Faithful and Thriving Church Initiative

Faithful and Thriving Church Initiative

 The Faithful and Thriving Church Initiative


The United Methodist Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, in partnership with the Conference office of Parish and Congregational Development, is embarking on an exciting new ministry called the Faithful and Thriving Church Initiative.


This new initiative is based upon the understanding that, today, there are two kinds of congregations: 1.Those with leaders who have clarity about who they are, what they are called to do, and how well they are doing it, and 2.Those who do not. What makes the difference?  Tools and information! 


The Thriving and Faithful Church Initiative will engage congregations, and specifically church leaders, to think strategically about their mission and ministry, guiding them through an assessment and implementation process making use of reliable, professionally developed assessment tools and focused coaching. Completion of the process will allow church leaders to be decisive in shaping the church that develops under their guidance and to ultimately build a faithful and thriving congregation.


The United Methodist Foundation of Western PA and the Conference office of Parish and Congregational Development have invested in providing this process to three congregations throughout our Conference. The process itself will involve the use of the Clergy/Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT) as a conversational starting point for those congregations in a discernment process. Once the CAT has been completed, a professional consultant will coach the congregation through the development of a ministry focused strategy, tailored specifically to the needs identified by the CAT. The assessment and consultation process takes approximately six months to complete.


Churches interested in participating in the Thriving and Faithful Church Initiative should contact the Foundation office for more information about the program and to obtain an application Form. Congregations will be selected by the Annual Conference Director of Congregational Development and the Executive Director of the Foundation.



About our Professional Consultant:


Michelle Snyder is the Managing Consultant for Crows Feet Consulting and Senior Consultant of Middle Judicatory Relations for Holy Cow! Consulting, both of which specialize in congregational assessment and development. With training in both theology and mental health, Michelle brings a unique perspective to congregational systems and their functioning. Her team has experience in the areas of evidence-based strategic planning, transition planning, congregational mergers, and congregational discernment. When not consulting, Michelle does suicide prevention work with congregations as the owner and director of Soul Shop, a national movement to equip faith community leaders to minister to those impacted by suicidal desperation.  Michelle also is a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and supports her husband, a PCUSA pastor, in his ministry.