The Cross in Rochester
Yesterday morning, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Mike Cloud and the wonderful folks at The Cross Wesleyan Church in Rochester. This church, planted by Dave Terhune, is actively involved in serving hundreds of families each month through their “Matthew’s Market” food pantry. They have a positive reputation in the community as “the church that helps people.” Attendance is rebounding under Pastor Mike’s effective leadership and the future is bright as they reach out to their community.
Sunday afternoon, I met (over FaceTime) with Rev. Terry Vaughn, Dr. Phil Struckmeyer and Pastor Troy Evans to review the progress they’ve made in developing a church planting proposal to plant an urban center church in South Bend. The next step will be to meet with Rev. Don Bayne and the pastors of the Region 3 North Zone in the next few weeks so they can interview Rev. Vaughn and consider the opportunity for partnership.
Last evening, I met with the LBA at Kokomo Southdowns Wesleyan Church to conduct the extended call review for Dr. Mark Rennaker. Dr. Rennaker’s ministry is deeply appreciated and the board unanimously affirmed continuing in the extended call.
Last week began with the District Superintendents’ Roundtable in New York City. Sherry was able to join me for this meeting. Our sessions included presentations from key leaders at Redeemer Church (pastored by Tim Keller), Jason Berry (reporting on the recent Unleashed events), and concluded with a powerful time of teaching and prayer with Pastor Jim Cymbala (Brooklyn Tabernacle). These are always informative gatherings as colleagues share best practices from across our Wesleyan Church family.
In our free time on Tuesday afternoon, Sherry and I joined friends to experience the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was a sobering reminder of the times in which we live. We attended the Tuesday evening service at Brooklyn Tabernacle and witnessed the finale of their powerful Easter drama presentation, “The Story of Love.”
Sherry flew on to a board meeting at Hephzibah and I drove back to Indiana arriving home on Thursday in time to prepare to host the StratOp planning retreat at our home on Friday and Saturday.
Mark Meyer, lead consultant with Tony Morgan’s Unstuck Group, led a passionate team of Crossroads District ministry leaders through an intensive strategic operations planning process on Friday and Saturday. You’ll be hearing more about our next steps at District Conference, June 23 and 24. Check out the information already available at this link: Crossroads District Conference
After our meeting concluded at noon on Saturday, I joined with 135 energetic children’s ministry leaders at the 2017 KidMin Huddle featuring Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales. Congratulations to Rev. Michele Henry and her team for an outstanding event that impacts ministry to thousands of children in the Crossroads District.
This week, I’ll be with nearly 300 Wesleyan leaders at the Exponential Conference in Orlando. Pray with us that God will light the fires of multiplication.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
We Serve a Risen Savior!
Easter is always a wonderful time of celebration and outreach for our Crossroads District churches. Thank you for the pastors who’ve already texted or emailed with praise reports from their weekend of ministry.
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Jordan and Karen Gardner for the first ever Easter Sunday service at Paradox Church in Westfield. It was encouraging to see how this new team is coming together to reach their community for Christ!
We also slipped into the second service at Waterline Church as Pastor John Freed was preaching. Waterline had a great Sunday morning with 423 present and 40+ professions of faith. It’s always exciting to see our Headquarters building being used for transformational ministry, even on Sundays.
Monday began with our district office staff meeting before heading over to Frankfort for a meeting with Pastor Alan Downing and the LBA at Frankfort First Wesleyan. Tuesday included meetings with Dr. David Wright, Dr. Ed Hoover, and Pastor Rob Tippey. I was in Fishers for a “birthday lunch” with Pastor John Freed and the Waterline staff. I believe there may be video of Assistant Pastor Seth Bye being honored with a song and sombrero. Happy Birthday, Seth! Tuesday afternoon was a District Conference (June 23-24) planning session led by Pastor Amanda Blair.
Wednesday morning, I met with Pastor Brian Scramlin (Wabash New Journey) for our coaching conversation, then met with Dr. Rich and Rev. Carol Schenck for lunch in Noblesville as they consider open doors for expanding the ministry of Noblesville Lakeview Wesleyan. I was back in Marion that afternoon to meet with Drake Budde, a graduating senior ministerial student at IWU.
Thursday morning was a budget planning meeting with Nancy Schoonmaker, our District Treasurer, and Roxene Lo as we look to the new conference year. I enjoyed connecting with Rev. Dan Walker for lunch and exploring ministry possibilities as he relocates to Marion this summer with Dr. Joanne Solis-Walker, his wife and ministry partner, who has accepted a senior leadership role at Wesley Seminary. Thursday afternoon, I traveled with Rev. Duane Seitz to Silver Lake Wesleyan Church where Duane has been doing a great job serving as supply pastor. We had a good meeting with Mr. Ron Miller, vice-chair/treasurer, to plan for the coming year.
Friday included a meeting with Pastor Tony Bye (Marion Brookhaven) before attending the noon Good Friday service at Marion College Wesleyan Church. Dr. Steve DeNeff and the staff presented a moving Tenebrae Service that helped to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter. Friday afternoon, I connected with Rev. Kaleb Wakeman who will be returning to Marion this summer after several years serving as worship leader at Ohio Christian University’s campus church. Some of you may remember Kaleb as part of the River Church launch team with Pastor Matthew Trexler.
Saturday morning, I was in Fishers for the Waterline Church Easter Egg Hunt. They rented the activity field in Saxony and welcomed nearly 2000 people hosted by 70+ volunteers. Raleigh and Luis Pedro met me in Frankfort to interview two prospective church planters from the Dominican Republic.
From Frankfort, I drove on to Merrillville to join Pastor Marc & Heather Ulrich for the first Easter weekend at ReThink Church. Church planters like Marc and Heather are heroes for stepping out in faith to create new Kingdom communities. Please keep them and their team in your prayers as they break new ground in northwest Indiana.
There are so many exciting stories coming in from across the district. For example, Pastor Brad LeRoy reported 523 in worship with 16 baptisms at McCordsville Harvest Church. Pastor Lloyd Moore reported 131 in attendance with 4 baptisms and 2 baby dedications. Pastor Tom Cochran reported 167 in attendance at Chesterton Expansion Church with 3 decisions and seven baptisms. Tom shared that one lady came to church that day to see her adult daughter baptized. Hearing the Gospel, she gave her life to Christ and was baptized with her daughter. Praise the Lord!
Our prayers and sympathies are extended to Pastor Matthew Trexler and his family. Larry, his older brother, died on Saturday evening after a long battle with cancer. Pastor Matthew had the privilege of playing a key role in Larry’s faith journey including baptizing him last year at River Church.
Monday through Wednesday, I’ll be in NYC for the District Superintendents’ Roundtable then returning home on Thursday. Friday and Saturday, Chris Williams and I will be hosting a small group of lay leaders and pastors for a StratOp session. Then, on Sunday, I’m looking forward to serving with Pastor Mike Cloud and The Cross in Rochester.
There’s still time to sign up your staff and volunteers for our Crossroads District Kids Ministry Huddle 2017 in Marion this Saturday with Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales. Thank you to Michelle Henry for her leadership on this event!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts!
Your servant in Christ,
Preparing For Easter
This Palm Sunday I worshiped with Dr. Morris Jones and the congregation of Lebanon Wesleyan Church. The Lebanon church faces some of the same challenges as other small, aging congregations. Dr. Jones is leading the board in the difficult conversations about options and next steps. Please keep this congregation in your prayers.
It was a special treat to connect with Rev. Howard and Dorothy Barefoot, prayer warriors and retired ministry heroes of our district, who are back after wintering at Brooksville, Florida. Dorothy did a great job playing piano for congregational worship. We’re looking forward to connecting with all of our Crossroads District pastors and spouses (ages 65+) at our spring brunch on May 9th!
It was a great weekend for our high school students as Indiana Wesleyan University hosted hundreds of teenagers from across the midwest for FUSION 2017. Thank you to the pastors (like Steve Arnett of New Castle Mt Zion) and lay leaders who drove vans and chaperoned to make it possible for our students to participate.
I was out of the office the previous week on vacation with Sherry. Thanks to Assistant DS Chris Williams for his guest post last week on our Crossroads Team Update.
I was back to work on Wednesday and attended a special DBMD event hosted by General Director Russ Gunsalus and his team from HQ. The department has been hard at work assessing our current credentialing process and developing a new approach after extensive research and consultation with the district. Special thanks to Dr. David Smith who leads our district team in this important leadership development ministry.
The funeral for Rev. E.R. Mitchell was held at Westview Wesleyan Church on Wednesday morning so I slipped out of the DBMD meeting long enough to represent our district family. Rev. Rob Tippey, grandson, brought a heart-felt eulogy and Rev. Don Glenn shared a message from God’s Word with illustrations from the life of Caleb that reminded him of Rev. Mitchell’s life and ministry.
On Thursday and Friday, I joined the other members of the Board of Trustees for our annual spring meeting at Indiana Wesleyan University. Among the highlights of the meeting was the introduction of Dr. Colleen Derr as the new president of Wesley Seminary. Dr. Derr is one of our own Crossroads District team members (serving on our DBMD) and she’ll do a great job in this new capacity. We also heard a compelling presentation from Coach Clark and two members of the men’s basketball team about the prayer movement and life change that took place on this year’s squad.
On Friday evening, I had supper with Pastor Matt and Jennifer Stewart as they welcomed Pastor Paul James to the Sweetser Wesleyan Church for a Maximizing Impact consultation. Later that evening, we received word that Rev. W.D. James, Paul’s father, had passed away in South Carolina. We worked with Pastor Stewart to reschedule the remainder of the consultation to April 29-30. Our prayers and sympathies are extended to Rev. Paul James and the other family members in this time of loss and grief.
Saturday evening, I worshiped with Pastor Clifton Ashlock, Pastor Julio Rodriguez and the Hispanic congregation at Anderson Memorial Circle Wesleyan Church. Rev. Roy and Dylana Angulo, our new friends from Costa Rica, were ministering in the service. Memorial Circle is a powerful example of a multi-ethnic church.
This Easter week, I’m joining you in prayer as you prepare with expectancy. I’m confident that you’re not just making plans to welcome all who come, but are also preparing to follow up on guests and to disciple those who make decisions to follow Christ. May God anoint our services with a powerful visitation of His Holy Spirit and may lives be transformed by the Gospel message of Christ crucified, risen and coming again!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. Just a gentle reminder that membership affirmations should be completed before you hold your annual conference. Only those who have affirmed their membership commitments are eligible to vote. Thank you in advance for your positive leadership on this wonderful opportunity to deepen our commitment to discipleship!
April 3, 2017 Update
This week’s Team Update is a guest post by Chris Williams, Assistant District Superintendent of the Crossroads District. Chris comes alongside leaders and churches to help them reach their potential and increase their missional effectiveness. Chris and his wife, Marietta, live in Marion with their three kids, Sean, Anika, and Elliot.
April 1 marks the beginning of the final month of the inaugural fiscal year for the Crossroads District. As we approach the end of the fiscal year, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some upcoming opportunities and key dates of which you will want to be aware.
The Crossroads District Conference will be held on Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24 at College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana.
This year’s conference is being designed as a vision casting and ministry equipping event. We will be looking back at what God has done across the district in the past year and looking ahead to what God wants to do in the year ahead.
In addition, we will be sharing the mission and vision for the Crossroads District and outlining our top three priorities: Leadership Development, Church Health & Revitalization, and Church Multiplication. Each of these priorities will be supported with resources and initiatives that your church can leverage to move to the next level of missional effectiveness.
We are excited to announce that Alex Sicilia, lead pastor of Senda de Vida Church in Mexico City, will serve as our keynote speaker for the conference. For the last two decades, Pastor Alex has been on a journey of helping his church make disciples who make disciples. As his church has made the biblical mandate of making disciples their priority, they have grown and are now starting to see multiplication of new churches takes place. Pastor Alex is joining us at district conference to share about the importance of disciple-making and multiplication in the life of the church.
Our worship leaders for district conference are Scott and Elizabeth Rhyno, Maritime Canadians-turned-Hoosiers as of August 2016. Over the last 17 years, they have served in a variety of ministry capacities including church leadership, creating and running a community arts program, itinerant worship ministry and consultation, and Wesleyan higher education at Kingswood University. The Rhynos are parents to three fabulous teens, Mackenzie, Morgan, and Grace. They've all jumped into the mission of Waterline Church in Fishers, and are excited to be leading worship at District Conference.
For more information about district conference, including the schedule and lodging information, visit conference.crossroadsdistrict.org.
Tools to Help Local Churches
In the Crossroads District we want to see every church moving to greater levels of health and missional effectiveness. For this reason, we have made two tools available to local churches.
Maximizing Impact is a weekend consultation process that helps a church discover its top five strengths and its five most important areas for improvement. The consultation team, after reviewing the extensive self-study compiled by the church, spends two days in conversation with key leaders in the congregation. Following these conversations, the consultation team offers their observations and recommendations in the form of a written report presented to everyone in attendance on Sunday morning of the consultation weekend. The report outlines the five strengths, five areas for improvement, and five prescriptions to help the church make the needed improvements. Once the consultation weekend is complete, the congregation has a month to consider the findings of the consultation team before deciding whether or not to accept the report and implement the prescriptions.
We have just secured dates with our lead consultant, Rev. Paul James for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. If your church is stuck, struggling, or just trying to discern the next steps to go to the next level of effectiveness, Maximizing Impact may be the right tool for you.
StratOp, shorthand for Strategic Operations, is a strategic planning process that helps churches develop a clear and focused plan for effective ministry. Originally designed by the Paterson Center, the Crossroads District works with The Unstuck Group to bring this process to your church. District facilitators will guide your leadership through a series of conversations over a three-day period that are designed to clarify mission, vision, strategy, and next steps for your church. StratOp differs from Maximizing Impact, in that, StratOp facilitators do not offer prescriptions. They simply facilitate the conversation so your team can determine the ministry path for your congregation.
With two trained facilitators in the district, we have several StratOp dates available. If your church has completed Maximizing Impact and you are wondering what your next steps are or if your church is looking for ways to increase your missional momentum, consider StratOp.
If you would like to know more and Maximizing Impact or StratOp, contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am available to answer any questions and to help you process whether one of these options is the right tool for your church at this time.
Festival on Preaching
College Church, in partnership with Wesley Seminary, is inviting you to the Festival on Preaching which will be held at College Church on May 22-23. You will have an opportunity to learn from some amazing preachers, including Dr. Lenny Luchetti, Rev. Carson Adams, Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, and Dr. Steve DeNeff.
To view the conference schedule, see the full lineup of speakers, and to register, visit: collegewes.com/festival
You are invited to join with Crossroads District leaders at the Exponential Conference in Orlando, Florida April 24-27!
The Exponential Conference is a gathering of leaders committed to accelerating the multiplication of healthy, reproducing faith communities. You can learn more about the conference HERE.
In order to make this conference more accessible to leaders in the Crossroads District, the District Board has created $500 scholarships for up to 40 individuals from the district to assist with registration, lodging, and travel costs associated with the conference.
In order to quality for the scholarships, individuals must:
1) Complete the Scholarship Request Form to reserve a scholarship.
2) Register for the event and make their own arrangements for travel and lodging.
3) Attend the Expy’s, a gathering of Wesleyan leaders at the conference.
4) Submit a reimbursement request with receipts attached following the event.
The district will then reimburse up to $500 for costs associated with attending Exponential.
There are a few scholarships left. If you are interested in applying for one of the remaining scholarships, click HERE.
Annual Service Reports, Statistical Reports, and all other year-end reports are due by May 15, 2017. This allows committees and district staff to complete their necessary work prior to district conference in June. Look for communication this week with detailed instructions on year-end reporting.
Assistant District Superintendent