Methodist Church in Indonesia
(Gereja Methodist Indonesia, GMI)
The Methodist Church in Indonesia is the fruit of missionary work of the Methodist Church in America, which began in 1904. The church became autonomous in 1964. From North Sumatra it has spread to the other parts of the island and of the country (Java in particular). The church is organized in two annual conferences, one in North Sumatra and one in Java, each with a bishop. Besides the established congregations there are over a hundred preaching posts with almost the same number of Bible teachers. Theological training of the pastors takes place in the seminary near Medan. Apart from the training for the ministry it also offers a two-year course of continuing theological training for pastors and lay preachers. The church ordains women (currently almost half of the students in the seminary are women). The priorities of the GMI are in the areas of mission and evangelism, education (48 elementary schools, 40 junior and 22 senior high schools, one university and one academy), urban rural ministry, youth and women. Education has played a very central role in the life and history of the Methodist Church in Indonesia, and continues to be its main ministry in the society. Almost each local congregation has its school. In the Medan District there are more school children (24,000) than church members (17,000).
Apart from Indonesian, several other languages are used in the church for worship and congregational life, including Chinese and English. This multilingual diversity is held together in unity in the connexial structure of Methodism. The GMI has evangelism programmes in Riau (central east Sumatra), Kalimantan, Bali and South Sulawesi.