2016 Annual Conference Hope Talks
The theme for the 2016 Annual Conference is Be. Hope. One of the best ways we can share hope is through story. This year, we created a new format for sharing stories called “Hope Talks” modeled after the popular TED Talks. The format showcased a variety of speakers, each with a story of Hope from around the Indiana Conference. After each talk, a series of questions were posted on the screen for discussion followed by a Q&A session.
Hope Talk #1: Are you going to get in the game?
Mark Ellcessor shared a funny and relatable story from America’s favorite pastime, baseball.
Telling a story from his childhood, he mentioned words from his baseball coach, “If you don't throw the ball, we will never win the game.” Ellcessor shared the reality of our world, that our peers today aren’t as religious as they once were. Thought we are not without hope. He continued, “We have something to which we can get into the game.”
“It’s easy to be a disciple and keep your faith in but a discipler is active, a discipler is in the game,” said Ellcessor. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to get in the game.
Ellcessor ending by asking, “What is your sphere of influence? Where can you bring hope?
Are you going to stand there holding the ball or are you going to get in the game?
Following Ellcessor’s Hope Talk, three questions were posted on the screen for a time of discussion.
1.When it comes to discipleship, in what ways are we "standing there, holding the ball?”
2.If a non-believer came to your church, how would you help him or her become a devoted follower of Jesus?
If someone came to your pastor requesting a mentor to disciple them in the faith, who would the pastor turn to?
Hope Talk #2: The Power of Listening
Rachel Metheny and De’Amon Harges from Broadway UMC brought our second Hope Talk of the morning. Metheny and Harges shared countless stories of hope, stories that may have not been created if they didn’t think outside the box and do ministry a little differently. At Broadway UMC they decided to remove some of the commonplace programs that we at our local churches put in place to help others or to provide a handout. Instead of these programs, they simply listened. “We stopped helping and started listening,” said Harges. Through this endeavor, they found true and helpful ministry because they chose to see people as who God has made them and gifted them, and then called attention to that allowing the person to feel truly valued and cared about.
Hope Talk #3: The Hope of Presence
Steve Mekaru was the first Hope Talk speaker this afternoon. Mekaru shared stories from Kristos Hands and Feet, a ministry he leads at St. Joseph UMC in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“Being present with people is one way we can bring hope to others,” said Mekaru.
We're not called to fix people's problems, but to be present, reminding others of hope in times of despair, said Mekaru.
Mekaru challenged attendees to find ways to be hope to others by being present with them.
When asked what the greatest challenge is in being present with others and building relationships, Mekaru said building trust.