Sunday morning, February 24, I traveled to Lafayette to worship with Pastor Logan Patriquin and his team at The Branch (formerly Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan Church). Pastor Logan has wisely and patiently led the congregation in renewing the vision, remodeling the facilities, and rebranding the ministry for greater effectiveness in connecting with their community.
They’ve also recently added Amber Bass to their staff team as youth and worship director. Attendance is averaging in the 90s and they are seeing an increase in first-time guests. After the service and a brief meeting with the LBA, I enjoyed connecting with the pastoral team over lunch. These are exciting days for the Branch and the future is bright!
Sunday afternoon, I met with Lay Supply Pastor Kay Dickerson and her husband, Bill, at Kirklin Wesleyan Church. We had a great meeting and I stayed to bring greetings in the evening service. Bill and Kay have served at the church for 30+ years and have seen it through some ups and downs. The church averaged just 14 in 2015 and some people questioned whether it could survive. Sister Kay (or Mama Kay as some of the folks like to call her) agreed to provide spiritual leadership to the congregation and was appointed as a Lay Supply Pastor by the DBA beginning in the fall of 2015. The church has rebounded under her leadership and averaged 46 last year.
The church was originally planted in 1893 by three women meeting with a burden for their community. The church continues to have a heart for the hurting today as they partner with the crisis pregnancy center in Frankfort, a recovery ministry, and a homeless ministry in downtown Indianapolis. They hosted a New Year’s Eve service and singspiration with 100 in attendance. They’ve undertaken repairs on the parsonage and paved their parking lot this past year, all debt-free. I’m grateful for leaders like Sister Kay who step up and stand in the gap!
Last week was lots of fun with a variety of meetings and leadership connections!
After completing the Team Update on Monday morning, I met with Dr. David Smith for an insightful conversation on the connection between spiritual transformation and persistence in congregational participation.
Monday evening, I connected with Dr. Steve DeNeff in his office and then met with the College Wesleyan Church LBA (Local Board of Administration) as they unanimously affirmed Pastor Steve’s extended call. These are exciting days at College Wesleyan as more than 21 leaders are taking the Sunday messages back into their weekday workplaces and leading Bible studies. Pastor Steve shared some amazing stories of the life transformation that is taking place through the ministry of these lay leaders.
Tuesday morning, I met with our district staff before heading north to meet with Pastor Steve Sparks in Monon for our annual coaching conversation. My final meeting of the day was with Pastor Don Bayne (New Carlisle Wesleyan) for supper and our annual coaching conversation in Michigan City.
Wednesday, I met with Pastor Ben Thomas (Avon Nehemiah Church) in Kokomo for our annual coaching conversation and preparation for their upcoming pastoral vote. Pastor Ben is midway through the Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy training at Community Health in Kokomo. Wednesday afternoon, I met with Kevin Batman, General Treasurer, for an update on the work that his team is doing in preparation for the shared services agreement we're undertaking in the new conference year. Kevin is a long-time member of our district family (also our former district treasurer) and has a great heart for serving local churches and pastors.
Thursday, Pastor Matthew Trexler (Region 1 Assistant DS) and his team at The River Church in Marion hosted the quarterly meeting of our Crossroads District Board of Administration. I am grateful for the dedicated members of our DBA who provide direction and counsel to our collaborative ministries. We had an engaging conversation about societal and technological changes that are impacting ministry for our churches today and over the next 10 years. Pastor Trexler also provided a guided tour of The River’s recently completed remodeling project.
Friday, Chris Williams and I met for follow-up work from the DBA meeting. Coach Jeff Clark and I met for follow-up from the College Wesleyan LBA meeting. In addition to a full plate at IWU and serving as a member of the DBA, Jeff also serves as the LBA vice-chair at College Wesleyan. Friday afternoon, I met with Dr. Jim Vermilya at IWU to learn more about the ways that IWU is encouraging students to consider participating in a church plant when they move to their first job whether its in health care, education or business. President Wright is casting an exciting vision for 50 churches to be planted by teams of students from IWU over the next 10 years!
Friday night was also our Marion Zone Fellowship with a great turnout at Thornapple to share a meal, conversations, and prayer. Thank you to Zone Chair Jeff Luetke for rallying his team and to Mrs. Gorveatte for her gracious Southern hospitality.
After the Zone fellowship, Pastor Jeff Luedtke and I made a quick late-night run to Fort Wayne to drop in to connect with students and thank the leaders who make our Annual Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter event happen. A huge thank you goes to Lane Sander (DYP) and Andy Jellison for leading the team that produced another amazing all-nighter! Special thanks to every pastor and youth sponsor who invested their energy (and lost some sleep) to make sure their teenagers could be part of this high-energy, spiritually-impactful event. Youth groups were represented from across our district, from Anderson to Chesterton.
We are grateful for the support of large churches like Lakeview, Brookhaven, and College Wesleyan, but just as excited to see the 6 teenagers that Lennaire Vaughn brought from the Bridge Urban Church, our church planting project in South Bend. Muncie Rising Hope blew everyone away when they showed up with 23 students. One of my favorite pictures of the evening was of the teens from Rising Hope connecting with the students from Brookhaven that had spent their summer missions trip in Muncie last summer renovating the fellowship hall into a community center for youth outreach.
Here’s a picture of these two youth groups together:
Remember to mark your calendars and bring your leadership teams to ReEquip at Marion Brookhaven Wesleyan Church, April 6. Here’s the link to share with your team and to register today: http://www.reequipconference.org/
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sherry and I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Jeff & Amy Luedtke and their team at Fairmount Wesleyan Church on Sunday morning, February 17. Pastor Jeff has served as senior pastor at Fairmount since 2012. The church has worshiped in its current location for more than 150 years but is still taking risks to reach people for Christ. Fairmount Wesleyan averaged 226 in worship last year (with 13 professions of faith and 7 baptisms) with recent Sundays running over 270 in worship.
The biggest step of faith that Fairmount took in recent years was purchasing a building in the center of town and remodeling it to create “The Branch” as an attractive gathering space for community, coffee, and delicious food. Pastor Jeff led the project and launched the ministry. Pastor Rob Tippey has now joined the team, manages the operations there, and has now launched a new worship experience on Sunday mornings. This alternative gathering features live music and the pre-recorded message from the main campus.
I brought greetings in both services at the main campus, then Sherry and I joined Jeff and Amy for the service at The Branch. The coffee shop was full with seven guests connecting for the first time. After the services, Jeff and I met briefly with the LBA and then joined our wives for lunch. As I thought about our time visiting FWC, I was reminded of the truth that we never change the message but we must always be ready (like John Wesley) to change our methods if we can find more effective ways to impact our community. Thank you to Pastor Jeff, Pastor Rob and the leadership team at Fairmount Wesleyan Church for their vision and boldness to step out in faith!
Sunday afternoon, I met with Pastor Matthew Stewart and the LBA at Sweetser Wesleyan Church as they prepare for their upcoming pastoral vote. They’ve been working diligently on the prescriptions from their Maximizing Impact consultation and I was encouraged to hear that they have 3-4 new families attending in the past several months!
Last Monday evening, I had the privilege of meeting with the LBA at The River Church in Marion to conduct the four-year review of Pastor Matthew Trexler’s extended call. The LBA unanimously affirmed Pastor Trexler’s leadership and continued service. These are exciting days at The River. They just hosted their annual “Night to Shine” in conjunction with the Tim Tebow Foundation and are making progress in their Chesterton campus.
Tuesday morning, our district staff team met for planning and prayer. After lunch, I connected with Pastor Tony Bye in Marion before a quick trip to Wabash to meet with Pastor Brian Scramlin and the team at New Journey Church. It also was good to see Assistant Pastor Megan Cox back in the office at New Journey. Many of you are aware of her experience and may know that she has another surgery upcoming as she recovers from a life-threatening medical emergency. She expressed her appreciation for the prayer support she’s been receiving from her family, friends, and our district team. Pastor Brian and his team showed me recent developments in the extreme makeover project that they’re doing on the old school building that New Journey calls home.
Wednesday morning, I was in Indy to connect with Rev. Josh Keesling and then met with Pastor Brad LeRoy (McCordsville Harvest Church) over lunch for our annual coaching conversation. Wednesday afternoon, Pastor Steve Arnett and I met in Muncie for his annual coaching conversation. My last meeting of the day was with the LBA at Elwood Main Street Wesleyan as they prepare for their congregational vote. Pastor Tim Becker’s leadership and ministry is appreciated and affirmed.
Thursday morning, I met with Rev. Rich Wollan, and then Pastor Ben Parker (Fairmount Back Creek Wesleyan Church) and I met over lunch for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Ben is another of our 48 bi-vocational pastors who balance challenging time demands to fulfill their calling. Thursday afternoon, I participated in the monthly ZOOM meeting that our General Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Schmidt, hosts for district superintendents. My last meeting of the day was in Jonesboro with the LBA at Westview Wesleyan Church in preparation for the upcoming congregational vote for Pastor Ryan Budde. One of the new ministries that has launched under Pastor Budde’s ministry is Celebrate Recovery. I’m grateful for Westview and each of our churches who are taking faith-filled steps to minister to those trapped in addictions!
Friday morning, I met with Pastor Mark Atkinson (Gas City Eastview) for an update on developments at their Jonesboro campus. Pastor Brent Miller (Gas City Southside) and I met at Abbey Coffee in preparation for his upcoming pastoral vote. Then, Pastor Daniel Van Cise (Marion West 8th Street Wesleyan) and I met over lunch for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Dan, another of our committed bi-vocational pastors, has faithfully served at West 8th Street since 2008.
Saturday morning, I joined Assistant DS Chris Williams, Rev. Matthew Stewart, and Rev. Ben Capshaw who were at North Anderson Wesleyan Church on a team with our lead consultant, Rev. Paul James (Church Health Initiative). Pastor David Shafer and Executive Pastor James Stamper did a great job hosting the Maximizing Impact consultation. Pastor David posted this review on FaceBook: “What a fantastic weekend at North Anderson Wesleyan Church. I believe God is going to do some awesome things.”
*** If you’d like to explore how your church could benefit from a Maximizing Impact consultation, please connect with Rev. Chris Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter happens this Friday night in Fort Wayne. Pray for our students and their leaders as they gather. This event has been a significant moment of spiritual transformation for so many teenagers!
Also on Friday, the Region 1 South Zone 1 pastors (Zone Leader – Jeff Luedtke) will be gathering for an evening of fellowship and prayer at our home. Sherry and I appreciate these opportunities to connect more deeply with our team members.
ReEquip 2019 is just around the corner! I am delighted that Pastor Mike & Tina Hilson (New Life Network in LaPlata, MD) are coming as our keynote speakers. Leaders are learners so bring your team with you to Brookhaven Wesleyan Church on April 6!
The very next weekend, April 12-13, is vital as we prepare to celebrate Easter and to ask for God to empower us for Great Commission service. Thank you to Dr. Jim Lo and our team of intercessors for inviting our district pastors and lay leaders into this special event.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. – Here’s a challenging reminder from E.M. Bounds on the power of prayer:
“God has of his own motion placed himself under the law of prayer, and has obligated himself to answer the prayers of men. He has ordained prayer as a means whereby he will do things through men as they pray, which he would not otherwise do. If prayer puts God to work on earth, then, by the same token, prayerlessness rules God out of the world’s affairs, and prevents him from working. The driving power, the conquering force in God’s cause is God himself. ‘Call on me and I will answer thee and who thee great and mighty things which though knowest not,’ is God’s challenge to prayer. Prayer puts God in full force into God’s work.” [E.M. Bounds “The Weapon of Prayer” Chap. 2]
Yesterday morning, Sherry and I attended the first of the grand opening services at Waterline’s new campus in Pendleton led by Pastor Joe & Dawn Deckard. This day also marked the 8th anniversary of the launching of Waterline Church that was birthed in 2011 under the leadership of Pastor John & Danielle Freed. Congratulations to Waterline on this milestone and their first daughter church!
Pastor Danielle Freed brought a wonderful team of volunteers from the Fishers campus to serve together with the team that has committed to help launch this campus. They are launching in a building where our Crossroads District formerly had a congregation called New Life. That congregation closed several years ago and we had recently been leasing the facility to another congregation knowing that when God opened the door, we wanted to relaunch ministry in this zip code. Pastor Joe & Dawn moved into the parsonage just last month but have been actively engaging the community over the past year with their children in the local schools. Yesterday, they welcomed 91 in attendance and celebrated another decision for Christ.
I always enjoy it when Sherry can travel with me to visit our churches but she also volunteers as treasurer for Waterline, the church where we are members, and loves to attend there so she feels torn. Yesterday, she was able to do both!
Last Monday, I was on the road in Frankfort to meet with Pastor Alan Downing (Connecting Point Church) and Pastor Calimerio Rodriguez (Templo de Poder) about the church planting project they are praying about. I love the way our churches are praying and dreaming together about advancing the Kingdom in new communities and among new people groups!
Tuesday morning, our district office staff connected and then I pointed the car north that afternoon to meet with Pastor Rich VanVuren at Shiloh Wesleyan Church and Pastor Ollie Dongell at Plymouth Wesleyan Church. Wednesday morning, I met with Pastor Rick Fletcher at Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne, and then met Pastor Randy Yaryan at Winchester Wesleyan for lunch. On my way back from Winchester, I stopped at Rising Hope in Muncie to see the progress they’re making on remodeling the campus. The chairs had arrived that Pastor Mike Colaw, our Region 2 Assistant DS, and Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan so graciously donated. I celebrate the generosity of our churches!
My final stop of the day was with Pastor Tim McClellan and the LBA at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion as the leadership team affirmed Pastor Tim’s extended call.
Thursday’s schedule took me back to Huntington to meet with Pastor Zach Working (Hope Rising Church) before heading on to Warsaw to meet with Rev. Eliorgy and Zoraida Guerrero, pastor of Cielos Abiertos (Open Heaven Wesleyan Church in Elkhart).
Rev. Guerrero has helped us connect with a church planting team in Goshen, is coaching a couple who will be working to reach out to Hispanics in Warsaw with Pastor Osborne and Pathway Church, and he’s started another home Bible study with a group in South Bend. Pastor Guerrero models apostolic imagination and multiplication!
Friday morning, I met with Assistant DS Chris Williams before connecting with two ministry students from Indiana Wesleyan University for an interview about our denomination. Both of these students had other denominational families before studying at IWU but are now in our DBMD process and looking forward to serving in The Wesleyan Church. The future is bright with young leaders like this stepping up!
My final meeting of the day was with our District Treasurer as we begin the budgeting process for the new conference year which begins on May 1. Mrs. Nancy Schoonmaker, CFO for IWU, does a terrific job serving our district and also serves on the finance team at her home church. It is a joy to serve with committed leaders like Nancy and the other members of our District Board of Administration.
Saturday morning, I was with Pastor Mike Colaw and Don Cady at Indianapolis Trinity as they interview a couple about possibilities for inner city ministry partnership. God is blessing the Kingdom vision of Trinity and it will be exciting to see what He has in store as they reach out to their city.
Mark your calendar for April 6. Don’t miss out on ReEquip 2019, coming up in 8 weeks! Every leader brings a carload!
Click here to visit the ReEquip website!
Keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. Be careful out there. It’s pothole season!
Sunday morning, February 3, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Joe & Nancy Park at Evergreen Wesleyan Church in Lafayette. Pastor Joe has faithfully pastored this congregation since 1974. Attendance averaged 65 last year with 14 professions of faith and 4 new believers baptized. This was my third visit to Evergreen since moving to Indiana and it is encouraging to see the progress they’ve made with expanding their parking lot and welcoming new members. After the morning service, I met with Pastor Park and the LBA for a helpful conversation as they consider the possibility of hosting a new Hispanic church plant.
Sunday afternoon, I was in Muncie at Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church to meet with the LBA and Pastor Lee Miller in preparation for Pastor Miller’s renewal of call vote. The LBA voted unanimously to recommend the four-year call to the local church conference. Attendance last year was 55 with 7 professions of faith and 2 baptisms. They recently completed a strategic ministry plan, have launched an addiction recovery ministry, and are actively considering possibilities for expanding their facilities or relocating.
The weather last week wasn’t ideal for travel but I was able to make all our scheduled appointments. Monday evening, I was with Pastor Jim Weinmann and the LBA at Evanston Avenue Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis for the extended call review. The LBA unanimously approved his extended call and affirmed his ministry. Jim is another of our faithful bi-vocational pastors and he has served at Evanston Avenue since 1995. One of the recent developments at Evanston Avenue is hosting the launch team meetings for a new Hispanic congregation that will be led by Rev. Dimas and Rev. Irma Alberto.
Tuesday morning, our staff met at Abbey Coffee in Marion and then I connected with Pastor Mark Schnell over lunch. Pastor Mark & Sharie have been a wonderful blessing providing interim ministry to our Albion Wesleyan Church this year. Tuesday afternoon, I was in Elwood to connect with Pastor Tim Becker as Elwood Main Street prepares for their pastoral vote. Tim has served since 2013 and attendance has increased from 95 to 124 during his tenure. Last year they celebrated 8 professions of faith and 8 baptisms.
Wednesday morning, I met with Rev. Heath Croft in Fort Wayne. Rev. Croft is an ordained minister in process-of-transfer who is serving the team at Level 13 Church. Continue to pray for Heath and Hayley as they help their family make the adjustment from the warmth of Alabama to the subzero temperatures we experienced this past week.
I met with a prospective church planter over lunch and then connected with Pastor Shane Wilson at Columbia City New Hope Church in preparation for his upcoming renewal of call. Shane is completing his second conference year as lead pastor at New Hope. Last year, New Hope baptized 31 new believers!
Wednesday evening, I met with Pastor Dale Munsell and the LBA at Cornerstone Wesleyan Church, near Albion, in preparation for his renewal of call vote. The LBA strongly affirmed Pastor Dale’s leadership. Attendance has grown from 43 in his first year to 59 last year when they also celebrated 25 professions of faith. They’ve also tackled building projects and updated the sanctuary.
Thursday morning, I met with Dr. Colleen Derr, President of Wesley Seminary, in Fishers before heading on to Cincinnati to participate in FUEL. Rev. Zach Coffin and the team from CMAD did a great job hosting and pouring into youth and children’s leaders from across our denominational family on Thursday and Friday. Pastor Charlie Alcock shared a powerful message on reconciliation in the opening rally. He does such an amazing job of pouring into next generation leaders at IWU and he had a great team with him from the KERN program.
Cincinnati will be the site for FOLLOW 2019, the international youth convention for The Wesleyan Church, December 28-31. It’s not too soon to be working with your youth group to make plans for this life-changing event. Zach Coffin asked how many of the FUEL participants had experienced a significant spiritual encounter at previous youth conventions and the vast majority raised their hands in affirmation. Don’t let your teens miss out on this powerful experience.
Saturday morning, I was glad to visit with Scott Drury, VP of Advancement for Southern Wesleyan University. Scott is off to a great start in the job that his father held 35 years ago. I also had the opportunity to connect with Pastor Zach Working at Hope Rising in Huntington. Jackie Vick sent some T-shirts from Global Partners for the baptism service that Hope Rising had planned. Pastor Zach baptized 2 men yesterday, one new believer with a terminal brain tumor and another who had run from God for 17 years. The church was full with 175 gathered for this celebration of God’s live transforming power!
Pastor Joe Deckard reported another positive preview event at the new Waterline campus in Pendleton including new families attending and 1 profession of faith. Pray as they build momentum for a strong launch heading into Easter.
In case you missed it, two very special people celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary this past weekend. Dr. Jim and Roxene Lo are a wonderful blessing to so many in our district family and as they lead at Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield. Congratulations to this Kingdom couple on this significant milestone!
Our sympathies and prayers are extended to the family members of Rev. Charles Jacob McCallum (age 95), including our own Rev. Chuck McCallum. Rev. Charles McCallum passed away early last Thursday. Rev. McCallum, a member of the Tri-State District, was ordained in 1946 and served faithfully for more than 50 years. The family will welcome visitation in the chapel at College Wesleyan Church in Marion on Saturday, February 9, from 10 until noon. The memorial service will be held in Kansas on February 23. A full obituary will be distributed to our district leaders later this week.
There’s still time to register your students for the Crossroads District All-Nighter in Fort Wayne on February 22-23. Here’s the link for more information and to sign up your teens: 2019 All-Nighter
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent