Bishop Coyner interview on Transition from Indiana Conference UMC on Vimeo.

Now that we know the assignment of the new bishop for Indiana (Bishop Julius Trimble), I have had some people ask me for the list which I shared at the “Our Life Together” retreat for clergy earlier this year which I entitled: How to Impress Your New Bishop. I am glad to share that list again, especially since only clergy saw it, but first let me say some things about Bishop Trimble.

I have known Julius Trimble since before he was elected a bishop in 2008, but of course during these past eight years we have been colleagues on the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops and the global Council of Bishops of our UMC. I am proud to say he is a friend as well as a colleague, so I am very pleased to welcome him to Indiana. Here are some things I know about Bishop Trimble: he is a writer (his latest book is entitled “A Faithful Church and a Healthy World”), he even writes poetry, he has a great sense of humor, he is personable, he is an excellent and powerful preacher, he loves the Lord and the loves our UMC (even if he – like all of us – has concerns about our UMC, he loves the UMC). He is a hard worker, and he is a faithful friend. Indiana is going to enjoy getting to know Bishop and Mrs. Trimble.

Now for my list of “how to impress your new bishop” (written obviously before I knew the identity of our new bishop):

HOW TO IMPRESS YOUR NEW BISHOP:

  • maintain high ethical standards and avoid even the appearance of misconduct
  • pay your conference tithe and district asking in full
  • lead your church to make disciples and to be outwardly-focused in mission to your community and to the world
  • develop your own personal growth plan and follow it
  • support whatever new initiatives the bishop brings for mission and ministry
  • don't tell too many stories about the way we used to do things pray for and care for the new bishop and family

THE GOOD THING ABOUT HAVING A NEW BISHOP:

  • that person will not know you, so you get a fresh start in making a good impression (some of you need that because impressions get stale)
  • that person will be able to look with "new eyes" at the Indiana Conference (which is a real gift if we all accept it)
  • that person will bring new ideas
  • that person will have a different style
  • that person will be ask us good questions and force us to re-think why we do what we do, rather than simply keep doing the same routine

Transitions are often the times that God is able to get our attention, to speak to us, and to have us listen. So I welcome the opportunity to have Bishop Trimble assume the leadership of our Indiana Conference on September 1st, and I hope you do, too.