Sherry and I enjoyed the warm-hearted worship and fellowship with Pastor Allen and Cheryl Laws and the fine folks yesterday morning at Warren Wesleyan Church. We’d had to reschedule due to the weather closing on the previous Sunday so I was glad the sun was shining and the roads were clear yesterday. Warren is another of Indiana’s small towns with a rich history. Economic decline in the past years resulted in the high school closing and families leaving. The town does seem to be turning a corner with more jobs available.
Pastor Allen, another of our faithful bi-vocational pastors, has played a key role in the community serving with the food bank, assisting with re-employment and helping people enter addiction-recovery programs. I had a brief meeting with their leadership team after the service and then Sherry and I hosted the Laws for lunch.
Last week’s attempt was postponed by weather, but Pastor Joe & Dawn Deckard led their team in the first preview service held in Pendleton for Waterline’s new campus. They are using a building we own that formerly hosted New Life Wesleyan. It was encouraging to hear that the launch team volunteers with their families and friends totaled 56. Pray with them as they continue to build momentum with two more preview services and prepare for a full launch before Easter. Pictured here are the launch team members:
Last Tuesday, our district staff met on Tuesday morning and then I jumped in on a Zoom call with Dr. Schmidt, GS, and members of the General Board. Tuesday afternoon, I met with Pastor Ryan Budde (Westview Wesleyan Church) and then with Pastor Matthew Stewart (Sweetser Wesleyan Church) before heading south to meet with Pastor Brad LeRoy and the LBA at Harvest Church in McCordsville. Pastor Brad’s extended call was unanimously affirmed for another 4 years. The Harvest Church leadership team is also excited to welcome Rev. Chris Classen next month as their new executive pastor. Chris is presently on staff at Watermark Wesleyan Church (Hamburg, NY) and I served with Chris earlier when he was part of the staff at Kentwood Community Church in Michigan. Pastor Brad LeRoy is enjoying better days on the health front after the past few difficult years. He and Heid are surrounded and loved by the strong and supportive team at Harvest.
Wednesday morning, I met with Pastor Lee Miller (Muncie Memorial Drive) and then met with Rev. Kim Gladden, Director of Discipleship, at HQ to learn more about the upcoming discipleship initiatives she has planned. https://www.wesleyan.org/discipleship
Pastor Joe Deckard joined me for lunch and an update on their progress in building the team in Pendleton. Wednesday evening, I met with Pastor Mark Atkinson and then with the Eastview Wesleyan Church LBA as they completed their 4-year review and unanimously affirmed Pastor Mark’s extended call.
Thursday, I was wiped out by a flu bug or virus of some kind, so special thanks to those who were willing to reschedule our appointments.
Assistant DS Chris Williams led the district conference planning team that met at Abbey Coffee on Thursday morning. We’re excited to partner with Indiana Wesleyan University this year as they host our event in the Phillippe Performing Arts Center. Ordination service is scheduled for Friday evening, June 21, and District Conference is set for Saturday, June 22. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us. (A gentle reminder that this is a required “all-hands on deck” event for our appointed ministers.)
Congratulations are in order to Rev. Chris Williams on his acceptance into the PhD in Organizational Leadership at Columbia International University (South Carolina). In addition to his many other skills and strengths, Chris is a gifted teacher who already serves as an adjunct faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Pastor Mike and Kim Hewitt graciously stepped up to host our Region 2, East Zone, Pastors and Spouses Fellowship at Rising Hope’s community center in Muncie on Friday evening, after Sherry and I were not up to full speed. I was back up and able to join the group that night and we shared a wonderful time together. It is a remarkable blessing to rejoice with those who rejoice and to carry one another’s burdens as we minister together in the harvest. Thank you also to Pastor Steve Arnett (New Castle Mount Zion) for coordinating our time together as zone chair!
Saturday morning, I attended the celebration of life for Mr. Duane Cady, Don Cady’s father. Don serves on staff at Trinity Wesleyan Church (Indianapolis) and Sharon, Don’s wife, is a valued member of our Crossroads District Board of Administration. It was a moving tribute to a Christian gentleman who loved his family and faithfully served the Lord in his community and in the church as a lay leader and Sunday School teacher. Don and Sharon Cady were joined by Randy and Becky Weidman in a quartet to sing one of Duane’s favorite songs: “Wait Till You See My Brand New Home.”
Rev. Art Davis was at the funeral and told me the story of the day that Duane, as a 37-year-old man, gave his life to Christ under the revival ministry of Dr. Flexon while Rev. Davis was pastoring the church on 46th Street. Mr. Cady leaves a wonderful legacy of faith in his family and friends. Our prayers for God’s comfort go out Mrs. Mary Cady (his widow), and their extended family.
On the way back from Indy, I stopped over at Rising Hope Church to catch up with Rev. Ethan Linder. Ethan was there with some of his young adults from College Wesleyan Church who took the time to come over and assist Pastor Mike Hewitt and some of his young adults from Ball State University in the facility remodeling project. I celebrate every time our churches link arms together to impact our region for Christ.
Thank you for all you do in your respective assignments as pastors and lay leaders to advance God’s Kingdom. The call is clear, the need is great, the time is short. and we are “Sent Now!” (John 9:4)
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. There’s still time to register your youth group for the 2019 Crossroads District All-Nighter in Fort Wayne on February 22! Click here: Registration Link
Are you old enough to remember the blizzard of 1978? President Carter declared a federal disaster in Indiana on January 27, 1978 and the governor activated the National Guard. It wasn’t quite this bad over the past weekend but the blowing snow and temperatures made it wise for many of our congregations to not hold worship services.
While gathering to meet in a building wasn’t an option for many, I was encouraged by the number of our churches who provided creative online options. FaceBook Live seemed to be one convenient format that several pastors used to connect with their congregation. Here’s a sample with Pastor Mark Schnell from Albion Wesleyan Church:
Sherry and I were scheduled to worship with Pastor Allen and Cheryl Laws at Warren Wesleyan Church on Sunday but Pastor Laws got word to us on Saturday evening that their service was cancelled. Sherry has been helping out with accounting at The River Church in Marion, so we fired up the AWD and made it in to Marion for an encouraging time of worship with Pastor Matthew Trexler and his team. They held one combined service yesterday and attendance was strong for that gathering.
Tuesday, January 15, began with our weekly district office staff meeting and then I met with one of young couples who are serving as resident pastors in our district. Tuesday evening, I connected with Pastor Tony Bye and the leadership team at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church as they prepare for the normally-scheduled pastoral vote. It was encouraging to hear the report of 14 baptisms at BWC so far in this conference year!
Wednesday, I was on the road for coaching conversations. The first was in Lebanon with Dr. Morris Jones, pastor of Lebanon Wesleyan Church. Dr. Jone is another of our faithful bi-vocational ministers. He serves as an academic advisor at IUPUI during the week and also serves as a member of the city council in Lebanon. He was excited to share how the church has been exploring new ways this past year to connect with their neighbors and serve their community.
Pastor Logan Patriquin and I met for his coaching conversation over lunch and then he took me on a tour of the remodeling projects at the church. Formerly known as Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan Church, the Branch is making strides to better connect with their community through an after-school mentoring program. They’ve recently welcomed Ms. Amber Bass as part-time paid staff in worship and youth. Pastor Logan has been encouraged by the way the team has come together for these projects and attendance is on the upswing.
My last coaching appointment of the day was in Logansport with Pastor Zach Szmara at The Bridge. Pastor Zach does an amazing job of juggling his responsibilities as lead pastor at The Bridge and serving as National Director for Immigrant Connection, the multi-site ministry that helps people navigate the complexities of our immigration process. The Bridge is a multicultural congregation reaching into the Hispanic community but has recently added several families from Haiti who have come to work in Logansport. These families had Wesleyan roots from the ministry on the island of La Gonave. Elyse Garverick has recently joined with Zach on the pastoral team and the influence of the church continues to expand beyond its walls to serve Logansport.
Thursday morning, I was in Marion to meet with a pastoral couple who are exploring ministry opportunities in our district before heading to Fishers. I met with Pastor John Freed and Pastor Joe Deckard for an update on their progress toward launching Waterline in Pendleton. Then, Pastor Neftali Lopez (Carmel Amistad) and I met over supper for his annual coaching conversation. I am grateful for the leadership that Pastor Lopez brings as a bi-vocational pastor serving in the U.S. Navy reserves, in restaurant management, and as a chaplain for IWU campus buildings in the Indianapolis area.
My last meeting of the day was with Pastor Tom Parsons and the LBA at Hartford City Wesleyan Church. Pastor Tom is completing 18 years of effective ministry at HCWC but has answered a call to pastor a church in Georgia. He shared that announcement with the congregation earlier this month and I am working with the LBA as they prepare to launch their pastoral search. Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant DS, also shared a presentation on the accountable leadership model of governance that was well-received.
Pastor Tom & Kara Parsons have been used of God in remarkable ways to bless HCWC. While we are going to miss them here in the Crossroads District, we pray that God will bless them in even greater measure in their new ministry assignment. Please join us in praying as the leadership team prepares to call a new pastor to lead this vital ministry.
Friday morning, I joined with Dr. Smith, our Chair, and other members of the District Board of Ministerial Development to interview ordination candidates. I’m always encouraged to hear these stories of how God is calling women and men to lead the church in these exciting days of ministry challenge and opportunity.
Friday evening, I joined Pastor Paul VanCise and his team at Bryant Wesleyan Church as Assistant DS Chris Williams led them through the first session in their StratOp planning retreat. The weather forecast resulted in the additional sessions being rescheduled. The first session focused in on learnings from their church’s journey. It was encouraging to see how God has blessed this vibrant rural ministry under Pastor Paul’s leadership.
The 2019 District All-Nighter is fast approaching! The main rally for this event is returning to Pathway Community Church (11910 Shearwater Run., Fort Wayne) at 8pm on the February 22nd (Doors open at 6:30pm and Pre-Rally starts at 7:45pm).
The night kicks off with a rally featuring giveaways, worship, message, and pizza. After the rally, students enjoy their time at Skyzone, Ultrazone/Laser X, Crazy Pinz, and the YMCA. If they love laser tag, trampolines, bowling, putt putt golf, swimming, pizza, open gym, and rock walls, this event is for your students! Plan to join several hundred other students and adults from the Crossroads District for this event! Here’s the link for more information and to register your group:
2019 Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
More than 150 Crossroads District team members (pastors and their spouses) joined with another 1800 Wesleyan leaders who came from across the USA, Canada and even New Zealand for The Gathering. First established in 2007, this marked the fourth time that Wesleyan leaders have convened like this for worship, training and renewal.
Rev. Carol Schenck, Noblesville campus pastor for Circle of Hope and our District Secretary, posted this on her Facebook page:
“Preparing to head back home after an amazing Pastors’ Conference. We thank our home district, Crossroads, for their assistance in helping provide many of us as district pastors funding to attend. This conference was life-changing in so many ways for many of us. On behalf of all of us from Circle of Hope campuses, we say thank you for the care you give to us as district pastors. We are the blessed ones!”
Congratulations to Executive Director Becci Wood and her team who organized The Gathering, a ministry of the HQ Department of Education and Clergy Development. The generosity of the Wesleyan Investment Foundation as the lead sponsor was a special blessing to this event.
The music team led us in Spirit-filled worship. The speakers were real and relevant. And the fellowship was sweet as new friendships were formed and long-time ministry colleagues reunited. Special appreciation goes to our District Board of Administration who committed resources from our Thrive Fund to match the contributions of local churches and make it possible for so many of our pastors and their spouses to attend.
Sherry and I left on Sunday afternoon and drove to the event with 8 large boxes of T-shirts to be distributed as the Heartland Region launched its new website:
My first appointment was with the members of the Boards of Trustees from all five our Wesleyan higher education institutions. Our sessions began with lunch on Tuesday and concluded on Wednesday afternoon. We covered a variety of helpful topics for the challenging times that face our colleges.
My schedule changed when we received word that Assistant DS Chris Williams’ mother, Mrs. Joyce Williams, had unexpectedly passed away on Tuesday. We were already scheduled to host our Crossroads District team for a luncheon on Thursday so Sherry, Seth and I handled that and then I had a planning meeting with the Heartland Region DS team late Thursday afternoon. As soon as that meeting was over, I left for Maryland and arrived in Salisbury, MD on Friday evening to represent our team at the visitation time. The funeral was held at Emmanuel Wesleyan Church on Saturday morning.
Rev. Chris Williams and Sean, his son and Joyce’s oldest grandchild, both did a great job sharing memories and paying tribute to Mrs. Williams as a loving mother and grandmother. Rev. Mark Bunting and Rev. Tom Bunting conducted the funeral and they both affirmed the wonderful legacy of faith that Joyce left for her family and friends.
From Maryland, I was heading west into the oncoming snowstorm so Rev. Damian and Anne Williams graciously hosted me in the Pittsburgh suburbs. The Williams generously funded several of our first Maximizing Impact weekends here in Indiana and it was good to reconnect with them. I worshiped with them at Allison Park Church, their home church, on Sunday morning,
This wonderful ministry, led by Pastor Jeff Leake, has launched more than 100 church plants across the northeastern states in the past 10 years. After a brief lunch with the Williams, I hit the road and made it safely back to Indiana before sunset. No matter how far you roam, there’s no place like home!
This week we’re praying for Pastor Joe & Dawn Deckard who are hosting their first preview service in Pendleton this coming Sunday, 10:30 a.m., for a new church plant as part of the Waterline Church network. If you have unsaved, unchurched friends or relatives in the Pendleton area, let them know about this new campus of Waterline Church:
There is still time to register for the Crossroads District’s Youth Ministry All-Nighter. This year’s event is scheduled for Fri-Sat, Feb. 22-23, in Fort Wayne. All the youth leaders who are on file with our district office have received detailed information from DYP Lane Sander. If you haven’t received the information, please add you name to the list at our office and make sure your teenagers don’t miss this powerful event! Click here for more information!
Mark your calendar for ReEquip 2019, on April 6, in Marion. Our guest speakers will be Pastor Mike & Tina Hilson, (New Life Network in LaPlata, MD) who are setting the pace for church multiplication, and Dr. David Smith, TrueNorth Ministry, who is helping churches deepen the level of Bible engagement among their members. There will also be specialized breakouts for children and youth leaders. Click here to visit the ReEquip website!
We’re praising the Lord with Pastor Tony Bye and the Brookhaven Wesleyan Church who are off to a great start in 2019 baptizing 7 new believers yesterday morning. Praise the Lord for each one who publicly professed their faith in Christ!
I’m believing with you for a great year of Kingdom advance in 2019!
Your servant in Christ,
Happy New Year! It’s always exciting to launch into a new year of ministry. Sunday morning, January 6, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Brent and Naomi Miller and the welcoming congregation at Southside Wesleyan Church in Gas City. After the service, I held a brief meeting with the Local Board of Administration.
Pastor Brent is completing his sixth year of ministry as lead pastor after a season on staff with Pastor Mark Atkinson at Eastview Wesleyan. Pastor Brent is one of our effective bi-vocational pastors. Southside is his home church so he’s navigated some unique challenges as he’s led the church from averaging 40 to running more than 70. They’ve made positive improvements in the ministry and facility. One of their recent initiatives was to host a community outreach event called: Who-Bilation.
The team worked hard to pull off this special event and were blown away when the community responded with more than 500 attending. Pray for Pastor Brent and the Southside team as they follow-up on some new friends and reach out to their community.
The last Sunday of the year, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Franz & Yuldia Gonzalez at Vida y Esperanza. Pastor Frank and his family received immigration status in the USA among the many thousands who have fled the socialist regime in Venezuela. They came to Goshen, Indiana, with little but their vibrant faith in Christ. In March, 2016, Pastor Franz gathered the first small group in his home. Today, they worship in rented space with as many as 60 people now comprising the congregation. Through our mutual friend in Elkhart, Pastor Eliorgy Guerrero, Pastor Gonzalez and this Goshen congregation are taking steps to joining our Crossroads District team. Pray that God will bless their outreach to the growing Hispanic community in northern Indiana.
Last week included our staff meeting on Wednesday, attending the funeral of Dr. Thomas Phillippe (beloved church leader and a ministerial member of the Crossroads District), meeting with Pastor Tim McClellan and the StratOp team at Lakeview Wesleyan Church, meeting with one of our pastors in preparation for his upcoming vote, and meeting with an LBA members from another church who will be leading their team’s pastoral search. (As much as I enjoyed the break, I was excited to get back to the work that God has called us to do together!)
I trust your Christmas was blessed with meaningful times of celebration and connection, both with your church family and with loved ones. There are inspiring reports posted on social media from many of our churches who also made this a season of focused outreach to their communities. Thank you to each church leader who went the second and third mile to mobilize their teams for these high impact opportunities. If you haven’t already done so, make time to debrief with your team. Take notes on what worked and what you can improve. Christmas 2019 will be here before you know it!
Sherry and I will be joining about 1500 other Wesleyan pastors and their spouses in Orlando this week for The Gathering. Please pray that God will meet with us and pour out His Holy Spirit on us in fresh ways for the Harvest.
Three upcoming events that you’ll want to add to your calendar:
Our Crossroads District’s Youth Ministry hosts an amazing all-nighter each year. This year’s event is scheduled for Fri-Sat, Feb. 22-23, in Fort Wayne. All the youth leaders who are on file with our district office have received detailed information from DYP Lane Sander. If you haven’t received the information, please add you name to the list at our office and make sure your teenagers don’t miss this powerful event! Click here for more information!
ReEquip 2018 was terrific and this year’s one-day training event for lay leaders and pastors promises to be even better. Our guest speakers will be Pastor Mike & Tina Hilson, (New Life Network in LaPlata, MD) who are setting the pace for church multiplication, and Dr. David Smith, TrueNorth Ministry, who is helping churches deepen the level of Bible engagement among their members. There will also be specialized breakouts for children and youth leaders. Plan to bring your team and join us in Marion on April 6. Click here to visit the ReEquip website!
Oswald Chambers wrote that, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” If that quote challenges you as much as it challenges me, please join us for “Crying Out” our 2019 prayer retreat to be held this year at Fairmount Camp on April 12-13. Dr. Jim Lo and a team of intercessors will be leading pastors and local church leaders through guided corporate and personal prayer during this retreat. Please put this date on your calendar and plan to join us.
Let’s pray and work together for an amazing year of Kingdom harvest in Indiana in 2019!
Your servant in Christ,