Update from Lifeboard Chair & Pastor Connor | 11.30.21

Dear Lifehouse Family,

We'd like to thank you for taking the time to complete the survey about the future of Lifehouse. We had over 150 surveys returned. The responses will help us determine next steps for Lifehouse.

About 70% of surveys returned were from Lifehouse members. The responses showed the Lifeboard that a majority of those surveyed (69%) do not approve the suggested changes to the United Methodist Book of Discipline. Lifehouse’s mission has always been and will continue to help people become fully alive in Christ. We have never and will never exclude anyone from that mission and the love of Jesus Christ. All are welcome at Lifehouse and will continue to be welcome, including the LGBTQ+ community. The responses also showed a majority of people (62%) were in favor of a vote for disaffiliation at this time.

So what does this mean for the future of Lifehouse? This data gives us the information we need to set some plans in place. With the information provided in your survey responses, the Lifeboard will continue to work with our Conference Superintendent to discuss the variety of skills, beliefs, and leadership styles we believe our next Lead Pastor needs to possess.

Beginning in January, the Lifeboard will begin praying, discussing, and visioning what it would look like for Lifehouse to be an independent church if we were to vote as a congregation to disaffiliate. At the same time, the Lifeboard will be monitoring if The United Methodist General Conference will be taking place in September of 2022. If the General Conference were to be postponed, the expectation would be that this information would come in the Spring of 2022. This will give us a better timetable of the possibility of a denominational split and whether Lifehouse would have an option to leave the United Methodist denomination as a result of the formation of a traditional methodist denomination (such as the Global Methodist Church referenced in the Lifehouse Meetings and the FAQ forms).

In the meantime, the Lifeboard and staff ask you to continue to pray, fast, and seek the Scriptures as we continue to prioritize growing the kingdom of God as Lifehouse Church. We are leaning into God's promise laid out in Isaiah 41:10 says "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Living in the power in Jesus,

Abby Tigulis, Lifeboard Chairperson

A message from the Lead Pastor:

There have been no shortages of hardships during the pandemic, then a pastoral transition, and even then, discussions about where God is leading us in the future of Lifehouse. Often with uncertainty comes fear, and fear can be crippling. Fear can cause us to act out in ways that produce things like gossip, slander, hopelessness, and believing things will never get better. The thing is: fear really doesn’t have any power in itself - we are the ones responsible for giving fear that power. Our lives are moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts and desires. We get to choose our future, and I don’t know about you, but we are not going to choose my future according to the things that scare me. We are going to choose my future according to something that is truly life giving.

First John offers us a future that isn’t hinged on fear, but on the perfect love of God.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 ESV

The perfect love of God casts out all fear. Whoever fears has not been made perfect in love. So here is my question for you, are you stuck in a pit of fear in the future? If so, maybe you need to take a moment right now and pray these words: Jesus, fill me with your perfect love.

Take a moment, and pray it again: Jesus, fill me with your perfect love.

When we are filled with the perfect love of God, there is no room for fear. It cannot control us, because we have given up our control to the perfect love of the Holy Spirit. Perfect love isn’t fearful of becoming an independent church. Perfect love also isn’t fearful of remaining a United Methodist Church. Perfect love doesn’t hinge on a vote during a UMC General Conference. Perfect love doesn't care if we own our buildings or not. Perfect love doesn’t sacrifice unity as a result of disagreement. Perfect love doesn’t compromise integrity in exchange for people pleasing. Perfect love fights for everyone to experience the grace of God. Perfect love stands on the truth revealed through Jesus Christ.

Perfect love honors Jesus as Lord above all other things. Perfect love values the kingdom of God first, because God will take care of sorting out all the other things.

Our team at Lifehouse renews our commitment to value the kingdom of God above all else. It is about God’s kingdom, it is not about our castles. We believe that our future is bright, not because of any power or skill that we have, but because we trust in the God who holds all the power and authority

This Christmas, we commit to the perfect love of Jesus that guides, confronts, directions, renews, and restores. I want to invite you into the wonder of Christmas once again. A wonder that is a result of something that is beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, and inexplicable. The wonder that comes from King Jesus, who is born to us - the savior of the world.

During December, people will be coming to worship at our Lifehouse campuses for the first time - maybe in the past 20 months, maybe for the first time ever. Our prayer is that we can be people who are so filled with the perfect love of God, that there is no fear or trepidation that can keep them from experiencing the wonder of the Living God.

Don’t give fear the power that belongs to Jesus. He is the one who offers his perfect love to those who are both near to and far from Him. Prepare your hearts for the wonder of Christmas - because it may just change your life, as well as the lives of those who will experience Jesus for the first time this Christmas.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Galatians 3:20-21)

Pastor Connor

Lifehouse Leadership Update | 11.08.21

We want to share an answer to a prayer and the beginnings of our steps forward. YAY!!

Bishop Trimble has officially appointed Pastor Connor to be the Lead Pastor in the interim here at Lifehouse. The appointment formally began on November 1st and will run through June 30th of 2022.

Pastor Connor will supervise the Lead Team, be the representative of staff to the Lifeboard, and help with budget between the Lead Team and the Lifeboard. The Lifeboard looks forward to working with Pastor Connor as we continue to search for a Lead Pastor, pursue God’s will for the future of Lifehouse, and continue to help all become Fully Alive in Christ. We’d love for you to take some time this week to thank God for the appointment of Pastor Connor and pray for leadership, wisdom, and peace in his new role.

Also, I'd like to take this time to remind you that we want everyone to fill out our Lifehouse survey. The survey is posted below and will be available until Monday, November 15th. Anyone who would prefer a written survey vs electronic, please contact Cheryl Degler (cheryl@lifehousefw.com) for a survey via the US mail with a self addressed stamped return envelope.

We look forward to hearing from each of you. We encourage you to follow the directions on the survey which include a time of prayer and review the information from the meetings and the core values and beliefs of Lifehouse.

As I heard from one of you Sunday after church, the future is bright at Lifehouse because God is in control.

Lifehouse Lifeboard
Abby Tigulis
Jay Redding
Dan Weirch
Malea Kruse
Missie Ritonya
Mike Muter
Tim Grossman

Lifehouse Update - FAQs and Future Option Information | 10.24.21

Below you will find documents that answer many frequently asked questions and explain the options our Lifeboard has been looking into as Lifehouse moves through this time of transition. As you take time to look over these documents, please pray for the Lord's guidance as we seek His Presence and wisdom.

Update from our Lifeboard | 9.25.21

Dear Lifehouse Church Family-

With the departure of Rev. Tony Johnson, the Lifeboard has been seeking God, praying and gathering information regarding the future of our church. The desire of the board is to insure our new lead pastor possesses the core values and beliefs that align with ours, along with the skills, abilities and spiritual discernment to lead us into God’s ordained future.

Comingled with this endeavor is the ongoing debate within the United Methodist Church of whether or not to allow the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and to perform marriage ceremonies for same sex couples. As of today, neither of these are allowed within the rules governing the United Methodist Church.

The global decision-making body called the General Conference consists of elected clergy and lay delegates from around the world. This Conference was scheduled to meet in 2020, but has been delayed due to the pandemic until 2022. When the Conference does occur, it is anticipated two things will happen:
There will be a provision to allow for the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and marriage of same sex couples within the United Methodist Church.

For those who cannot accept this stance, there will be an equitable process for clergy and congregations to leave the United Methodist Church.

The Lifeboard understands that all people regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender, or sexual orientation are loved equally by God. However, we know there are differing beliefs regarding human sexuality as it relates to ordination and marriage. Those beliefs impact who we are as a church and the future of where we stand within the United Methodist Church.

In light of the fact we are in a period of transition regarding the lead pastor role, and we are a United Methodist Church that will have to reach a conclusion within the next year as it relates to the outcome of General Conference, the Lifeboard has decided now is the time to share what we have learned about the alternatives. It is equally important to hear from you, for you to ask questions, and for you to share your stance on what you believe is God’s desire for Lifehouse Church.

If we decide to vote on whether or not to leave the UMC, all who have joined the Lifehouse Church as members will have a vote in the decision of whether we stay in the United Methodist Church, or we leave. To insure you have a chance to hear and speak we invite you to attend all or any of the following meetings:

Sunday, Oct 3rd at 11:15 AM at our Forest Park Campus
Sunday, Oct 10th at 9:30 AM at our Huntertown Campus
Sunday, Oct 17th at 11:15 AM at our Cedar Canyon Campus (childcare will be provided)
Sunday, Oct 24th at 6:00 PM at our Cedar Canyon Campus (childcare will be provided)

Sincerely,
Abby Tigulis-Chair
Dan Weirch-Lay Leader
Malea Kruse
Jay Redding
Mike Muter
Missie Ritonya
Tim Grossman

Update from our Lifeboard | 8.22.21

Lifehouse Church,

With Pastor Tony’s last day quickly approaching, we know lots of you have questions/concerns about who will replace him. As we’ve shared previously, since Lifehouse is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, there is an appointment process that we are obligated to follow. Many of you have asked if Pastor Connor or Pastor Seth will be taking Tony’s position. They will remain in their current roles with their same responsibilities.

Currently, our Northeast Indiana Conference Superintendent, Russ Able is facilitating the search for our next Lead Pastor. That official appointment will not occur before Tony leaves on Aug 31st. Therefore, Lifehouse will have an Interim Pastor. Russ and the Conference are also working on finding an interim that fits our needs. At this time, the length of that Interim Pastor is unknown.

So, what happens if the Conference can’t find an interim before Pastor Tony leaves? Who will lead the church? Pastor Seth, Pastor Connor & the Lead Ministry Team will continue to guide Lifehouse using our core values and overall vision. The Lifeboard has complete confidence in their ability to do just that.

We understand that for many of you, this process is a unique way of hiring. You may still have questions/concerns. We encourage you to reach out to any Lifeboard member to ask your questions or to share your concerns. You can do this in a variety of ways…give any of us a call, stop us after church, send an email to Lifeboard@Lifehousefw.com. You can stay up to date with any additional information that occurs on the Lifehouse Website. We want to be as transparent as we can be, in this process with you.

Your continued prayers for our Lifehouse staff and the decisions that need to be made by the Lifeboard are appreciated.

Lifeboard Members
Abby Tigulis-chair
Malea Kruse
Jay Redding
Missie Ritonya
Tim Grossman
Mike Muter
Dan Weirich

Update from our Lifeboard | 7.29.21

Lifehouse Family-

The Lifeboard and staff have been working diligently with the Conference Superintendent to help choose our next Lead Pastor. We feel it’s important that you know the process of how the new Pastor is chosen AND where we are at in that process.

In the United Methodist church, there is a very specific process as to how Pastors are appointed to churches. That process involves the Conference Superintendent (CS), the Bishop of the UMC, and the Bishop’s cabinet. The CS meets with the church staff and church leadership to get a feel as to what traits and characteristics are needed in their next pastor. The CS then shares all that information with the Bishop and his Cabinet. The Bishop and Cabinet then use that information to find a match with a Pastor with the traits and characteristics we requested. Once that match has been made, the Bishop will appoint that person to be our new Lead Pastor. After that appointment, the CS will bring the new Pastor to meet with the Lifeboard. The final step will be introducing the new Pastor to the Lifehouse community.

The Conference Superintendent has met with Lifehouse Staff and the Lead Team staff and discussed what they feel is needed qualities and characteristics in our next lead pastor. He also met with the Lifeboard to discuss Lifehouse’s core values and beliefs. Along with those core values, the Lifeboard has filled out a Church Profile document sharing information about our church, community, traditions, beliefs, and needs. That document will be sent to the CS and he will share it with the Cabinet during their August meeting. We do not know a specific timeline as to when the Cabinet will make an appointment. In the in between time, the Bishop may appoint an interim part time pastor to help staff in a variety of ways. Even in this time of uncertainty, we the Lifeboard have immense confidence in the Lead Team and staff during this transition.

We know this process seems very different from the way other positions in the church have been filled. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact the Lifeboard at lifeboard@lifehousefw.com. More information will be shared whenever it becomes available. Transparency is important to us.

Lifeboard members will be available at all three campuses on Aug 1st and Aug 8th after services, if you’d like to speak more about this. We ask that you continue to pray for this process. Pray for the Bishop, his Cabinet, and our CS. Pray for whoever God is calling to be our new Pastor. Also, pray for the church that will be losing their Pastor, so that we might gain one.

Praying with you,
Lifehouse Lifeboard
Abby Tigulis-Chair
Malea Kruse
Dan Weirch
Jay Redding
Mike Muter
Tim Grossman
Missie Ritonya
David VanGilder