Sunday morning, I had the joy of worshiping in my home church, Waterline in Fishers, where Pastor John and Danielle Freed are doing a great job leading their team forward. They’ve broken 280 in attendance the last two weeks and are ramping up for their Easter outreach to Saxony. They’re also aggressively forging ahead to partner with 5 church plants in the next 2 years. Yes, we’re celebrating every time a church multiplies!
After the early service at Waterline, I drove on to Grant City Wesleyan Church for their worship service and then conducted a meeting with their LBA in review of Pastor Dan Heylmann’s upcoming vote. Pastor Dan brought an encouraging message from Philippians 3 and the LBA affirmed his continued service with the congregational vote scheduled for March 11. Grant City faces the same challenges as many rural churches in communities with declining populations. I’m grateful for the faithful way that Dan and Shannon are serving this congregation.
Last week began with multiplication leaders from the Greater Ohio District, the Indiana South District and Crossroads District meeting at Cypress Wesleyan Church in Columbus, Ohio. Pastor Ken Murphy and his team were gracious hosts and the meeting focused on ways that our districts in the midwest could partner together to unleash, encourage and resource the emergence of more apostolic multipliers. The shaping of such a partnership will be a topic during our 2018 District Conference, June 23, at Marion College Wesleyan.
Monday evening, I met with Pastor Jeff Luedtke and the Fairmount Wesleyan Church LBA in the conference room at The Branch. The LBA enthusiastically affirmed Pastor Jeff’s leadership and the extended call. It is exciting to see the progress the church has made as they move from an inward to an outward focus on impacting their region.
Tuesday, I was in Indianapolis for a coaching conversation with Rev. Darrell Herring, supply pastor at Central Wesleyan Church. I met with Pastor Logan Westrick and the LBA at Tipton Ash Street Wesleyan. Pastor Logan’s ministry was warmly affirmed by the LBA and he’s still going strong at age 78! Pastor Logan and Nancy joined me for supper at a local restaurant and it was fun seeing them connect with community members.
Wednesday morning, I was back in Indy to meet with Rev. Stephen Nelson, to share in coaching conversations with Pastor Mike Colaw (Indy Trinity) and then with Pastor Jim Weinmann (Indy Evanston Ave). While in Indy, I also dropped in on the denominational Church Planter Assessment Center led by Sarah Cochran. Other members of the assessment team included John & Danielle Freed, Lennaire Vaughn, Rob Tippey, Michael Hewitt, and Seth Bye. If you are interest in exploring church planting, check out our free pre-assessment tool at our district website: http://www.crossroadsdistrict.org/
Rev. Scott Rhyno and Rev. Damian Williams invited me to join them for a supper meeting on Wednesday focused on raising up more Kingdom force multipliers from the marketplace. There are some exciting developments on this important front.
Thursday morning, I joined with Rev. Chris Williams to welcome Kevin Batman, General Treasurer, to meet with our Investment Committee. This team will be bringing a recommendation to our March DBA meeting.
Thursday afternoon, Sherry and I hosted Rev. Jon Wiest and the Discipleship Cohort at Thornapple Lodge. The group shared lunch and then went to work sharing their learnings from studying "No Silver Bullet" by Daniel Im. You’ll be hearing more from this group as they prepare to host a district workshop on discipleship on October 1-2, 2018.
Friday morning, I met with our staff team in Marion. I’m grateful for the partnership of Rev. Chris Williams, Mrs. Roxene Lo, and Seth Bye as we work together to serve our growing team here in the Crossroads District. Friday evening, Sherry and I had the privilege of welcoming 7 of our pastoral couples from the Grant County team led by Pastor Jeff Luedtke. We had a delightful time of fellowship and meaningful time of prayer together.
After the zone fellowship, Pastor Tony Bye and I made a quick trip to Fort Wayne to drop in on Rev. Lane Sander, District Youth President, and his amazing crew led by Pastor Andy Jellison who hosted more than 500 teens and more than 100 sponsors for our annual Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter! Pastor Michael Hewitt, Muncie Rising Hope, was the keynote speaker and the team reported dozens of spiritual decisions.
On Saturday morning, I dropped in on the StratOp weekend that Rev. Chris Williams was leading with Pastor Steve Martin at Sheridan Six Points Wesleyan Church and then stopped by Waterline Church on Saturday afternoon for their leadership event.
This week, Chris and I will be in Orlando with 400+ other Wesleyans at the Exponential Conference. Roxene and Seth will be holding down the fort while we’re gone.
Some of the main sessions of Exponential will be streaming live from this site: http://live.exponential.org/
Keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping at Elwood Main Street Wesleyan with Pastor Tim and Jennifer Becker on Sunday morning, February 18. Main Street is a vibrant, multi-generational church with exceptional music teams and a big heart for teens and children. The Sunday evening youth group runs 20 or more and Main Street also offers a Monday evening AWANA program. I enjoyed preaching to the receptive congregation and meeting with the LBA after the service.
After lunch with the Becker family, I drove on to Elkhart for a follow-up meeting with the leaders of Iglesia Cielos Abiertos (Spanish for “Open Heaven Church”). Pastor Eliogy Guerrero is leading this team and it was a joy to connect with members of the launch team that is meeting in his home. Pastor Guerrero has extensive experience in leading church planting teams in Venezuela and has a great vision for church planting in northern Indiana. This may be an answer to the prayer that the Warsaw Zone has been praying about church planting possibilities among the growing Hispanic population in Warsaw and Goshen.
Congratulations to Fountain City Wesleyan Church as they have called Rev. Steve Bray to be the next Senior Pastor, following the incredibly effective ministry of Dr. David Anderson who will now step into a newly-created role as Assistant Pastor. It was great to speak with Pastor Steve as he let me know he was accepting the call and passionate about the future of Fountain City Wesleyan Church. Let’s lift Pastor Steve and Susan in our prayers as they step into this new leadership role!
Last week’s ministry schedule included pastoral calls reviews with the boards at Tipton Trinity (Monday), Marion Chapel Pike (Tuesday), and Hartford City (Thursday). Each of the pastoral calls was extended and I was reminded again of the significant value that our board members add in their key governance roles.
Last week also included coaching conversations with Pastor Marvin Lamb (Miami Wesleyan), Pastor Tom Bradley (Huntington Etna Avenue), Pastor Shane Wilson (Columbia City New Hope), Dr. Oliver Dongell (Plymouth), and Pastor Dale Munsell (Albion Cornerstone). Pastor Lamb will be retiring in June after a combined 30 years of pastoring Miami Wesleyan. Rev. Bradley is completing 10 years of ministry in Huntington with 77 new believers baptized during his tenure.
I enjoyed time off on Friday which allowed me to have a lunch date with our daughter, a senior at IWU, and a supper date with Sherry which was followed by a delightful evening in Tipton watching Johnnie & Amanda Blair (pastors at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan) debut in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat” with the Tipton Community Theatre. Not only did they perform well but they’re also reaching into another sector of their community. They still have three more performances this coming weekend if you’d like to cheer them on.
Rev. Paul James (lead consultant), Rev. David Dignal and Rev. Chris Williams were in New Castle providing a Maximizing Impact consultation for Pastor Steve Arnett and the Mt Zion Wesleyan Church. I was able to drop in on the leadership training portion of the consultation on Saturday and it was good to see the positive response of Mt. Zion’s leadership team. We are now booking consultation teams for next fall, so let us know if your congregation is ready to take advantage of this helpful district resource.
This week includes a roundtable with apostolic multipliers from the Heartland Region meeting at Cypress Wesleyan in Columbus, Ohio on Monday; Our District is also hosting a Church Planter Assessment Center (CPAC) this week (Monday-Wednesday) led by Rev. Tom and Sarah Cochran. On Thursday, Sherry and I will be hosting the new Discipleship Cohort at Thornapple Lodge and then, on Friday night, we’ll be welcoming the lead pastors and their spouses for the Region 1 South Zone 1 for supper and fellowship.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars and remind your leadership team members to join us on April 21st as we gather in Marion for ReEquip. For details and registration visit our website: http://www.reequipconference.org/
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of making our way to Fort Wayne this morning to join Pastor Kyle & Nadine Horton and their team at Three Rivers Wesleyan Church. The roads were a bit icy but it was worth it to worship with them and then to spend time over lunch meeting with their Local Board of Administration. Pastor Kyle is completing his initial four-year call and the LBA unanimously affirmed his leadership and recommended another four-year call.
This Sunday was a day of celebration across our district. Dr. David Anderson and the Fountain City Wesleyan Church celebrated being debt free 17 years ahead of schedule and burned their $4 million mortgage with Dr. Craig Dunn representing WIF, their funding partner. This is a tremendous accomplishment that speaks so well to Pastor David’s leadership and the generosity of the Fountain City congregation in response to God’s provision as they reach out to impact the world for Christ!
Noblesville Waterline Church celebrated their 7th anniversary on Sunday and announced their vision to help plant 5 more congregations in the next 2 years. Congratulations to Pastor John and Danielle Freed and their team for this important milestone and for their exciting vision for a future filled with multiplication.
Last week, I was at Southern Wesleyan University on Monday through Wednesday, preaching in chapel and guest lecturing in class with Professor Mark Wilson (who will be with us on April 21 for ReEquip). It is always encouraging to connect with Pastor Mark!
Dr. Todd Voss is doing a great job as President at SWU, my alma mater, and I enjoyed interacting with a wonderful group of students who wanted to learn more about church planting in the Crossroads District. It is also exciting to see the progress as Dr. Mike Tapper has stepped in to lead their Christian Ministries Department.
I was back on the road in Indiana on Thursday for a meeting at HQ with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent, and lunch in Fishers with Rev. Wayne Richards (Habitat for Missions). I closed out the day in Crawfordsville with Rev. Keith Jones and the fine folks at Sonlight Wesleyan Church.
Friday included a meeting with a prospective supply pastor and then touring Huntington with a couple who are praying about the possibility of following Pastor Tom Bradley at Etna Avenue Wesleyan Church.
Sherry and I are always grateful for the opportunity to host our lead pastors and their spouses for zone fellowships at Thornapple Lodge. This past Friday evening we were joined by Pastor Mark Atkinson’s team (Region 1 South Zone 2) for a delightful evening of laughter, singing, and prayer. We have an incredible team of pastors here in the Crossroads District!
On Saturday, I attended the memorial service for Rev. Howard Barefoot at the Lebanon Wesleyan Church. Rev. Ernest Batman brought a heartfelt sermon and members of the family contributed memories and readings. Pastor Barefoot leaves an incredible legacy of faith in his family and from his ministry. Please continue to remember Mrs. Dorothy Barefoot in your prayers.
Saturday afternoon, I was at Southview Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis to meet with Pastor Rick Matthews for our annual coaching conversation and then to meet with the Local Board of Administration as they unanimously affirmed his extended call.
Pastor Matthew Trexler and The River Church joined with dozens of churches across America and the Tim Tebow Foundation this week to provide “Night To Shine,” a wonderful evening for special needs adults. The IWU women’s basketball team and IWU Chaplain Dr. John Bray got in on the excitement this year.
I love receiving baptism reports from across our district team! Last weekend, Pastor Jim Weinmann and the Evanston Avenue Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis celebrated two baptisms after the service had already concluded!
Pastor Ben Thomas and the Nehemiah Church in Avon celebrated the baptisms of two young men this weekend. There is nothing more exciting than celebrating with Heaven as people find new life in Christ!
Don’t miss these coming events! The Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter will be held in Fort Wayne on February 23. The leaders of our student ministries do a great job of pulling together this event which welcomed more than 500 students last year!
Mark your calendars and bring your team to ReEquip 2018 in Marion on Saturday, April 21. There are multiple events happening from 9-3 so bring your staff and volunteer leaders to this affordable learning experience: http://www.reequipconference.org/
We have an amazing privilege of serving together in the only cause that counts for eternity! Let’s keep reaching for one more!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Greentown and FUEL
Sunday morning, Sherry and I worshiped with Pastor Eric Roemer and the team at Greentown Wesleyan Church. After the challenging message from Pastor Eric, I met briefly with the LBA and then we hosted Eric and Amanda and their precious girls for lunch. Amanda is a great partner with Eric in their ministry and also takes time to serve as a lay member of our District Board of Administration.
Greentown was one of the first churches in our district to welcome the Maximizing Impact team consultation. It was encouraging to be back on site and to see the continued progress they are making in reaching their community for Christ. Pastor Eric is great help on district events and is also serving as chair for the Greentown Ministerial Association this year.
Last week’s schedule included coaching conversations with the following pastors: Matthew Trexeler (The River), Paul Van Cise (Bryant), Randy Yaryan (Winchester), Steve DeNeff (College), Eric Roemer (Greentown), Don Bayne (New Carlisle), Marc Ulrich (Merrillville-ReThink), Tom Cochran (Chesterton), and Rick Patterson (Colfax).
In this week’s coaching conversations, I’ve heard praise reports of miraculous healing, stories of life change, and one church that has seen a 40% increase in tithing since last year. God is on the move in Indiana!
I also met with three of our pastors through the week to work on property matters in Muncie, Crawfordsville, and Indianapolis. Retired Chaplain Gordon Ritchie was in town for a few days and it was good to connect and hear more about the doors that God is opening for his continued ministry after 24 years of active military duty.
Another highlight this week was dropping in on FUEL, the denomination’s training for the leaders of next generation ministries (children and youth). More than 300 leaders gathered from across the US and Canada for this event that one young leader described as “life-changing!” Congratulations to Zach Coffin and his team from HQ for an excellent training experience! Lane Sander, our Crossroads District Youth Leader, did a fine job of hosting our participants for supper on Friday. Just a reminder to mark your calendars for the Crossroads ReEquip training event in Marion on April 21 which will feature Matthew Deprez, one of the keynote speakers from FUEL.
Many of you have been praying for and supporting the launch of ReThink Church in Merrillville. We’re grateful for Pastor Marc and Heather Ulrich who are leading the team in planting this new congregation in our northwest corner. ReThink celebrated their one-year anniversary last month with 70 people in attendance. Since moving their worship experience to Sunday morning, in January, they’ve welcomed 35 first-time guests. Keep on praying!
On Friday, we received word that Rev. Howard Barefoot, beloved pastor, husband, father and friend, had passed away. He and Dorothy had been wintering in Brooksville, Florida. Rev. Barefoot was know for his warmth, his optimism, his love for God and his gracious way with people. Our prayers are with Mrs. Dorothy Barefoot, the family and the many friends who will miss him. I am grateful for his prayers and encouragement to me. Funeral arrangements will be shared as soon as we receive the details.
Saturday afternoon, I had the joy of connecting with three prospective church planters from Venezuela. It was exciting to pray with them and to consider the possibilities of planting many Hispanic churches across northern Indiana, beginning in Elkart and Goshen. The Warsaw zone, led by Pastor Jarod Osborne, has made this a matter of focused prayer and has prioritized Hispanic church planting as one of the key needs in their region. Pray that God will continue to send out workers into His harvest!
This week, I’ll be speaking in chapel at Southern Wesleyan University and connecting with prospective residents and church planters for our district, returning on Wednesday. Your prayers are always appreciated.
This Friday evening, February 9, Sherry and I are looking forward to hosting Rev. Mark Atkinson and the lead pastors and their spouses for the Marion Zone 2 fellowship at Thornapple Lodge. Cindy Horn has graciously assisted in sending out reminders. The doors open after 6 pm and supper is served at 6:30. We value these times of fellowship and encouragement that are building a stronger, more connected Crossroads team!
May God continue to bless as you pursue the Great Commission in the Spirit of the Great Commandment!
Your servant in Christ,