CARMEL, Ind. – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner told the 28 members of the new Conference Leadership Table, meeting for the first time at Carmel UMC Aug. 22, “You are responsible for bringing the whole conference in alignment with our goal of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

In setting norms for the new group, Coyner, who chaired the meeting, said the task of the new Leadership Table is one of coordinating and deciding, not micromanaging. The management of the new conference will be the task of the six directors and ten district superintendents.”

At the table, members (who represent on of the conference’s 13 teams, lay leaders, cabinet, United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men) will report to each other, continue the Imagine Indiana directives and keep the mission of the church before them.

Early on in the day-long meeting, Coyner introduced the Rev. Andy Kinsey of Franklin Grace UMC as the Table’s Wesleyan Theologian.

Kinsey asked members not to dismiss our theological task as the church when we meet to do the business of the church. He said conferencing began among Methodists with the first conference called by John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, at London in 1744.

Kinsey said Wesley began by asking, “What to teach? How to teach? and What to do? – that is, how to regulate our doctrine, discipline and practice.” He told Leadership Team members, “We meet to get beyond the service of what we have been called to do.”

He said the biblical model of conferencing is present in Ephesians 4:1-3 that “we meet with humility, gentleness, patience and bearing with one another in love.”

During the day-long meeting, Coyner introduced the six directors and three of the new associate directors – the Rev. Brian Durand for youth, young adult and campus ministries, the Rev. LeKisha Reed for mission and advocacy, and the Rev. Sandy Harlan, associate director of clergy services. Each described his or her new position.

As of Aug. 22, 14 new Indiana Conference staff members, including six directors, six associates and two support staff have been named and are on staff. Four more announcements will be made in early September. Ten district assistant positions are now open and available online at The total number of staff members to be hired on or before Jan. 1 will include 53 employees including districts.

In announcing the completion of the new conference employee handbook, the Rev. Adolf Hansen, interim human resources director, promised that the HR Committee also will be writing three model congregational handbooks for use in large-, medium- and small-membership congregations.

The next Conference Leadership Table will meet on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the new Indiana Conference Office at 301 Pennsylvania Parkway just north of I-465 in Indianapolis.

Other items discussed or announced at the meeting include:

  • The next two annual conference sessions plan to be held at Ball State University in mid-June.
  • Two special offerings – the Campus Ministries Fund and the Compassion Fund for Pastors – will be established in 2010 by the Conference Committee on Finance and Administration.
  • The Board of Ordained Ministries announced 25 candidates for ordained ministry and 27 candidates for commissioning are in process for the 2010 conference session.
  • Conference trustees will be selling the two conference centers in Marion and Bloomington.
  • The cabinet is transitioning from 18 to 10 districts by Jan. 1.
  • Jesse Wilfong of Floyds Knobs was seated as the new youth-young adult member of the Table.
  • Shirley Saddler of Van Buren was seated as the new prayer coordinator of the Table.
  • Co-lay Leader Kayc Mykrantz said laity will be working with congregations to help the front door of the church stay open and the back door shut, meaning to keep members from leaving.
  • Co-lay Leader Ike Williams announced that the worldwide meeting of conference lay leaders will be held in Indianapolis in 2011.
  • The United Methodist global Youth 2011 will be held at Purdue University in July 2011.
  • Brent Williams, director of administrative services, will be holding five meeting across Indiana to explain the new health-care insurance subsidy elections for retired clergy.
  • Jennifer Gallagher, new conference treasurer, said the 2010 conference budget is a realistic budget set at $15 million. She said if all congregations paid their conference tithe, conference income would be $3 million over budget.
  • United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women will be represented on the Leadership Team follow their organizations’ election of officers this fall.

The members and contact information about the members of the Leadership Team can be found here.

Bishop Mike Coyner opens the first session of the new Indiana Conference Leadership Table at Carmel UMC, Aug. 22.

“The task of the new Leadership Table is one of coordinating and deciding, not micromanaging.”

 – Bishop Mike Coyner