New Hope, New Church, New Baby
Sunday, March 27, I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Jason Tash and the team at Columbia City New Hope Wesleyan Church in both of their morning services. I brought the message in each service and then met briefly with the LBA following the second service. New Hope generously engages ministry outside its walls with a backpack/meals program with a nearby school, an ongoing prison ministry, and a global missions support including the Gallants (one of our Crossroads missionary couples) serving in Cambodia. The church is preparing to celebrate their 25th anniversary next month.
They are ramping up for a new season of ministry with a new discipleship and leadership development strategy and will be unveiling their new website as part of their anniversary celebration. Each Easter they offer a dramatic presentation of the life of Christ and typically welcome more than 1200 people for this outreach event.
I am grateful for the way that Pastor Jason Tash invests in other churches and leaders. He serves on our District Board of Administration as an Assistant DS / Regional Director for Region 1 which includes our churches in northeast Indiana. He also completed training in the StratOp church planning process with the UnStuck Group and is available to lead consultations for churches who are looking to take their ministry to the next level.
Westfield Paradox Church took another big step yesterday as they launched their weekly Sunday morning gatherings after several months of preparation and community engagement. Pastor Jordan and Karen Gardner and the Paradox team were praying and working hard to prepare their ministries and the facilities for this next phase of their launch strategy.
We celebrate with them as more than 90 adults and 30 children gathered for the first time as a worshiping congregation. I was only partly joking when I asked Pastor Jordan if they were planning for double services on Easter weekend. One of the needs they have to address is additional parking. Pray as they build with this initial launching group toward their “grand opening” in September.
Our pastoral family grew this past weekend with the blessed addition of Emery Ann, born to Pastor Logan and Shaina Patriquin (Lafayette Schuyler Avenue). Emery arrived on Saturday morning weighing in at 7 lbs and 6 oz. Mother and daughter are both doing well.
Last week began with meetings on Monday that concluded with our Hispanic pastors monthly leadership connection at HQ in Fishers. Tuesday, I was on the road for coaching conversations with Pastor John Freed and Pastor Jon Wiest. Tuesday afternoon I had the privilege of debriefing with Rev. Travis and Melody Croft who completed their church planter assessment in Michigan earlier in the month. Even if you’re not planning to plant for a few years, the church planter assessment is an exceptional opportunity to consider how God has designed and gifted you for Great Commission ministry. If you’d like to know more about steps toward church planting, call or text me and let’s have a conversation.
Wednesday morning, I sat in on a planning meeting for our first Crossroads District Church Planter Training event on May 12-13. This will be for people who are eager to understand more about what it takes to successfully launch and sustain a new church. We are pleased to announce that Rev. Chris Conrad, West Michigan DS and former Director of Church Multiplication for The Wesleyan Church, will be one of our keynote presenters.
Wednesday afternoon, I was in New Castle to meet with Pastor Paul Kirk (Memorial Drive Wesleyan) for our annual coaching conversation and then in Muncie to meet with Pastor Paul Walden (18th Street Wesleyan) for the same.
Thursday, I taught the Congregational Leadership class at Wesley Seminary and welcomed Sherry Gorveatte as a guest presenter on congregational finances and tax issues. Thursday evening, Sherry and I had supper with a pastor and his wife who are exploring transferring to The Wesleyan Church from the United Methodist Church. These are days of uncertainty for many evangelicals in the UMC. While we are always open to welcoming like-minded and warm-hearted Wesleyan Arminians to join our leadership corps in the Crossroads District, do pray for these brothers and sisters who are faced with difficult decisions.
Friday morning, I was in Monon to meet with Pastor Steve Sparks for our annual coaching conversation. I met Sister Kay Dickerson (lay supply pastor serving at Kirklin) for lunch in Frankfort. She and her husband Bill are standing in the gap at Kirklin and seeing wonderful answers to prayer. Attendance has doubled, giving is up, people have been saved and they’ve seen God move in healing. I wrapped up the day meeting with Pastor Dan Eckart (Warren Park Wesleyan).
Easter is just 3 weeks away. I’m encouraged by the reports from churches that are making preparations to invite and welcome guests on Easter weekend. Let’s also make this a point of focused prayer that people will clearly hear and respond to the Gospel. Let’s also be as intentional about following up on guests and discipling new converts as we are getting ready for Easter.
Just a gentle reminder that we close our books on another conference year on April 30. Thank you in advance for your strong support of the United Stewardship Fund and your timely filing of statistical reports. Together, we are making a difference!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. – Sherry and I will be away on vacation (with limited communication access) leaving this Wednesday and returning home next Tuesday evening. Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant District Superintendent, will be available to answer questions or assist in other ways.
Happy 10th Anniversary to Level 13
Sherry and I had the joy of bringing greetings from the Crossroads District to the 10th anniversary celebration at Level 13 Church in Fort Wayne. Pastor Rob and Melinda Tippey left the security of a staff position at Lifeway Church in New Haven to step out in faith with a small launch team, including a teenage band, to plant a new church.
The group began meeting in Tippey’s basement before moving to rented facilities and finally to their current location. They’ve baptized more than 80 new believers in the past 10 years, sponsored missions teams to Central America, and launched their first daughter church (New Haven Impact) with Kory Christensen as campus pastor. Jordan Gardner, church planter at Paradox Church in Westfield, sent greetings and the Level 13 team received an offering to bless this new mission. To finish off the day, Pastor Rob baptized three new believers and cast vision for the next chapter in the exciting story of Level 13!
I was in the Marion office for a district staff meeting and then out to sign documents for two of our congregations on Monday afternoon. One of the signings was in Anderson with Rev. Carol Schenck, our District Secretary, as Pastor Jerry Alexander and the Central Wesleyan team make preparation to open a new childcare center under the direction of Ms. Brittani Day. This is a much needed ministry in their community and the facility improvements will also be a blessing for their growing congregation.
Tuesday morning, I met with a prospective church planter in Fishers, then met with Pastor Richard Cole in Lapel for lunch and our annual coaching conversation. I also enjoyed touring the recently remodeled facilities. They suffered significant water damage from a sprinkler system breakdown and had to vacate the property for several months. The renovations are complete and first class. They’re planning for an open house and dedication on May 7. Even more exciting than the updated facilities are the changed lives with 4 baptisms last month and 8 in their new members class.
Later Tuesday afternoon, I met with Rev. Clifton Ashlock in Anderson for our annual coaching dialogue. Some of you have been following the amazing story of Memorial Circle Wesleyan Church relocating to a facility offered by a nearby Friends congregation. It’s always exciting to hear the testimonies of life change (including 7 recent professions of faith) from this unique congregation that offers ministry in two languages. They are also selecting a new name for their church to capture the new work that God is doing here.
Tuesday evening, I was back at Muncie Memorial Drive to meet with their LBA under the leadership of Dr. Dale Wheeler. It was good to sit in and hear the steps they’re taking to reach their community for Christ. They are taking in 3 new members and getting ready for their next baptism service.
Wednesday morning, I met with Pastor Allen Laws in Warren for our CC (coaching conversation). This was my first visit to Warren and it was good to see the work that’s been completed under Pastor Allen’s leadership.
Sonlight Wesleyan Church in Bluffton was my next stop on Wednesday as I met with Pastor Lyle Breeding for our CC. This was another first-time visit for me so I appreciated learning about the history of the ministry. Pat Breeding has stepped up to lead the children’s ministry and Lane Sander, assistant pastor, is leading a growing counseling program that is having a real impact in their community. The leadership team is working on their self-study in preparation for the upcoming Maximizing Impact consultation.
Wednesday evening, I met with Pastor Calimerio Rodriguez and the leadership team at Frankfort Templo de Poder, our Hispanic congregation that worships with Pastor Alan Downing and the Frankfort First Wesleyan congregation. They have been experiencing attendance growth and this was a helpful conversation about future possibilities.
Thursday, I was off to teach the Congregational Leadership class at Wesley Seminary. For this session, we had the special privilege of hearing from the perspective of a committed lay leader in the person of Dr. Ed Hoover, a gifted and committed Christ-follower in the Crossroads District who has served The Wesleyan Church on local, district, denominational and university boards. The students really appreciated Ed’s wise insights and passion for the Church.
Friday was another highlight as I had the joy of meeting with Pastor Rob Tippey and the Fort Wayne zone pastors to take a significant step toward a new church plant. Our church planting process in the Crossroads District begins with our local pastors identifying church planting opportunities around them and then prioritizing those opportunities to focus their zone partnership. The next step is to interview prospective planters for their projects. If they agree that this planter is a good fit for one of their priority projects, they vote to recommend the planter and project to the DBA. With the zone’s recommendations, an assessment report and a strategic plan (with budgets and timelines) for the project, the DBA has authority to approve the project and appoint the planter.
The Fort Wayne Zone pastors agreed that planting a Hispanic church in Fort Wayne was a priority project. Latest census data recorded approximately 12,000 Hispanics in the city but market analysis estimates that the number may be closer to 20,000. We were also able to interview prospective planters for this new work. It was inspiring to hear how God has been working ahead of us to bring this family to Fort Wayne after years of effective ministry with The Wesleyan Church in Costa Rica. There are still logistical questions of immigration, funding and strategic planning to work through, but this is a big step forward for the Fort Wayne Zone and the Crossroads District.
On Friday evening, Sherry and I hosted the Hispanic Zone pastors and spouses at our home in Upland. It was a heartwarming evening of fellowship, worship and prayer. Dr. Norm and Kim Wilson have played a key role in encouraging the development of this team of leaders. Raleigh and Luis Pedro also helped us host and translated through the evening. We are praying and working together toward the day when we have as many as 25 Hispanic congregations in our district.
Please join me in praying for Pastor Lloyd Moore (Cicero United). He was admitted to the hospital in very serious condition on Thursday but has responded well to treatment and, pending doctor’s orders today, may be released on Tuesday to recover at home.
We’re also praying for Rev. E.R. Mitchell and his family. Rev. Mitchell suffered a serious heart attack over the weekend and is not doing well. He is one of our district’s heroes who has faithfully served the Lord and proclaimed the Gospel for more than 70 years.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
From One Generation to the Next
Sunday morning, March 12, Sherry and I worshipped with Dr. Dale Wheeler and the growing congregation at Muncie Memorial Avenue Wesleyan Church. Dr. and Mrs. Wheeler are providing exceptional leadership, not just to the church family but to their own grandchildren who are part of the congregation. It was a joy to see Dr. Wheeler serving on the same worship team with two of his grandchildren.
I was reminded again of Psalm 145:4 “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” (NIV)
Last week’s highlights included meeting with Pastor Rob Tippey (Fort Wayne Zone leader and pastor of Level 13 Church) to connect with prospective church planters. We were honored to welcome Rev. Roilyn and Dylana Angulo for an exploratory visit. Pray for the Fort Wayne Zone pastors as they meet with the Angulo family this Friday to consider the next step toward launching a new Hispanic ministry in this zone.
Through the day on Wednesday and Friday, I participated with 20 other leaders from across our denomination in a “Strategic Dialogue” hosted by Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent. Dr. Schmidt invited these leaders to dialogue with him about ways The Wesleyan Church might be reimagined to better release and empower our catalytic multiplication leaders to unleash the apostolic impulse that marked the Wesleyan revival. No one believes that structure can intentionally create a movement, but we have seen structure unintentionally constrain a movement. Dr. Schmidt is making this a matter of focused prayer and welcomes your partnership in seeking God’s direction.
Wednesday evening, I met with the Finance Team from Sheridan Six Points as they look at creative solutions for funding their ministry and implementing the prescriptions from the Maximizing Impact consultation.
I taught the Congregational Leadership class at Wesley Seminary during the day on Thursday. On Thursday evening, I joined the LBA (Local Board of Administration) at Sims Wesleyan Church for the 4-year review of Rev. Brian Williams extended call. The board unanimously affirmed Pastor Brian’s extended call with expressions of appreciation for his pastoral care and preaching ministry. The church has also completed interior remodeling and recently added a new sign.
After the Friday session of the Strategic Dialogue at HQ, I joined Randall Hudson, our Crossroads District Director for SAM (Senior Adult Ministries), for their spring banquet at Sheridan Six Points Church. I brought greetings from our district team and expressed our appreciation for the impact of their faithful service in our churches across the decades. There was a great turnout, a delicious meal and delightful entertainment for the evening. Randall announced the 2017 fall tour for SAM. This year’s bus excursion will travel to Branson, MO, October 2-6. The tour will include the musical “Moses” (produced by Sights and Sounds) and a day at Silver Dollar City. And we’re pleased to announce that Dr. Charlie Harris returns to drive again this year! Seats are going fast. For more information, you can call Randall Hudson: 765-675-9045.
The prayers and sympathies of our district family are extended to Rev. Chris Williams, on the passing of his grandmother. Chris preached the message at her funeral on Saturday. Also on Saturday, the family of Mrs. Roberta MacCallum (mother of Chuck MacCallum, grandmother of Teresa Batman and Chad MacCallum) gathered for her memorial service in Kansas. Both of these godly women have made significant impact on the Kingdom and have a legacy of faith that extends to multiple generations.
I received an exciting report last week from Pastor Jerry Alexander at Anderson Central Wesleyan. For the second year now, they’ve hosted the awards program for their basketball outreach on Sunday morning. Last year there were more than 150. This year there were 217 in attendance with many first-time guests.
I’m pleases to report that Rev. Clifton Ashlock (Anderson Memorial Circle) and Rev. Don Bayne (New Carlisle) both received unanimous pastoral votes to continue their service for 4 more years. Our district is blessed with many faithful and effective long-term pastoral appointments as exemplified by these two leaders.
This coming Sunday, I’ll be in Fort Wayne with Pastor Rob Tippey to celebrate Level 13 Church’s 10th Anniversary.
Mark your calendars for:
FUSION Youth Rally at Indiana Wesleyan University (April 7-8)
Kids Ministry Huddle in Marion with Phil Vischer, VeggieTales creator (April 22)
Crossroads District Retired Pastors and Spouses Fellowship (May 9)
Festival on Preaching at College Wesleyan Church (May 22-23)
And, there are still a few $500 scholarships remaining for Crossroads District pastors to attend the Exponential Conference in Orlando (April 24-28).
It’s a joy to serve with you in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Reaching Our Changing Communities
Sunday morning, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Zach and Lindy Szmara at The Bridge in Logansport. This is a remarkable story of a church that has been revitalized and re-imagined to reach the expanding immigrant community in their region. Pastor Zach shared a message for Lent from Luke 11:24-26 on the “Law of Adverse Occupation.” Including this Canadian immigrant, there were 7 different nationalities represented at The Bridge this morning.
The Bridge is also the first of our Immigrant Connection Centers in the Crossroads District. It is amazing to realize that they have assisted immigrants from more than 50 nations. With Zach’s coaching, two more sites will open in our district this year. Indianapolis Trinity and Marion College Wesleyan are both moving forward in the federal approval process. I am grateful that our denomination has established a network that enables our churches to assist people who are seeking to navigate the complexities of our current immigration process.
Sunday afternoon, I was in Delphi to meet with Pastor Dan Fisher and the LBA at Delphi Wesleyan Church. The board unanimously reaffirmed Pastor Dan’s extended call and will be working with him to develop a sabbatical plan for this summer. The church has more than doubled in attendance under Dan’s ministry and the building has been remodeled.
Rev. Fisher has served tirelessly these past few weeks with three funerals in addition to extensive pastoral care related to the tragic death of two young girls in their community. One of those girls had prayed with Pastor Dan to receive Christ at their Vacation Bible School and the other girl was on Dan’s school bus route. The community continues to be in shock and grieve these tragic murders. Please keep Delphi in your prayers.
Sherry and I were in Wisconsin with D.S. Dan & Reenie Bickel for the District Ministerial on Monday and Tuesday. Dan is from Muncie and Reenie (Hoover) grew up in the Lafayette Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan Church so it was good to make the Crossroads District connection. I shared insights from “Lead Like Wesley” and it was great to see the camaraderie in this district team. I was also glad to see Pastor Mark Wilson, a dear friend, and delighted to learn that he’ll be joining the full-time faculty at Southern Wesleyan University to teach discipleship and church renewal after 26 years of effective leadership at Hayward Wesleyan Church.
Wednesday included a visit with Pastor Paul Trent at home in Chesterfield. He continues the fight with brain cancer and values your prayer support in this battle. That evening, I was blessed to participate in the Ash Wednesday service at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church as Pastor Tony Bye and the pastoral team led in a time of repentance and prayer.
Thursday, I taught the Congregational Leadership class again at Wesley Seminary and then met with the LBA in the evening at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church. They are deeply grateful for the effective ministry of Rev. Bob VanCise during Pastor Trent’s illness. The church has a remarkable midweek ministry with more than 40 children and 15 teens participating. Parkview Church has been loving and generous to the Trents through this six-month journey of cancer treatments. God’s is blessing their faithfulness.
Friday was another highlight as the Region 2 East Zone leaders gathered in Muncie to interview and pray over prospective church planters for a new Kingdom community. The leaders of the Northview Wesleyan Church, near Ball State University’s campus, voted unanimously to bring their ministry to a close this summer and turn the keys over to the launching of this new ministry. It was heartwarming to hear the pastors of the zone share their vision and then to hear how God has been preparing the hearts of a seasoned church planting couple who are prayerfully considering this assignment. The pastors of the zone voted unanimously to recommend this project and these planters to the DBA. Please pray as the process moves forward over the next few months.
On Saturday, I joined Dr. Richard Schenck and members of the Region 2 DBMD to interview ministerial students in Indianapolis. It is always a joy to hear how God is calling and equipping emerging leaders to join us in the harvest!
This coming week, Pastor Rob Tippey and I will be hosting prospective leaders for a Hispanic church planting project in Fort Wayne. On Friday evening, I’ll be in Tipton for the Crossroads District SAM (Senior Adult Ministries) Banquet hosted by Randall Hudson and his team. Next Sunday, March 12, I’ll be preaching at Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church in Muncie.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. Round up your children’s ministry staff and make plans to be part of this year’s Crossroads District Huddle featuring Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales, on April 22!