NOC Strategy - Church Vitality


To provide presbyteries and churches the necessary resources to positively impact church vitality.


  • To identify EPC churches which are most likely to benefit from a church vitality process.
  • To resource churches, in consultation with presbyteries, in developing a master plan that identifies mission, goals and objectives.
  • To identify appropriate resources and materials that will aid churches in enhancing vitality.


Bartlett L. Hess Award for Church Vitality

Dr. Hess was a great leader.  He was a visionary.  He pastored with skill and care: rural, ethnic, urban, suburban churches.  He planted daughter churches and revitalized tired churches.  Dr. Hess was one of the founding fathers of the EPC.  All to the glory of God!

At age 86, Dr. Hess' last pastorate was a successful interim ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Trenton, Michigan.  He was age 81 when he headed up the team planting Knox Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  For 36 years he served the Ward Presbyterian Churches of Detroit and Livonia; simultaneously for 12 years with his wife Margaret driving him between churches while he took a quick nap.  Then, at the request of his Presbytery, Dr. Hess focused only on Ward Livonia until it grew to some 5000 members.

Dr. Hess believed that the people of his church were the "living stones" of 1 Peter 2:5.  He counted his stones one by one.  Dr. Hess said, "If one of the stones is missing, pastor and people need to know why."  So if you were absent from his church for three Sundays, you could expect on the third Sunday afternoon his rumbling voice on the phone saying, "This is your pastor calling."  If you were a first time visitor in his church, by Sunday evening you would have heard from him. By Monday morning your name would be on the Evangelism Pastor's desk and, if you returned the next Sunday, Dr. Hess would greet you by name.

The Bartlett L. Hess Award is given annually to the church that has demonstrated the most innovative approach to church growth or revitalization. Church growth, in both its spiritual and numerical aspects, is an essential part of the mission of the church. This Award provides a vehicle by which positive, reproducible innovation is encouraged and shared with others in the EPC.

Clck to Download the Bartlett L. Hess Award Nomination Form.

Churches That Have Received the Award

2014 St. Andrew's Presbyterian Kirk, Nassau, The Bahamas - Rev. Bryn MacPhail

2013 Lake Forest Church, Huntersville, NC - Contact the office

2012 Waterbrook Community Church, Longs, SC - Rev. Tom Clymer

2011 Tunica Presbytrian Church, Tunica, MS - Rev. Paul Husband

2010 Clayton Community Church, Clayton, CA - Rev. Shawn Robinson.
2009 All Saints Church, Memphis, TN - Rev.
2008 City Church of Homestead, Homestead, FL - Rev.
Watch a video
2007 Greentree Community Church, Kirkwood, MO - Rev. Tom Ricks
2006 Mt. Pleasant Community Church, Mt. Pleasant, MI - Dr. Scott McKee
First Presbyterian Church, Houma, LA -
2005 Cleveland Presbyterian, Abington, VA - Rev. Tom Musselman
Goodwill Presbyterian, Montgomery, NY - Rev. John Torres
Greenwood Community, Greenwood Village, CO - Rev. Tom Melton
2004 Hope Presbyterian, Cordova, TN - Dr. Craig Strickland
2003 The City of Refuge, Houston, TX - Rev. Rufus Smith, IV
2002 First EPC, Anna, IL - Steve Wilkinson
2001 Brainerd Presbyterian, Chattanooga, TN; Ron Ragon
2000 Forest Hill, Charlotte, NC - David Chadwick
1999 Military Avenue, Detroit, MI - Randy Brown


Z 4:10 (Small Church) Network

The Z 4:10 Network exist to equip and encourage the leaders of "small steeple" churches. You can find more information on the Z 4:10 Network pages of this web site.

The Small Church Network Partnership Opportunity provides resources to develop programs, purchase leadership training materials, and assist leaders of small churches with financial need to attend regional conferences that will “affirm the small church in its missional purpose and practice. Click here to join in this partnerhsip.

EPC Community

There is a Z 4:10 Network discssuion group on EPC Community.The Z 4:10 group discusses topics include small church leadership, strategy, outreach, resources, technology, and many others.

To join the discussion, first create an account; you can find the Access Code by clciking the "Help" tab. After you have created an account, click the "Groups" tab and scroll down until you find "Urban Ministries Network".

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