It’s more than just a New Year’s resolution. Our Indiana Conference leadership is committed to becoming better spiritual leaders, and we have begun a process with a professional consultant group called Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (SLI).

SLI was formed and is led by two lay people who have used their successful business leadership to help church leaders learn to be better leaders.

The SLI philosophy revolves around three principles: Loving, Learning and Leading. Their process focuses on helping to develop leadership teams – what they call “operational teams” – who work together to accomplish the policies and plans that are approved by decision-making groups (such as the Indiana Annual Conference Session and the elected committees of the conference).

The key to these teams is for team members to spend time together (eight hours per month):

  • Loving one another and God,
  • Learning together, and then
  • Leading together.

The parallels of these groups to the early disciples of Jesus and to early Methodist small groups is obvious, and in fact SLI makes heavy use of Scripture and our Wesleyan tradition.

I am very excited about the SLI process, and my own operational team is already off to a good start. My team is composed of the chairperson of the Cabinet (the Rev. Dave Byrum), the current Executive Assistant to the Bishop (the Rev. David VW Owen), the incoming Executive Assistant to the Bishop (the Rev. Cindy Reynolds), the Conference Treasurer (Jennifer Gallagher), and two Lay Leaders (Doris Clark of the Central District and Roger Summers of the Northeast District).

The Cabinet itself also is forming into an operational team, and so are the Conference Directors. There are overlaps among these three teams, and that is by design, so coordination of our efforts will provide effective leaders for the whole Indiana Conference.

No matter what process we use as Christian leaders, it is true that the Christian community can only grow as far as its leaders can grow. Much of the growth is spiritual growth by which we can become better disciples of Jesus Christ, better team members and better leaders.

I invite you to reflect upon these questions which can serve as more than a New Year’s resolution:

  1. Am I spending time each day in prayer, Bible study and listening for God’s guidance in my life?
  2. Do I have a group or team of trusted friends and colleagues around me to support me and to hold me accountable?
  3. Am I committed to being a life-long learner, especially learning how to grow in my Christian walk?
  4. Will I treat myself with grace and not use my temporary failures as an excuse to give up?
  5. Will I treat others with grace and allow them the freedom to grow in their own faith.

I pray that this year 2013 will be a time for all of us to grow as spiritual leaders.

Bishop Michael J. Coyner
Making a difference in Indiana
and around the world