Pastor Tony Bye and the team at Marion Brookhaven Wesleyan Church welcomed me to preach for the closing services of their month of missions. Brookhaven has a wonderful missions team led by Assistant Pastor John Walton and they go all out to focus on missionaries and global impact in their February services.
Following each of the two worship services, I convened the Local Church Conference and the members voted overwhelmingly to extend the call of Pastor Tony Bye. After the last service, it was fun to catch up with Pastor Tony and Amy over lunch.
Sunday afternoon, I chaired the LBA of Lancaster Wesleyan Church in a meeting to begin their pastoral search. Rev. Trevor O’Dell has been a blessing to many in his first experience as a lead pastor. He and Allison have sensed God calling them back into a staff ministry role so Trevor announced his transition to the LBA on Saturday and to the congregation this morning. Pray for the O’Dell’s as they follow God’s calling and for Lancaster Wesleyan as they seek God’s direction for this next chapter.
Sunday evening, I joined with Rev. Jeff and Dr. Heather Brady for Commoners’ Church, the house church that they host with a weekly meal, Bible study and communion. In addition to serving these families, Pastor Jeff is in the process of completing chaplaincy training at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.
Last Monday, I concluded my time at Asbury University and drove home with a thankful heart. Praying that the good work God has begun will carry on and spread across our nation!
Tuesday, I was back on the road for a coaching conversation with Rev. Don Bayne at New Carlisle Wesleyan Church and then met with Rev. Martin Furrow at The Cross Wesleyan Church in Rochester. Rev. Furrow is completing his initial call as lead pastor so I also met with the local board of administration in preparation for their upcoming pastoral vote.
Following my time in Rochester, I joined the LBA meeting already in progress at Shiloh Wesleyan Church. Rev. Rich VanVuren resigned earlier this month, so the Shiloh team met with me to map out the next steps for their pastoral search process.
Wednesday was another highlight as I spent the day on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University with Dr. Jim Lo. Dr. Lo invited me to guest lecture in two of his ministry classes 1) Ministry in Context, and 2) Evangelism and Discipleship. It was a joy to serve alongside Dr. Lo and to interact with these passionate students. Dr. Chris Bounds, chair of the School of Theology and Ministry (STM), also arranged for me to have a luncheon with several of the STM faculty. We are grateful for the faithful service of these faculty members. The Crossroads District has approximately 40 students in the undergraduate ministry program at IWU. Pray that God will continue preparing these students to answer His divine calling on their lives.
Wednesday evening, I joined Rev. Terry Vaughn for supper and for a walkthrough of the facility that they’re leasing for the ministry of The Bridge Urban Church. Pastor Terry and Lennaire are doing God’s work making disciples in South Bend. It was encouraging to see the progress they’ve made in renovating this building and impacting their community.
Thursday morning, I was back at IWU to join Dr. Matthew Stewart in his Wesleyan Church History and Discipline class. In addition to teaching at IWU, Dr. Stewart also leads the Sweetser Wesleyan Church. As much as I enjoyed meeting with this class, I was even more excited to celebrate with Dr. Stewart sharing that two men were saved at Sweetser today!
After that class, Dr. Yamil Acevedo and I met over coffee at IWU. Over lunch, I had the joy of connecting with a prospective church planter who will be graduating from IWU this year. Thursday afternoon, I met with Micah Walls in Noblesville to hear more about the men’s ministry called “Fight Club.” Micah and other men from Waterline Church have participated in this ministry. Rev. Mike Hewitt and the team at Muncie Rising Hope will be hosting a chapter later this spring. My final connection for the day was with Rev. Wayne Richards who has graciously agreed to serve as an interim pastor for Harvest Church.
On behalf of our Crossroads District team, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to Rev. Brad LeRoy and his family. Pastor Brad and his family stepped out in faith 15 years ago to launch Harvest Church in McCordsville. In spite of battling health challenges for the last 10 years, Rev. LeRoy has led the church to have significant impact in their community. We are praying as he steps away from Harvest Church to focus on recovering his health. We’re also praying for the future that God has in store for Harvest. Thank you, Brad and Heidi!
Sherry and I took Friday and Saturday off to visit with family in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Yes, I’ll gladly share pictures of our beautiful granddaughter if you request via direct message.
Pastor Martin Furrow shared the exciting news that 14 people were baptized and one baby was dedicated at The Cross Wesleyan Church in Rochester on Sunday, February 26! Praise the Lord for spiritual victories!
Assistant Pastor Dan VanDuyne passed along photos from the previous weekend at LifeSpring Church. Between the two campuses, they baptized 15 people. Praise God for lives being #MadeNew!
God is on the move so let’s keep in step with the Holy Spirit and press forward in the cause of Christ!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday, February 19, Rev. Eric George and the team at Muncie Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church graciously welcomed me to bring greetings from our district and to share the morning message. Memorial has been rebuilding from the past two years. They had a good group out for worship yesterday. After the morning service, I met with the LBA (Local Board of Administration) in preparation for their upcoming pastoral vote. Rev. George is another of our faithful bi-vocational pastors. He serves as a chaplain in the New Castle correctional facility. I’m grateful for the faithful witness that Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church is having in the heart of Muncie.
Sunday afternoon, Rev. Randy Yaryan and the LBA at Union Street Wesleyan Church met with me in Winchester. Pastor Randy was one of our fearless leaders who drove a group of teenagers to Fort Wayne for the youth all-nighter and stayed awake the whole evening, even playing laser tag. Rev. Yaryan, another of our bi-vocational pastors, has served the church in Winchester for 26 years!
Sunday evening, I traveled to Wilmore, Kentucky to take part in the evening service at Asbury University. Many of you have read or heard reports of the gracious reviving work that God started here two weeks ago, a reviving work that is spreading to other college campuses across America. If you’re on Facebook, you can read more about it from Pastor Michael Colaw’s visit (Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church) with his family or from several postings by Dr. Jim Garlow. As I approached Wilmore, the traffic on the main route into town was being turned back. Here’s the sign that welcomed me:
Fortunately, there is more than one way to get to Asbury and I was able to join the overflow crowd worshiping in Asbury Seminary’s McKenna Chapel. There was an obvious sense of God’s presence on the campus. I appreciated the students’ clear desire to keep the focus on Jesus and the thoughtful restraint of celebrity. I also commend President Brown’s administration for the wise and gracious way in which they are stewarding this historic moment. May God empower this rising generation for Great Commission ministry!
Monday evening, Rev. Andy Jellison and Rev. Rick Fletcher welcomed me to Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne. Rev. Fletcher has served the church as lead pastor since 1998. Over the past few years, Pastor Rick has led the LBA in a pastoral succession process that will be completed this spring when the church votes to call Rev. Jellison as their new lead pastor. Pastor Rick has been serving part-time for much of the past year and will continue to be part of Pastor Andy’s team going forward.
Tuesday found me back on the road for coaching conversations in New Castle with Rev. Ron Ferguson (Grant City Wesleyan Church) and with Rev. Dr. Joe Harmon (New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church). Rev. Eric George (Muncie Memorial) and I met in Muncie later that afternoon in preparation for his upcoming vote and my visit on Sunday.
Wednesday morning, Dr. Mark Rennaker (Kokomo Southdowns) and I met in Marion for our annual coaching conversation. Rev. Lyle Breeding (Bluffton Sonlight) met with me over lunch in Marion and then I drove down to Anderson. Rev. Carla Working and Michael Wood joined me at Madison Park Church of God for a second walk-though of the facility. We will be holding our 2023 District Conference on this site due to the generous hospitality of Pastor Heather Kinnan Semple and her team. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, June 24, and plan to join us in Anderson!
Thursday afternoon, the Crossroads District Board of Administration met in Tipton. We had a full agenda including the board’s review of the DS evaluation. Thank you to the 51 pastors who participated in the evaluation and provided feedback that will help me serve you better.
The DBA was blessed with our two guest presentations. Rev. Seth and Cassidy Bye brought an encouraging update from 317Church, the relaunching project in Avon. Rev. Andrea Shaull (pictured below) brought an inspiring report of the work that she and Austin, her husband, are doing in planting The Table, a new Wesleyan micro-church network in Indianapolis. Continue to pray for these projects and keep asking God to send more workers into His harvest field here in Indiana.
Sherry and I were blessed to host another gathering of lead pastors and their spouses at our Thornapple retreat on Friday night. Not only was this group a lot of fun but they also provided the musical highlight of the year with this old quartet song:
These evenings of fellowship, laughter, and prayer have been a blessing to our district team. Hearts are encouraged, new friendships are formed, and our partnerships are growing stronger. There are still a few slots open for the remaining evenings this spring if you’d like to join us.
The last stop for Friday was with our amazing team of leaders who hosted this year’s Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter in Fort Wayne. I love this picture of Rev. Jessica Folz (Marion Lakeview), our District Youth President, Rev. Lane Sander (Bluffton Sonlight), and Rev. Andrew Kinney (Marion Chapel Pike). Even though they’re all smiling, Pastor Andy is still keeping an eye on his teenagers. Thank you to the 83 youth pastors and sponsors who provided this amazing event for 427 junior and senior high school students!
Saturday morning, I met with the LBA at Harvest Church in McCordsville. Rev. Brad LeRoy, founding pastor, is stepping away from his leadership role at the end of this month to focus on his health. We’re praying for Pastor Brad’s full recovery. The LBA worked with me to map out next steps as they lead this transition. Rev. Wayne Richards has agreed to help the church in this interim season. Pray with Harvest Church as they seek God’s best for their future.
Later than morning, I joined Rev. Seth Bye and our district building committee on a conference call as they complete work on a checklist for our churches to use in their annual review of facilities. They’ve done great work on this project and I appreciate the investment they’ve made to help our churches.
My last stop on Saturday was in Anderson. Rev. Mike Weller, church planter and pastor of Restoration Church joined me for lunch. He shared that one of their recent Sunday evening gatherings fed over 50 people with at least 40 staying for the sermon, table discussions and prayer time. Pray with Pastor Mike and their team as they consider the possibility of purchasing the building in which they’ve been meeting.
I love to share stories of how God is working across our district family and Rev. Mike Hewitt (Muncie Rising Hope) passed along the good news of 3 more baptisms this Sunday. Pastor Mike also shared the story of evangelist Gypsy Smith who said the secret of revival was to “Go home. Take a piece of chalk, Draw a circle around yourself. Then pray, ‘O Lord, revive everything within this circle.'” Pastor Mike passed our pieces of chalk at the close of the service and dozens of people took time to draw circles and pray for revival in their lives, their families, and in their circles of influence.
Pastor Matthew Trexler reported that The River Church in Marion celebrated more baptisms on Sunday with more than 1100 in attendance. The children and student ministries alone had over 300 present. Pray that God will continue to guide and guard the team at The River in this season of explosive growth.
Pastor Joe Jackson sent along this photo and an encouraging report of the most recent missions team from Anderson United Wesleyan Church. Ten people from United spent last week in Cuba where they ministered to 15 pastors and local churches through construction, preaching, and other serving projects.
Thank you, Crossroads District team, for all that you are doing to advance the Kingdom of God!
Keep on making a difference in this cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. If you’ve not yet read it, here’s the link for Dr. Tom McCall’s article on the Asbury Revival.
Sunday morning, February 12, I had the privilege of worshiping at College Wesleyan Church in Marion with Dr. Steve DeNeff and his team. Children’s Pastor Stephanie Freemyer led in the child dedication liturgy with four young families participating.
Dr. DeNeff preached a powerful message about “The Ghosts of Pharaoh.” I was able to bring greetings from our district team and it was good to connect with Pastor Steve and key leaders before and after the services. I’m grateful for the many ways that Pastor Steve and College Wesleyan impact their local community and also partner with our district to reach Indiana for Christ.
After my visit to College Wes, I traveled to Fairmount Back Creek Wesleyan Church to meet with Rev. Ben Parker and his LBA. Pastor Ben is completing 20 years of leading the church and the LBA voted unanimously to affirm his continued service under the extended call. After the LBA meeting, I stopped over at the annex to greet members and to offer the blessing for their fellowship luncheon.
Last Monday, I joined a Zoom meeting with Wesleyan district superintendents. Dr. Devon Smith, DS from TriState District, is convening a roundtable of district superintendents in Nashville for later this spring. I appreciate the learning and encouragement from this terrific group of colleagues.
Dr. Chris Williams, vice-chair of the DBA, and I met over lunch for a debrief on the DS evaluation that we invited pastors to participate in last month. Thank you to the more than 50 pastors who provided their feedback. The next step will be for the DBA to review the feedback in our meeting this week.
On Tuesday morning, I met with Rev. Matthew Trexler, our district treasurer, as we prepare the financial reports and preliminary budget outline for the DBA meeting. I traveled on to Westfield for a coaching conversation with Rev, Darrell Herring who serves as supply pastor at Indianapolis Central Wesleyan Church. Rev. Seth Bye and I met at 317Church in Avon for our coaching conversation. Pastor Seth and I toured fast-growing nearby communities where Seth is praying for church planting possibilities.
My last stop on Tuesday was at Southview Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis. I chaired a meeting with the LBA in which they voted unanimously to recommend Rev. Nathan Richardson for an extended call.
Wednesday, I started the day in Fort Wayne meeting with Rev. Aldean Pablo (Roanoke ARISE Church) for our annual coaching conversation. I drove on to met with Rev. Kory Christensen at Impact Church in New Haven for our coaching conversation. My last stop of the day was in Elwood to meet with the LBA at Main Street Wesleyan Church. The LBA voted unanimously to affirm Rev. Tim Becker’s continued service on an extended call.
On Thursday morning, Rev. Duane Cragun (Brinker Heights) and I met for our annual coaching conversation. I met with Rev. Randy Yaryan (Union Street Wesleyan Church) in Winchester for our coaching conversation and a slice of pie at Mrs. Wick’s. My last stop of the day was in Fishers to connect with Rev. Scott Rhyno, pastor at Waterline Church, to catch up on their ministry.
Saturday was another highlight as I joined Dr. Chris Williams and leaders from seven churches who gathered at Lakeview Wesleyan Church for the Next Level workshop. This was a full-day experience with insightful presentations followed by strategic conversations in the table groups. Each participating church will have follow-up coaching provided for the next six months and will be eligible to apply for a $1000 outreach project matching grant. We’ll be offering this opportunity again in the fall and would love for your church to take advantage of this valuable resource.
We always love to rejoice and pass along the good news of how God is at work in our churches. I was delighted to hear from Pastor Matthew Trexler that The River Church celebrated 14 more baptisms today! Praise the Lord for these lives being #MadeNew!
It was also exciting to hear from Pastor Theo Griffin and the team at Greenfield Brown’s Chapel Wesleyan Church. They’ve had several financial miracles in the past year and this weekend they are praising the Lord for another blessing. An anonymous donor provided funding to purchase and install this 4×8 digital sign that they dedicated today. Praise the Lord for answered prayer.
Please pray for our 2023 Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter in Fort Wayne on Friday, February 17. Click the image below for more information or to register your youth group. Thank you to Rev. Jessica Folz, our District Youth President, and Rev. Lane Sander for leading a great team that provides an incredible experience for our youth groups. I hope to see you there!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday morning, February 5, I participated in the morning worship service at Brinker Heights Wesleyan Church in Marion. It was my first time to be with Rev. Cragun at Brinker Heights since he became their pastor last year. It was also good to reconnect with Rev. Harvey and Rachel Herring. Mrs. Herring played the organ for the hymn and I was glad to help out by playing piano. Following the morning worship service, Pastor Duane led a brief congregational meeting with an update from the outreach team. Join me in praying for the team at Brinker Heights as they share Christ with their neighbors.
Sunday afternoon, I met with the LBA (Local Board of Administration) at Southside Wesleyan Church in Gas City. The LBA participated in a feedback process with Rev. Brent Miller and unanimously recommended his continued service under the new extended call (2022 Discipline). The church is experiencing attendance growth both for their in-person worship services and their online ministry.
Last Monday I was in Marion for a meeting with our district office staff and then joined the Executive Committee of the DBA online as we prepare for next week’s meeting. Sherry and I had the privilege of hosting Chris and Tamara Granados for supper in Fishers. Chris is the supply pastor at Monte de Sion Iglesia Wesleyana in Indianapolis and it was encouraging to hear how God is moving in their ministry.
Tuesday, I was on the road for a coaching conversation with Rev. Dan Clark, pastor of Colfax Wesleyan Church. Later that morning, I met with Rev. Brad LeRoy, pastor of Harvest Church in McCordsville. Pastor Brad has been persevering through years of health challenges. After the most recent setback, Brad and Heidi prayerfully made the difficult decision that it was time for Brad to step away from his ministry at Harvest Church. They made that announcement to the congregation yesterday. I know you’ll join me in thanking Pastor Brad and Heidi for the amazing ministry they’ve had in planting and leading Harvest Church. Let’s also keep lifting them in prayer as Pastor Brad seeks to recover his health and strength for whatever God is planning for their future.
On Wednesday, I met with Pastor Brent Miller (Southside) in preparation for our Sunday LBA review. Then I met Rev. Ryan Budde, pastor at Jonesboro Westview Wesleyan, in preparation for his upcoming LBA review. My last meeting that afternoon was with Rev. Mark Atkinson for an update on his ministry as district “circuit rider.” Pastor Mark hosted a Zoom call on Tuesday evening for several of the pastors he’s been serving. The focus of their meeting was preparation for personal evangelism in the weeks leading up to Easter. Pastor Mark has developed a two-hour learning experience for local churches called “The Fishing Expedition” that will help pastors and members become more effective in connecting and leading people to Christ. You can reach Pastor Mark directly or through our office.
Thursday, I was on the road for a pre-vote review with Rev. Tim Becker, Elwood Main Street Wesleyan, and then on to Greenwood to meet with Rev. Nathan Richardson, Southview Wesleyan Church, in preparation for his LBA review. Thursday afternoon, I connected with Michael Wood at Tipton Trinity to record a video congratulating Circle of Hope on their mortgage burning. My last stop of the day was with the LBA at Jonesboro Westview Wesleyan Church for their pre-vote review. The LBA unanimously affirmed Rev. Budde’s continued service under the new extended call (2022 Discipline).
Saturday morning, I dropped in at Greentown Wesleyan Church where Rev. Eric Roemer and his team were hosting the “No Regrets Men’s Conference” simulcast. In addition to a strong group from Greentown, there were attendees from Marion, Indianapolis, and this happy staff team with Pastor David Shafer from North Anderson Wesleyan Church.
From Greentown, I traveled on to Carmel Amistad Iglesia Wesleyan to connect with Rev. Grace Lopez and the students attending our Spanish-language ministerial courses known as FLAMA. This session on Wesleyan Church History and Discipline was led by Rev. Edison Camacho from the South Carolina District. Fourteen students were attending this course from around Indianapolis and from Richmond. Rev. Neftali Lopez, district circuit rider, led the class in worship to open the session.
For many years, we were blessed by the leadership that Rev. Adriana Zarate gave to FLAMA and now Rev. Grace Lopez has agreed to serve our Crossroads District Spanish-language ministry students. I am also grateful for the ministry that Revs. Neftali and Grace Lopez are having as they travel to encourage the Hispanic leaders and congregations across our district.
Speaking of Hispanic ministries, I was excited to receive word from Revs. Nicolas and Adriana Zarate that they welcomed 4 more members yesterday at Gloria del Rey. God is on the move!
And speaking of new members, Rev. Aldean Pablo and the team at ARISE Church in Roanoke welcomed 13 new members yesterday morning. Rev. Mark Atkinson, circuit rider, sent along this photo. Praise the Lord for the growth that we are seeing in many of our churches!
Here’s one more example of how God is at work. I received this praise report from Rev. David Cox, pastor at Laketon Wesleyan Church: “I was almost halfway through my sermon and voiced a concern how we are often so prideful that we fail to use our altars, when this young lady stands up and states how she needs to get her life right with God and recommitted her life to Christ, (at the altar), of course I stopped preaching and allowed the Holy Spirit to move and He did, another woman came forward who has smoked for 40 years and we anointed her as well as two others for healing, one 91 year old lady who physically could not come up stated she felt so empty, we prayed for her and she received the filling of God’s Holy Spirit. I was unable to finish the sermon due to so many testimonies and the work of the Holy Spirit. Just wanted to report that God is on the move!”
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. We’re counting down the days until the 2023 Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter in Fort Wayne on Friday, February 17. Click the image below to register your youth group. Rev. Jessica Folz, our District Youth President, along with Rev. Lane Sander are a great team, always providing an incredible experience for our youth groups. I hope to see you there!