The 135th session of the General Board of The Wesleyan Church met at the denominational headquarters in Fishers, Indiana, May 2 and 3.
Led by General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt, the members met to discuss important denominational matters at the two-day meeting. Heather Semple (senior pastor of Red Cedar Church in Rice Lake, Wisc.), Steve DeNeff (senior pastor at College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Ind.), and Lisa Harding (lay leader and medical doctor who attends ALIVE Wesleyan Church in Central, S.C.) all led devotionals.
This year's focused priority of General Board was "Celebrating every time a disciple makes a disciple and a church multiplies itself until The Wesleyan Church has a transforming presence in every zip code." Conversations about strategy on how best to support churches in this multiplication landed on three pilot ideas to test and report back to the General Board on progress:
- Sending Church Connection: creating a new category to pilot where parent churches send out new congregations that remain under the governing authority of the sending church and may utilize a variety of church life and multiplication models
- Adopted Church: creating a new category whereby an existing church becomes adopted by another church, including a suggested memorandum of understanding to clarify these relationships
- Regional Partnerships: empowering district superintendents to explore regional partnerships for shared ministry
A highlight of this General Board meeting included the introduction of special guests from the Ibero-America Regional Conference. Those who visited included Dr. Benjamin Galarce, regional director; Carlos Martinez, regional director; Luis Azofeifa, regional director; and José McKella, secretary-treasurer. This is a newly recognized regional conference of The Wesleyan Church, as of General Board, 2016.
As part of the meetings, General Board members also spent time in the six divisions at Wesleyan Headquarters (Global Partners, Church Multiplication and Discipleship, Communication and Administration/Wesleyan Publishing House, Education and Clergy Development, General Treasurer's Office, and the General Superintendent's Office) to meet Headquarters employees and to hear reports from general officers within each division.
Other business highlights included:
- Fiscal year 2018 budget approval
- United Stewardship Fund study team update
- Multiplication funding update on the National Multiplication Sunday (June 4)
- Established Risk Committee recommended by the Executive Board
Kevin Batman, General Treasurer/CFO of The Wesleyan Church, gave several reports detailing the Church's financial position.