After celebrating our 2015 Session of the Indiana Conference with our theme of “Share Your Story,” I realized that we have not done well in sharing the story of the new faith communities we are planting as United Methodists here in Indiana. So I asked our Church Development team for a list, and they soon discovered that many more things are happening than we had been tracking. Not all of the new faith communities on this list are being funded by Church Development or directed by Church Development - several of these have sprung up on their own or with the support of an existing United Methodist congregation in Indiana. In addition, it is soon obvious that many of these are new populations groups, new language groups of people, and exciting new ventures that go beyond our traditional way of understanding new congregations. Some on the list are “spin-offs” from off-site or second-site ministries of existing congregations. Others are housed within an existing UM congregation. I hope you are excited by this list, because I am excited to see all of the ways (and there may be others we don’t know about) that God is at work “doing a new thing” here in Indiana. As God states through Isaiah in chapter 43, “Even now it is springing forth, do you not see it?”

So here is the list of our new faith communities launched since we became the new Indiana Conference in 2010:

 
Faith Community Location/District Pastor/Planter
The Branches Plainfield/CE  Alex Hershey
Strong Tower East Chicago/NO Esequiel and Suri Becerra
Compass Church Muncie/EA Mark Ellcessor
New Castle 1st-2nd Site New Castle/EA Tom McGalliard
Greenwood Mizo Greenwood/CE Lal Ralte
Centro Familiar Christiana Lafayette/NW Nohemi Palau
Kristo's Hands and Feet Fort Wayne/NE Steve Mekura
Rio De Gracias Hobart/NO Jose and Zolia Martinexz
Church for All People South Bend/NO Tim Aydelotte
Tapalot Native American Indianapolis/CE Ron Haun
Luz de Vida (Ind. Wesley) Indianapolis/CE Mirna Doliveira
Nuevos Principios Ligonier/NE Jesus and Oliva Saucedo
Gateway Indianapolis/CE Matt Lipan
Servant’s Heart Elkhart/NO Nancy Bennett
Old Bethel Indianapolis/CE Saul Sauceda
Un-named YMCA site Indianapolis/CE Sharon Washington
Casa De Dios Indianapolis/CE Marissa and Javier Calleja
Casa De MiPadre Elkhart/NO Jorge Maldonado
St. Mark’s Goshen Goshen/NO Heriberto y Nayeli Contreras
The Garden Indianapolis/CE Carolyn Scanlan-Holmes
Compass Church Winchester/EA Mark Ellcessor


In addition, there are several other new faith community projects in the planning stages, and probably others that we don’t even know about – because existing congregations are launching new ministries (remember the 100 New Points of Light?) and some may become new faith communities. Not all of these new faith communities may become officially chartered United Methodist congregations, and until they are chartered they don’t “count” in our Indiana Conference statistics and can easily be overlooked. But it is clear to me that God is doing new things in our midst, and we are becoming more and more an outwardly-focused church.

We have a story to tell about our United Methodist Church here in Indiana. I hope you will join me in praying for these new faith communities. I hope your congregation will consider launching new ministries, and I hope you will help to Share Our Story.