Congregational Development

The task of the Congregation Development Team is to start new congregations and revitalize existing congregations. The team of five includes: Director Mark Gough and associate directors Sharon Washington, Steve Clouse, Ed Fenstermacher and David Neckers. The Indiana Conference is focused on the ministry that takes place in the congregations.

First Focus

  • Revitalizing existing congregations through new worship services, relocating and working with vital mergers of congregations.
  • In the Fruitful Congregations conference program, 49 lay teams and pastors shared learning – leadership development.
  • Congregational Development’s Journey program Step 1 will be offered to 50 additional churches in September.
  • In 2012 a Journey Small Church Initiative will be offered.

Second Focus

  • New worship communities,
  • Stand alone plants and
  • Second or multi-site plants

The Congregational Development team asked conference members to pray for each other’s congregations. Gough concluded the report by asking members to turn to another person and tell that person what you are going to do when you go home to improve your congregation’s outreach. For more information, visit

Pastor Tony Johnson has launched a new church in Johnson County just south of Indianapolis named The Grove UMC.

UM Foundation of Indiana reported for the first time

Manet Shettle, president of the new United Methodist Foundation of Indiana, announced the new UMFI was founded Jan. 1, 2011. Former foundation offices were closed at the direction of the previous annual conference session.

Seven of ten personnel positions have been filled. The goal of the foundation is providing financial resources for the church. Shettle said that the foundation was “blessed with employees that stayed through the transition.”

The conference confirmed the members of the UMFI board.

Loan and Savings Ministry is part of the UMFI and focuses on low-cost loans for our churches and agencies. Deposits come from church members, churches and agencies. They have loaned more than $30 million dollars without a loan lost from small loans to make improvements to mortgage-sized loans. Buildings don’t make new member; member make new members, she said.

The foundation is developing partnerships with the conference ministries of camping, Operation Classroom and the Rejuvenate project. The foundation also offers workshops on stewardships.

The foundation through the Retired Ministers Fund established in 1854 made a contribution to the annual conference of more than $247,000.

Rejuvenate process outlined to members

Michelle Cobb, Rejuvenate project director, reported the Rejuvenate project, now two years old, has a goal to provide for improvements in pastoral leadership in Indiana. The project offers educational resources on stewardship and financial management. It also offers grants to pastors to assist them with their debt, especially educational debt. Rejuvenate is a partnership with the Lilly Endowment.

For more information, visit