After my E-pistle sharing the vision for starting 100 New Points of Light in 2014 here in Indiana, I have received lots of affirmation and lots of questions.
Even though the plans are still being developed, let me respond to the questions I am most often asked about this vision of 100 New Points of Light in 2014:
Question: Who can do this?
Answer: Any group of United Methodists who are willing to give it a try, to be related to an existing UM church, and who are willing to think "outside the box" to help start a new worship opportunity which will meet at least monthly. It could be a youth group which starts a new worship opportunity to reach other youth. It could be some of our many Lay Servant Ministers who have been trained and want to start a new worship opportunity. It could be a pastor who has been waiting for the opportunity to be supported by the Conference in starting something new. It could be "house church" worship experience. It could be an off-site worship opportunity. It could even be a new worship opportunity inside an existing church – as long as it is designed to reach new people.
Question: What will the $500 do?
Answer: It can be used for anything to help start a new worship opportunity to reach NEW PEOPLE: Publicity. New musical instruments. Videos. Invitations mailed. New signs. Rent for an off-site facility. A stipend for musicians. A stipend for the custodian who has to do extra work. The $500 may not cover all the costs for starting something new, but it is a help, and it is a way for the Indiana Conference as a whole to support the efforts of 100 congregations to start 100 New Points of Light. (I mean, really, when was the last time your local congregation received money FROM the Conference?).
Question: What are the requirements?
Answer: The only two requirements are: (1) these new worship opportunities must be related to a local United Methodist congregation, (2) you must share your results and what you learned from starting a new worship opportunity (so we can learn and do it better next time). Of course the only other requirement is a desire to share the Light of Christ with more people.
Question: Do you really think we can do this (start 100 new worship opportunities in 2014)?
Answer: Yes, this is something we can do. It is especially something smaller congregations can do. It is something any group of 5 or 6 United Methodists can do. It is something we need to do. There is too much "darkness" in our state of Indiana. We can help by providing 100 New Points of Light in 2014. Perhaps not every one of these new worship opportunities will "succeed" or "prosper" – but even if not, we can learn from those experiences and succeed the next time.
Question: What is the next step?
Answer: Pray. Something this big can only happen if it is indeed a God-thing. So pray to discern if this vision is right for our Indiana Conference. Pray to discover if God is calling you, your Sunday School class, your Bible study group, your youth group, your UMW circle, your UMM group, and your congregation to be one of those who comes forward at Annual Conference to pick up your envelope of resources and to say, "Yes, I want to start one of those 100 New Points of Light."