Sunday morning, Sherry and I worshiped with Pastor Eric Roemer and the team at Greentown Wesleyan Church. After the challenging message from Pastor Eric, I met briefly with the LBA and then we hosted Eric and Amanda and their precious girls for lunch. Amanda is a great partner with Eric in their ministry and also takes time to serve as a lay member of our District Board of Administration.
Greentown was one of the first churches in our district to welcome the Maximizing Impact team consultation. It was encouraging to be back on site and to see the continued progress they are making in reaching their community for Christ. Pastor Eric is great help on district events and is also serving as chair for the Greentown Ministerial Association this year.
Last week’s schedule included coaching conversations with the following pastors: Matthew Trexeler (The River), Paul Van Cise (Bryant), Randy Yaryan (Winchester), Steve DeNeff (College), Eric Roemer (Greentown), Don Bayne (New Carlisle), Marc Ulrich (Merrillville-ReThink), Tom Cochran (Chesterton), and Rick Patterson (Colfax).
In this week’s coaching conversations, I’ve heard praise reports of miraculous healing, stories of life change, and one church that has seen a 40% increase in tithing since last year. God is on the move in Indiana!
I also met with three of our pastors through the week to work on property matters in Muncie, Crawfordsville, and Indianapolis. Retired Chaplain Gordon Ritchie was in town for a few days and it was good to connect and hear more about the doors that God is opening for his continued ministry after 24 years of active military duty.
Another highlight this week was dropping in on FUEL, the denomination’s training for the leaders of next generation ministries (children and youth). More than 300 leaders gathered from across the US and Canada for this event that one young leader described as “life-changing!” Congratulations to Zach Coffin and his team from HQ for an excellent training experience! Lane Sander, our Crossroads District Youth Leader, did a fine job of hosting our participants for supper on Friday. Just a reminder to mark your calendars for the Crossroads ReEquip training event in Marion on April 21 which will feature Matthew Deprez, one of the keynote speakers from FUEL.
Many of you have been praying for and supporting the launch of ReThink Church in Merrillville. We’re grateful for Pastor Marc and Heather Ulrich who are leading the team in planting this new congregation in our northwest corner. ReThink celebrated their one-year anniversary last month with 70 people in attendance. Since moving their worship experience to Sunday morning, in January, they’ve welcomed 35 first-time guests. Keep on praying!
On Friday, we received word that Rev. Howard Barefoot, beloved pastor, husband, father and friend, had passed away. He and Dorothy had been wintering in Brooksville, Florida. Rev. Barefoot was know for his warmth, his optimism, his love for God and his gracious way with people. Our prayers are with Mrs. Dorothy Barefoot, the family and the many friends who will miss him. I am grateful for his prayers and encouragement to me. Funeral arrangements will be shared as soon as we receive the details.
Saturday afternoon, I had the joy of connecting with three prospective church planters from Venezuela. It was exciting to pray with them and to consider the possibilities of planting many Hispanic churches across northern Indiana, beginning in Elkart and Goshen. The Warsaw zone, led by Pastor Jarod Osborne, has made this a matter of focused prayer and has prioritized Hispanic church planting as one of the key needs in their region. Pray that God will continue to send out workers into His harvest!
This week, I’ll be speaking in chapel at Southern Wesleyan University and connecting with prospective residents and church planters for our district, returning on Wednesday. Your prayers are always appreciated.
This Friday evening, February 9, Sherry and I are looking forward to hosting Rev. Mark Atkinson and the lead pastors and their spouses for the Marion Zone 2 fellowship at Thornapple Lodge. Cindy Horn has graciously assisted in sending out reminders. The doors open after 6 pm and supper is served at 6:30. We value these times of fellowship and encouragement that are building a stronger, more connected Crossroads team!
May God continue to bless as you pursue the Great Commission in the Spirit of the Great Commandment!
Your servant in Christ,