INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Conference launched “100 New Points of Light” during the Friday morning, May 30, session of annual conference.
Bishop Mike Coyner hoped 100 congregations would accept his invitation. He asked each to get involved in starting a worship service, Bible study or other organized effort, to reach new people “with the light of Christ.”
More than 300 conference members and guests responded crowding on to the plenary stage at the Indiana Convention Center. They represented 201 congregations.
Coyner expects many of these new faith communities will be “off-site” in a location outside existing church buildings, while others will be at “off-times” to reach new people beyond our typical worship services.
The response was twice what Coyner and conference leaders had planned. They are in the process of revamping their plans to accommodate a larger number of churches who want to be involved than anticipated.
Those who came forward were led into a separate room where they received packets of information, which included a voucher to request $500, in seed money for their new ministry efforts.
Each congregation participating will be assigned an adviser to help local church pastors and other leaders develop their plans and pray for them.
The conference directors are seeking more funds, because leaders had only set aside $50,000 from the Discontinued Church fund for each of these new projects.
According to Coyner, “That is a very appropriate use of the legacy funds from congregations which have completed their ministry, but we had only anticipated needing $500 each for 100 churches – and now we need $500 each for 200 churches.
“That is a good problem, and I am sure we will find the funds. In fact two different persons came to me and offered $1,000 each to help support these New Points of Light,” he said.
According to Jennifer Gallagher, Indiana Conference Treasurer, the Conference Council on Finance and Administration will be considering places they can pull the needed dollars. There are specific funds for church development.
Those wishing to contribute to this outreach ministry can do so by sending individual contributions to the conference 100 New Points of Light campaign at Indiana Conference Treasurer, 301 Pennsylvania Parkway, Suite 300, Indianapolis, IN 46280 or through the donate button on the conference website at www.inumc.org/100lights.
Values undergirding this vision include:
- Reach the un-churched,
- Reach the de-churched,
- Wesleyan Theology,
- Empower laity,
- Outwardly focused,
- Entrepreneurial spirit and innovation and
- Failing is okay as long as we learn from it – this is a pilot program.
The 100 New Points of Light campaign will be administered by the conference directors and district superintendents. The Rev. Cindy Reynolds, executive assistant to Coyner, will be the leader of the campaign. The Rev. Bev Perry, Superintendent of the Southeast District, will coordinate the activities of the Cabinet in the campaign.
Each of the 200 congregations has been or will be assigned an advisor who will be given a handful of churches to oversee and assist as each one moves forward to establish a new form of worship or outreach ministry resulting in reaching beyond the existing congregation to a new population to make disciples. The advisors will be contacting their assigned congregations during the month of July.
The Rev. Dave Neckers, Conference Director of Church Development, will continue to train new coach-advisors as they are recruited to cover all 200 churches involved in the campaign.
The campaign will be resourced through the conference website at www.inumc.org/100lights. At that location, participants will find a directory of churches involved in the campaign, the informational packet distributed at the Annual Conference Session, a picture gallery for placing pictures of new worship and ministry opportunities, a place to send and read 250-word stories of Glory Sightings from local churches, a place to make online donations to the campaign and other news and information to support the campaign and the 200 churches involved in it.
The campaign also has a Facebook presence for sharing of information and stories by the New Points of Light churches at 100 New Points of Light and on Twitter @inumconference #100lights.
The email address for the campaign is firstname.lastname@example.org.