Thursday, April 9, 2015

Top Gun for churches!

Remember this scene from the iconic mid-1980s movie, Top Gun?

Only the top Navy crews were selected for this advanced training, but they were routinely defeated in mock combat missions by the instructor pilots and crews. At the end of the course, the students were leagues beyond where they began.

An initiative by the Tennessee Conference called Healthy Congregations may be thought of as Top Gun for churches. Even if a church is the best of the best, Healthy Congregations will make it better. 

Westview UMC will have its first Healthy Congregations session Sunday afternoon, May 3, following our special Cinco de Mayo fellowship meal. 

Healthy Congregations is training, it is not a program. Its basis that churches (like any human organization) are systems of relationships among their members. The chief way that congregations are unhealthy, or not, is the ways in which they handle anxiety and conflict. 

Anxiety and conflict are in themselves neither healthy nor unhealthy, but the way that they are handled and resolved is one or the other. 

Is is not anxiety per se that inhibits church health, but how its members relate to one another in handling and coping with that anxiety. 

After all, a lack of anxiety in a church is not necessarily a good thing. Quick, name one human organization that is permanently free of anxiety!


A church that is always free of anxiety is probably terminal and may already be dead!

Healthy Congregations training helps congregations make healthier decisions, be focused on their vision, receive inoculation against unhealthy conflict, and keep a healthy process of dealing with conflict. It is a better way of understanding people’s interactions and how to improve them for the betterment of the church. 

Healthy Congregations is not a program that requires maintenance or a committee to manage it. It evokes no new annual nominations or elections and requires no supervisor.

For Whom: The entire church.

When: Each session is scheduled individually. At least 3½ hours is needed, five hours are better; the decision is up to the church. A meal may be included in addition to the training time. 
Facilitators: Facilitators are of the Tennessee Conference and have been trained and resourced by the National Healthy Congregations organization.
What is included? Below are the six training options. Workshop 1 will be the first session. The other options are available if a church wishes to schedule additional training in the future.
·        Workshop 1: Creating Healthy congregations helps churches to accept and deal with differences and disagreements, and change in a very healthy and productive way while maintaining a focus on their strengths and mission.
·        Workshop 2: Healthy Congregations respond to anxiety and change by identifying and dealing with anxiety in the church, the management of conflict, and the development of flexibility and creativity while managing the conflict.
·        Workshop 3:Healthy Congregations helps leaders increase their ability to manage anxiety in themselves and in a congregation through how they function as leaders rather than through programs and techniques. These include developing leaders with immunity to processes that tear down the fabric of the church community.
·        Workshop 4:Healthy Congregations strengthens relationships with members through healthy forgiveness, truth telling, connecting, and graciousness encouragement and care.
·        Workshop 5:Healthy Congregations develop generous people by looking at broad perspectives around stewardship and tying it into emotional processes.
·        Workshop 6:The Spiritual Care of Healthy Congregations focuses on members’ spiritual holiness and health, hospitality, and their “beginning again as a way of life.”
All of the workshops use realistic video scenarios to illuminate the lessons and learning. Many attendees nod their heads throughout!

Here is the national organization's video introduction.

Please reserve Sunday, May 3's afternoon for this valuable, important training! I guarantee you will be glad you did at the end of the first workshop!

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