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’.”