By Dan Miller
Interim Conference Minister

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

The Ohio Conference staff hopes you had a meaningful celebration of Christ’s birth, and that you were able to be with people you love. We pray that you can begin 2024 grounded in God’s love and God’s gift of Jesus, in relationships with people you love, and in anticipation of meeting God this year.

I am glad to join you as you “live out God’s Greatest Commandments and Jesus’ Great Commission.” I began Dec. 1, and am pleased to be with you as interim conference minister as we begin 2024. I am already impressed with the work of Conference leadership teams to support congregations.

You might be aware of Ohio Conference’s two-year review process. Every human organization needs to review and realign its priorities and structures. 2024 will not be a lazy year for Ohio Conference! As important decisions get made about finances and structure and staffing, the ultimate goal is to effectively “live out God’s Greatest Commandments and Jesus’ Great Commission.” Because really, the life of Conference is in the congregations.

And congregations are challenged. How do we respond to aging congregations with shrinking resources? What are ways to navigate political, cultural and racial differences? How do we engage with the diverse people in our communities who seek spiritual vitality but not in the church? I think about these questions and wonder what God is up to. I struggle sometimes to speak about Jesus in ways that build bridges and invite conversation and exploration. So as Conference does this strategic work in the context of the last few years, wouldn’t it be a shame to come out with only a reorganization? Wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t also grow as disciples?

This will not be a lazy year for Ohio Conference. As we head into 2024, I invite you to pray with me:

  • To be grounded in God’s love.
  • For Ohio Conference churches to hold to Jesus, allowing him to turn our worlds upside down as he did for the first disciples and the early church.
  • For wisdom for delegates as they prepare and attend cluster meetings this month.
  • For courage to study scripture with Jesus as the center so we lean into a meaningful life of Spirit-led living.
  • That in spite of the pressures that trap us in the same ruts day after day, month after month, and year after year, we can find freedom in Christ to love God and our neighbors and to make disciples.

I look forward to walking together this year.