Bishop's Columns from Together

What year is it?

Several years ago I attended a workshop led by Dr. Lyle Schaller, a leading church consultant. He was wearing a shirt with “What if next year is 1951?” written on the front. The back of his shirt answered, “Then my church will be ready.” His point, of course, was that too often the church ...

"Use It or Lose It"

Does your church have a vision statement? Do you use it? If you don’t really use it, you may just “lose it” – or at least lose its power and effectiveness. Our Indiana Conference has a newly-adopted statement of our “Vision and Values,” which you can find on our website (www.inumc.org) by ...

'Three Simple Lessons'

Did you see the news coverage of Diana Nyad’s amazing 110-mile swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida? She finally completed that 53-hour swim on her fifth try – the first time she tried was 35 years ago. When she finally finished the journey, she offered these words of wisdom: (1) never give...

Annual Conference -- Continued

Sometimes it seems we think of “Annual Conference” like the musical “Brigadoon” about a mythical village which appeared once a year out of the mist to exist for only one day. Sometimes I hear “Annual Conference” used to describe our Annual Session in a way which misses the truth that our ...

Missions and the mission of the church

Sunday, April 28 was a busy one for me. After Sunday morning worship with my wife, I drove up to Epworth Forest to participate in the dedication of the new entrance and road into that camp and conference center. Then I rushed back to Indianapolis to participate in the banquet celebrating ...

Loving, Learning and Leading

Our Indiana Conference leadership team is in the midst of transitions. This year we have three District Superintendents who are rotating off the Cabinet, David V.W. Owen is retiring from his role as Executive Assistant to the Bishop, and Mark Gough retired from serving as Director of ...

Spiritual Leaders: More than a resolution

It’s more than just a New Year’s resolution. Our Indiana Conference leadership is committed to becoming better spiritual leaders, and we have begun a process with a professional consultant group called Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (SLI). SLI was formed and is led by two lay people who have ...

Finish Strong

Those of us who cheer for the Colts, and even many fans who don’t usually follow the Colts, are inspired by the “Chuck Strong” campaign to support Coach Chuck Pagano as he battles cancer. The surprising success of the Colts (who are 5-3 as I write this message) is due in part to the ...

Finishing strong -- together

This fall I will be coming to each district for what I call “District Days” in which I visit with the district superintendent, district staff and other key lay leaders and clergy whom the superintendent selects for me to meet. I have been holding these District Days each year since we ...

As I was saying...

One of my favorite stories from the former North Indiana Conference is about a pastor named Phil Stephens who was serving as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Marion, then was appointed to serve as a District Superintendent for six years, and then was appointed back to First UMC ...

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