On Saturday, October 17th at Castleton UMC, I will gather with all laity of our Indiana Conference for our first “Laity Day with the Bishop,” an event that is sponsored by our Indiana Conference Board of Laity and Leadership Development Team. Doris Clark, the Indiana Conference Lay Leader, invites all laypersons in the Conference to attend to “join the laity of the Indiana Conference for a day of Loving, Learning and Leading when we will come together this October to celebrate the call of the ministry of the laity.” We hope that all laypersons from our Conference will join us for this event as a time to discover your own leadership potential, as well as connect with others. Laity Day will be a time to work together to reflect and contemplate how all of us can have an impact on our congregations, communities and the world abroad.

A Fruitful Leader has been defined by the Leadership Development Team as a passionate influencer that empowers others for intentional transformation in Christ. Laity Day will help us explore how we as leaders can live into this definition through a series of five workshops, guest speakers, as well as a time of celebration and praise together. My role is to teach and focus on the theme of this year’s event “A Call to Fruitfulness.”

Over my years as bishop I have been involved in various events with the laity of our conference, but this format is new and enticing. I feel a deep sense of responsibility, and I also welcome this opportunity. I have been working on my presentation, and I find myself dealing with deep issues of discipleship. It is time for our United Methodist Church to get serious about “discipleship” and not just to use our mission statement (“making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”) as a bumper sticker. It is time for us to help our people to live fruitful lives of discipleship – something that goes far beyond simply being a church member.

So I invite the laity of our conference, as well as our clergy to come and learn how to build relationships together and to celebrate the laity of our Conference. To learn more about “Laity Day with the Bishop” and to register for this event, please visit www.inumc.org/laityday.

Please come and join me on October 17th from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Castleton United Methodist Church for a day of exploring our calling to fruitfulness together.