NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner shared his life experiences with more than 650 confirmands from across Indiana during an all-day Youth Rally at First United Methodist Church in Noblesville March 9.
The rally, titled “Shinin’ So Bright We Gotta Wear Shades” was based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world…”
The Indiana Conference Youth Ministry Team led by Helene Foust put on the all-day event with Coyner, who was featured during an afternoon interview in which he shared his life experiences as a Christian called to ordained ministry and as a bishop.
He said he felt God’s call to ministry while in high school during a youth camp. “In those days, I think my mom was my biggest cheerleader.”
Coyner was elected a Bishop in The United Methodist Church in 1996 at Fort Wayne and spent his first eight years in the Dakotas. He returned to Indiana in 2004, the place where he began his ministry.
He explained that his greatest experience is being in a different church in Indiana most every Sunday and being with youth. He went on to say that as bishop he has seen God working around the world and he has experienced United Methodists doing ministry in Asia, Africa and Europe.
“I see the church is both similar and different,” he said. He shared that once while in Africa when the offering was received, church members “danced their money to put it on the altar.” He just returned with 146 Hoosiers on a trip to Israel where they saw places where Jesus walked.
“It’s very inspiring to go to Israel,” he said.
When asked his favorite Bible verse, he said, “Romans 8 – If God is for us, who can be against us… Nothing can separate us from the love of God…”
And yes, the off-the-wall question, what’s your favorite animal? Bishop Coyner said he is a dog person. Favorite donuts – Krispy Kremes.
Then he asked the youth, “How do you want to shine your light? What if you become the light of Indiana? You are the light – bright lights – all across the state. Be the one light that makes a difference to someone in Indiana. Shine bright!”
Special guests at the rally included worship leader Yancy of Murfreesboro, Tenn., who just a few days earlier released her new CD and DVD “Jesus Music Box” and main stage presenter 14-year-old Gracie Schram of Kansas City, Mo., whose musical ministry has already raised more than $20,000 for two fish ponds in Africa and an orphan home in Haiti.
John Wesley, played by Central District Superintendent Bert Kite, also visited the youth explaining in quaint English terms the meaning of holiness in ones life.
During the event, youth also participated in worship, presentations, workshops, lunch and closed with Holy Communion led by Bishop Coyner.