INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church’s live conversation on the Indiana Conference Facebook page, Wednesday, April 11, looked to listen, learn, and engage in the question, “What does missional look like?” Indiana Conference bishop, Julius C. Trimble, was joined by the Rev. Jamalyn Peigh Williamson, Pastor of Outreach at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, and the Rev. Duane Carlisle, Senior Pastor of Main Street United Methodist Church in Kokomo, Ind. The conversation was moderated by Indiana Conference Communication Director, Skyler Nimmons.
The live conversation began by outlining the Indiana Conference core values, mission, and vision; which were introduced by Bishop Trimble and the Extended Cabinet at the 2017 session of the Indiana Annual Conference. The launch of this intentional focus came with an invitation and challenge for the Conference and each church to be fully missional by 2020.
But in order to become a fully missional Conference, we must start by asking a question, “What does missional look like?” It is an opportunity for each of us to look inward as well as outward. In our local churches, throughout our communities, and abroad.
As a launching point for these conversations, each member of the Indiana Conference was encouraged to read Shaped by God’s Heart by Milfred Minatrea.
In the book, Minatrea outlines that a missional church:
- is engaged in life-giving changes for Christ in their personal and corporate mission fields.
- makes disciples of Jesus Christ who are outwardly focused, serving Jesus in the world.
- “is a reproducing community of authentic disciples, being equipped as missionaries sent by God, to live and proclaim [God’s] kingdom in their world” (xvi).
As the conversation began Peigh Williamson and Carlisle touched on the ministries they are a part of in their local churches as well as the struggles their congregations look to overcome as they continue to engage fully in the mission.
Peigh Williamson, who also oversees the Crooked Creek Food Pantry in Indianapolis, touched on the notion that often the best ministry we can offer someone is to “do” nothing but rather, sit with them and learn their story.
“Being missional is about moving beyond just programs but having authentic relationships,” said Carlisle.
Bishop Trimble shared a little more about his vision and heart for the Indiana Conference, “We are living in a time where we, in the Church, need to be changed ourselves.” He continued “we have a lot of containment churches, where we want to contain the ministry and care for ourselves as opposed to letting God break us open.”
As we continue to have conversations both in person and “live” on what it looks like to be a fully missional Conference, there will be opportunities for each of us to discern how we can have relational and sustainable ministries on a local, as well as, global level as Indiana United Methodists.
A complete, high quality “studio” version of the conversation can be viewed here.