The inaugural laity session for the new Indiana Conference began with words from co-lay leaders Kayc Mykrantz and Ike Williams thanking lay members for their service and attendance.
The Rev. Jim Bushfield, director of connectional ministries, gave the laity an update of the Imagine Indiana plan.
“Your congregation must have a clear mission statement you have to know where you’re going.” The same can be said about the annual conference.
“You are the conference,” Bushfield continued. “You are making decisions for the conference, which is your local church. If the conference is to grow, the local church needs to grow. The energy of the annual conference should be to assist the local church.”
Bushfield closed with a question of the lay members: “Why are you here?” He added that members should answer that question theologically: “Why has God called you here? Even if you are here by accident, God wants you here.”
“We have the potential to model and lead the denomination,” said Bushfield.
Bread and Basin Award
Alan Riendeau of the Kokomo District was this year’s recipient of the Bread and Basin Award. Alan was honored for his commitment and dedication to building 50 camp chairs for Camp Adventure, organizing members of the Kokomo District to build 128 bunk beds for Pine Creek Camp and participating in various mission trips in Africa, South America, Central America and across the United States.
Bob Ice of Mt. Zion UMC near Evansville was the winner of the annual laity manuscript contest, with this year’s theme of “Disciples Transforming the World Through Prayer.”
Jane Heustis of Indianapolis Irvington UMC was the first runner-up and Scott Semester of Indianapolis St. Luke’s UMC was the second runner-up.
Ice began asking what if the disciples had to go through a modern day screening process to become Jesus’ disciples. He concluded saying, “A good disciple is hard to find today as in Jesus’ day.”
Saying that we are all called to consecrated action, discipleship is the process of becoming a whole person. “Discipleship is not a part-time activity. It is a Christian’s full-time vocation.”
Ice used several analogies, including football references and not just huddle in the church: we need to go out and share Jesus’ love.
“We’re all called to be disciples,” he said. “We’re being watched by others. Your actions are viewed by others and may be the only Bible others ever see.”