Sunday, July 8, I had the privilege of preaching at Albion Wesleyan Church. Rev. Mark Schnell has agreed to be their interim pastor and will begin serving in that capacity on August 12 while he continues his doctoral studies and teaching load at IWU.
After the worship service, I met briefly with the leadership team before heading on to Elkhart. I appreciate the way that Brian Frick, vice chair, and the leadership team members have stepped up to move the church forward in this season of transition.
It was a joy to connect again with Pastor Eliorgy Guerrero and the wonderful team at Cielos Abiertos, our newest Wesleyan congregation. They have moved from the basement in Pastor Guerrero’s home to a downtown Elkhart location they’re sharing with a UMC church plant. It was a privilege to share in their worship and bring the message. After the service, Rev. Guerrero introduced me to some of the leaders who bring strong pastoral experience with them from Venezuela. They are just getting started but already have a vision for multiplication!
I was able to make the Sunday evening opening rally at Frankfort Family Camp to hear Rev. Mark Wilson, evangelism professor at Southern Wesleyan University. Pastor Mark and I have been friends since 1995 and it is always good to hear him preach the Word. Rev. Don McDowell was recognized for his 50th consecutive year serving on staff at Frankfort Camp. Services continue through next Sunday with Rev. Wilson and Rev. Mark Murphy, a Nazarene evangelist, sharing the preaching schedule. Phil and Ronda Foley are doing a great job leading this ministry forward. Pray that God will bless those who have gathered there this week!
Last Monday, after completing the team update, I joined Pastor Matthew Stewart for lunch and then enjoyed watching the national Wesleyan Bible Bowl competition at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Rev. Stewart is the area director with two teams competing from Sweetser Wesleyan Church and Rev. Randy Yaryan brought another strong team from Winchester Union Street Wesleyan. Both Randy and Matthew serve as quiz masters. Congratulations to Dillon, Pastor Stewart’s son, for winning the individual championship with its significant scholarship. Columbus Cypress Wesleyan won the national team competition.
I made a trip to Lafayette on Tuesday (and again on Friday) for vehicle repair. Still working to solve the issue but used the waiting time for catching up on reading (finished “The CEO Next Door”) and writing prayer and thank you notes.
Wednesday, Sherry and I enjoyed a quiet 4th of July at home hosting her parents. It was exciting to read about the ways that our district churches lean into these holidays to connect with their community. Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne hosted approximately 700 people for their annual July 4th festival and fireworks.
It’s been a strong summer at Lifeway Church with 17 new members added in the new conference year (8 more are attending membership classes) and 20 people serving on short-term missions. They’re planning an August 17 “Friend Day” to kick off their fall ministry season with a goal of 300!
Thursday, I was in Knightstown to meet with Rev. Dennis Kinser about future possibilities for ministry in this community. Dennis has a real heart for the area and the DBA unanimously appointed him to serve as the pastor for the existing congregation and a green light to explore creative options beyond the building. Thursday afternoon, I was in Sheridan to meet with a potential candidate for the Six Point Church. Pastor Steve Martin was able to meet with us in the middle of packing for his move to North Carolina.
Friday evening, Sherry and I met with Pastor Terry and Lennaire Vaughn in Fort Wayne. It was good to take time connect as they are in the full court press to get ready for launching The Bridge in South Bend this fall. Please pray for our church planting leadership couples who have all the stresses of pastoral ministry without the supportive team and existing structures of an established church. Saturday evening, Sherry and I met with Rev. Dr. Joe and Kathy Harmon. It is a joy to have the Harmon’s back in Indiana where they served effectively for so many years. I’m grateful for their willingness to come out of retirement to lead Lapel Daybreak Church through a season of transition.
In other transition news, Rev. Matt Ohime has accepted appointment as supply pastor at Davis Wesleyan Church for the remainder of the conference year. Matt and Kendra have been serving at a church plant in Wisconsin but we’re glad to welcome them home to Indiana. Kendra will be the new band director in the Oregon-Davis school system.
Special prayer request this week for Rev. Michele Henry and the team leading our Children’s Camp happening at Fairmount Camp. This is always a highlight for our children and significant spiritual decisions happen here every year!
If you’re traveling this summer and have to miss a Sunday, you can still hear some great preaching. Just check out this video from Rev. Chris Williams, our Assistant District Superintendent, preaching at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church:
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. I will be in California through the week for training on the LifePlan tool that we intend to offer for our pastoral team in the years ahead. Rev. Chris Williams and our office team are always available for your call and glad to assist.