steeped in continuous learning, this process helps congregations assess and improve their current health, vitality and direction. Pastors, such as Ricky Ricks, Greggton UMC, have learned that focusing on present pains, with the help of outside consultants, is reducing future pains and accelerating their church toward its desired future.
“VCI has been a healthy experience for our church family and for me, personally,” he shares.” The evaluation process brought with it a period of anxiousness but the subsequent prescriptions have brought a sense of hopefulness as we move into God’s future. As we begin to live into the recommendations, it is obvious that this is hard work, but good work and we are thankful for the opportunity.”
Rev. Jim Flagg, Bellaire UMC, adds, “The VCI process brings a church fresh eyes and tools for transformation.” Laity involved thus far are also jazzed about their participation. Saulo Ramales of Fair Haven UMC says, “This process brought new energy, strengthened my faith to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and renew my relationship with God.”
VCI involves Several Votes to Continue
Churches that decide to participate in the VCI control their future, as a church vote is required to move into each of the three phases of the process.   Phase I – leadership development, Phase II – consultation and Phase III – implementation of consultation prescriptions recommended for that individual church. “So far, we are at 100% continued participation with all eight churches in the pilot group voting to proceed with all phases,” says Rev. Don Waddleton, Director of TAC Center for Congregational Excellence. “That means, as more of our congregations enter the process, we will need to widen the base of trained leaders to facilitate new groups coming on board. We want all of our laity and clergy to know about the roles we are seeking to fill, so they can come to training in the next few weeks, and see if they are interested in being a VCI consultant.”
Top performing pastors are often ‘natural’ coaches and find this consultation process very rewarding. “There were plenty of times in my pastoral career that I would have welcomed someone to talk with and walk me through something or at least the thinking process,” says VCI-trained Directive Coach Rev. Fred Willis of First UMC Jasper. “Now that I am helping within the VCI, I am more than happy to serve in that role with other pastors, and I encourage my peers to consider sharing their gifts by checking it out. The TAC has pastors who are good at asking the right questions and analyzing a congregation quickly, and other pastors who would be great at connecting all the puzzle pieces to move churches from great to greater, so I hope other pastors will consider attending the training and enjoy the rewards of working together to strengthen our conference.”
The VCI consulting team has several basic roles, and each position includes a contract agreement and small stipend to help offset costs and time involved. Adds Don, “We hope some leaders across Texas will read about each position and consider this new ministry opportunity on our VCI team.”
Lead Consultant

  • Facilitates the VCI consultation team over all and serves as primary liaison with the Pastor
  • Holds primary responsibility, in partnership with the Directive Coach and Scribe, to lead the church through the various stages of a consultation weekend.  Some of the aspects of this position consist in reviewing the Mystery Guest report, interviewing church leadership, conducting the church workshop and has final say in finalizing the consultation report.
Directive Coach
  • Is paired with a church for an ongoing 18-month consulting relationship designed to help with preparation for the consultation weekend and follow-up accountability
  • Assists pastor with church conference and town hall meetings
  • Facilitates pre-consultation workshop and assists Lead Consultant with other key meetings and steps.
  • Serves only during the Fri/Saturday of the consultation weekend.
  • With input from the team, the scribe develops and formats the final consultation report and prescriptions by the conclusion of the consultation weekend for reviewing with the pastor.
Lay & Pastoral Facilitators
  • Lay Facilitators are trained to assist with the lay leadership development phase and Pastoral Facilitators are trained to conduct the clergy development phase.
Peer Mentoring Facilitators
  • Once trained, these facilitators meet with the pastor mentoring group during the 18 months of the process.
Save the Dates: Training
Training participants will learn how to facilitate a consultation weekend and be trained in the process and resources available for ongoing telephone/in-person coaching, peer mentoring, and implementation and skills ranging from listening to facilitating accountability and collaboration.
  • Basic and Directive Coach training: February 18-20
  • Lead Consultant Training: March 19-20
  • Scribe Training: March 20
  • Facilitator Training: TBA
To learn more about these job descriptions, training or leadership opportunities, or how your congregation can enroll in the VCI process, contact Debbie Sutton at 713-521-9383 or dsutton@txcumc.org.