Indiana Area Bishop Mike Coyner and Dr. Greg Jones, dean of Duke Divinity School, spoke to more than 560 Indiana United Methodist clergy during a two-day Our Life Together retreat at St. Luke's UMC in Indianapolis on April 14 and 15. Using the Wesleyan way of living, Coyner left his prepared sermon to speak from his heart to pastors. He said, "I love The United Methodist Church and I believe we got it right. We have a theology of both faith and works, both local and global."
He also spoke openly to any pastors who did not want to follow in the Wesleyan way saying, "If you don't love this church, please find another church. I hope you are here to be part of this church. If you do not (want to be part of this church), I ask you to seek out another church."
He outlined accomplishments of both conferences working together. He said during the past 40 years, more than 275,000 people professed faith in Jesus Christ and joined the church in Indiana. Both conferences also lead the North Central Jurisdiction in volunteers-in-mission participation and in money given to VIM projects.
Addressing the same pastors, Jones talked about living the way John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, intended his pastors to live. He spoke about three characteristics of leaders in the Wesleyan movement today.
First is personal humility by the work we do on behalf of the church. "We need to put away selfish ambitions as an alternate to mediocrity. We need to stop being preoccupied with ourselves and (be) passionate about our mission," said Jones.
Transformational leaders are people of extraordinary character, not in their personal charisma but the way they lead their lives with, as Wesley would say, holiness of heart and life, letting the light of Christ to shine through.
Effective leaders are powerful storytellers, Jones said. We need to tell the story to chart a new direction. We have the best story ever told. We need to tell this story in fresh ways. We will be successful as leaders if we can hold things together, in this fragmented society, until a new way is made known. Jesus has the capacity to keep people around the table until their imagination comes into being.
Jones further used three images to inspire connections: Friendship to God and friendliness to others; to imagine hospitality to strangers: and to imagine loving enemies.