Africa University Prayer Breakfast 
The Rev. Matt Landry spoke during the Africa University prayer breakfast this morning. Landry shared photos and stories of his trip to Africa University last year.

“Welcome home,”  he was told when he arrived in Zimbabwe and stepped of the plane. As strange as that phrase was for Landry to hear, since he was 8500 miles away from his house, he realized that as brothers and sisters in Christ,  he was home,  it was an extension of his home. 

Sharing about the variety of cultures made up by the more than 1,200 students from 22 African countries,  Landry said that students come from different places, different backgrounds but they all come together to better themselves, better their country, better their continent. 

Discipleship Development Report

I am a disciple because..

The INUMC Discipleship Development team took turns presenting different chapters of the discipleship ministry operation. But it’s how they began their presentation that added a certain distinction to each story. Though their presentation was a collective effort, each director began his or her presentation with “I am a disciple because..” then follow with a revelation of how they found Christ and their calling through the relentless efforts of a close friend or mentor, usually an adult. 

Nick Yarde, Associate Director of Discipleship Development, specializing in Outdoor Ministries, shared the story of how he learned about the goodness of God though the patience and kindness of a Sunday School teacher. Allison Curts, Associate Director of Discipleship Development, with a focus on Transformational Ministries, shared how her love and servitude for God stems from a firm background of disciplined church attendance. “My parents would make me go to church even when I was sick!” exclaimed Curts. 

Members of the Discipleship Development team also shared their multifaceted plans for the future, tugging and pulling to assert a more convenient, approachable, and broad department for the betterment of the United Methodist connection. For example, this morning a motion was set in place to supplement the social advocacy and mission ministries team as a reconstruction of the Transformative Ministries department. And the Transformative Ministries segment adopt a new mission focus, which includes the following:

  • Health and wellness
  • Justice and Equality
  • Education
  • Equipping & training for service

This is part of a four-year developmental goal starting January 2017. 

Helen Foust, Associate Director of Discipleship Development,  whose specialization includes children, youth, and family ministries, explained how critical that department is to the enrichment of the INUMC and the current standing and spiritual development of Indiana youth. The team plans to introduce the Family Ministry Cohort, an association of 12 churches devoted and working towards developing actionable and promising programs and resources for families.

Church Development Report 
During the morning session, we heard from Church Development and the work they are doing to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by creating new faith communities around Indiana. A short video showcased the impact of Church Revitalization programs, Fruitful Congregation Journey (FCJ) and FCJ Impact, as well as the strides we are making in creating new faith movements in Indiana. The Church Development’s goal of 30 new church plants by 2020 is nearing a bench mark. To date, there are 21 active church plants with 3 more set to launch in the coming months. We also celebrated the chartering of two church plants that are now fully chartered United Methodist Churches. The Conference celebrated The Branches congregation, led by Rev. Alex Hershey, and Gateway Community Church, led my Rev. Matt Lipan. The plants were celebrated with a certificate and then covered in prayer. 
Steve Clouse, Director of Church Development, shared about the work yet to be done in Indiana. With more than 6.62 million people living in the state, nearly 1.5million have no relationship with Jesus or the Church. 
Clouse finished by saying “The best news I can share with you is that we [The Church Development Team], stand ready to come alongside you and help you provide hope to your community.“

Friday Morning Business 
Friday morning’s business session filled with celebrations amid reports and motions
In 2014 the Indiana Conference embarked on a campaign to raise $1.6 million for Africa University. With six months remaining in the campaign, $280,000 is needed to reach the Conference’s goal.
The United Methodist Foundation of Indiana presented Bishop Coyner a check for $232,114 for the 2016 Minister’s Retirement Fund, a grant distributed to retired clergy to support health insurance for retirees in the conference plan. The foundation marked this contribution and the Rejuvenate campaign with kazoos and pom-poms.
The Pensions and Insurance Board reported an increased rate in 2017. They will provide new rate information to members of the Indiana Conference as soon as it is available in early July. 
A motion to amend the Conference nomination report from Bob Land brought up concerns of a smaller Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM) and whether a reduced board would hinder any of the work tasked to this group. Outgoing chair of BOM, Steve Ailes, indicated that the reduced membership of the board was due to lack of participation. The board is looking into involving people for the interviewing process of candidates. Since the bishop appoints serves on BOM, Land moved that Bishop Coyner and the leadership of BOM further look into the reduction and develop better practices specifically for the interview process. The Annual Conference passed the motion.
A motion to amend the Council on Finance and Administration’s financial policy of what the Indiana Conference would pay for clergy moving costs for appointments was brought to the floor. The amendment would have eliminated the $3,000 maximum from the policy, leaving the option of paying for moves up to 13,000 pounds. The motion failed, and the financial policy remains as submitted.
Jen Huff brought a motion to the floor requiring the Annual Conference provide childcare at all Conference events. The motion was amended to include district events. The Annual Conference passed the amended motion.
Members of the annual conference adopted all reports presented on the consent calendar by Dr. Carolyn Johnson Friday morning.