INDIANAPOLIS – During this time of transition in the new Indiana United Methodist Conference, Metro Ministries, an outreach urban ministry of the Indianapolis East and West Districts, plans to set a strategic agenda for the organization’s future through a Core Planning Team. Members of that team include current board members Mark Eutsler, Jack Haefling, Georganna Irish, Paula Young Mayberry, John Myrland, Yvonne Oropeza and Amy Zent.

Metro Ministries’ board established the team to “Imagine Metro Ministries” following Bishop Mike Coyner’s announcement to the board April 23 that he had appointed the Rev. Dr. Douglas Simpson, current executive director, to First United Methodist Church of Hammond effective July 1. Coyner asked the board to undertake a time of visioning before he filled the director’s position.

According to Eutsler, the board’s president, “Bishop Coyner is providing the board of directors a tremendous opportunity to ‘Rethink Metro Ministries’ and to position it to be an effective ministry delivery agency within the new Indiana Conference’s organic environment.”

Eutsler anticipates the team’s first meeting will be in early August. He said the team will consider Metro Ministries’ future in possible, preferred and practical realms.

“There have been board discussions about gentrification issues in Indianapolis and technological issues in rural areas, both of which present ministry growth opportunities. We have to keep up with what’s going on in order to deliver ministry at the speed of need,” he said.

The last several Metro Ministries executive directors have been clergy serving by appointment. However, looking to the future, Eutsler said, “I believe the team and entire board will consider many models for the position including full-time or part-time, lay or clergy, or part of a distinct part of an associate district superintendent’s portfolio.”

Metro Ministries’ scope of work also is expected to be considered. One of the ways it has served as the mission arm of the Indy East and West Indianapolis districts is as a ministry incubator in which it helps create and nurtures emerging concerns through leadership consultation, board governance development, funding assistance, fund raising expertise and accountability protocols.

Another consideration will be geography. Currently a bi-district organization, Metro Ministries could refocus on metropolitan Indianapolis, the new Central District or have a bi-district relationship most likely with the North Central District, probably resulting in renaming and rebranding the organization.

Eutsler said whatever strategic direction is set, it is expected that it will continue to follow Coyner’s assertions that ministry is more important than meetings, calling is more important than career, stewardship is more important than scarcity, and efficiency is more important than entrenchment.

“We expect to identify and engage all of Metro Ministries’ stakeholders throughout this process,” said Eutsler. He said Coyner desires the planning be thorough and did not impose a timeline for its completion. It is anticipated the process will be done by year’s end and that an interim executive director will serve after Simpson’s departure.

For more information about Metro Ministries, visit

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Indiana Area United Methodist Communication
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