HCI Process

Transformation does not happen just by adopting a program, but rather it starts with the development of leadership. During the first phase of HCI, clergy and laity participate in shared learning groups.

The Shared Learning Curriculum Includes:

  • Reading and studying current books on best practices for ministry today

  • Group discussion of key insights along with your personal experiences in the church

  • Foundational learning through group sharing guided by a facilitator

Large Church Initiative Phase 1:

  • 8 laity from your church meet in a Lay Leadership Development Group (LLD) with other churches for 7 sessions

  • LLD groups meet for 4 hours on Saturday mornings from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

  • Pastors join a Pastoral Leadership Development Group (PLD)

  • PLD meets for 7 sessions, typically on Thursday mornings from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon

  • Pastors work with a credentialed coach for 6 sessions of one-on-one coaching by phone

Small Church Initiative Phase 1:

  • Pastor and laity meet together for 6 SCI Workshops

  • Workshops meet for 4 hours on Saturday mornings from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

STEP 1: Administrative Council Vote to Proceed
Once a church completes the first step of leadership development, your church chooses to move forward into Consultation by a vote of your Administrative Council.

STEP 2: Approval from your District Superintendent
After voting, your church will require approval from your District Superintendent. 
Once approved to move forward, the church will begin completing a comprehensive Self-Study.

STEP 3: Phase 2 Orientation and Self-Study
Your HCI team will meet with the Director of Evangelism to review the Self-Study and Consultation process. Following this orientation meeting, your HCI Team will spend 3-5 months researching demographics, surveying the community and congregation, and looking closely at the church’s location and grounds.

The purpose of the Self-Study is to raise awareness of the churches greatest strengths and largest obstacles to fully living out the mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world. 

Your Self-Study is due to the Center 6 weeks prior to your Consultation date. All materials must be submitted electronically.

STEP 4: Peer Mentoring Groups for Pastors
During this time, pastors will participate in a Peer Mentoring Group alongside other clergy who are also moving into the Consultation and Implementation phases. They will study core curricula to learn about best practices, hold each other accountable, and work together on continued spiritual formation. 

STEP 5: HCI Kickoff Workshop
About a month before your Consultation, your church coach will lead a workshop at the church for all to attend. The purpose of this Kickoff Workshop is to present the need for change and the congregational shifts necessary for vibrant ministry in this century. The coach will also address and answer any questions about what will happen during the Consultation.

STEP 6: On-site Consultation
Your completed Self-Study helps the Consultation Team to learn more about you. With a wealth of experience, trained HCI coaches and consultants arrive on-site to interview pastor and lay leaders, teach workshops, and prayerfully discern the Spirit’s leading within the congregation. After carefully listening to who you are and where God might be calling you to go, the Team works to generates a written Consultation Report with attention to mission, vision, discipleship, hospitality, leadership development, and the Sunday morning worship experience.  

STEP 7: Presentation of the Consultation Report
The Report is presented to the congregation on Sunday morning after worship. It will outline key strengths and areas of concern on which the church will need to focus. It will also offer a Ministry Action Plan in the form of congregational prescriptions. The Plan contains action steps for change that will address the concerns and hopefully lead to fruitfulness and growth. 

STEP 8: Church Conference Vote on the Report
After a time of discernment, the church will hold a Church Conference with your District Superintendent to vote to accept the Report with prescriptions. The church must vote on the Report in its entirety. A successful vote means that the church then moves on to Phase 3: Implementation.

Large Church Initiative Phase 2:

  • Consultation takes place over a weekend (Friday-Sunday) and the lead consultant preaches on Sunday

  • Consultation Report contains 5 strengths, 5 concerns, and 5 action steps in the form of prescriptions

  • Cost for the Consultation paid by the church:
    up to 300 in worship: $400
    more than 300 in worship: $1000

  • Peer Mentoring: pastors meet in a small group with an emphasis on the process of change management.

Small Church Initiative Phase 2:

  • Consultation takes place over a weekend (Friday-Saturday). The Center will arrange for the lead consultant or someone from the consultation team to preach on Sunday morning.

  • Consultation Report contains 3 strengths, 3 concerns, and 3 action steps in the form of prescriptions

  • Cost for the Consultation paid by the church: $100

When a church decides to move forward, experienced coaches will be there to help ministry teams implement change and stay on task to fulfill the prescriptions, navigate obstacles, and celebrate wins. For 12-18 months, your church coach will work with pastor, staff, and laity to help implement the Ministry Action Plan outlined in the Report.  

During this time, pastors continue to meet in the monthly Peer Mentoring Group alongside other pastors who are engaged in this phase.

Large Church Initiative Phase 3:

  • 18-24 months of coaching to implement the actions steps

Small Church Initiative Phase 3:

  • 12-18 months of coaching to implement the actions steps


For more information about the Healthy Church Initiative, please contact The Smith Center for Evangelism and Church Growth.