“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). This was the Scripture selected for the 137th General Board Session. The May 1 and 2 meeting was held at The Wesleyan Church (TWC) World Headquarters, Fishers, Indiana.
General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt introduced a pattern of prayer using the acronym, P.R.A.Y. (Praise, Repent, Ask and Yield), and invited General Board members and guests to pray at various times throughout the meeting. Schmidt also presented his annual report including a verbal vision session on how the process of “Co-Intercession, Co-Invention and Co-Intention” is impacting TWC leadership.
Schmidt referenced first the season of Co-Intercession, in which Wesleyans were asked to engage in 50 days of focused prayer. Next, he referenced the season of Co-Invention, in which Wesleyans focused on how to address the gospel gap through increased evangelistic intensity in a disciple-making movement. He last referenced the season of Co-Intention, moving from ideation to implementation, explaining that Wesleyans are entering relationships of mutual voluntary submission and accountability. Other topics included geographic missional relationships and TWC essential ecclesiology—the qualities that define us as a church.
Church planters Danielle Freed of Waterline Church, Fishers, Indiana, Steve McVey of Lamont Wesleyan Church, Lamont, Kansas, and Mike Hilson of New Life Wesleyan Church, La Plata, Maryland, participated in a Sending Church Panel sharing about innovations and challenges related to sending out new church plants. Freed spoke about planting churches in high schools to reach small-population communities, McVey talked about planting strategies in rural communities and Hilson shared about different kinds of congregations to meet different needs.
Reports were presented by TWC executive directors, USF Study leaders Dave Drury and Jerry Lumston, Wesleyan Pension Fund CEO Craig Dunn, General Treasurer Kevin Batman, Risk Committee Chair Carl Shepherd and TWC Ambassador Jo Anne Lyon. Devotions were offered by Board members Amy Spaugh and Isaac Smith.
Business included: election of General Board Vice-Chair Kyle Ray, senior pastor of Kentwood Community Church, Kentwood, Michigan, election of Executive Board member Mark Gorveatte, Crossroads District superintendent, reelection of Kevin Batman as General Treasurer, approval merger of Northeast and Penn-Jersey districts, boundary realignment of Central New York and Penn-Jersey districts, pilot program for Chesapeake District leadership.
Bob Black, recently retired from the religion faculty of Southern Wesleyan University, shared a historical account of events leading and subsequent to the 1968 formation of The Wesleyan Church, as well as comments about lay leadership and ordination. The Wesleyan jubilee, being celebrated throughout 2018, includes the summer release of an updated 50th anniversary copy of The Story of The Wesleyan Church, which Black co-authored with Keith Drury.
Following are key measure comparisons going back to 1968.