Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 1.38.10 PMThe Indiana Conference’s Church Development team is tracking 25 new-faith communities that have been launched the past few years.  Together  they average 2,500 people in weekly worship attendance.  Praise God!

Each person reached has the potential of a changed life–like Amber Bean who a year ago wasn’t a Christian.  But now, thanks to Kristo’s Hands & Feet and the work of the Holy Spirit, Amber is passionate about her relationship with Christ and serving Him.  You can view her amazing testimony by clicking this link.

There are many, many others like Amber in your neighborhood.  So who is God counting on you and your church to bring the hope and joy of new life in Jesus Christ this Lenten Season?

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

img_0368Every month a list of prayer concerns go out to folk who are involved in supporting Church Development‘s work in Indiana’s United Methodist Church.  If you’re interested in receiving these monthly notes and support Church Development’s work in prayer, please email ed.fenstermacher@inumc.org.  Below is March’s note.  — Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

Friends, Please pray for Bloomington St. Paul UMC today and tomorrow as it goes through its FCJ consultation.  Please pray for its pastor Dave Mullens, and the consult team of Steve Clouse, Jack Hartman, Tony Alstott (coach) and Kirk Freeman.

Pray for Monson Community’s Church for All People congregation.  Pray that God will help the Bishop and Cabinet to find the right person to lead it.  It’s a very unique ministry and needs someone who can develop partnerships and grow the funding.  Right now there is a faithful group that serves two free meals to the public every Saturday and Sunday!  Their commitment is truly amazing.  They have served 3,000 people, some of whom have joined their ranks and have had their lives transformed.

Pray for Huntertown UMC, led by Tony Johnson, as it launches a new congregation tomorrow (Sunday) at its Lifehouse campus, formerly called the Third Place.  Also pray for Hope UMC, led by Stacy Downing (near Fort Wayne), as it launches The Matt, a new outreach ministry located in a former laundromat in a mobile home park.

Thanks for your prayers for our recent CD Committee meeting.  Three grants were awarded—one to fund St. Joseph UMC’s new congregation that is being launched out of a YMCA, another to Christ UMC in Lafayette to help it establish a new congregation reaching the marginalized called Church for Everyone, and a third to Upland UMC as it relocates to a new site with expanded ministry.  So exciting to see God working!

Other prayer concerns…

March 9th — Church Development staff meeting

March 13th — Day of prayer and fasting for our Bishop and conference leadership as well as our Jurisdiction’s Episcopal leaders and denomination

March 17-19 — FCJ consultation for Bedford First whose pastor is Michelle White.  Consult team is Jack Hartman, Mark Eutsler, Dennis Ticen (coach), Dan Snyder

Please also pray for the following church planting projects:

East Chicago Torre Fuerte UMC (Strong Tower).  Leaders:  Esequiel & Suri Becerra.  North District.  Pray for the Becerra at the loss of his father Santos.

Elkhart New Hope UMC’s Casa de Mi Padre.  Leader:  Jorge Maldonado.  North District.

Elkhart Servant’s Heart Community.  Leader:  Nancy Bennett.  North District.

Fort Wayne Covenant UMC’s ministry with Parkview Family YMCA.  Covenant’s lead pastor:  Karen Koelsch.  Pray as the church recruits its team.

Fort Wayne Kristo’s Hands and Feet, a missional plant by St. Joseph UMC.  Leader:  Steve Mekaru.  Northeast District.  Prayers:  Please pray for me and our team as we transition from full time to part time in this ministry.

Fort Wayne St. Joseph UMC’s Lehman YMCA Campus.  Leader:  Jason Morris.

Greentown Miso Congregation.  Leader:  Lal Ralte.  Pray for this UM congregation of over 200 Burmese.

Huntertown UMC’s Lifehouse Campus.  Huntertown’s lead pastor:  Tony Johnson.  Pray as they launch a contemporary service in its new location.

Indianapolis Casa de Dios (second campus of Fort Wayne Getsemani UMC).  Leader:  Marissa Calleja.  Central District.  Prayers:  Please help us pray for the continual growth of our new faith believers in Christ.

Indianapolis Engage.  Leader:  Sharon Washington.  Central District.  Pray for the pre-launch/preview worship activities, and opportunities to strengthen staffing and facilities.

Indianapolis Old Bethel Hispanic Faith Community.  Pastor: Jen Stuelple-Gibbs.  Lead planter:  Sergio Reyes.  Central District.

Indianapolis The Garden.  Pastor:  Carolyn Scanlan.  Central District.

Indianapolis Vida Nueva.  Pastor:  David Penelva.  Central District.   Pray for our training program to raise up house church leaders.

Indianapolis Wesley’s Luz de Vida.  Pastors:  Carlos & Mirna Doliveira.

Lafayette Christ’s Church for Everyone.  Leader:  Stephanie Hanslow.  Northwest District.  Pray for it as it gets launched.

Ligonier UMC’s Nuevos Principios.  Leaders:  Jesus & Oliva Saucedo.  Northeast District.  Pray as the congregation’s leaders discern its future.

Marion Hanfield UMC’s BORN second campus in Marion.  Leader: Chuck Vernon.  North Central District.  Pray as it considers hiring a coach.

Muncie Main Street & The Garden at Gethsemane.  Leader Vickie Perkins.  East District.

Pfrimmer’s Chapel’s Mercy Street recovery congregations.  Pastor Tim Johnson and leader Bill Walsh.  South District.  Prayer:  Also pray for the church’s plants in South America—one at Berrugas, Colombia, led by Edgar & Julie Zuluaga, and another at El Poblado, Colombia, led by Claudio Acevedo Benitez.  Also pray for The Open House, a Saturday night worship service at the Kent Java Coffee Bar, led by Tyler Best, and The Joshua Center, a Ministry of Mentoring and Training Leaders in downtown Corydon, led by Jeannie Bedel.

South Bend Monson Community UMC’s storefront United Methodist Church for All People.  Leader:  To be announced.  North District.  Prayer:  Pray for the church and Larry Whitehead as they replace its former pastor.   Pray for the laity as they continue the church’s outreach ministries.

Washington Haitian Faith Community, meeting at Wesley UMC.  Pray as the conference/district helps them find a pastor who speaks Creole.  (We think we’ve found the right person!)

West Lafayette Korean Disciples Church.  Leader:  Rev. Kookjin Yun.  Northwest District.  Prayer:  Please pray for our college group to grow more in the upcoming spring semester.

Whitestown.  Leader:  Seth Neckers.  Pray for Seth as he explores the possibility of developing a new UM faith community in the fastest growing community in Indiana.

Winchester UMC a third campus of Compass Church.  Leader:  Jeremy Duncan.  East District.  Please pray for discernment as to the next steps with the Winchester Campus Education Building. Also, how to continue to engage with the Winchester community to build relationship and connection so that Jesus Christ can be shared with them.

Close to 300 large churches in the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church have participated in the Fruitful Congregation Journey (FCJ) revitalization process.  Are you aware of a new FCJ process designed especially for small churches?

FCJ-Impact, designed for churches averaging 70 or fewer in weekly worship attendance, guides a church on how to thrive in its “tomorrows” instead of hoping to just survive them.

Eight UM churches in the Kokomo area are just completing a pilot run of FCJ-Impact.  Participant Evan Strong, pastor of Bunker Hill UMC, writes of his experience:

“This journey has blessed me. To be honest, in the beginning I was dreading giving up my Saturdays, but once we got started, I knew it was going to be worth every second. I would take this Fruitful Congregation Journey again!

“FCJ-Impact has taught me new ways to spread God’s love to people who may otherwise have never experienced it. I’ve learned to change (modify) and add to what we do and would like to do within our church without disrupting the entire congregation. I will miss our meetings, but know our church will continue to apply everything we have learned.

“As a clergy member, I see FCJ-Impact empowering for the laity. It has given my laity confidence that they can be effective ministers too.”

Although done over an 18-month period, FCJ-Impact involves nine Saturday learning sessions where teams from participating churches come together with an FCJ facilitator-coach.  Each local church is required to bring a significant number of lay people to each session– 20% of its congregation’s average worship attendance.  With such a large number of leaders from the congregation participating, the church is much more likely to apply the concepts and use the tools back home.

FCJ-Impact is beginning to expand.  Rev. Randy Anderson, Associate DS for the Southwest District, says that over 60 participants from five of his district’s churches gathered earlier this month at St. Peter’s UMC in Posey County to begin their FCJ-Impact journey.  He is anticipating another group to begin in another part of the district.

img_0519The group began their journey focusing on the alignment of vision and mission.  Participants shared their ideas and experiences, and then prepared a ministry action plan to work on in their local settings over the next two months.

Rev. Jeff Newton of Kokomo reflecting on his experience participating in the pilot group of churches said:  “This experience has transformed the five churches I lead. We have new direction, vision, and most of all HOPE!”  Praise God!

For more information about FCJ-Impact visit Church Development’s website.

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development

ymca-logoA YMCA under construction in Fort Wayne has jasoninvited St. Joseph United Methodist Church to launch a worshiping community in its new facility, which opens later this year.  The church, under the leadership of Rev. Russ Abel, has tapped its associate pastor, Jason Morris, to lead the project.  The Cabinet appointed Pastor Morris to the church last summer with the specific purpose of planting the new congregation.

There are other communities, such as Dayton, Ohio, in which similar relationships have developed between YMCAs and United Methodist churches, but we believe this is the first in Indiana.

The idea began years ago, when St. Joseph UMC voted to purchase 29 acres of land just a quarter of a mile east of the church’s landlocked property.  Rather than relocate the entire church to this larger site, which they named Praise Park, the church caught a vision of becoming a church with multiple locations, including Praise Park.

A few years ago, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne decided to purchase land for a new location and the land chosen just happened to be adjacent to Praise Park.  After ongoing conversations, the Y and St. Joseph agreed to enter into a partnership.  The Y invited the church to launch a new weekly worship service in its new facility.  The church, on the other hand, invited the Y to use its acres of recreational fields at Praise Park.  And now Pastor Morris and St. Joseph have the opportunity to serve not only the estimated 8,000-10,000 new Y members who will be frequenting the Y’s new location, but also to serve the yet-to-be-reached population living nearby who would never be attracted to St. Joseph’s original facility.

God clearly had something beautiful in mind years ago for that part of Fort Wayne.  What future does God have in mind for your church and community?

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development

unknownDoes your church struggle with reaching the younger generation?  Has it given up on them?  It seems an ever-increasing number of reports indicate that this generation isn’t interested in our churches, so the idea of giving up has no doubt crossed the minds of some in the church.   But wait, not so fast, there’s hope!  With God there’s always hope!

I recently attended Church of the Resurrection‘s Leadership Institute in Leawood, Kansas, and had the opportunity to hear Haydn Shaw, who is a leading expert on generations and has written the book entitled, Generational I.Q.:  Christianity Isn’t Dying, Millennials Aren’t the Problem, and the Future Is Bright.  Shaw said that much of the dire statistics related to the younger generation are overstating and misconstruing what is really happening in our culture.  Church participation and the religious beliefs of the younger generation haven’t changed all that much over the years.  However, the god they believe in looks less and less like that of orthodox Christianity.  And that is a problem.

He said that the best way to reach those of the younger generation is through the Boomers.  They have the opportunity to connect well with that generation.  Studies show that seven out of ten young people will drop out of church.  However, if an adult sends a young adult that they know in their church a text twice a month, there’s a 60% likelihood that they’ll never leave!  Wow!  So let’s start texting today!

He also said that a study done by researcher Christian Smith (Oxford University Press) indicates that the best way to strengthen the institutional church is babies!  Young people having babies makes them more likely to regularly participate in church.  So there you go!  Text your young people and encourage them to have babies!

P.S. Not for the sake of saving our churches, but rather saving and growing our young people as Christ’s disciples!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development

 

God continues to move in the Indiana Conference in amazing ways.  One such way is the addition of a new Korean United Methodist Church in West Lafayette named Korean Disciple that is already averaging around 100 in worship and has baptized nine people, including six adults.  Praise God!

church-plantingIts founding pastor, Jong Hyun Jung (a.k.a. Tim) has this to say…

“Korean Disciples Church started as a non-denominational church on July 7, 2013. Two families along with me (pastor Tim) began to gather together to pray for a new Korean church that is dedicated to serving the Korean community in the Greater Lafayette area in the summer of 2013. At the top of our goals was to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the area. I was the first leader of the church, and we first met in the lounge at the Purdue Village Community Center. We had 20 people attend the first worship on July 7, 2013.

“And, then, God sent us an amazing wave of revival and it grew to almost 100 in a year. As the number of people who come to our worship increased, we were in a desperate need for a place that is large enough to hold all of us. At that moment, Craig LaSuer, a lead pastor of First United Methodist Church in West Lafayette, graciously let us use the building at a very low rate, which helped us keep the momentum. We now develop many ministries and actively serve Korean undergraduate students who study at Purdue University.

“Because of my plan to graduate from Purdue University (I am a Ph.D. student in sociology at Purdue University), Korean Disciples Church formed a pastoral search committee and looked for a new pastor to fill in my shoes. With almost over 90% of yes from all-congregation vote, Korean Disciples Church decided to welcome Pastor Kookjin Yun (an UMC elder pastor) as our next senior pastor and become affiliated with UMC. The whole congregation is very excited about this transition. Our prayer request is that God helps us go through this transition period smoothly and make a great stride in making disciples of Jesus Christ in the Greater Lafayette area.”

Northwest District Superintendent, Rev. Chris Newman-Jacobs, points out “There are approximately 5,000 Koreans in the West Lafayette/Lafayette area and as one of their [Korean Disciples Church] leaders remarked, ‘About 200 of them attend other Korean congregations.  That means there are 4,800 more that we need to connect with and invite into the saving grace of Jesus Christ.’  Their spirit of mission outreach and evangelism is inspiring and exciting.  I believe this is an outstanding opportunity for the Indiana Conference a new population of disciples in the Lafayette area.”

The Conference Church Development Committee recently approved a $50,000 grant to help the congregation as it continues to develop and reach more people with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Indiana Conference has two other Korean congregations, in Indianapolis and Bloomington, and we warmly welcome our newest sister congregation into our UM family!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

ncj20161-300x176It’s the second Monday of the month.  That means it’s a special day of prayer and fasting for those of us on the North Central Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee.  The committee goes into action this week as delegates to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Peoria, IL, elect four new bishops.  Following the last election, the Episcopacy Committee will assign all nine NCJ bishops–including the four newly elected ones–to the nine Episcopal Areas in the NCJ (Midwest).  As Bishop Mike Coyner is retiring, the Indiana Conference will be receiving a new bishop, something that has happened only once in the last 24 years!

So, I invite you, on my day of prayer and fasting, to join me this week in praying for the Jurisdictional Conference, not only ours in the Midwest, but the other four in the U.S., which will be meeting at the same time.  Together we’ll be electing a number of new United Methodist bishops.  Pray for the candidates.  Pray for us delegates who will be discerning which candidates to elect.  Pray for the twenty-two of us on the Episcopacy Committee who will be determining where to assign the nine NCJ bishops.  Pray, above all, that the Holy Spirit guides the entire process and that God’s will is done.

Prayer makes such a huge difference!  I had a greater sense of prayer support at the recent General Conference in Portland than any of the previous General Conferences I’ve attended.  I sensed God’s spirit on the floor of the conference.  And I believe we experienced a Kairos moment when we adopted the bishop’s proposal to create a commission to bring a plan dealing with human sexuality issues.  Never before had General Conference delegates asked the bishops to lead in this way.  I believe God’s movement in Portland among those of us there was a result of the prayers of many, many people and churches around the world.  If you were one of them, thank you so much!

With the election and assignment of bishops, the Jurisdictional Conference, I believe, will likely impact your church and mine, and our conference, more than any action taken at General Conference.  So don’t stop praying.  This week let’s lift our church and this special process to God and may the results be a real blessing to our churches, conference, and the world!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development