Yesterday morning, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Steve & Paula Arnett at the New Castle Mount Zion Wesleyan Church. After the warm-hearted worship and a challenging message from Pastor Steve on faith, I also met with the LBA. I was excited to learn that Mount Zion will be welcoming 20 new members on June 4. Pastor Steve also serves our district team by leading the Region 2 East Zone. Under his leadership, the zone recommended the Muncie project and planting team.
It was also good to see Dr. Bob & Carol Hallett at Mount Zion Wesleyan. Bob is president of TLC Ministries (to visit Bob’s website, click here: TLC Ministries) that provides stewardship campaign consultations and other services to local churches.
From New Castle to Southview Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis, we received new members and welcomed a wonderful congregation of Chin people from Myanmar into The Wesleyan Church. For the past 6 years, this congregation, known as Shalom Christian Church, has been graciously hosted for worship and fellowship at Southview Wesleyan under the leadership of Pastor Rick Matthews.
After extensive conversations over the past year, their elders voted to request that they be accepted as a Wesleyan congregation. The DBA approved this at our meeting on Thursday so Pastor Rick and I had the privilege of welcoming them as the newest Wesleyan church in the world (or at least Indiana)! Benjamin Tuimuk (pictured) has been appointed as their supply pastor while he continues ordination preparation. We are looking forward to welcoming these new brothers and sisters at the Saturday morning of our district conference (June 24).
Rev. Stephen Nelson represented Indiana Wesleyan University at this event and stayed after the meeting to work with several students interested in studying at IWU.
Sunday evening, I was with Pastor Jerry Alexander and the team at Anderson Central Wesleyan Church for their annual conference. These are exciting days at Central with continued growth in attendance and a bold step of faith in launching a daycare to serve their community.
This new venture was featured on the cover of the Anderson newspaper yesterday and the timing couldn’t be better with the center opening in the next few weeks under the direction of Ms. Brittani Day, a Kingswood University graduate. This is quite an undertaking for a congregation that was averaging less than 30 just two years ago and not without its challenges as they comply with state regulations to provide the best quality care possible for the children in their community. It was good to connect with the new LBA after the conference and assist them as they plan for continued growth.
Last week began with a staff meeting in Marion before heading to Fishers for a meeting with Rev. Ck.K. Chitty, CEO of Hephzibah Children’s Ministries. Monday evening, Dr. Norm Wilson and I met with our Hispanic Zone leaders for Bible study and fellowship. Pastor Neftali Lopez (Carmel Amistad) does a wonderful job as leader of this zone.
Tuesday morning, I met with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, in our Gas City office (Cracker Barrel) before heading north for an annual coaching conversation with David Cox who serves as Supply Pastor at Laketon Wesleyan Church. The church averaged 36 in attendance this year with 2 professions of faith and 1 baptism. David is one of those unsung heroes in the The Wesleyan Church who serves bi-vocationally.
Wednesday, I met with Nancy Schoonmaker, our District Treasurer, as we prepared for the DBA meeting. I participated in a ZOOM meeting that afternoon with Dr. Schmidt and other district superintendents. The last meeting of the day was with Dr. Phil Struckmeyer, church planting guru and longtime friend, as he shared his vision for resourcing urban church planting.
Thursday, the District Board of Administration (DBA) met in Fairmount at “The Branch,” a ministry extension of Fairmount Wesleyan Church. Pastor Jeff Luedtke and his team provided wonderful hospitality with great coffee and freshly-baked cookies. The DBA covered a full agenda that included reviewing church planting projects recommended by the zone pastors in Muncie, Fort Wayne and South Bend.
You’ll be hearing more about these developments at District Conference (June 23-24) but we’re delighted to announce that the DBA approved Mike & Kim Hewitt (Muncie), Roy & Dylana (Fort Wayne), and Terry & Lennaire Vaughn (South Bend – The Bridge Urban Church). We've earmarked funding for a potential project on the east side of Indianapolis and approved welcoming the new Chin congregation (Shalom Christian Center).
Friday morning, Rev. Chris Williams and I were in Anderson to check in on the progress of the daycare project. I met with Pastor Brent Miller for lunch and our annual coaching conversation in Gas City. Brent is providing effective leadership to the turnaround at Southside Wesleyan. Then, on Friday evening, Sherry and I welcomed the pastors and spouses from the Region 3 North Zone to our home. Travel distance and other commitments don’t always make it possible for everyone to attend, but we were delighted to spend a wonderful evening with Pastor Don Bayne (zone chair), Tom & Sarah Cochran, and Mike & Brenda Cloud.
Highlights for this week include the Festival of Preaching at College Wesleyan Church and a round of coaching conversations. I’ll also be meeting with the search committee at Level 13 Church in Fort Wayne. Founding pastor Rob Tippey resigned this weekend and is actively seeking God’s direction for his next ministry. Pastoral transitions are always challenging especially when it is the founding pastor. Please keep Rob and Level 13 in your prayers!
Congratulations to Rev. Ernest Batman, our beloved retired District Superintendent, who turns 90 this Wednesday! He continues to be a blessing to his family, friends and colleagues. I know he’d enjoy hearing from you!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,