INDIANAPOLIS – Using 2 Timothy 4:1-6, 8 as his text, Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner shared with the conference members, guests and especially those being ordained or commissioned, his views of what it means to be “poured out in ministry.”
Coyner shared these ideas in his sermon during the Ordination, Commissioning Service Saturday morning, May 31.
“We are all going to die, so let’s get that issue out of the way, and then decide how we want to live our lives,” Coyner began. He said, “Paul reminds us that each one of us is an ‘offering’ and a sacrifice poured out to God. Someday we will receive the victor’s crown for completing our faithful lives, but for now it helps to think of ourselves as already dead.”
Coyner said he believes that whether laity or clergy, a call to ministry means we are willing to pour out our life for Christ. He quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., saying, “If you don’t have anything you are willing to die for, then you don’t have any reason to live.”
Coyner asked his audience, “What are the things you are willing to give your life for?” He then listed seven beliefs for which he would live. Highlighted, they included:
- Jesus Christ is Lord;
- All are welcome at the Lord’s Table – “I am proud of the fact that our United Methodist communion table is open to all who come confessing Christ. No one is excluded,” Coyner said;
- Growing in grace is a life-long journey – we have to keep growing into the likeness of Christ;
- Every child is a child of God;
- Life is about giving, not about receiving;
- Our Christian faith is about love, justice, mercy and joy – it is not about stifling religious categories or moralisms; and
- My personal integrity (i.e., my word is good) is the best gift I can offer to others.
Following the seven, he gave examples of people he has seen who exemplified these truths. One was Ralph Kastedt, a blind preacher in the former North Indiana Conference, who served in ministry to churches in turmoil. What he remembered about Kastedt is that he always said, “Everyone has a handicap. I am fortunate that my handicap is obvious so I have had to deal with it.”
Coyner said, “Ralph knew how to do ministry as a sacrifice poured out for Christ and for others.”
Concluding he shared how peaceful the death of his father was a few weeks ago. “It was a sacred moment. Not every death is that peaceful, and not everyone dies in a blanket of love. But for those in Christ, we know that death is not the end, it is a part of our life. So… how shall we live?”
Ask yourself, “How shall I live?”
He concluded: “For me, I will live for Christ.”
During the service, one provisional deacon and twelve provisional elders were commissioned. Three candidates from other denominations were recognized as provisional members. Five provisional members were ordained Elders. One missionary was commissioned.
An offering of $2,062 also was received during the service for district superintendents to use when the conference needs to assist a pastor’s family during a financial emergency. The funds are managed by Rejuvenate.
A couple dozen people attending the service also felt God’s call to ministry and went forward following Coyner’s invitation to come forward for prayer and words of guidance.
More than 100 people are in the candidacy for ministry process in Indiana.
Ministry is being a sacrifice, poured out in ministry for others on behalf of Christ.