This conference concludes the second year of ministry as a new district since the merger of Indiana Central District and Indiana North District in 2016. There have been adjustments and learnings along the way, but this year’s conference seemed genuinely marked by a sense of God’s presence in our worship and prayer, as well as a growing sense of team.
John Maxwell is famous for saying that everything rises and falls on leadership. If that’s the case, then nothing we do as a conference is more important than ordaining ministers and deploying leaders for the harvest. This year, we ordained 10 wonderful candidates for the ministry of Word and Sacrament.
Before the service, we had a encouraging time of fellowship and prayer with our ordained ministers as Dr. David Smith prepared us for the evening. I am grateful to each of these leaders who made this consecration service a scheduling priority.
Dr. Dennis Jackson was the General Superintendent’s representative and brought a powerful message as the keynote speaker for the Ordination Service. Each of the 10 candidates received the examination and then had the Ordination Council lay hands as the General Superintendent’s representative performed the act of ordination.
Then, the assembled ordained ministers from the Crossroads District surrounded the ordinands and spouses as they knelt before the altar. There are few sounds more beautiful than this time of collective prayer with these saints calling on God for His anointing on His called servants.
Congratulations once more to these members of the Crossroads District Ordination Class of 2018: Reverend Seth Bye, Reverend Laura Catlin, Reverend Shawnda Dykhoff, Reverend Jorge Escalante, Reverend Teresa Hester, Reverend Taylor Hulse, Reverend Levi Lehman, Reverend Joshua Light, Reverend Ethan Linder, and Reverend Jason Sanders.
(If you were unable to attend, here’s a link to the video recording of the service:
The service was followed by a wonderful reception and time of fellowship hosted in the atrium and gathering room at College Wesleyan Church. Special thanks to Dr. Steve DeNeff and his team for their generous invitation and exceptional hospitality for ordination and conference again this year!
The conference team began registering delegates at 8 a.m. on Saturday and the first session of conference commenced promptly at 9. The theme of this year’s district conference was "SENT NOW" drawn from the words of Jesus in John 9:4 (NLT) "We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned to us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, then no one can work."
We enjoyed inspiring times of musical worship led by Elizabeth and Scott Rhyno. The first session featured the District Superintendent’s annual report with special recognition given to our church planting teams.
In addition to affirming Pastor Michael and Kim Hewitt (Muncie Rising Hope) and Rev. Terry and Lennaire Vaughn (South Bend – The Bridge), we welcomed new mission leaders in Rev. Eliorgy Guerrero, planting a new Hispanic congregation in Elkhart, Rochelle & Travis Jenkins who are planting Circle City Wesleyan (a house church network) in inner city Indianapolis, and Pastor John Miller, planting Way City Church in Speedway. We praise God for the new Kingdom communities He is raising up!
The superintendent’s report also included updates on the conversations underway with members of the Heartland Collective (Greater Ohio District, Indiana South District, Kentucky-Tennessee District, and Crossroads). We are working on partnership possibilities including leadership development, church planting, and a joint ministerial in Pigeon Forge in 2020. Two of the district superintendents, Rev. Les Crossfield (Greater Ohio) and Dr. Mark Eckart (Indiana South) brought greetings to the delegates.
During the second session, we heard from Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent and special guests Dr. Steve Lennox (president of Kingswood University) and Dr. David Wright (president of Indiana Wesleyan University). We also cast ballots for District Superintendent and District Secretary, re-electing both. After a learning curve on the new electronic ballots, we made better progress on our voting in the afternoon.
We received the positive financial reports from Nancy Schoonmaker, our District Treasurer, and approved another conference budget that dedicates more than 25% of our annual income to church planting, church revitalization and leadership development. Your United Stewardship Fund (USF) contributions topped 96% this year, up from 95.5% last year. Thank you to every leader who worked diligently to help us move toward 100% participation. Your full participation allows us to keep our combined rate at 10%, which is the 2nd lowest in the denomination. Special thanks to Mrs. Nancy Schoonmaker and Mrs. Roxene Lo, Bookkeeper, for the excellent work they do with our financial reporting.
In the afternoon, we completed our elections. One of the last official acts of the day was the General Superintendent’s installation of the re-elected District Superintendent and the new District Board of Administration. We elected 6 new at-large members to the DBA with nine men and seven women representing our churches on this governing board. Our lay members-at-large are Sharon Cady, Jeff Clark, Kathy Drury, Amy Luchetti, and Ken Ehman. Our ministerial members-at-large are Rev. Steve Bray, Dr. Steve DeNeff, Rev. Barry Dixon, Rev. Emily Hines, and Dr. Norman Wilson.
Rev. Carol Schenck was elected again as our District Secretary and the DBA appointed Mrs. Nancy Schoonmaker, CPA, one again as District Treasurer. Rev. Michael Colaw (Region 2), Rev. Matthew Trexler (Region 1), and Rev. Chris Williams (Region 3) were appointed by the DBA as Assistant District Superintendents. Rev. Matthew Trexler was elected as Vice-Chair of the DBA for the coming year.
The day of conferencing concluded with delegates sharing in the Lord’s Supper as the members of the DBA served the communion elements. Dr. Jim Lo and our district intercession team then led the delegates in a time of closing prayer as we prepared to leave in the spirit of this year’s conference theme “SENT NOW!”
Plan now to join us in Marion next year for District Conference 2019, June 21-22!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. The full District Conference Journal will be available online later this summer.