Daily HUM News for June 8, 2013

Laity session filled with worship and inspiration

Those in attendance at the Laity Session Thursday afternoon were welcomed with a surprise -- small, flashlight. From the get-go, the laity knew that this was going to be a unique session. Once seated, the Board of Laity promised they had listened to lay leaders and this session would have a focus on worship.

The promise for a worship-focused session held true. Starting off the afternoon was the praise team from Delphi United Methodist Church. In total, the team led the crowd in seven songs. With each song, the praise team introduced Scriptures on which the songs were based.

The Africa University U.S. Touring Choir offered four songs. The first two songs performed were both a welcome and a thank you to the Indiana Conference. “Jambo” means “hello,” and according to director Tendekai Kuture, the choir wanted to extend “a big hello from all of us to all of you.” Kuture and the choir also thanked the Indiana Conference for the gift of $1.2 million to help sustain Africa University.

ArnottKim Arnott, Lay Leader at Fishers UMC and winner of this year’s Laity Manuscript Contest, delivered the message. Arnott stressed that when Jesus charged us to go and make disciples, He challenged us to be world changers. In order to be a world changer, we all must “drop in that first pebble and see where the ripples take you.” We need to stand up from our comfortable chairs and comfort zones, and “get up and get going.” Arnott charged the crowd to make the difference, even if it were in one person’s life.

The litany was done in silence with the use of a slideshow and the mini flashlights. As a sentence came across the screen,

lay leaders raised their lights to the sentences that related to them. The final slide charged the attendees to be world changers by impacting one person’s life. -- Jennifer Meadows

Granger pastor leads workshop about five essentials of a successful team

BeesonThe five essentials of team leadership is first defining if one has a team or a group, according to Granger Community UMC Lead Pastor Mark Beeson. He said unlike teams, groups contain people who live parallel to each other with little interaction, such as a group talking a walk on a beach. Teams, on the other hand, are people interacting with each other such as a team of people climbing a mountain. They are dependent upon each other to meet their goal.

Beeson then explained the five essentials of team leadership that he has learned during the years to more than 200 clergy and lay members of the Indiana Annual Conference Session Friday, June 7.

He began his first point by asking the 200+ clergy and laity in the session, “Who would you follow?” They responded with words like courage, passion, listener and visionary.

The leader is the first point. “You as leader matters because who you are determines who will follow you.” The blunt truth is that if people leave, it’s about you. He reminded the group that not everyone followed Jesus. Unfortunately, you aren’t more than you are… and don’t act to be something that you aren’t.

The responsibility of a group is dependent first on the leader.

He then reminded the participants of their Weslyan heritage. He said we are about the love of God, this is amazing grace. That’s our history and heritage. Another aspect of who we are in that God’s standard for us in holiness and love. “We are to be a holy people,” he said. The leader builds the team because people will follow.

Second, we must ask, “What’s the mission?” The mission will either make or break a team. Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. A good leader doesn’t change the mission. If you change the mission, you risk the team and members of the team leaving.

Third, we must ask, “Who else is on the team?” Accountability and commitment to Christ are essential in who is on the team. Remember the most dangerous person on the team is the team member who is just a little off target. A little off doesn’t mean too much at first on rail road tracks, but if one of the rails is not parallel to the other, miles down the rails, the train will derail. Likewise, teammates must be in agreement with the leader and the mission. Who you let on the team makes a big difference.

The fourth essential is value. The values we hold are based on spirituality. As Christians our value is the love of God and bringing the Gospel of Jesus in a clear manner. Cooperation with each other and following the Lord Jesus Christ is essential to the team’s success.

These four threads must be woven into the individuals of the group to make them one -- a team.

The fifth essential is the cause. He said, “For us, we are called to the high calling of Jesus Christ. The cause is worth the cost.”

These five essentials will determine the power of the team.

Smile for your picture during annual conference

Lifetouch Directories will be taking portraits for the new Indiana Conference Lay Member and Clergy Directory during the upcoming Annual Conference Session in Room 232. Each person having an individual portrait taken will receive a free 8 x 10 inch print and a copy of the directory. Hours are from 8 a.m. to noon.

Fuquays lead Indiana Conference through Nehemiah in Friday morning Bible study

The Rev. Rob Fuquay, senior pastor of St. Luke’s UMC in Indianapolis, and his wife, Susan Fuquay delivered the message --“Vision for a Life and World-Changing Community” -- during the Friday morning Bible Study focused on the book of Nehemiah.

Rob stated that a vision begins with a passion for those who are hurting. In the case of Nehemiah in Nehemiah 1: 1-4, he felt a passion for the people of Jerusalem who were facing harm since the walls of Jerusalem were leveled. After hearing this news, Nehemiah wept, showing his passion for those hurting. The United Methodist Church came together after the economic downfall to start pulling together resources and serving those hurting in our communities. Like Nehemiah, The United Methodist Church showed its passion for others.

According to Rob, others should be our calling. To include others in the vision, it is necessary for us to be with them. In Nehemiah 2:11-13, Nehemiah goes to inspect Jerusalem’s broken walls. Such as Nehemiah examined the walls for himself, Rob encouraged pastors to inspect their churches when creating a vision for transformation. Rob defines vision as “a picture of God’s preferred future, jump into a plan, and look for everyone in the church to have a part”.

Like Nehemiah who faced opposition to rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah 4:1-2, those who make transformations in churches will face opposition. However, in order to give hope to humanity through the changes, the opposition needs to be faced. Rob believes that the future of the church is in the hands of the lay leaders and clergy. He ended with his message with the charge -- “Will you be a Nehemiah in your community?”

Susan first shared her driving question of ministry with the audience: “How do we help people in a very practical way grow in their Christian faith and find true transformation in Christ?” According to studies, the most powerful Christian practice is reflection in scripture. Susan has pinpointed two paths for this transformation: small groups and Disciple Bible Study.

Susan believes small groups are a catalyst for transformation because of the community component. Those involved with a small group were more likely to become daily Bible readers. When creating small groups, Susan advised having multiple types of groups to appeal to as many people as possible. Susan is a firm believer of the Disciple Bible Study, even serving as a national trainer earlier in her ministry. However, she realized people no longer sign up for the traditional study because they no longer had the time to participate in the 34-week study. She helped develop the Disciple Fast Track with a reduced version with new videos and features. The fast track is 24-weeks long, but the participants still read about 75 percent of the Bible at home.

For more information about the Disciple Fast Track, email Susan at disciplefasttrack@stlukesumc.com. There will be a training event for those interested in the Disciple Fast Track on Friday, August 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. --  Jennifer Meadows

Business session Friday featured discussion about investments, health care, church development

The second plenary business session of the fifth annual conference met on Friday afternoon to hear reports and approve actions.

  • The trustees reported that the proceeds of the sale from both annual conference centers in Bloomington and Marion would help fund the lease on the current Indiana Conference Center in Indianapolis;
  • The Indiana United Methodist Savings and Loan granted $35,175 in 2012 to seven churches for facility improvement;
  • The Rejuvenate program of the conference administered by the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana has granted $1.9 million in grants for educational debt retirement of clergy, financial emergencies, retirement and the Call to New Ministry program.
  • Voted on four proposed constitutional amendments from the 2012 General Conference;
  • Approved continuing funds for Medicare supplements to surviving clergy spouses at the current $250 per month;
  • Defeated a Board of Pension and Benefits proposal to end funding of Medicare supplements in 2014. This meant a substantial increase in the 2014 budget of more than $500,000;
  • Church Development welcomed the Rev. David Neckers as the new Director of Church Development and Pastor Steve Clouse as the new senior associate director of Church Development; and
  • The Church Development Fruitful Congregation Journey has had 185 participating congregations this year.

Conference focuses on Africa University during Friday night concert

The African University U.S. Touring Choir was featured during the Friday evening session which punctuated the beginning of an Indiana Conference to raise funds for the sustainability of this United Methodist-related university located in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

Bishop Mike Coyner introduced Associate Vice Chancellor of Advancement Dr. James Salley, who used Romans 12:9-16 as his Scripture for his remarks on the theme “Let love be genuine…” He said, as Christians we give ourselves to Christ and help those in need. “This is a blueprint of living our daily faith… These verses (in Romans) are instructions on being ‘world changers.’” Be happy in your hope reads the Scripture. “You have all the reason in the world to being hope (the anticipation of a favorable outcome of God’s guidance),” he said. “The hope of the past becomes the hope of the future.”

He reminded the conference that in 1997-1998 the two former Indiana Conferences launched a campaign to build four dormitories at Africa University which house 300 students. The campaign was for only two dormitories. “You named one of those residence halls after James Henry Salley. My family is ever grateful.”

Salley thanked the Indiana Conference for now launching a three-year campaign to raise $1.6 million. One million will go to an endowed Chair of Agriculture and Natural Resources at AU. The remainder of the money will go to endow up to four student scholarships to be awarded annually by AU.

Salley told stories of many AU students who were helped by Hoosier United Methodist giving AU funds for student scholarships. He called these students “world changers.” He said, “We thank you for your work in the world.”

AU is called, “the school of dreams in the valley of hope.” In the numbers, AU is 20 years old and has 1,368 students on campus with six faculties (schools) with students from 27 countries and a faculty from eight countries. AU has graduated more than 4,700 students who now work across the continent of Africa.

“There is hope in the ministry and the work you do,” he said in closing. “Thank you for continuing your work with Africa University.”

Following Salley’s presentation, the choir offered a concert of songs from their native Africa.

The Indiana Friends of Africa University has given $100,000 to the campaign. Maple Grove UMC of South Bend (40 average attendance) gave $1,000 Friday and will pledge to give $6,000 during the campaign. -- Dan Gangler 

PDF version of this report.