Sunday, January 14, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Greg and Cheryl Holmes at Sonlight Fellowship Wesleyan Church in South Bend. After the service, I met with the board and then hosted the Holmes family (including five of their eight children) for fellowship over lunch.
It was encouraging to see the young families that are now part of the church but the congregation lost several dear members this past year. Pastor Greg is another of our bi-vocational pastors who serves faithfully in a ministry with big opportunities and limited resources. Churches like Sonlight are the reason our ReEquip Conference this year (April 21 in Marion) is specifically targeted to pastors and lay leaders in smaller churches.
On Sunday evening, I was at Anderson Central Wesleyan Church to meet with Pastor Jerry Alexander and the LAC as they considered a new project to better serve families in their community. Our Maximizing Impact team is looking forward to working with them on April 6-8.
The biggest disappointment of last week was the weather delay for our prayer gathering. Given the hazardous driving conditions, the team made a wise decision to reschedule the event to this Friday, January 19, same time (1-3 p.m.) and same location, College Wesleyan Church in Marion. We look forward to sharing with you in this concert of prayer led by Dr. Jim Lo and his team of intercessors.
Last Monday, Pastor Mike Colaw (Assistant DS for Region 2) and I were invited to participate in Elevate, a leadership development initiative hosted by the Greater Ohio District and Cypress Wesleyan Church.
Elevate consists of an all-day leadership/ministry seminar with keynote presentations from Pastor Ken Murphy and then breakout discussions in table groups. These same table groups then follow up with each other over the next 3 months until they come back to Cypress for the next Elevate session. Pastor Colaw has been coaching several pastors one-on-one so it was good for us to explore how this model could be adapted for our Crossroads team.
Tuesday morning, I was in Frankfort as Pastor Alan Downing hosted Rev. Dan Fisher and the Lafayette Zone for their first meeting of the new year. I’m grateful for the way our teams connect to encourage and support one another. Tuesday afternoon, I was in the office at Fishers for a Zoom conversation, and then I closed out the day with Rev. Dr. Rich and Rev. Carol Schenck at Noblesville Lakeview Wesleyan. I first met with them and then with their LBA as part of the very positive extended call review.
Wednesday morning, I was at HQ in Fishers for a meeting of the General Board’s executive committee and then returned to Marion to sign property documents. The highlight of the day was connecting with Pastor Michael and Kim Hewitt at Rising Hope Church in Muncie. It was fun to see their team working together to transform the old Northview building as they prepare to launch this new ministry. Special thanks to Pastor Jeff Luedtke and the team from Fairmount Wesleyan Church who recently pitched in to help our newest church plant with this remodeling. We’re stronger together!
On Thursday, Dr. Rich Schenck and I attended a seminar hosted by the Center for Congregations at Eastern Star Church in Indianapolis. This event featured Jim Tomberlin who presented on the multi-site movement’s progress from a space solution to a revitalization strategy. Pastor Rich has been leading Noblesville Lakeview in reaching out to Bethel and now merging with Beech Grove Wesleyan so this event was timely. You will find a host of resources available at their website including this blog post on multi-site ministry in smaller towns: http://multisitesolutions.com/small-town-jesus-multisiting-in-small-town-america/
My final meeting on Thursday was back at HQ to meet with Mrs. Elaine Johnson, the HR Director, looking at evaluation tools for ministry leaders.
On Friday morning, I was in Anderson to sign closing documents for the sale of our old Frankton property. Then on to Fishers for a meeting with Dr. Schmidt, Dr. Drury, Rev. Ron McClung and Mrs. Janelle Vernon to review the Discipline’s provision for some of the models being explored in the regional pilot projects. The DS Institute later this month in Orlando will have a fuller conversation about these pilot projects.
The weather had settled enough by Friday evening, that I was able to join Dr. David Wright and the team at Indiana Wesleyan University who hosted a special evening featuring the Five Blind Boys from Alabama. This gospel group started touring together in 1944 and still features two of the original members (yes, I’ll let you do the math).
They’ve received 5 Grammy Awards and are nominated again this year for their most recent album. The evening was a wonderful community event in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s leadership in the struggle for equal rights and racial reconciliation. (Our office follows the HQ calendar and is closed on Monday in memory of Dr. King.)
I’m on the road for coaching conversations this week before Friday’s prayer gathering. Then, Sherry and I are looking forward to hosting senior pastors and their spouses from the Fort Wayne Zone for supper and fellowship on Friday night at Thornapple Lodge.
There’s still time to register your youth group for the Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter in Fort Wayne at Pathway Community Church on February 23-24. Here’s the link on Eventbrite: Crossroads Youth All-Nighter
Please mark your calendars for April 21 and bring your team to ReEquip, featuring Mark Wilson, Ron Wickard and Matthew Deprez! Here’s the link: ReEquip Conference
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity.
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Steve & Patsy Fletcher at Nelson Street Wesleyan Church in Marion. Pastor Steve has been leading the congregation in building bridges to the neighborhood through an addiction recovery group and their community gardens. After the service and a brief stand-up meeting with the LBA, Sherry and I hosted the Fletchers for lunch. Please remember Pastor Steve in your prayers as he continues to serve while working with significant health challenges.
On Sunday evening, Sherry and I joined with Dr. Rich and Rev. Carol Schenck to welcome Joshe Bose, National Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church in Bangladesh. Joshe is back in Indiana to complete the final intensive in his MDiv program at Wesley Seminary. Dr. Aron Willis, our retired District Superintendent, will be traveling to Bangladesh this spring with Dr. Dennis Jackson to ordain this gifted leader who is effectively serving this rapidly-multiplying national church. From orphanages to sports ministry outreach to planting 10 new churches next year, God is on the move in Bangladesh!
It was great to reconnect with our district staff on Tuesday for our weekly meeting and lunch after the extended Christmas break. I’m grateful for the ministry partnership we enjoy with Rev. Chris Williams, Roxene Lo and Seth Bye. And please know that we are grateful for your prayers as we seek to serve our growing network of congregations.
Tuesday and Wednesday included a number of email exchanges and phone conversations following up matters from the past several days. Then, on Wednesday, Jon Wiest and I met with another prospective church planter for lunch in Marion.
Thursday, I was in Indy for coaching conversations with Dr. Rich and Rev. Carol Schenck (Noblesville Lakeview Wesleyan), and then with Rev. Dan Heylmann (Grant City Wesleyan). I dropped by HQ in Fishers and enjoyed connecting with Kevin Batman, General Treasurer, and Elaine Johnson, HR Director. Thursday evening, I met with one of our former ministers to answer questions about the credential reinstatement process.
Friday morning, I met with Daniel Seitz, Director of Life Center Counseling in Marion. We are looking at ways to partner to better serve our district pastors and congregations. Rev. Dan Walker and I met over lunch. Dan has extensive experience in multi-ethnic ministry and has relocated to Marion from Florida along with Dr. Joanne Solis-Walker, his wife (who is teaching at Wesley Seminary).
On Saturday morning, I enjoyed partnering with Pastor Ben Parker and speaking to the monthly Men’s Ministry breakfast at Back Creek Wesleyan Church near Fairmount. The food was good. The fellowship was even better. Praying as these guys lead in their families, their congregations, and their community.
Thank you to the many ministers of the Crossroads District who joined together to honor the memory and support the family of Rev. Dr. Wingrove Taylor, founding General Superintendent of the Caribbean General Conference. This historic home-going celebration was hosted by Pastor Mike Colaw and the team at Trinity Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis where Dr. Taylor had worshiped in recent years. Dr. JoAnne Lyon officiated and brought the message from Psalm 1. One of the many highlights of the service was the extended Taylor family coming together as a choir to sing “Total Praise.”
This is the time of year when many of our local churches plan to welcome people into their annual membership covenant renewal. Rev. Kyle Horton and his team at Three Rivers Church in Fort Wayne do this on the first Sunday of the new year as Pastor Kyle casts vision and they share together in communion. Here’s the Facebook reminder they shared with their congregation:
Just a reminder that this annual membership affirmation needs to be completed by all Wesleyan churches before the end of the 2018 conference year, April 30. Only those individuals who have newly joined or reaffirmed their membership are to be listed for voting purposes and reported in your annual statistical report. The Wesleyan Church has provided a number of helpful resources for this process at the following website:
Join us this Friday, January 12, from 1 – 3 p.m., as Dr. Jim Lo and our Crossroads District intercession team welcome us to College Wesleyan Church for a Crossroads District prayer gathering called: Barriers and Breakthroughs.
We need fresh anointing for our ministries in 2018 as together we reach out to the 3 million religiously-unaffiliated people here in Indiana. May God empower us anew for effective disciple-making in this corner of God’s harvest field!
Your servant in Christ,
The verse for January 1, 2018 on Bible.com was “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:9)
That’s a great verse to begin this new year and it was the same verse that Pastor Ken Dykhoff shared with the congregation on Sunday morning at Jonesboro Main Street Wesleyan Church as they gathered for their final worship service before merging with Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church. A prolonged downturn in attendance and declining financial support at Main Street convinced the members to consider a new path forward.
The leaders at Main Street Wesleyan approached Pastor Mark Atkinson and the Eastview leadership team to explore possibilities. Eastview will welcome the members and Rev. Ken Dykhoff to become part of their ministry in Gas City with the intention to restart ministry in Jonesboro in the future. The final service was well-attended and the highlight of the day was celebrating 4 baptisms! I expressed appreciation from the district for the faithful pastors and lay leaders who served through the 95 years ministry at Main Street.
Baptisms were also the order of the day for at least two other Crossroads District churches on the last Sunday of 2017. Pastor Alan Downing reported that Frankfort First Wesleyan baptized one new believer and welcomed 2 new members. Pastor Steve Colter and the team at Marion Chapel Pike Wesleyan Church baptized 6 new believers and celebrated their partnership with Habitat for Missions that raised $10,000.
We received news last week of the passing of Rev. Dr. Wingrove Taylor, founding General Superintendent of the Caribbean General Conference and beloved holiness evangelist. The funeral service will be held at Trinity Wesleyan Church located at 9709 Allisonville Road, Indianapolis, on Saturday, January 6, at 2p.m. Viewing of the body will be on Friday, January 5, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. and on Saturday, January 6, from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., prior to the start of the service.
The ministers of The Wesleyan Church have been invited to serve as an honor guard lining the aisle at the close of the service as the body is moved from the church to the graveside service. All Crossroads District ministers who are able to participate are asked to meet me at the church by 1:30 for further directions.
You are invited to join us as we begin this new year with a Crossroads District prayer gathering led by Dr. Jim Lo at College Wesleyan Church in Marion on Friday, January 12, from 1-3, as we seek God’s face and His favor together for our lives, our families, our churches and our mission field here in Indiana.
Thank you to those who have been praying for Pastor Brad LeRoy and Rev. Lloyd Moore. Pastor Brad was released from the hospital on Friday and Rev. Moore has been able to return to work after his successful transplant. Praise God for answered prayers!
There’s still time to register for the leadership seminar with Karl Vaters in Fort Wayne on January 24 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) presented by the Center for Congregations: Small Congregations: Having a Healthy Mindset Karl Vaters is the author of the book The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. He’s also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a ministry that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors. (The cost of $30 per person includes the continental breakfast, lunch and a copy of the book Dirt Matters by Jim Powell.)
REGISTER HERE FOR THIS WORKSHOP.
Let’s make 2018 a year to remember as we pursue God’s heart and His calling here in our mission field. We have 3 million reasons. May God help us to never be content while there is even one more we can reach!
Your servant in Christ,
Thank you to every pastor, staff member and volunteer who went the second, and third, and fourth mile to make this Christmas an impactful season of outreach for your church! I’m looking forward to hearing more of the stories of the creative ways that Crossroads District churches reached out to their communities. For example, I attended my first “15 Minute Christmas Eve Service” with Pastor Mark Atkinson and the team at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church.
They offer two short but meaningful opportunities for worship, one at 6 p.m. and the second at 6:30 p.m. Both were well attended in spite of the weather. Pastor Mark was praising the Lord with the 20 people who prayed with him on Sunday morning to receive Christ as Lord.
Silver Lake Wesleyan has been undergoing a reset under the leadership of Pastor Duane Seitz. Pastor Duane reports that 40 people attended their Christmas pageant and 6 people responded to the invitation for salvation. Pray as Pastor Duane follows up with these individuals and continues this rebuilding project.
Whether it was a children’s choir or a candlelight communion service, the challenge is to move people from their first experience to full engagement with Christ.
(Here are some follow-up ideas from Outreach Magazine: Six Ways to Follow Up with Christmas Guests)
None of us are content to simply welcome people to events. We are called to engage them in discipleship, from exploration to full devotion. One of the ways I’ve been talking about this lately is with this statement: “Worship that doesn’t move people into discipleship is just entertainment. Discipleship that doesn’t move people into worship is just education.”
Ministry families have to be intentional about finding special moments during the press of the hectic Christmas schedule. It looks like Pastor Randy and Carole Yaryan (pictured above) had a full house with lots of grandchildren in Winchester while Pastor Alan and Grace Gross (pictured below) are in the early stages of family and enjoying their first year of ministry as pastor at Cicero United Family Wesleyan Church.
Sherry and I made a quick trip to Michigan to worship with our children. On Saturday evening, we joined John & Lindsey Gorveatte at Frontline’s South Campus in Byron Center where John serves as campus/teaching pastor.
On Sunday morning, we joined Joel Gorveatte, our youngest son, at Journey Church in Caledonia where he serves as worship and creative arts pastor. One of the highlights of these visits was reconnecting with people we’d known from our family’s involvement in helping those ministries launch while serving as DS in Michigan. It was a blessing to return to worship with our family and to see God at work in these young churches.
Here are two opportunities to help your new year get off to a great start. The first is our district prayer gathering led by Dr. Jim Lo. Join us at College Wesleyan Church in Marion on Friday, January 12, from 1-3, as we seek God together for our lives, our families, our churches and our mission field here in Indiana.
The second opportunity is a leadership seminar with Karl Vaters in Fort Wayne on January 24 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) presented by the Center for Congregations: Small Congregations: Having a Healthy Mindset
Karl Vaters is the author of the book The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. On his blog “Pivot,” he writes about innovative leadership from a small church perspective for ChristianityToday.com. He's also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a ministry that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors.
In this seminar, you will:
(The cost of $30 per person includes the continental breakfast, lunch and a copy of the book Dirt Matters by Jim Powell.)
REGISTER HERE FOR THIS WORKSHOP.
Pastors, let me encourage you to set aside some time this week to reflect on God’s goodness in the year past and to consider how you might serve Him with greater effectiveness in the year ahead. Here’s a question from Pastor Chris Hodges (Church of the Highlands) to bring focus: “What one thing, if it got better, would make the biggest difference in the effectiveness of our church?”
Our Crossroads District team is available for coaching, consultations (Maximizing Impact) and planning retreats (StratOp) to help our churches find solutions and serve with greater impact going forward. We are stronger together.
Thank you for the privilege of serving alongside you in the only cause that counts for eternity! Keep on making a difference!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. The district offices are closed in Marion and Fishers this week but I am available to our pastors by phone or email.
P.S.S. – My favorite quote this Christmas is from Peter Larson: “The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked ‘no entrance’ and left through a door marked ‘no exit’.”
Sunday, December 17, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastors Tom & Sarah Cochran at Expansion Church in Chesterton. They’ve been serving here for the past 18 months and are making progress in focusing the church on missional ministry to this fast growing community in northwest Indiana. I was glad to see Dr. Nathan and Michelle Hoover again. Dr. Hoover was a member of our merging DBA and I appreciate his leadership wisdom. It was also a delight to reconnect with Jennie Lee Riddle and to meet Kaden Slay, from People and Songs, who are leading worship at Expansion Church. Kaden is just releasing his first album that you can find on iTunes: Kaden Slay on iTunes
I love the many creative ways our Crossroads District churches reach out to their communities during the Christmas season. Saturday was a highlight for me as I witnessed more than 200 volunteers at The River Church in Marion serve more than 1100 families from their neighborhood. This event included 4 worship services with special music and a Gospel presentation from Pastor Matthew Trexler. Every family left with a large box containing everything they will need for a great Christmas feast.
Other churches, like Parkview Wesleyan in Chesterfield, take time out to bring joy by singing Christmas carols at retirement homes.
Many others, like Brinker Heights Wesleyan in Marion, feature children in special music or Christmas programs.
Some churches, like Cicero United Wesleyan, even welcome people to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters.
However you do it, don’t miss this wonderful season of opportunity to connect with people who are far from God. Use every available means to reach every possible person with the Good News that our King has come and will soon return!
Last Monday, Rev. Chris Williams and I were in Cincinnati to meet with leaders from Greater Ohio, Indiana South, and the KY-TN Districts for a follow-up conversation about the potential for greater partnership here in the heartland of America. I’ll be bringing an update on these conversations to our district’s 3 regional meetings this spring.
Tuesday, I was met with Pastor Jordan Gardner (Westfield Paradox) and Pastor Tim Witte (Wabash North) for their annual coaching conversations before Sherry and I shared supper with Rev. Jim and Jerolyn Bogear. After their successful ministry in California, Jim and Jerolyn are back in their home area and are serving full-time in their new itinerant ministry (https://www.jimandjerolynbogear.com/) building stronger marriages and teams on the foundation of trust. They are both certified coaches and would be a blessing to your church or leadership team.
Wednesday morning, I attended the funeral for Uriah Wilson, son of Rev. Larry Wilson and grandson of Dr. Norman and Nancy Wilson. Please continue to extend your prayers and support to Uriah’s family and friends. May God grant His comfort and peace.
After the funeral, I met with Pastor John Freed (Waterline Church) at HQ in Fishers for his annual coaching conversation. While at HQ, I also met with Rev. Kimberly Gladden (CMAD), reconnected with Pastor Ervin Webster (St. Stephen Church) and then met with a new local church treasurer that evening for an orientation.
Thursday morning, I met with Pastor Tony Bye (Brookhaven) for our coaching conversation in Marion and then drove to Rochester to meet with Pastor Mike Cloud (The Cross) for our coaching conversation. My last meeting of the day was with Dr. Oliver Dongell at Plymouth Wesleyan before heading home to Upland.
Friday was a chance to catch up on correspondence in my home office before heading north with Sherry to attend the Warsaw Zone Christmas Fellowship. Pastor Jarod and Esther Osborne hosted a fun gathering of area pastors and staff members at Warsaw Wesleyan Church. One exciting update to pass along was Pastor Dale Munsell’s report that Cornerstone Wesleyan welcomed more than 300 for their community Christmas concert featuring the children of their Christian school.
Many of you will have received an email from our office this past week encouraging you to save the date of April 21, 2018 for ReEquip: http://www.reequipconference.org/
We are excited to welcome guest speakers like Rev. Mark Wilson (author of Purple Fish, long-time pastor at Hayward Wesleyan Church, now ministry professor at Southern Wesleyan University) and Matt DePrez (author and Fuller Youth Institute Church Engagement Specialist on the power of intergenerational ministry: https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/author/matthew-deprez).
Please make every effort to bring your team to this leadership event which will replace the seminars we did at last year’s district conference. We really are stronger together!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Allen Laws and the team at Warren Wesleyan Church on Sunday, December 10. Pastor Allen and Cheryl have been faithfully serving here for the past 8 years and are making inroads into their neighborhood. Attendance has doubled under their ministry and the church has taken a lead in the community food pantry that serves needy children. After the service, we joined Allen and Cheryl for lunch at East of Chicago Pizza in historic downtown Warren.
Sunday evening, Rev. Chris Williams and I joined Dr. Jim & Roxene Lo at Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield for a communion service that concluded with Silent Night by candlelight. The congregation has enthusiastically welcomed Jim and Roxie for this interim ministry. The search for a full-time pastor will pick up again in the spring.
This was a great week of connecting with our Crossroads District team. After our Monday morning staff meeting in Marion, I was in Fishers for a meeting with one of our pastors and then jumped on Zoom for one of the monthly connections Dr. Wayne Schmidt provides for district superintendents. Monday evening, Sherry and I joined Pastor Mark Atkinson’s and his zone for a Christmas fellowship at Eastview Wesleyan Church.
Tuesday morning, I connected with Pastor Aldean Pablo (Marion Brinker Heights) for our annual coaching conversation. Dr. Lenny Luchetti and I shared lunch and I learned about his soon-to-be released book on the role of empathy in preaching. Pastor Ryan Budde (Jonesboro Westview) and I met in the afternoon for our coaching session. Then, Sherry and I made it to Fort Wayne in time to join Pastor Rick Fletcher for the zone Christmas fellowship hosted at Lifeway Wesleyan Church.
Wednesday morning, I worshiped with the student body at IWU as Pastor George Martin (Indianapolis Sanctuary Church) brought the message. Pastor Chris Williams and I connected in the afternoon for planning and DBA prep. Sherry and I hosted Dr. David and Angie Smith for supper at our place. Thursday morning, I connected with Rev. Jon Wiest, District Multiplication Director, on the progress his team is making. Then, on Thursday afternoon, our District Board of Administration met at Wesleyan World Headquarters in Fishers with a full agenda.
We had a productive meeting and then welcomed General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt for our Christmas supper. We were delighted that Jan Schmidt was also able to join us. We have a great DBA and value their wisdom in directing our movement.
Friday, I met with 5 of the 6 district superintendents who have been strategizing for a possible Great Lake Region pilot project. It was good to connect with my colleagues and to learn more about the model they are developing to leverage their collective resources. Friday evening, Sherry and I joined Rev. Bill Thompson and the Madison County Zone for their Christmas fellowship. One of the highlights was standing in a circle and singing “Silent Night” in the restaurant. The servers thanked us for brightening their evening!
Saturday afternoon, Sherry and I hosted four of our pastoral couples who lead urban ministries. These are amazing leaders doing remarkable work in challenging circumstances. After great conversations at Thornapple Lodge, we shared supper with them at Cracker Barrel, where we also bumped into Pastor Steve and Cheryll Colter and Pastor Ryan and Rachel Budde. It was a wonderful way to end an exciting week!
After the Sunday evening service at Chesterfield Parkview, Pastor Chris Williams and I drove on to Cincinnati. We will be in meetings there on Monday with leaders from our neighboring districts. Your prayers are appreciated as we discuss partnership possibilities moving forward.
Please also join us in prayer for Rev. Larry Wilson as their family grieves the death of his son, Uriah. Visitation with the family will be held on Tuesday, 4-8 pm and the funeral service on Wednesday at 11 am, all at Pendleton Christian Church, 1170 S. Pendleton Avenue, in Pendleton. Your prayers and support are deeply appreciated by the family.
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday, December 3, was a day of beginning new chapters for two of our district congregations. Fort Wayne’s Level 13 Church officially welcomed Pastor Heath & Hayley Croft and their family from Alabama. Pastor Rob Tippey build a strong foundation at Level 13 launching and building the team. We’re excited to see what God has in store for this next season under Pastor Heath’s leadership.
This was also the day that Dr. Jim Lo began a season of interim ministry at Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield. Pastor Jim and Roxene Lo moved from Marion to the Anderson community last month and just in time for Rev. Bob Van Cise to pass the torch. Please remember both of these ministers in your prayers and reach out to support them as they launch into these new assignments.
“The older you get the harder you have to work at learning because you are also having to unlearn things that no longer work.” – Dr. L.D. Buckingham
This was a week of learning. Pastor Matthew Trexler, Rev. Chris Williams and I flew to Atlanta last Sunday evening for training in the StratOp (strategic operations planning) process used by Tony Morgan’s UnStuck Group. This is the strategic planning process used by churches like Central Christian Church (the church Jud Wilhite pastors in Las Vegas) and Connexus (pastored by Carey Neiuwhof in Ontario, Canada). The training was held at 12Stone’s John Maxwell Leadership Center.
StratOp is the follow-up resource that our Crossroads District offers for church plants as they move past the 2-3 year launch phase, for churches that completed the Maximizing Impact consultation, and for other high capacity churches that are ready to move to the next level. In addition to the excellent training by Tony Morgan and his team, we had the privilege of networking with senior leaders from churches like Harvest Bible Chapel (Chicago) and Sun Valley Community Church (Phoenix).
Then, on Thursday, I flew from Atlanta to Buffalo to join a consultation team at Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church led by Dr. Laurel Buckingham and Dr. Joey Jennings. It was a great learning experience to come alongside this team to serve Pastor Pat Jones and his staff as they work to “engage every person to become a passionate follower of Jesus Christ.” Dr. Jennings and I also had a chance for dialogue on the regional mergers and partnerships that are being proposed. Learning from Dr. Buckingham is like drinking from a fire hydrant. He epitomizes the Caleb spirit for our seasoned saints who just keep climbing new mountains.
I am looking forward to another great week serving with our team here in the Crossroads District. This week will include 4 zone fellowships, a DBA meeting (on Thursday), and a day of dialogue on Friday with the district superintendents who are moving toward a regional merger to create the Great Lakes District. Please join me in praying for wisdom as we consider future possibilities.
Congratulations to Pastor Tom Parsons and the team at Hartford City Wesleyan Church as they celebrate successfully raising $15,000 for the Global Partners Ministry Center in Crotia in partnership with Habitat for Missions. If you’d like to know more about this innovative fund-raising approach to fund world missions initiatives, contact Rev. Wayne Richards (765-506-6733) or visit their website: www.habitatformissions.com
Thank you for praying for Pastor Brad LeRoy (McCordsville Harvest), Pastor Joe Allen (Albion Wesleyan), and Rev. Lloyd Moore (retired). It was encouraging to hear progress reports this week. Pastor Joe shared that for the first time in two years he was able to put in two 8-hour days in a row. Pastor Brad was feeling strong enough to get out of the house for the first time in a few months to join his Harvest Church family for their annual Community Open House. And Rhonda Moore reported that Pastor Lloyd is cooperating with the creative occupational therapy workout she’s developed… unloading the dishwasher. Let’s continue to pray and stand in faith for full recoveries for these ministry leaders!
Let’s continue to pray that God will move in powerful ways in our churches this Advent as we point people to the reason for the season. Christ, long-awaited, has come and will come again. Maranatha!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Daniel Van Cise and the fine folks at W 8th Street Wesleyan Church in Marion on Sunday morning. One of the highlights of the service was Pastor Daniel leading worship with his daughter.
Pastor Van Cise noted that they were missing some of the IWU students who normally worship here, and serve on the musical team, due to the Thanksgiving break. The church was beautifully decorated in preparation for the Advent season. After the service, I enjoyed connecting with their LBA before Sherry and I hosted Pastor Daniel, Alana and their children for lunch together.
Rev. Bob Van Cise preached his final message at Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield this morning, concluding his effective season of interim ministry. Pastor Bob is proof that you never really retire from ministry! Pray with Parkview as they interview a prospective interim minister this week and continue their pastoral search.
(This photo is compliments of Dr. Jim Lo)
I’m grateful for the many ways in which our Crossroads District is working together as a team. Pastor Brian Scramlin and the Wabash New Journey Church welcomed Rev. Michael Hewitt (church planter) and commissioned one of their own families (Dale & Carrie Bradford) to join the launch team at Rising Hope Church, our newest church planting project in Muncie. Together we all are stronger as workers in His harvest!
Last week’s abbreviated schedule included a district office staff meeting on Monday, connecting on Tuesday morning with Rev. David Bannach (who has just been hired as the manager of the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission’s Thrift Store), and participating in the inaugural meeting of our district’s Investment Committee on Tuesday evening.
Like many of you, we enjoyed time at home with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday. With three sons serving in local church ministry, it’s not easy to find a time to connect but this was a very special week for the Gorveatte family. All four of our children, one daughter-in-law, and one fiancee (with a wedding date set for May 26th) joined us in Upland for the Thanksgiving celebration. We couldn’t be more grateful to God for the privilege of being their parents and watching them growing in their faith!
This week, Pastor Matthew Trexler, Chris Williams and I are in Atlanta at the John Maxwell Leadership Center for three days of church consultant training with Tony Morgan and the Unstuck Group. This is a continuation of the partnership that Dr. Aaron Willis launched with Tony’s team a few years ago. We are committed to developing the capacity to better serve the leadership teams of our local churches. The StratOp strategic planning process is a great tool for helping churches reach their full potential. You can learn more about their resources here: https://theunstuckgroup.com/
Here’s another exciting opportunity for a select group of Crossroads District pastors who really want to raise the level of discipleship in their church. Pastor Jon Wiest, Director of Multiplication for the Crossroads District will be leading a 9-month learning cohort around the topic of “Disciple Making and Multiplication” beginning in January 2018. If you have interest in joining this cohort, please email email@example.com for more information.
Our Zone Pastors’ Christmas Fellowships are just around the corner. Mark Atkinson’s zone is hosting their Christmas get-together on Monday evening, December 4, at Eastview Wesleyan Church. Rick Fletcher is welcoming the Fort Wayne zone to Lifeway Church for their Christmas party on Tuesday evening, December 5. Check in with your zone leader for details and to reserve your place.
It’s a joy to partner with you in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday, November 19, I had the joy of welcoming Rev. Ervin Webster (as an ordained minister in transfer) and the vibrant congregation of St. Stephen Church (a developing church) as our newest congregation. Pastor Webster and his team have been worshiping in the former Warren Park building for 5 years and voted this fall to join the Crossroads District of The Wesleyan Church.
They will assume responsibility for the property and continue the partnership with a Hispanic congregation that rents out the fellowship hall. St. Stephen Church is not a large congregation yet but they are working together to give out 100 Thanksgiving meals to needy families in their neighborhood. As you have opportunity, please welcome Rev. Ervin and Karen Webster and their congregation to the Crossroads team!
Sunday evening, I was invited to conduct the pastoral installation service for Pastor Lee Miller at Muncie Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church. Dr. Dale Wheeler, who had been serving as Pastor on Loan from the Greater Ohio District, resigned midyear and the LBA recommended and the congregation called Lee, who had been serving as their assistant pastor. Please welcome Pastor Lee and Jennifer Miller as they step into this new role.
Last week began with a meeting at HQ as part of a study group considering the pilot projects being developed for regional partnerships or expanded district mergers. We heard from Dr. Karl Eastlack, who is leading the Northeast Regional conversation (a merger between Penn-Jersey and Northeast District, along with other partnership possibilities), Rev. Wes Smith (DS of the Northwest District) who is leading the regional partnership conversation with Mountain Plains District and Pacific-Southwest, and Rev. Chris Conrad (DS of West Michigan) who is leading the conversation with six districts that are moving toward a merger that would create the Great Lakes Region.
Dr. David Drury did a great job facilitating this productive working meeting as the study group considered pros and cons along with potential unintended consequences. Everyone agrees that the only compelling reason for any such restructuring is if it can help us more effectively fulfill the Great Commission. The question everyone is working on is what model might best “unleash” Apostolic Multipliers to lead the way for denominational renewal.
The Executive Committee of the General Board met on Monday evening and the full board joined us on Tuesday morning for a full agenda. In addition to the variety of statistical and financial reports that the board reviews, we enjoyed substantive conversations on regional realignment, USF study committee findings, and the new model of Sending Church : Sending Church Connection (a clarification of parameters for churches that plant or launch campuses in other districts than their own).
A highlight of our time together was the concert of prayer on Tuesday evening led by Dr. Emily Vermilya, Jordan Brown Rife, and Rev. Matthew LeRoy. The evening concluded with stations for anointing and prayer led by our own pastors Rev. Barry Dixon and Rev. Neftali Lopez. The board meeting concluded on Wednesday with everyone expressing gratitude for the many ways that God is at work in our denomination. If you’ve not already viewed Dr. Schmidt’s Thanksgiving greetings, you can access it here: https://www.wesleyan.org/wayne-schmidt-gives-thanks
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Pastor Jordan Gardner in Westfield as Paradox Church completed a loan agreement with WIF that will enable them to complete renovations. It was great to back with pastors on Thursday for coaching conversations. I met with Pastor Brian Scramlin (Wabash New Journey) and Pastor Aaron Lee (LaOtto Wesleyan) in Marion, and then met with Pastor Steve Martin at Six Points Wesleyan in Sheridan. I was encouraged by the progress reports from their ministries. Pastor Steve was able to take me on a walk-thru of their newly-remodeled children’s ministry area (one of the prescriptions from their Maximizing Impact team). It’s easy for first time guests to discover that children are a high priority at Six Points.
Thursday evening, I met with the LBA at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church. They continue receiving resumes but have been blessed by the long-term supply preaching of Pastor Bob VanCise. Dr. Bob Hallett has also filled in for the past few weeks. Vice Chair Doug Shuck is serving the church well through this transition.
Friday morning, I drove to Kentucky Mountain Bible College where I was privileged to hear Dr. Mark Eckart, my friend and colleague, present at the ReCharge ministerial. It was my first visit to the historic campus. I enjoyed getting to meet the President Phil Speas and talking with students about church planting possibilities in Indiana.
God is at work in so many exciting ways across our district team. I was encouraged to hear from Pastor Dale Munsell about the ways that God is moving in their congregation at Albion Cornerstone. Attendance is also on the upswing with 82 at yesterday’s worship service (up from last years average of 43).
The River Church in Marion celebrated baptisms yesterday and Pastor Matthew Trexler had the privilege of baptizing his son, Levi. They also received a tremendous report on their capital campaign challenge with more than $700,000 pledged to date.
Many of our Crossroads District churches participate in Operation Christmas Child. Yesterday, Pastor Mark Atkinson and the team at Gas City Eastview prayer over the 1863 shoe boxes that their congregation had prepared to bless needy children around the world in the name of Jesus Christ. Thank you to each of our churches that give generously to express the love of God in such practical ways.
Please continue to remember Lloyd Moore, Joe Allen and Brad LeRoy in your prayers! Brad’s third surgery in this recent treatment process is scheduled for today.
We are delighted to welcome home all of our children and Sherry’s parents for this year’s Thanksgiving Day. We join you in praying that everyone enjoys safe travel and many meaningful moments with your loved ones this Thanksgiving!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of joining Pastor Dan & Amy Fisher as Delphi Wesleyan Church celebrated 100 years of ministry. More than 100 people attended the morning worship service, the fellowship dinner, and the afternoon session of testimonies and memories. Pastor Dan and the team have been doing a complete update and remodeling of the building. They’ve moved the fellowship upstairs with handicap access. They’ve replaced the old pews with comfortable new chairs that allow them to use their auditorium for the new Awana program they're offering. Congratulations on a great celebration to the past 100 years and a great start to the next 100!
Sunday afternoon, Sherry and I hosted our district office staff for a Thanksgiving meal and celebration of our two November birthdays (Roxene and Chris). Following the meal, we were blessed by the musical ministry of the IWU Chorale in concert at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church under the direction of Dr. Todd Guy. If you ever want to take a master class in leadership, watch Dr. Guy inspire and motivate these students to excellence.
Last week began with our staff meeting on Monday and the Zoom meeting that Dr. Schmidt, our General Superintendent, hosts each month with the district superintendents. On Tuesday, I joined 44 of our Crossroads District leaders in Chicago for the Exponential Regional Conference featuring speakers like Ed Stetzer, Albert Tate, James McDonald, and Danielle Strickland.
The best part of these conference experiences is gathering with your team to process the fresh insights and faith-expanding challenges. We enjoyed time together as a district team on Tuesday evening and again over lunch after the closing session on Wednesday. Special thanks to Jon Wiest and Seth Bye for pulling this event together for our team. We will have a group going to the Exponential East conference in Orlando in February but this regional conference was well worth the time at half the cost. We hope you’ll make plans to join us here next fall.
Thursday, I was back on the road connecting with our pastors for coaching conversations. I met with Rev. Mark Atkinson (Gas City Eastview), Rev. Jeff Ludtke (Fairmount Wesleyan), and Rev. Neftali Lopez (Carmel Amistad Iglesia). It was good to see the new dynamic duo of Jeff Ludtke and Rob Tippey manning the espresso equipment at the Branch. It looks like they’re having fun!
Chris, Seth, and I met with Dr. Ed Hoover at our district office on Friday morning. Ed has done a terrific job of number-crunching to provide data for the regional restructuring conversations that are taking place across the denomination. Ed is also making encouraging progress after his recent surgery. Sherry and I were blessed to welcome six of our pastoral couples from the Warsaw Zone for an evening of fellowship at Thornapple Lodge. These zone fellowships are precious times of connection and encouragement. Thank you to each one who has been able to join us so far this year.
The highlight of Saturday was joining the 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration for Rev. Robert and Veralyn Van Cise that was hosted by their family and friends at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church. While Pastor Bob has preached many inspiring sermons, the greatest message he and Veralyn have preached is the example of their faith and the legacy of their family. Please remember Pastor Bob in your prayers as his doctors are working on a diagnosis for some recent health concerns.
Please continue to remember Lloyd Moore, Brad LeRoy, and Joe Allen in your prayers for full recovery from recent surgeries. The best way to track their progress is by connecting on their personal FaceBook pages.
Your prayers are also welcomed this week as the General Board convenes at Wesleyan HQ in Fishers for the annual fall meeting. These are exciting days of ministry opportunity in a changing cultural landscape. Pray that God will grant His wisdom so that we will make the most of every opportunity!
Your servant in Christ,