John 14:12 (NRSV) says, “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these.”

Jesus says those who love Him and keep His commandments will engage in fruitful ministry with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Greater works will be done. The great secret of the Church and the great power of the Church is the people of God who are indeed the Church.

The key to the successful Church is no great secret at all: laity and the ministry of laity. Our Book of Discipline says, “The ministry of the laity flows from a commitment to Christ’s outreaching love. Lay members of The United Methodist Church are, by history and calling, active advocates of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18 – 20); every layperson is called to be missional (¶ 127).”

Since we have not been worshiping in our buildings, some have wondered if we are losing our identity. I believe we have a great opportunity to rise to our highest potential and expand our ministry.

In fact, the evangelist ministry of the Church comes alive as laity live their lives in relationship with others with gratitude and thanksgiving as followers of Jesus.

To all of the laity of The Indiana United Methodist Church, I ask, “How is it with your soul? What has COVID-19 taught us about who we are and how we deal with crisis? What new future is God preparing us for?”

Thank you for the ways you have kept the ministry of your local congregations and community ministries alive and relevant. I learned a long time ago that United Methodists are doers more than talkers, and that still rings true today. Thank you!

I am encouraged by your steadfast support of the Church and your eagerness to support frontline workers in health and safety. Just because we are social distancing does not mean we are prohibited from speaking and sharing our care for others. Especially during this pandemic, the Church truly has left the building.

May the power of the Holy Spirit unleash the Church for the work we have to do. I thank God daily for the lay men and women, children, and youth in the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Be encouraged,

Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Resident Bishop
Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church