Church Challenge


Our mission is to support healthy living environments and improve the health of the Flint community, with a focus on effective blood pressure management.

Actions to achieve the mission of the Church Challenge

  • Increase food availability
  • Highlight local resources that support healthy living
  • Provide skills training for church health team members
  • Disseminate strategies for policy change to area pastors


Partner with pastors from local churches to advocate for policy changes that promote healthy living in the community.


Support local churches to promote healthy living through diet, physical activity, chronic disease management, and stress management.


Create opportunities to improve health and well-being.

The Genesee County Church Challenge is a collaborative effort between consortium partners on the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions (FCHES) to engage African American residents of Genesee County to become physically active, improve nutrition, and engage in healthier lifestyles, as well as create safe and wholesome environments that promote good health, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

Community Partners

Odis A. Floyd Community Outreach for Families and Youth (COFY) Center

Flint Odyssey House, Inc. & Flint Odyssey House Health Awareness Center

Michigan State University Extension

Commit 2 Fit

About the Church Challenge

The Church Challenge randomized trial will enroll adults from primarily African-American churches in the City of Flint, and then assess the churches’ ability to sustain these activities to benefit their congregants. The Church Challenge, a church-driven fitness and nutrition intervention, was developed and piloted in the Flint community by pastors working with Community Leaders.

The intervention focuses on physical activity and healthier food choices, including promoting an understanding of the impact that the African American experience, from a historical and cultural prospective, has had on lifestyle choices. The program also empowers churches not only to encourage congregants to improve health behaviors, but also to engage local policy makers in policy-based interventions to bring healthy food and safe physical activity spaces to the City of Flint.

For example, Flint currently has no major food market within its City limits which greatly hinders residents’ ability to readily access healthy food. Therefore, it uses churches as the driver of three levels of change: individual, church, and community-level policy. This is likely to be feasible and the churches are likely to feel ownership over these efforts because it was their idea.

The research program uses a multi-level approach to bridge public health research, practice, policy, and faith-based communities in a comprehensive, multi-level community intervention that impacts both individual-level behaviors as well as impacts community norms around healthy food preparation, access and physical fitness.

Church Challenge Team

Principal Investigator: Vicki Johnson-Lawrence, PhD                                                        

Community Research Partner Organization: Community Outreach for Families and Youth, Flint, MI

Co-Investigator:  Rodlescia Sneed, PhD

Project Coordinator:  Ariel Angel-Vincent, MPH                                                                            

Project Consultants:                                                                                                                                       

Sarah Bailey, PhD, Flint, MI                                                                                                                            

Bishop Bernadel Jefferson, Flint, MI                                                                                                       

 Ken Resnicow, PhD, Ann Arbor, MI                                                                                                         

 Todd Yeary, PhD, Baltimore, MD

Questions or Contacting the Church Challenge:

All questions about the Church Challenge can be directed to:          Ariel Angel-Vincent or by phone at (810)600-5686