I was pleased last summer when the North Central Jurisdiction assigned me back to Indiana to serve my final quadrennium as your Bishop. This past fall in District Days in all ten districts, I shared my hopes for these years and my prayer that I might “finish strong.” During those District Days, I also invited those in attendance to share their hopes and dreams for our Indiana Conference, and the Committee on Episcopacy has helped me to review hundreds of cards and emails with your suggestions. My thanks to the team from the Committee on Episcopacy who helped in that process including: Kayc Mykrantz, Julie Pimlott, Larry Marhanka and Diane Purnell.

As I shared in the January 2013 issue of the Hoosier United Methodists Together, our conference newspaper, we also have launched three “Spiritual Leadership Teams” to help our Conference leadership become more effective spiritual leaders. Under the consultation and coaching of Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (SLI), those three operational teams are: the Cabinet Team, the Directors Team and a Bishop’s Team. These three teams have been working on the SLI process of “Loving one another and God, Learning together and Leading.”

A part of the work of these three teams has been to discern the major emphases of our Indiana Conference for the future. Please note that this whole process is not about “saving our denomination” or “saving the Indiana Conference.” This is a process of discerning God’s direction for our future in order for each of us in our own unique way (no one size fits all) to be a world-changer who helps usher the Reign of God into our churches, our state and our world.

In a wonderful confluence of the guidance of God’s Spirit, the response from those District Days and the work of our three Spiritual Leadership Teams have come together around these priorities:

  • Excellence in leadership (both clergy and laity),
  • Vibrant congregations of faithful disciples,
  • Reaching a new generation for Christ,
  • Carrying and sharing the vision of God’s Reign, and
  • Efficient administrative support for our ministries.

For each of these five priorities, the teams are developing a whole series of implications and ministries to achieve them, but for now the Spiritual Leadership Teams would like to have your feedback. Here are three questions to which the teams seek responses:

  • Are these priorities the appropriate ones for our Indiana Conference?
  • Can you support these priorities and help us to achieve them?
  • Do you have other suggestions or areas of emphasis that we have overlooked?

You are welcome to give your responses and feedback directly to me at bishop@inumc.org or you can comment directly to any of the members of the Bishop’s Team listed here:

The Rev. David Byrum (the Chairperson of the Cabinet), the Rev. Cindy Reynolds (the Executive Assistant to the Bishop), Mrs. Jennifer Gallagher (the Conference Treasurer), Mr. Roger Summers (the Lay Leader of the NE District), and Mrs. Doris Clark (the Lay Leader of the Central District).

We know that these are large, over-arching priorities. Here is what each of us can do:

  • Pray for God’s guidance for our Indiana Conference;
  • Live your own life as an inspired, enthusiastic lay or clergy leader and disciple of Jesus;
  • Be intentional in seeking and sharing the vision of what God is doing;
  • Submit your personal agendas to God’s agenda; and
  • Define and overcome any obstacles to following God’s agenda.

Thanks again for the privilege of serving as your Bishop. May God continue to bless and guide our Indiana Conference and may we all respond to God’s call to follow Christ, help make disciples and transform the world.

Yours in Christ,
Bishop Mike Coyner