Leadership Development Team

Rev. Shannon Stringer
Rev. Shannon StringerDirector of Leadership Development
As the Director of Leadership Development, Reverend Shannon Stringer draws on more than 25 combined years of leading in education, ministry and staff supervision. Shannon’s personal educational background includes a Master’s in American Government with an emphasis in Constitutional Law and a Masters of Divinity and Ordination in the United Methodist Church. As an educator Shannon was awarded the US Congressional Recognition of Excellence in Education, the Coaching Excellence Award from SCORE, Coach of the Year two different years from the Fontana, CA Chamber. In her pastoral ministry, Shannon served three churches before moving to conference staff. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Dave, and their two dogs.
Emily Krach
Emily KrachAssociate Director of Leadership Development - Emerging Leaders
Emily Krach is a part of the Leadership Development team, specifically working with emerging leaders. This also includes working closely with adults who support young people.She is a veteran youth leader with a passion for empowering and developing leaders of all ages for the sake of the next generation of the church. She attended Huntington University for her undergrad in Youth Ministry and Indiana Wesleyan University for her Masters in Organizational Leadership. Currently, she is also a mentor for young professional women through the Edge Mentoring program. Emily has been a part of the United Methodist Church all her life and is a native Hoosier now residing in Fort Wayne where she can have her nieces and nephews in her home regularly. She finds great joy in walking her dog (Bear), exploring parks, and sitting near a body of water.
Rev. Matthew Leffler
Rev. Matthew LefflerAssociate Director of Leadership Development - Ministerial Services
As the Associate Director of Leadership Development – Ministerial Services, Matthew serves asanadaptive thinker who ensures consistency throughout the candidacy process and strategically ensures the Board of Ordained Ministry’s actions, policies, and procedures are being consistently followed by all its entities. Matthew brings years of leadership experience with him including serving in leadership roles on boards for non-profit organizations. He also served as a student representative on the Board of Trustees and as Student Council President while attending United Theological Seminary. Matthew, a second career pastor, spent 14 years as a manufacturing engineer in the automotive and glass industries prior to entering the ministry. He was first appointed as a bi-vocational Supply Pastor in 1998, and then ordained as an Elder in the former Northern Indiana Conference in 2007. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Ball State University and Masters of Divinity from United Theological Seminary. His hobbies include golfing, reading, singing and spending time with family. Matthew and his wife, Tracey, have two children, Mickala and Matt.
Ed Metzler
Ed MetzlerAdministrator of Leadership Development - Ministerial Services
Ed Metzler, a native of Erie, PA, has worked full-time for the Indiana area since 2010, including serving as secretary to two bishops before taking his present position. He served 20 years as a public affairs specialist (both public relations and journalism) in the United States Air Force. Upon retirement from the Air Force, he and his wife, Erma, moved to Indianapolis, where Ed had previously served. Ed began working as a freelancer with the Hoosier United Methodist conference newspaper in 1995. His current role is Administrator of Leadership Development – Ministerial Services. He is married to Erma Metzler, Secretary to the Bishop. They have two grown children and three grandchildren in the Indianapolis area.
Darlene White
Darlene WhiteConference Assistant - Leadership Development
Darlene White has worked in the Administrative industry for 12 years, gaining valuable experience in the NICU at Riley Hospital, IU Methodist Hospital in the Labor and Delivery unit, and in the Executive Leadership office at IU West Hospital. Darlene was hired by the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2014 to serve as a Conference Assistant assigned to the Connectional Team and Leadership Development Team. Currently, she serves as the Conference Assistant assigned to the Leadership Development Team. Outside of the office, Darlene is passionate about Health and Fitness, as well as spending time with her two wonderful children and her amazing husband.
R.C. Muhlbaier
R.C. MuhlbaierAssociate Director of Leadership Development - Laity & Discipleship
The Rev. Shannon Stringer, Director of Leadership Development, is pleased to announced that Robert C. Muhlbaier, III (R.C.) will serve as the Associate Director of Leadership Development – Laity effective October 29, 2018.

Mulhbaier’s primary responsibilities will be to support the Board of Laity and Lay Servant Ministry, while simultaneously providing development resources for local church lay leaders, as well as working collaboratively with the Director of Leadership Development to realize the vision of Leadership Development and fulfill the mission of the Indiana Conference.

Michele Phillips
Michele PhillipsAdministrative Assistant of Local Pastor Education
Michele Phillips serves as the Part-Time Administrative Assistant for Local Pastor Education for the Indiana Annual Conference. She oversees and manages registrations, guides the students in class selections, assists the Director of the Indiana Course of Study Extension School, works closely with the University of Indianapolis to provide adequate facilities for learning and is the liaison between the students and their instructors.
During her time in this position, Michele has implemented and streamlined the electronic registration process and worked with the Director to improve communication with the students in understanding the process for applying to school, as well as, the requirements for part-time local pastors in their continuing education.
In addition to her position as Administrative Assistant, Michele works full time at Saint Joseph UMC in Fort Wayne where she serves as the Director of Church Operations. She has been in her position for six years. Michele also serves at Saint Joseph as a volunteer worship leader and wedding coordinator. Michele has been married to her husband Jeff for 26 years and has two daughters ages 20 and 17.
Britt LeslieDirector of Local Pastor Education