INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church selected its first associate director and announced that selection Monday, March 16.

Bishop Mike Coyner has approved the selection of the Rev. Brian L. Durand, pastor and director of youth and college ministries at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, as the first Indiana Conference Associate Director for Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry Services, effective July 1.

Upon announcing Durand's pending appointment, Coyner said, "I am very pleased that the first new staff position being announced in our new Indiana Conference is in the area of youth, young adult and campus ministry. This certainly emphasizes how important it is for us to focus on this next generation, and I know that the Rev. Brian Durand will do an excellent job of building a network of youth and young adult leaders, providing training for workers with youth and young adults and serving as a resource person to help local churches with their ministries."

In this new position, Durand will create a new working model for youth leadership in the conference by developing and maintaining a network of active youth leaders throughout the conference. He also will create a similar model tailored specifically for young adults and coordinate with campus ministry in the conference.

Upon his naming, Durand wrote to his current congregation, "I am passionate about equipping, honoring and empowering those who work with youth in our churches and lifting up our youth and young adults, not only as leaders of the church tomorrow, but as vital participants and leaders in our church today. I am excited and honored to continue my ministry with young people, college students and young adults in this new role."

His selection from ten candidates for this position was made by the Rev. James Bushfield, the new conference director of connectional ministries. Upon Durand's selection, Bushfield said, "Brian Durand is a leader in the national conversation about youth ministry and has been actively engaged with young adults on campus and in the local church settings."

He further said, "We need to be realistic about our transition to a new process of ministry support as designed by the Imagine Indiana report. These changes will not happen quickly, but once in place change can be pervasive.

"I look forward to Brian joining the team. He has a great spirit and calling to 'make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,' especially with youth and young adults. I expect to learn a lot from him."

Durand earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1994 and a M.Div. degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis in 2005.

He has served as pastor of youth and college ministries at St. Luke's since August 2000. Prior to his present position, he worked with the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity in Indiana. He became a probationary Elder in the former South Indiana Conference in 2006 and seeks ordination as an Elder this coming June during the first session of the new Indiana Conference. He is married to Cheryl Durand. He is a young adult member of the new Indiana Conference Transition Team.

At St. Luke's UMC, he leads a team of staff and volunteers in ministering to 250 active youth, has developed and taught more than 360 confirmands and has led 15 volunteers-in-mission trips with youth. He helped raised funds and helped design St. Luke's million-dollar 13,000-square-foot Luke's Lodge for youth which opened in December 2003.

This is the first of several associate director positions that will be opened and announced in the weeks to come. The next position to be announced will be the Indiana Conference Associate Director for Missions and Advocacy.

Other positions soon to open for employment include: Associate Director for Lay Leadership, Associate Director for Clergy Services and Associate Director of Camping.