Sunday morning, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Jeremy and Ana Armiger and our friends at Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield, Indiana. After the morning service, I met with the LBA and then Sherry and I hosted the Armiger family for lunch. We are blessed to have this family as part of our district team.
Parkview Church has experienced a significant transition in the past few years. The church has walked together through the death of their long-term and dearly-loved Pastor Paul Trent, through two effective interim pastors (Rev. Bob VanCise and Dr. Jim Lo), and then on to welcoming the Armigers. While the pandemic has slowed the momentum that they were experiencing, the church continues with prayer walks and community outreach.
Most recently, Rev. Armiger and Dr. Lo led the effort to distribute 1000 candy canes and prayer cards to homes in the surrounding community. They celebrated 19 new professions of faith last conference year and baptized 15 new believers in the past 2 years. Change is never easy for any church. In fact, some churches would rather die than change. I’m grateful for changes that Parkview has been willing to make so far to regain their focus on making more disciples. Pray for God’s continued blessing as they make the Great Commission their first priority.
Sunday afternoon, I met with the LBA at Muncie Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church. They’re in a time of transition with Rev. Lee Miller stepping out to plant Crossover Church near the reservoir on the east side of Muncie. The LBA has secured a supply pastor to help with preaching. After a good time of discussion, we have planned a Local Church Conference for January 24 to allow for broader input from the membership as they consider options for the future. Pray that God will bless with direction and unity.
Yesterday morning, January 10, was the first church visit assignment for Dr. Jim Lo as the newest member of our district team. Dr. Lo visited with Pastor David Leitzel and the Hamilton Wesleyan Church family yesterday to bring greetings and encouragement from our district team. Dr. Lo shared a positive report from this first appointment.
Rev. Seth Bye, who has been making church visits, will now be preaching each Sunday at Nehemiah Church through the spring and assisting them as interim pastor. Dr. Lo agreed to come alongside to help me with church visits through this spring season. With permission from the DBA, we’re developing a plan that will have a district coach like Dr. Lo, assigned to every pastor. Our district pastor coaches will visit a group of churches each year to preach or bring greetings, meet with the LBA, and visit with the pastor for encouragement and counsel. They will also be available for prayer and counsel to the teams of pastors with which they’ll be working.
Leadership development, church revitalization, and church planting are the top three priorities for our district collaboration. I saw each of these partnership opportunities on full display last week. Saturday afternoon, Dr. Richard Schenck and the District Board of Ministerial Development for Region 2 met online for interviews with 4 ministerial candidates. The clergy and lay leaders who serve on our DBMD play a significant role in the preparation of those who are answering God’s call to ministry. In a given year, our DBMD members will serve as many as 100 candidates. We are grateful for their service!
Church revitalization matters. Every church can become increasingly intentional, better aligned, and more effective in making disciples. One of the ways that our district team helps local church leaders is by facilitating StratOp events. StratOp is an opportunity for your leadership team to assess current realities and plan for the future potential that you sense God is initiating. Hartford City Wesleyan Church worked with Rev. Jason Tash last summer for their first round of StratOp planning. Last Tuesday evening, Jason was back for the plan review. It was encouraging to see the progress the team had made, even in a pandemic, by completing 9 of their short-term objectives.
Church planting is the third key of our district collaboration. While almost any healthy church can plant a daughter congregation, one of the strengths of being part of a district is that we can do this together. Assistant DS Mike Colaw leads our team in Region 2 and took time last week to interview Lee Miller about the new church he’ll be planting. Mike shared the video with the Region 2 pastors. Every partnering church will be part of the story of Crossover Church. Together, we’ll be celebrating every new believer and every baptism.
Speaking of baptisms, I was delighted to hear that Pastor Shane Wilson (Columbia City New Hope Wesleyan) and Pastor John Hannan (Union City CrossRoads) were able to connect last week to give and receive a blessing. New Hope Church had a portable baptistry that they were able to donate to CrossRoads Church. Pastor John and his team brought it back to Union City and set it up in time to celebrate two more baptisms this past Sunday. Thank you to Pastor Wilson and New Hope for their generosity. Praise the Lord for partnerships and lives being made new!
Another exciting way churches can partner is in united prayer. Yesterday was the launch of “21 Days of Prayer” with Brookhaven Wesleyan, Lakeview Wesleyan, and The River Church partnering in this prayer initiative. Pastor Tony Bye, Pastor Chris Williams, and Pastor Matthew Trexler committed to working together to raise the prayer temperature in their congregations and community. There is power when we agree together in prayer!
Sherry joins me in expressing sincere condolences on behalf of the Crossroads District family to Rev. Dr. Joe Harmon (interim pastor at New Castle Memorial) on the passing of his mother, Anna Belle Fraker of Beckley, West Virginia. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to Dr. Harmon and the extended family. https://www.roseandquesenberry.net/obituary/anna-fraker
The Crossroads District and the Thrive Initiative of The Wesleyan Church have teamed up to provide a practical way to bless our pastors. You are running hard in ministry but, to sustain long-term effectiveness, you also need to rest well. Toward that end, we are making available a $475 grant towards a retreat of two nights or more. Learning resources and planning tools are provided to make this time as profitable as possible. When you complete your retreat, the Thrive Initiative has a $500 matching grant available with a second set of learning resources.
If your church also elects to participate in this initiative (i.e. paying down ministerial student loans, topping up retirement, fitness equipment), additional matching funds up to $500 are available. For the first month, this opportunity is only available to the first 100 solo or senior pastors that sign up. This opportunity will be made available to assistant pastors starting February 2, 2021.
For more details, please follow this link:
Thank you for making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday morning, January 3, I had the privilege of bringing greetings from our district team and worshiping with Pastor John and Beth Hannan at CrossRoads Church in Union City. Many of you have been praying with John and Beth as they launched CrossRoads Church on September 27, 2020. While attendance has fluctuated with Covid-19, they’ve welcomed 34 last Sunday and have baptized 8 new believers since launch. They had two first time guests yesterday who filled out a connection card and expressed their desire to get to know Christ.
Pastor John and Beth are committed to expressing God’s love in practical ways. This Christmas they raised funds to bless a grandmother in their congregation. The frame in her car rusted through and the vehicle had to be scrapped. She still wanted to attend with her granddaughter so members of the church had been driving out to bring them. The church raised enough money to purchase a vehicle. Since the fundraising had been anonymous, even the grandmother had contributed to help with the project. Imagine her surprise when they gave her the keys to the car on Christmas Sunday morning.
Few people would recommend trying to launch a church plant in the middle of the pandemic, but God is on the move as we answer His call into the harvest. Pastor Lee and Jennifer Miller are doing just that on the east side of Muncie. Rev. Miller has served effectively at Muncie Memorial Wesleyan for the past few years but sensed God’s call to reach out to the community where he and Jennifer live near the reservoir. God opened a door for them to hold launch team meetings and preview services in a former Boy Scout camp near the reservoir. This past Saturday, they hosted a sneak preview event that they shared on Facebook. Imagine how encouraged they were when more than 75 people showed up to learn more about Crossover Church. They will plan to continue building a launch team and holding preview gatherings this spring with a launch tentatively scheduled for August. Please keep our church planters in your prayers!
Many of you who are leading in the local church can relate to Pastor Scott McDermid’s Christmas update from Six Points Wesleyan Church in Sheridan. He wrote: “This Christmas Eve did NOT go as planned. A few days before, we got word of several members who had attended the previous Sunday and now tested positive for COVID (they are doing fine) but due to an abundance of caution we decided to have our Christmas Eve services online only. This was disappointing (it is often one of our busiest services of the year and a great opportunity to have visitors) but our team did a great job creating an excellent online service. Over the past 10 months we have been buying, installing and upgrading our tech (equipment, software, internet speed…) and it all came together on Christmas Eve to allow the online viewer to see and hear all the parts of the service at home.”
The year 2020 confirmed that church is more than just meeting in a building. Pastor Rich Van Vuren shared that Shiloh Wesleyan Church, near Plymouth, reached out in a new way this last year. He wrote: “We have a large number of homeless and extremely needy people in the Plymouth area and responded by doing a drive through Thanksgiving dinner in November. As a result of the Thanksgiving initiative a few ladies from our church were further burdened and spearheaded a Christmas Dinner initiative in which we dropped off over 200 meals to some of the higher homeless density areas of Plymouth and trailer parks. We had over 20 volunteers all together.”
The Crossroads District and the Thrive Initiative of The Wesleyan Church have teamed up to provide a practical way to bless you and your family. You are running hard in ministry but, to sustain long-term effectiveness, you also need to rest well. Toward that end, we are making available a $475 grant towards a retreat of two nights or more. Learning resources are provided to make this time as profitable as possible.
The Wesleyan denomination’s Thrive Initiative has a $500 matching grant available when you complete the second learning journey. If your church also elects to participate in this initiative (i.e. paying down ministerial student loans, topping up retirement, fitness equipment), additional matching funds up to $500 are available. For the first month, this opportunity is only available to the first 100 solo or senior pastors that sign up. This opportunity will be made available to assistant pastors starting February 2, 2021.
For more details, please follow this link:
I’ve been encouraging our pastors to rest well and some of them have challenged me to do the same. Last week, Sherry and I enjoyed a two-day getaway with an overnight stay in Jasper, Indiana. Joel, our youngest son, and Christie, his wife, joined us for this adventure. The highlight of our trip was exploring Marengo Cave National Landmark. If you haven’t been there yet, add it to your list. One surprising fact was that this cave has often hosted worship services in one of the larger rooms. There is even a pulpit rock dedicated (1924) to Bishop H.H. Fout of the Indiana Conference Church of the United Brethren. I’d be glad to hear about your favorite places in Indiana to rest and recharge.
There is no guarantee that 2021 will be any less challenging than 2020, but never doubt that God will prove Himself to be faithful again this year. The spiritual needs have never been greater and the Kingdom opportunities have never been more abundant. I am believing with you for a terrific year of ministry as we labor together here at the Crossroads of America. Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 1:3-6 NIV
P.S. – I encourage you to check out this helpful article from Dr. Dan Reiland: