Proactive Ministries

Exponentially increase your effectiveness to reach others for Christ

slide-image2Discover creative and effective ministries to guide congregations in authentically making disciples through loving others consistently through the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. We can write and talk continually about making disciples for the transformation of the world, but without the initiating of new relationships it will only be words that sound good.  

The primary option for Conferences to consider with Proactive: 

Rev. Jim Hollis, founder and Executive Director of Proactive can come and make a 90 minute presentation on ministry possibilities with all the Districts in an Annual Conference.  The options would relate directly and include the three District Options listed below as a starting conversation.  Rev. Hollis and the Staff of Proactive can custom design a broad ministry training approach to the needs of any Annual Conference, taking into full consideration their culture, hopes and needs, and current realities.  

Three primary options for Ministry with Districts:

1) District Training Weekends in LRE (Loving, Relating & Encouraging) 

    We have adequately proven for decades that some strategies continue to fail miserably:

       * Confrontational "canned" evangelism methods

       * Doing "church commercials" with others 

       * Having many "studies" about reaching disciples without tangible, consistent outreach action steps 

We recommend to District Superintendents and District Leadership Teams the option of hosting a District Training Weekend with all the churches in their District.  We have done these with great success where 34 to 40 or more churches have come to a central host church setting for Friday and Saturday.  

On Friday we have dinner together (Laity & Clergy), discussion questions around the tables, followed by a powerful worship experience centered on the theme of relational outreach ministry.  On Saturday we provide everyone with 3.5 hours of intensive, practical and effective training on all the "How to's" of doing personal relational relational ministry as well as how congregations can build a consistent relational outreach ministry that will reach out to Community persons and families, Businesses & restaurants, all Worship Guests who have come in the past twelve months, and friends & family members.   

In a number of Districts, due to vast geography and distances between churches, it may be necessary to have more than one LRE Training Weekend in the District. In this case one District may combine with one or two more bordering Districts to have them share in the same Training Weekend.  It is also possible for the District Superintendent to request financial support for multiple weekends from the Conference Revitalization Committee or other relevant group.  

Here is a personal written recommendation of this ministry from the Rev. Heather Heinzman Lear, the Director of Evangelism Ministries at the General Board of Discipleship: 

"Actively sharing the love of God with others and getting outside their church walls is scary & uncomfortable for many of our UMC congregations. Jim Hollis and the team from Proactive Ministries take the fear out of evangelism and provide engaging and empowering training that helps even the most reserved and timid person gain confidence in meeting their neighbors and making new friends.  They provide a powerful model for building relationships and engaging our 21st century world." 

Every church that participates in the District Weekend Training in LRE will be presented with an opportunity to register for three, live, practical Webinars following the training on the weekend.  In these Webinars, the Proactive Staff will share with each church how to customize an effective, ongoing LRE Ministry in their specific congregation.  

Should the District secure one of these Training Weekends in LRE Ministry, Rev. Jim Hollis can provide a live motivational and educational Webinar for all the District Clergy in the setting of a District Pastors' meeting or gathering.  This will significantly help build momentum for maximizing ownership and participation in the weekend.  

The LRE District Training weekend can become an incredibly practical and effective resource for District Superintendents in their work as Missional Congregational Specialists in their District.  

2) Barnabas Ministry Groups - 

A Barnabas Ministry Group is a group of from three to eight churches who come together in a two year ministry covenant with Proactive for the purpose of receiving practical and effective ministry revitalization guidance.  These groups can be of various sizes and settings but will need to be located within less than an hour's drive of each other.  All the Training Units (typically a Friday through a Sunday) will be together in one setting.  On the Sundays of these weekends the Proactive Staff members will seek to be in as many individual congregations as possible to preach and teach.

In a Barnabas Ministry Group there are five Major Ministry Areas that are covered extensively in the Training Unit experiences and consistently followed up with in each congregation through Conference calls and Go To Meeting sessions after the training:

A)  Comprehensive Prayer Ministry (spanning the entire congregation and community)

B) Connect Group Ministry (Laity facilitated, relationship building small groups)

C) LRE (Loving, Relating & Encouraging) Outreach Ministry with: Worship Guests, Community persons & families, Inactive members & families, Restaurants & Businesses, Those facing illness, surgery, long term recovery, nursing homes & shut-ins, & other special needs, and Ministry Related families (in Scouts, Sports, Pre-school, Daycare, etc...).  

D) Worship Hospitality Ministry (Practical and effective training for Greeters, Ushers and other laity who are often present)

E) Spiritual Leadership Development (Works extensively to transform the ministry of the Nominations & Leadership Development Committee of each church over the entire length of the Covenant and builds a Connections Team who works very closely with the Pastor.)

* ALL five of these areas are directly related to Bishop Schnaze's "Five Fruitful Practices" and they extensively cover all five areas in his book and teachings.  Click here to see the Chart.  

The Proactive Staff also has monthly training and coaching GoToMeeting calls with the Pastors of each of the churches in the group.  They build a very close relationship with each Pastor across the two years.  

The Proactive Staff is available to each Pastor and the Laity leadership in the churches seven days a week during the entire twenty four month period. (By cell phone, email, conference calls or video calls, and instant messaging)  

3) At Risk Congregations Covenant Group:

Nearly every District in America today has several "at risk" congregations that have consistently experienced such decline that they are in danger of closing as an active place of worship and ministry.  More often than we would like to admit, in some Districts, 60 to 80% of their congregations may either be in this group or fast approaching it.  

A District can covenant directly with Proactive Ministries to build a group of these "at risk" churches, who will covenant to work together over a two year period to bring new hope and church revitalization to their congregations.  Some of these churches typically have an average worship attendance of from 10 to 50 on Sundays. The Pastors serving them vary tremendously across different Conferences - some Lay Servants, Lay Pastors, Local Pastors, Student Pastors, Retired Pastors, and appointed Elders. They have often settled for "trying to keep the doors open" rather than having real hope for a serious turnaround in reaching others for Christ and growing their congregations.  

This kind of group requires approximately a four month "ramp-up" time, in which each of these churches is given a clear series of opportunities in which they participate to demonstrate their seriousness and commitment to become a revitalized church going forward.  After they have participated and decided to be in the group, the two year Training begins.  

Because most "at risk" congregations have very limited people and financial resources, the District can receive a Grant to cover the costs of this Covenant with Proactive and the churches.  Most Conference Revitalization Committees will consider and award Grants of this kind for twelve months at a time.  However, after the tenth month of engagement between the District and Proactive, the District OR the churches involved can submit a second Grant Proposal for the second year of Training & Revitalization work from the Committee.  They will be able at that point to share with the Conference Committee some of the real results of their being in this relationship.  

Each "at risk" church is typically required, as part of their commitment to fully participate, to contribute $150 per month toward the overall cost of the project.  

District Superintendents often live with high stress over how to bring hope, help and excellent training to their "at risk" congregations. They often have no real options and many of these are closed.  If the churches in this group in a District are afforded an effective, practical  and proven path for turning their churches around and decide not to enter into the work, then the Bishop, and District Superintendents' decision to close them will come out of the churches' unwillingness to seek serious revitalization that is graciously provided for them.  

These churches in many cases can find new life, increased hope and ministry vitality through being in a Covenant Group where Proactive is working closely and consistently with them over a period of two years.  It can be one of the greatest celebrations of any churches in the Conference to see these churches experience transformation and a new future.   




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