*** REMINDER: We’ll be hosting another of our bi-weekly connections for Crossroads District pastors this Tuesday, April 28, at 2 p.m. We’ve had about 50 leaders join us for the previous connections on Zoom. We’ll have information updates, opportunity for Q & A, and then move into breakout rooms for prayer and praise.
This has been a conference year we won’t soon forget. April 30 marks the end of our 2020 conference year so our annual statistical reports are coming due. You will note that the directions for measuring average worship attendance only covers the months of April through February. Also note that there is a column for reporting average of online attendance (through February), using the “Peak Live Viewers” or “Concurrent Viewers” number. (Other livestream platforms may use slightly different language, but this will be the preferred way of calculating online attendance for our denominational reports and you’ll want to track this in our new conference year.)
For your convenience, here are the links for the conference year-end reports:
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Seth Bye (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Roxene Lo (email@example.com).
Local Church Conference (LCC)
The Crossroads District Board of Administration has authorized local church boards (LBA) to postpone the annual local church conference (LCC) until April 2021 unless the local church determines to do so sometime sooner, after the gathering restrictions are lifted. The local board may either continue to operate with the current financial plan or approve an interim FY21 financial plan which can, if required in church bylaws, be approved at the next meeting of the LCC. All officers would also remain in place until their successors are elected. Vacancies may be filled, in the interim of the LCC, by vote of the LBA.
Most church leaders’ are asking “When will we be allowed to gather again and what will we need to do to wisely prepare for re-opening our facility?”
Governor Holcomb was asked about Indiana’s reopening timeline by the Indiana Business Journal (April 24, 2020) and he replied: “Here in the state of Indiana, we’re focused on May 1, and all the changes we need to make and put in place through May 1, and we’ll continue to look at that road ahead in those kind of two-week, 10-day, three-week increments.”
Phase One of the federal government’s instructions includes the following requirements:
“All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed.
“Avoid SOCIALIZING in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing (e.g., receptions, trade shows)
“LARGE VENUES (e.g., sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship) can operate under strict physical distancing protocols.”
Whether we will be able to gather as 10 or 50, it is clear that your ability to provide for “physical distancing” will be essential. Perhaps “watch parties” gathering a few relatives or friends in the homes of your congregation will be a first step. For some of our smaller congregations, it may be that your auditorium is spacious enough for people to be able to maintain the minimum required 6-feet of physical distancing (about 10 square feet of seating of space would facilitate that separation.) You might consider only using every other pew or setting chairs up with two empty spaces between them.
Leaders, it will be wiser to open two Sundays later than you might have rather than to open one Sunday before you should have.
HERE ARE HELPFUL RESOURCES AS YOU PREPARE FOR RE-OPENING:
Last week’s calendar for me included a General Board Executive Committee Zoom Call and a pastoral search team coaching session on Monday. On Tuesday, I taught my final class with IWU students in Wesleyan Church History and Discipline and then met with our CD office staff via Zoom. The General Board had a Q & A Zoom meeting on Tuesday afternoon and voted to approve moving forward to hold the General Conference in St. Louis in 2021 along with approving real-time tithe as an alternative for celebrating 100% contribution to the United Stewardship Fund (USF). Pastor Rich Van Vuren (Shiloh Wesleyan) and Pastor Terry Vaughn (The Bridge Urban Church) joined me for coaching conversations on Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday morning, I was in Fishers to connect with Rev. Scott Rhyno before jumping in on the DS Zoom Huddle that Dr. Karl Eastlack has been hosting each week. Rev. John Freed (Waterline Church) and I connected on Wednesday afternoon for our annual coaching conversation. My last meeting of the day was with Nancy Schoonmaker, our Crossroads District Treasurer to revise our FY2021 with a 25% reduction in expenses.
Thursday, I met with Pastor Matthew Trexler (The River Church) and Pastor Brian Williams (Sims Wesleyan Church) for annual coaching conversations. Assistant DS Chris Williams and I also connected online for our weekly meeting.
Friday morning, I joined Dr. Don Maness and the board of directors at Wesleyan Village Board (Brooksville, FL) via Zoom for our monthly meeting. The ministry of our Wesleyan retirement community continued to make excellent progress under the gifted leadership of Dr. Maness. Dr. Keith Drury, Rob Benson and Martha Blackburn also serve on this board so the Crossroads District is well represented.
Dr. David Drury (pastor of One MultiChurch Network) met on Friday afternoon for our annual coaching conversation. It was encouraging to hear more about the remarkable growth of micro churches across The Wesleyan Church. I am grateful for the significant role that David and Kathy Drury are playing in supporting the leaders of these Kingdom communities. Friday evening, I joined Pastor Trexler and the River Church prayer group to offer a devotional from Romans 15:13.
I want to say “thank you” again to our pastors and their key leaders who are going the second and third mile during this pandemic to care for their congregations and to serve in their communities. God is at work for good even in this difficult season.
Thank you for praying! We’ve been praying for Pastor Calimerio and Maria Rodriquez at Frankfort Templo de Poder. Pastor Rodriguez has fully recovered from Covid-19 but Maria needs our continued prayers. Please, never doubt the power of your prayers. Pastor Michele Henry continues to post encouraging progress reports for David, her husband. Yesterday, Pastor Michele shared on Facebook that David’s doctor said “…no one that sick survives. It’s really quite miraculous.” Please, don’t stop praying!
I love hearing stories of how God is on the move during this pandemic. For example, Indianapolis Trinity Church set a goal of $15,000 for an offering to help needy families. They received over $22,000. Pastor Randy Yaryan decided to try a drop-in family worship at Winchester Wesleyan in addition to his online message. Nine different families (a total of 31 people) took advantage of this opportunity to meet with their pastor for prayer in the 20-minute time slots he provided from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. on Sunday.
One more praise report from Elwood: Pastor Ben Capshaw shared the story of an agnostic who had recently started attending with his wife. Yesterday’s online sermon challenged everyone to spend at least 10 minutes reading their Bible each day. He reached out to Pastor Ben via email for a recommendation on an easy to understand version. His wife sent Pastor Ben a text message expressing her surprise and delight that her agnostic husband spent 30 minutes reading his Bible before bed last evening. God is on the move!
Thank you for all you are doing to spread the salt and shine the Light!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“To exist as something without a white-hot commitment to the mission of God in the world is to exist as something other than the church.” ~ Brian Sanders in “Microchurches” (p.57)
TOGETHER: an online Pentecost event
On May 31, Pentecost Sunday, Wesleyans are gathering online to worship and pray for the fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. This hour-long event begins at 7 p.m. EST.
“Wesleyans are people of prayer,” said General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt. “We live and minister daily knowing that prayer is foundational to any work of the Holy Spirit. May 31 is an important time for us to be together and continue building our Kingdom Force foundation. In the book of Acts, remember the early believers were together in unity and praying. They were anticipating that God was going to move in powerful ways.”
TOGETHER, hosted by Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, will be streaming live from Marion, Indiana on Sunday, May 31, at 7 p.m. EST. The 60-minute online service will feature focused prayer delivered by Wesleyans from around the world with times of worship led by Josh Lavender. Pastors can find more information at:
The Center for Congregations has just announced a one-time “Connect Through Tech” grant for all Indiana congregations. This is a unique opportunity for congregations in Indiana to purchase new technology resources to help connect virtually during the pandemic and beyond. This includes streaming hardware, computers, audio/visual equipment, software, video conferencing subscriptions, licensing fees, and more!
For more information and to submit your grant application, click here:
Center for Congregations Grant Form