Sherry and I had the joy of celebrating with Pastor Ben and Amanda Capshaw yesterday morning at Elwood Central Wesleyan Church as the congregation held their first worship service in their sanctuary in almost 18 months. The congregation was forced from their sanctuary when the city inspector confirmed their worst fears about a sagging roof line and slapped a “condemned” sign on the door. The entire roof structure would have to be taken off and replaced.
The congregation relocated across the street and began the journey of reconstruction. While the work began on the building, God was doing a good work in the congregation. In spite of setbacks and difficulties, the congregation continued to reach out and grow. In fact, more new believers were baptized last year (12) and attendance averaged 78, both new highs in the past 10 years! And they didn’t just replace the roof, they took advantage of this opportunity to completely update the auditorium with new carpet, chairs, and A/V.
Yesterday morning, nearly 200 people were in attendance for the reopening service. I brought greetings and congratulations from the Crossroads District team. Pastor Ben preached from Ephesians 3:20 and challenged the congregation that this was not the end but a new beginning. He shared a passionate vision of seeing their church used by God to transform their entire community. Congratulations, Pastor Ben & Amanda Capshaw!
Saturday evening, Pastor Marc & Heather Ulrich’s team in Merrillville began holding weekly services at ReThink Church with 48 people in attendance. It’s been a remarkable journey in building relationships and remodeling the old facility to host this new congregation. Pastor Tom and Sarah Cochran and Dr. Nathan Hoover (DBA member) from Expansion Church were there to help out. Pastor Tom even helped park cars and welcome guests. Pray for ReThink Church as they building momentum toward their official launch on Easter Sunday. If you have unchurched friends or relatives in the Merrillville area, please encourage them to check out this exciting new ministry: http://www.rethinkchurch.cc/
Yesterday afternoon, I met with Pastor Walter Wilson and the LBA at Muncie Northview Wesleyan Church. This was our second meeting this month to discuss the future of the church with Pastor Wilson’s planned retirement at the end of this conference year. The LBA voted unanimously to recommend to the Local Church Conference to bring this chapter of ministry to a close and to entrust their property for use in planting a new congregation. This is a bold, visionary, and generous step by a small, aging congregation that is willing to do whatever it takes to reach their grandchildren’s generation for Christ. Please pray as we work with our zone pastors to develop a project partnership and recommend a planting team to launch a new congregation four blocks from Ball State University.
Last Monday evening, our Hispanic Zone leaders gathered for a training time at the office in Fishers. Dr. Norman Wilson (IWU prof and DBA member) is an incredible resource to our growing Hispanic congregations. Pastor Julio Rodriguez (Anderson Memorial Circle) and Pastor Neftali Lopez (Carmel Amistad) share the leadership for this group that meets each month. They are studying through the book of Romans and sharing best practices for outreach and discipleship.
Tuesday morning, we had our staff meeting then I drove to Warsaw to connect with Pastor Jarod Osborne over lunch. Tuesday afternoon, I met with Pastor Don Bayne as part of the pastoral review process and then we met with New Carlisle Wesleyan Church’s LBA who unanimously recommended another 4-year call. Pastor Don continues to effectively lead the church after 22 years. They’ve made significant changes in the past 2 years, including moving to the Accountable Leadership model of governance. As part of that, Pastor Don has a ministry leadership team that he meets with twice each month. I enjoyed sitting in with them as they reported in for planning and shared accountability.
I spent most of Wednesday in the office before heading over to IWU to hear Pastor Heather Kinnan Semple speak at Spiritual Life Week. It was encouraging to see the strong number of students who turned out and they were very attentive to Pastor Semple’s powerful message. You would not be surprised to know that more Wesleyan students attend IWU from the Crossroads District than any other district. What happens in these formative years shapes the next generation of our denomination so your prayers for IWU are vital.
Thursday morning, the District Conference planning team met at College Wesleyan Church in preparation for our time together this June 23-24. Assistant DS Chris Williams is leading this team and they are working diligently to make this event memorable.
Thursday afternoon, I hosted a prospective church planting couple in Muncie. They are an experienced and gifted team who are seeking God’s direction and open to the possibility of joining the Crossroads team in a new venture. Pray that God would send laborers into His harvest field!
Friday morning, I sat in with Dr. Jim Lo and the Region 1 DBMD for interviews with licensed ministers who are nearing completion of the ordination preparation. It was a delight to see this team thoughtfully and prayerfully engage with these emerging leaders. Then, on Friday evening, Sherry and I were in Fort Wayne for supper with Crossroads District youth leaders who had gathered for fellowship and encouragement. Andy and Sarah Jellison were the hosts and Pastor John & Danielle Freed were the guest speakers.
Andy Jellison is the point person for the Crossroads District – Region 1 – Youth All-Nighter on Friday, February 17th at The Chapel (2505 W. Hamilton Rd. S, Fort Wayne, IN 46814). Doors open and registration begins at 6:30pm (with a pre-Rally from 7:30-8pm). In addition to a message and time of worship, the event includes: Skyzone Fort Wayne, the YMCA, Crazy Pinz, and Ultrazone and the return of Laser X!
On Saturday evening, Sherry and I met with Pastor David & Rev. Emily Hines, and Dr. Richard & Rev. Carol Schenck, to host Rev. Joshe Bose, National Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church in Bangladesh. God is doing amazing things in this country with 46 Wesleyan churches recently established and 13 new church plants ready to be organized this year. In addition to two Jesus film teams, Rev. Bose leads 2 orphanages and 3 preparatory schools. Bangladesh and Mozambique are the two fields that the Crossroads District Global Partners Committee has identified for our partnership. Dr. Aron Willis and Dr. Richard Schenck will be traveling to Bangladesh in the next few weeks to conduct a training event for pastors. Our next team will be heading there in 2018.
These are exciting days to be part of the Crossroads District of The Wesleyan Church. Keep on making a difference in your corner of His harvest field!
Your servant in Christ,