The 136th session of the General Board (GB) met at the Wesleyan Church World Headquarters in Fishers, Indiana, November 14 and 15.
Led by General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt, members met to learn about recent trends and developments, shape future initiatives and decide how to act on current matters. The spiritual tone was set each day by Sue Rickman (newly elected board chair of Southern Wesleyan University) and Kyle Ray (lead pastor of Kentwood Community Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan) who led morning devotionals. Emily Vermilya and Jordan Rife (worship leaders from College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana) were joined by Matt LeRoy (lead pastor of Love Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, North Carolina) in leading a Tuesday evening Concert of Prayer.
The meeting’s theme, Even Greater Things, was based on John 14:12 – “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Jesus declared to his disciples it was better for him to leave so the Holy Spirit could come and dwell in those who believe in him. If The Wesleyan Church is to become a movement of God, we must be empowered by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit.
Conversations focused on strategies and supportive policies to assist local churches in multiplying disciples and locations (reaching new ZIP codes).
Reports were received on the three previously approved pilots related to regional partnerships from District Superintendents Wes Smith (West), Chris Conrad (Great Lakes) and Karl Eastlack (Northeast). Each approach is unique, yet common denominators emerged in their presentations.
“Sending Church Connection” giving updates prompted rejoicing in the growing number of sending churches of all sizes, as well as a vigorous discussion about the best way to support a movement of parent churches sending out new congregations that remain under the governing authority of the sending church and may utilize a variety of church life and multiplication models.
The USF Study Committee reported on results from the most comprehensive survey taken in recent years. The GB focused its discussion on aligning resources with our stated values and priorities.
The GB approved a simple Adopted Church procedure and affirmed the provision of additional resources to support the act of faith of an existing church seeking to be adopted by another church to energize fresh vision and engage new capacity for transforming presence in their ZIP codes.
In celebration of the financial turnaround and fresh vision of the Wesleyan Publishing House, the WPH staff was invited into the GB meeting to be applauded and thanked for their hard work.
Other business highlights included:
- An annual report by CEO Craig Dunn on the Wesleyan Investment Foundation (WIF) – new records in assets and church loans.
- Audit report approval affirming the fiscal integrity and management excellence of all financial matters of The Wesleyan Church – congratulations extended to CFO Kevin Batman and team.
- Board appointments were confirmed for educational institutions, Hephzibah and WIF.
- A task force was appointed in compliance with General Conference memorial 391 to study and report on the cost of ministerial education.