Sunday morning, January 28, Sherry and I were privileged to join Pastor Matthew and Jennifer Stewart for worship at Sweetser Wesleyan Church. Sweetser is one of the churches participating in our Maximizing Impact initiative and it was encouraging to hear the progress reports as they’ve moved forward on their recommendations.
Following Pastor Stewart’s message on the Marks of a Christian (1 John 2), I met briefly with the LBA and then joined the congregation for a pitch-in dinner. After the dinner, Rev. Stewart invited me to share the “3×5” evangelism tool as the congregation steps up their outreach to the community. Congratulations also to Pastor Steward on recently completing course requirements for the Master of Divinity degree at Wesley Seminary!
Sunday evening, I had the joy of participating with Rev. Tony Bye, lead pastor at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church, and Rev. Michael Hewitt, church planter for Rising Hope Church in Muncie, in a conversation about evangelism in the local church. Brookhaven does a great job of their annual church membership reaffirmation process and part of that is a series of vision-casting and mission/values conversations. Pastor Bye shared that they’ve had 16 new members join since last year. They’re also in the middle of an exciting remodeling project to better serve children.
Speaking of remodeling projects, Frankfort First Wesleyan Church, another of our Maximizing Impact congregations, tackled their platform renovation this month. Here are the before and after pictures:
That’s a dramatic improvement! But, far more important are the stories of changed lives and new members that are becoming part of their fellowship. Congratulations to Pastor Alan Downing and the Frankfort First team.
Change is never easy, especially in ministries that we dearly value. Many of you will have received word of the transitional season for our Hephzibah Children’s Ministry. It was encouraging for me to hear from Dr. Dan Berry, Hephzibah’s Board chair, this week about the exciting possibilities as Hephzibah moves away from being a “state-controlled institution” to becoming more of a local church partnership for foster parenting and adoption initiatives.
While this is a marked shift away from a geographically-based ministry, this step has huge potential for impacting 10x more orphaned and vulnerable children across the nation, rather than being limited to the state of Georgia. Pray for our leaders in this challenging transition and believe with them for brighter days of greater impact ahead.
Last week was a change of pace as Sherry and I were in Buffalo, NY to partner with D.S. Dr. Joey and MaryBeth Jennings at the Western New York District Pastors & Spouses Retreat. Thank you to each one who made this event a matter of focused prayer. We felt that prayer support and are grateful for the way that God allowed us to serve.
We then flew from Buffalo to Orlando on Tuesday evening to participate in the GS-DS Institute (Wednesday-Friday). This annual event was held at the Caribe Royal Resort which will be the host site for the 2019 Gathering (January 9-11). It is always encouraging to connect with colleagues from across our denomination and to hear the many exciting ways in which God is at work. Disciples are making disciples and congregations are multiplying. Dr. Wayne Schmidt is bringing intentional, focused leadership to our team and challenging us to deeper levels of collaboration to unleash the apostolic multipliers in our movement.
Make plans now to bring your leadership team to ReEquip, April 21, 9 am to 3 pm, in Marion. This is a “make tracks, not excuses” event. The location is convenient, the price is right, and the value is high. Pastors, bring your lay leaders. Lay leaders, bring your team. Rev. Mark Wilson (author of “Purple Fish” and “Filled Up, Poured Out”) will be our keynote speaker. Next generation ministry leaders (children and youth workers) are looking forward to hearing from Matthew DePrez (author of “Join Generations: Becoming Unashamedly Intergenerational”). All the details for both tracks are conveniently located here: http://www.reequipconference.org/
I’m looking forward to a great week with multiple coaching conversations and a chance to drop in on the FUEL conference at HQ.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,