Happy Annual Conference New Year!
We are at the beginning of a new Annual Conference year, as many of our clergy were re-appointed back to their places of service, while we miss the connection of many who have decided to be in ministry differently in the West District. I pray that over the next twelve months of ministry, the lay and clergy of the West District will take on a posture of prayer, put feet to our prayers, turn our face forward, and lean into God’s faithful future TOGETHER; living our vision of being Willing in our Missional Service and Way-Out in our Witness for Jesus Christ and advancing the mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world.
The 2023 Annual Conference year theme is based on the scriptural text from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
What I appreciate most about this selected text is it provides a very prescriptive description for how we can live daily as faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Yes, there will be hardship and difficulties from life’s realities, however we are invigorated to “rejoice always and delight in your faith…” Yes, it may appear that the familiar is no longer recognizable, and the definition of normal ebbs and flows as many things are changing so rapidly, and yet we are encouraged to “be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God…” What I believe is our challenge from this text is our consistency; to read this passage and live out its message, moves us beyond aspirational to actionable. While it sounds idealistic, I would just wonder what would happen if we began incorporating these instructions into our individual daily lives, our shared service in ministry, and our united witness in the world? Could it be the breakthrough we are praying for, will begin manifesting in our midst?
Another exciting element of Annual Conference Session was the initial report from the Strategic Direction and Engagement Team, where we are commissioned to become more focused on our direction as the Indiana Annual Conference over the next two years. We heard we will strive to live out a vision to “Cultivate Joy” and become clear about who we are as Indiana United Methodists. More information will emerge in the coming weeks, and detailed during Charge Conference Season, but if you want to read more, please visit: https://www.inumc.org/strategic-direction/, I am excited for the ways we can begin to move forward in our new season of life and ministry.
Lastly, friends, it is my honor to serve alongside you for another year! So, in this new Annual Conference year, let us join the United Methodist Connection throughout Indiana in being committed to Rejoice always; Pray continually; and Give thanks in every situation…and living the commitment beyond our words, but through our behaviors for all in our communities to see and experience.
Praying for Breakthroughs as we Face Forward,
P.S. Please be sure to register and share information about our upcoming West District (re)Connection. Here is the registration link: https://inumc.swoogo.com/wereconnect23.