My being hired last July as the director of church health was a direct result of a detailed Systems Analysis Task Force report at our 2011 General Conference. That task force took a detailed look at where we are as a movement and where we need to go in order to minister effectively in the ever-changing Canadian context. Two major recommendations were made to help us be more effective as we work toward having a healthy church within the reach of everyone in Canada and beyond.
One recommendation was the creation of my position. The hope is that this will allow for greater focus on not only the area of church health, but also on church planting (because we need healthy new churches and healthy established churches) and on pastoral health (because we need healthy churches and healthy pastors). My areas of focus include working with churches in transition, developing and encouraging the use of church-health tools helping local churches with crisis intervention and conflict resolution, monitoring trends and best practices in our movement and beyond, and resourcing and encouraging ongoing discipleship in the local church.
The task force’s second major recommendation was that discipleship (the forming of mature Christ followers) needs to retake its place at the center of our movement. The task force called for the ongoing commitment of our churches and leaders to focus on making disciples (and disciple makers). It also stated that practicing the Wesleyan means of grace would be a tremendous step forward in this endeavor.
Visit fmchr.ch/fmlifeplan to learn about LifePlan, our major church-health tool.
Marc McAlister is the director of church health for the Free Methodist Church in Canada (fmcic.ca).
Go to fmchr.ch/fmcicgrace to download an article from the FMC in Canada on the Wesleyan means of grace.