Update from the Lifeboard | 9.15.22

Hello, Lifehouse!

As you know, we have been in a season of prayer, conversation, and discernment regarding the disaffiliation of Lifehouse Church from the United Methodist Church. After many informational meetings, our next step is to host a gathering of the congregational membership, known as a church conference, to make our final vote regarding disaffiliation. Members/voters must have completed the membership process and be a committed 3C follower of Christ here at Lifehouse. Per the United Methodist discipline, the vote is based ONLY on those present, so no absentee or proxy votes will be permitted. If you are unsure of your membership status, please contact the Lifehouse Central Office at 260-637-3798 or email Cheryl Degler at cheryl@lifehousefw.com before Sunday, September 18, 2022.

This vote will take place on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th at 7PM at Lifehouse Cedar Canyon Campus. A vote to disaffiliate from the United Methodist denomination will require 66.67% (⅔) of the registered voting members of Lifehouse present at the church conference to vote in favor of disaffiliation. The vote will take place PROMPTLY at 7PM all at once with a paper ballot of YES or NO. All voting members must be present when voting begins.

Pending the vote passing, we will have a second vote to dissolve Huntertown UMC's incorporation with the state so we can reincorporate as Lifehouse (removing the UM from our name).

We invite you to come early and participate in a time of worship and prayer that will start at 6pm in the gym at Cedar Canyon. All are welcome to come at any time to take part in this time of prayer, discernment, and worship.

There will also be a charge conference at 6:15 at Cedar Canyon Campus where the Lifeboard only will be voting to sell the Forest Park parsonage. This is an open meeting and will be held upstairs. The Lifeboard has approved to sell the parsonage and if the vote to disaffiliate passes, the sale will help pay the cost of disaffiliation. Otherwise, it will be used to pay down debt and prepare for the next season of ministry.

Lastly, there will be one final informational meeting regarding disaffiliation led by Pastor Seth Neckers on Sunday, September 25th at 11am at Lifehouse Cedar Canyon Campus after the 10am service.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact info@lifehousefw.com or call the office at 260-637-3798. You also can reach out to any Lifeboard member by phone, in person, or at lifeboard@lifehousefw.com.

In this time leading up to the vote, we encourage you to continue to pray for the future of Lifehouse. May we honor God and continue to grow His Kingdom.

Sincerely,

The Lifeboard
Abby Tigulis Malea Kruse
Jay Redding Dan Weirch
Tim Grossman Missie Ritonya
Jon Parker

Disaffiliation FAQs

Updated 9.17.22. For more information on why we are discussing disaffiliation, please read the letter from the Lifeboard and Lifehouse Staff in the August 28th update that follows this post.

What is the basic process for us to disaffiliate from the UMC?

A church’s board must decide to proceed with disaffiliation, voting to do so. The congregation must then affirm this decision through a gathering of the membership known as a church conference, voting by 2/3rd majority to do so. And finally, the Annual Conference must ratify all disaffiliations by a simple majority vote at an annual conference.

In our case, our Lifeboard voted unanimously to proceed with disaffiliation on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. Following this vote, our Lifeboard chair reached out to our district superintendent to request a date for a church conference. Our church conference will take place an evening during the last week of September (more info below). This will then be ratified at a Special Called Annual Conference taking place on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 10 a.m. via Zoom. We will have to complete all required steps by November 30th for an effective disaffiliation date of December 1, 2022.

When will the vote take place?

The vote will take place at Lifehouse Cedar Canyon on Tuesday, September 27th promptly at 7pm.

At the church conference, who will be eligible to vote?

Since Lifehouse is a United Methodist Church, per the United Methodist Book of Discipline, only professing members of Lifehouse can vote. If you are unsure of your membership status or would like to become a member of Lifehouse to be able to vote, we are using the same membership process we have for the last several years. Please email Cheryl Degler at cheryl@lifehousefw.com with your questions or to complete the membership course. The Conference has added the additional requirement that the full membership list be given to them at least 7 days prior to the church conference, so you must complete this by Sunday, September 18 to be included.

How will the vote take place?

The voting process for disaffiliation has been specifically outlined by the General Conference. A vote to disaffiliate from the United Methodist denomination will require 66.67% (⅔) of the registered voting members of Lifehouse present at the church conference to vote in favor of disaffiliation. Sadly, the discipline does not allow for proxy or absentee voting.

What happens if we do not hit the ⅔ majority in the vote?

While we are confident that we are well past that threshold in support based on last fall’s survey data, should we fail to reach the required ⅔ majority, we will remain a UM church. Our staff and board would continue to hold true to our same mission and values and pray for a resolution to the painful division by the 2024 General Conference. We will do our best to keep the focus on Jesus Christ and the vital work he has given us in our church and community.

Following disaffiliation, will we be changing our Belief Statements/Core Values?

There are no plans to change our Belief Statements or Core Values. It is the growing separation between our beliefs, mission and values and those practiced by the Indiana Conference of the UMC that have led us to the decision to disaffiliate. Following disaffiliation, our staff and board will prayerfully work together to clarify the share mission, vision, and values. Pastor Seth Neckers has proposed using The Faith Once Delivered- A Wesleyan Witness (https://nextmethodism.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Faith-Once-Delivered-FINAL-1.pdf) as a guiding document in the transition season. This document was composed by over 60 scholars from the broader Methodist tradition to provide theological guidance regarding core beliefs in historic Christianity and emphasized in the Wesleyan-Methodist tradition.

How would a vote impact the pastors?

A vote would not have a direct impact upon Seth Lochmueller as he is considered a direct hire of Lifehouse and he is committed to serving this congregation faithfully. Pastor Seth Neckers is an elder who is appointed to Lifehouse by the Conference. He also knows this is the congregation that God has called him to serve and has committed to staying with Lifehouse no matter the result of the vote. After disaffiliation, he will willingly surrender his membership in the Annual Conference but will be able to keep his ordination credentials. These will eventually be transferred to whatever new connection or communion we join.

How will disaffiliation impact the ownership of our facilities?

All of our facilities are currently owned in “Trust” by the United Methodist Church. While it may come as a surprise, we do not own our facilities, but yet have all the responsibility for taking care of the facilities, paying the insurance, etc. Upon our one-time disaffiliation payment in full to the United Methodist Church, the deeds to all of the facilities will be transferred to Lifehouse’s new 501-C3 entity via a quit claim deed. Because we value the Kingdom over the church, we know that even though we’ll then have legal ownership over them, they will still ultimately belong to God and must be used faithfully to build for his Kingdom and not our own.

What would be the cost involved to disaffiliate?

Lifehouse currently sends 10% of general giving received to the conference each year and an additional 1% that goes to our district as conference and district tithes. This totals approximately $61,000.00 per year. While part of this pays for administration (the bishop, superintendents, conference staff), the rest goes to pay for many different areas of shared mission and ministry, including UM camps, Indiana children’s homes, homes for those in addiction recovery, and church planting and revitalization. The conference sends 10% of what they receive on to general agencies to support a wide variety of missions and ministries throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

Last summer, the Conference provided us with a “Disaffiliation Agreement” listing the costs to disaffiliate. We have requested an updated agreement with accurate numbers, but as of July 29th, 2021, the total was $395,000.00. The breakout of costs was as follows: #1. $28,356.00 for any unpaid tithe for the twelve (12) months immediately prior to the Disaffiliation Date, as calculated by the Annual Conference (we are current on our tithe so this number would be deducted from the number above); #2. An additional twelve (12) months of tithe totaling $61,563.00; #3. An amount equal to Local Church’s pro rata share, as determined by Annual Conference, of Annual Conference’s unfunded pension obligations, based on the Annual Conference’s aggregate funding obligations as determined by the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits using market factors similar to a commercial annuity provider totaling $248,527.30; #4. An amount equal to Local Church’s pro rata share, as determined by Annual Conference using market factors similar to a commercial annuity provider, of Annual Conference’s Retiree Health Insurance Subsidy obligations, totaling $56,163.00.

Where will the money come from to disaffiliate?

Due to your generosity, the Lifeboard feels comfortable that we can set aside $200,000.00 – $250,000.00 today to put towards disaffiliation with no impact on daily operations and still have adequate reserves for emergencies. We are also looking to sell the parsonage in Forest Park and use this money for disaffiliation. While we would be saving immediately $61K per year upon disaffiliation due to no longer having to pay district and conference tithes, we will either need to borrow or raise the funds internally ourselves with a capital raise over and above our normal giving. Obviously, the less that we would need to take out of reserves the better. The fee to disaffiliate and become independent must be paid by November 30, 2022 but the UM Foundation of Indiana has indicated they are willing to make loans specifically for disaffiliation. If you would like to give towards costs of disaffiliation, you may do so the same way you tithe. Please mark your giving with “disaffiliation”.

How will the vote impact the pre-school, our church programs, our outreach programs, our lead team?

All of our programs are based upon the Core Values, Beliefs and historical principles that are outlined on the Lifehouse website at https://lifehousefw.com/. These Core Values, Beliefs and historical principles will continue to guide and shape all that we do through Lifehouse.

How will disaffiliation impact our worship services?

The staff and board do not anticipate any changes in our worship services. There are no plans to change the daily operation of the church.

If I am part of the LGBTQ community, am I welcome at Lifehouse?

Yes, one of our core values is that we offer every single person the grace of Jesus because we know we all need it. We follow the teaching of Jesus Christ, for all who seek his love, mercy, and grace will be accepted by Jesus and Lifehouse Church. So no matter who you are, you will receive a sincere welcome. One of the greatest tragedies of the division in the UMC is that this has become a pressing question and many no longer feel welcome in UM churches.

fter we leave the UMC, will we be independent or join another denomination?

Following disaffiliation, we’ll enter a season of discernment where we revisit our mission, vision and values as a congregation and prayerfully search for a new connection or communion to join where we have shared common mission and values that facilitate true mutual support and accountability. We’ll explore both Pan-Methodist denominations (Free Methodist, Wesleyan, Nazarene) as well as some of the new denominations and networks that are arising among the thousands of other UM congregations that have also disaffiliated, including the Global Methodist Church and the Foundry Network. Most immediately, we’ll seek to connect with the other churches like us in the greater Fort Wayne area to ensure we have a healthy local connection.

Will there be open discussions available to ask further questions?

Pastor Neckers will be leading a discernment meeting Sunday, September 25th at 11 AM at Cedar Canyon campus. Childcare will be available. If you have any questions at all, we encourage you to reach out to the pastors who will gladly meet up with you to talk more. We want you to be as fully informed as possible. Also feel free to email your questions to the Lifeboard at the following email address: lifeboard@lifehousefw.com

Lifehouse Update | August 28, 2022

As we shared during this past Sunday’s services, at Lifehouse one of our core values is that we put the Kingdom of God over our church. We are always seeking to do what is best for Christ’s Kingdom, even when it comes at great cost to us. Part of this is investing in shared mission and ministry as part of a denomination, the United Methodist Church, where our partnership and generosity produces both a global and local impact. From things as varied as camping and disaster relief, to church multiplication, we’ve both blessed and been blessed by our connection with the Indiana Conference of the UMC.

However, rising division within the UMC has led to increasing dysfunction within our conference, hindering the shared ministry and redirecting efforts away from the stated UM mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” While the flashpoint has been around issues of human sexuality, these are just symptoms of deeper differences in how we understand the nature and authority of the Bible, sin, and the grace of Jesus. These differences and the resulting division affect everything from the appointment of pastors to how the apportionment money we send to the conference is used.

So last fall, our congregation began a discernment process around the topic of disaffiliation from the UMC. Led by the Lifeboard, we began to assess whether differences between our mission and values, and those practiced by the Conference, necessitated that we move to a new connection or communion. Congregational information and listening sessions were held and a congregational poll was conducted. At that time, 62% favored disaffiliation, falling just short of the ⅔ (67%) majority that would be required at an official church conference disaffiliation vote. Based on this, and hope for change in the coming year, the board chose not to pursue disaffiliation at that time.

A global gathering of United Methodists, called the General Conference, was scheduled for August 2022. There, delegates were supposed to discuss and vote upon proposed legislation called “The Protocol on Grace and Reconciliation through Separation.” This agreement had been agreed upon by different groups within the denomination (conservative, progressive and centrist) in 2019 and would have created an opportunity for churches to choose one of three different denominations with which to affiliate, retaining all church property in the process.

Unfortunately, in April of this year, denominational leaders chose to delay General Conference for another 2 years, to 2024, prolonging the discord and uncertainty within the denomination. Since this meant that churches and pastors who had already disaffiliated would be left without any connection for another 2 years, leaders of conservative evangelical churches launched The Global Methodist Church to begin to receive them in May 2022. Centrist and progressive signatories of “The Protocol'' then withdrew their support for the agreement. The hope for a fair and equitable path forward was suddenly gone.

What remains is the path created for disaffiliation by General Conference 2019. This pathway requires that the church hold a church conference where members vote to disaffiliate by a ⅔ majority and pay two years worth of apportionments and any unfunded pension liabilities. While this payment comes out to several hundred thousand dollars for our congregation, it allows congregations to leave the UMC with all their property. Unfortunately, this pathway is a temporary one which closes at the end of 2023.

To utilize this pathway, and knowing support for disaffiliation has continued to grow since last fall due to events listed above and more, at our last Lifeboard meeting, on Tuesday August 16th, with support of the full staff, our board voted unanimously to proceed with disaffiliation from the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.

As noted above, this action will require a congregational vote at a church conference, which will be held on a weeknight during the last week of September. The superintendent of the Northeast District, Rev. Russ Abel has refused to set the specific date until after we hold an informational meeting where he can present information on the UMC and take any questions you may have. This information session is set for Tuesday, Sept. 13th, at 7 PM at the Huntertown Campus.

Rev. Abel has promised that he has reserved an evening the last week of September for the church conference in order to meet the October 1st deadline for all churches wishing to disaffiliate at the Special Called Annual Conference being held on Nov. 19th, where the annual conference must vote with a simple majority to approve the disaffiations, which then take effect December 1st.

Per the guidelines provided to us, the congregational vote will only be open to those who are officially members of Lifehouse. We realize there are plenty who regularly take part in the mission and ministries of Lifehouse, but who are not yet members, and we don’t want them to be left out. If you are unsure about your membership status or would like to join, please contact the church office.

We understand that you likely have many questions. Do not hesitate to contact the church office to speak with the pastors. They will gladly set up a time to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Pastor Seth Neckers will also be leading discernment sessions where he will provide some background information, present some of the key issues leading us to disaffiliate, and provide an opportunity to publicly answer questions you may have. These will take place on Thursday, September 1st at 6:30 PM and Sunday September 11th at 11 AM, both at the Cedar Canyon Campus. Childcare will be provided.

In closing, this is not a decision we take lightly, but is what we know God is calling us to do. Since many of us have been part of the UMC our entire lives, this is a step of faith. As we take this step, we recognize the innumerable ways that God has worked in and through our involvement in the UMC since the denomination was founded back in 1968. God has been faithful to lead us on a great path, but sadly the UMC has departed from that path. The actions and inactions of the Annual Conference and denomination have not only distracted us from our mission, taking the focus off Jesus Christ, but also threaten the future of this congregation and the Kingdom work God is doing here.

Since General Conference didn’t take place and the future pathways have been removed, it means we must leave our connection before we join a new one. Following our disaffiliation in November, we will enter into a season of discernment as a church, revisiting our mission, vision and values, as we consider where God is calling us to connect. Churches need connection for accountability, support, and shared mission and ministry the same way that individual Christians need one another in order to grow in Christlikeness.

We know God is preparing a place for us and will faithfully lead us there. As he does, we can take heart that he has not called us there alone. Not only do we have one another, but we also have the dozens of other churches who are also taking this step of faith alongside us, including long-time partners right here in Fort Wayne.

Please be in continual prayer for our church, our leaders, our staff, and for the UMC. While we may be parting, let us do so with a blessing on our lips.

For the Kingdom!

The Lifeboard and Lifehouse Staff

Disaffiliation Information & Discernment Session

Thursday, September 1

Cedar Canyon Campus | 6:30-7:30pm | Childcare Provided

Sunday, September 11

Cedar Canyon Campus | 11am-12pm |Childcare Provided

UM Informational Meeting

Tuesday, September 13

Huntertown Campus | 7pm

Lifehouse Leadership Update | New Lead Pastor Appointment | 3.13.22

Announcement for the appointment of Seth Neckers:

Friends, as Lifeboard Chair, I am so thankful for your prayers and encouragements over these past several months. We have worked with the Conference Superintendent to identify the next lead pastor for Lifehouse. I am very excited to announce that Bishop Trimble has made an appointment for our church effective July 1, 2022. Rev. Seth Neckers will be our new lead pastor. The board had the opportunity to meet with Seth this past week, and we believe he is the right person to lead us in the future God intends for us.

Seth’s gifts, among others, are in the areas of preaching, connecting with people, a deep understanding of Kingdom-view ministry, and helping people come to know and grow in the love of Jesus. Seth is married to Chassity, who works in marketing. They have two children, Evelyn and Isaac. Seth is coming to us from Zionsville UMC. I invite your prayers for that church as they say goodbye to Seth and his family.

We are deeply thankful for Connor’s willingness to step into this interim time, and he has provided great leadership for us.

We are excited for Seth, Chassity, and their family to come to Lifehouse, and I invite your prayers for them beginning now. We will be sharing more information over the next several months.

Blessings,

Abby Tigulis
Lifeboard Chair

Download the 2022 Life Report

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