Sunday, April 29, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Clifton & Arletta Ashlock and the congregation of Anderson United Wesleyan Church. United is a remarkable story of diversity and steps of faith. Some of you may recall that the nearby Friends Church reached out and offered their facility as the Wesleyan congregation was expanding its outreach to Hispanic families. Today, they share a beautiful campus with a Saturday evening service in Spanish and a Sunday morning service that offers translation. The songs on Sunday include alternating verses in English and Spanish.
Pastor Nicolas and Adrianne Zarate are coming over from Noblesville Lakeview to preach on Saturday evenings. Rev. Ashlock’s Portuguese fluency helps as he continues to gain Spanish-language proficiency and shepherds the congregation. The shared youth and children’s ministry is primarily conducted in English. Pray for the continued impact of this multi-cultural ministry in Anderson!
Sunday evening, I was in South Bend to connect with Pastor Greg Holmes (South Bend Sonlight Fellowship) and Rev. & Mrs. Terry Vaughn (The Bridge Urban Church) to explore the possibilities of partnership in a shared facility. Sonlight’s building is strategically located on Michigan Avenue, the main street into South Bend.
Sonlight Fellowship is running between 30-40 in worship and had 70 people present for Easter. The Vaughn’s have a team of 40, mostly younger adults, that they are discipling as they move toward launch this fall. Pray for wisdom as these conversations continue.
Yesterday, Fountain City Wesleyan Church honored Rev. David and Jill Anderson for their 34 faithful years of service to the congregation in his role as senior pastor. Next Sunday, Dr. Steve Bray will be installed as the new senior pastor and Rev. Anderson will become his associate. What a great story of servant leadership!
This was graduation weekend for Indiana Wesleyan University. I had the privilege of preaching at the Baccalaureate Service on Friday evening and then celebrated graduations on Saturday with Jordan, our daughter, who completed her B.A. (summa cum laude), and with Lindsey, our daughter-in-law, who completed her M.Div from Wesley Seminary with a 4.0 GPA.
Lindsey is on staff with Jeff Eckart and the Never The Same (NTS) camps as Bible engagement director and Jordan begins work on Tuesday as Social Media Specialist for ReFrame Media (Back to God) in Grand Rapids. We are proud of these young women and excited to see all that God as in store as they following His calling on their lives.
Congratulations to dozens students from all over the Crossroads District who graduated these weekend. It’s a significant milestone and we are truly blessed to have Indiana Wesleyan University right here in the heart of our district. Rev. Jon Wiest was one of those many graduates as he completed his Masters degree from Wesley Seminary.
I was out of the office on Monday through Wednesday, traveling to and from New Jersey where I was able to present the “Lead Like Wesley” seminar for three United Methodist District Superintendents and a group of 50 leaders who gathered on Tuesday. Twenty of the ministers in this region had been going through the book, one chapter at a time, as part of their monthly leadership development gathering.
I attended Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi and was delighted to meet fellow alumnus Scott Rambo and former WBS president Dr. Ron Smith who now serve in this conference. It was encouraging to hear their stories and to affirm our shared Wesleyan revivalists/reformers DNA.
Thursday, I participated in the monthly web meeting that Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our GS, offers to the district superintendents. Dr. Schmidt and I then shared a working lunch in preparation of the General Board meeting which convenes at HQ on May 1 and 2. Rev. Jon Wiest and our district’s discipleship cohort welcomed Dr. Kevin Watson to their afternoon ZOOM call. It was good to reconnect with Kevin after we had hosted him at Kingswood University during my tenure. Kevin is making a significant contribution to Wesleyan renewal through his writings on John Wesley’s class and band meetings.
Link to Dr. Kevin Watson’s books on Amazon
The last meeting on Thursday was with Nancy Schoonmaker, our District Treasurer, and Mrs. Roxene Lo, office manager/bookkeeper, as we prepared for the ending of this conference year and the new one that begins tomorrow.
Thank you to each pastor and local church leader who makes USF (United Stewardship Fund) a priority in your church. Our shared ministry at the district level, the denominational level, and in our education institutions depends on your faithful investment. The majority of our churches have already reached the 100% level but you still have until May 10 to record any last minute contributions. Thank you for your partnership in our shared ministry!
Congratulations to Pastor Tim McClellan and the team at Marion Lakeview Wesleyan Church for another successful women’s ministry simulcast. More than 400 women gathered on Saturday for inspiration and encouragement featuring the teaching ministry of Priscilla Shirer, Thank you to Lakeview Church for making this valuable event available to our community!
Pastor Jerry Alexander reported that Anderson Central Wesleyan Church voted, yesterday morning, to approve the Maximizing Impact consultation report. Pray for wisdom as their team takes these important next steps to better reach their community.
Your prayers are invited as our General Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Wayne Schmidt, convenes the General Board of The Wesleyan Church in Fishers this week. We stand in need of God’s wisdom and favor to face the challenges and seize the opportunities before our church.
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom! It’s a joy to serve together in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday morning, April 22, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Jere and Ruth Gowin (and two amazing grandchildren) at Kingsford Heights Wesleyan Church (near LaPorte). In addition to being the bi-vocational pastor of this caring congregation, Pastor Gowin has an ongoing ministry in the African country of Ghana. After the morning service, I met briefly with the LBA members before heading home. The church is bearing faithful witness to the Gospel in the small but needy Kingsford Heights community. Please keep them in your prayers as they reach out!
ReEquip 2018 is in the history books. Congratulations to Rev. Amanda Blair and Rev. Michelle Henry for leading their teams to pull off two terrific training events in one day. Preliminary reports indicate 150 pastors and adult ministry leaders gathered at River Church in Marion to hear Professor Mark Wilson and a team of presenters speak to leading change, church health, and missional ministry. The participation level was almost double last year’s event. John & Patty Bray did a great job hosting at this site. One of the best quotes I took away from our time together was “You don’t measure a church by its seating capacity, but by its seeding capacity.” (Mark Wilson)
Meanwhile, across town at College Wesleyan, more than 80 children and youth workers gathered to hear Mathew DePrez and a team of presenters to learn how to pass along our faith to the next generation. Attendance was down some (from last year’s event with Phil Vischer) but the response was positive to the presentation and format. If you were able to attend either of these events, please help us make next year’s event even better by responding to the e-mail survey you’ll be receiving this week.
Last week’s office calendar included chairing the conference action committee (Monday evening) and the district nominating committee (Thursday evening), both using Zoom internet conferencing for the first time. I was on the road Tuesday with coaching conversations with Lay Supply Pastor Kay Dickerson (Kirklin Wesleyan) and Rev. Barry Dixon (Indianapolis Calvary Family Church). I also enjoyed coaching conversations on Wednesday with Pastor Tim McClellan (Marion Lakeview) and Pastor Tomasa Granados (Indianapolis Monte de Sion). Along the way I also connected with our staff, interviewed pastoral candidates, conferred with search committee chairs, and signed documents for the sale of our Crawfordsville property to the Church of the Nazarene.
This week I’ll be traveling to New Jersey to present a “Lead Like Wesley” seminar for a group of United Methodist district superintendents, pastors and lay leaders on Tuesday. I’ll be back in the district on Thursday for meetings with G.S. Dr. Schmidt, the Discipleship Cohort, and a budget committee meeting. Then, on Friday and Saturday, our family will be celebrating with Jordan, our daughter, as she graduates from IWU, and with Lindsey, our daughter-in-law, as she graduates from Wesley Seminary.
This is the last full week of our 2018 district conference/fiscal year. Thank you in advance for your leadership in completing all reports on time and in supporting the United Stewardship Fund! (If you have questions or need assistance as you complete these reports, please call Mrs. Roxene Lo in our office.)
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday morning, April 15, Sherry and I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Duane Seitz and the congregation of Silver Lake Wesleyan Church. These are encouraging days for this small church as Pastor Duane leads them in this turnaround project.
Highlights of the day included welcoming five new members (plus Rev. & Mrs. Seitz), baptizing two adult believers, and singing “Happy Birthday” to Mrs. Naomi Floor, their pianist who will turn 94 on Thursday. Following the service, we joined the congregation for a pitch-in meal in the fellowship hall. Pastor Duane is setting the pace by committing to personally knock on every door in town (366 households) and to offer the ministry of prayer to these neighbors.
Sunday evening, I was with Pastor Jerry Alexander and the congregation of Anderson Central Wesleyan Church for a productive town hall meeting as a follow-up from their consultation with our Maximizing Impact team. They will be voting on the report on Sunday, April 29.
Last week’s meeting included pastoral search committee meetings at Colfax Wesleyan Church on Monday evening and Lone Oak Wesleyan Church in Anderson on Tuesday evening. I’m grateful for the committed lay leaders that serve faithfully in our local churches but never more so than when churches are in seasons of pastoral transition.
Rev. Chris Williams, Seth Bye and I hit the road for regional meetings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Rev. Mike Colaw, Assistant DS for Region 2, hosted the pastors of the greater Indianapolis area at Trinity Wesleyan on Monday afternoon. Rev. Matthew Trexler, Assistant DS for Region 1, hosted the pastors of the greater Fort Wayne area at The River Church in Marion on Tuesday morning. The Region 3 pastors, led by Rev. Chris Williams, gathered on Wednesday morning at The Bridge Church in Logansport.
We have lots of fun at these gatherings, including the door prizes, but nothing is better than the privilege we have of lifting each other in prayer. It was a special blessing to be able to gather around our church planters and surrounding them with a circle of prayer. We really are stronger together!
On Friday, our team had the privilege of welcoming 42 retired pastors and spouses for our semi-annual fellowship. We held the morning session at Wesleyan HQ in Fishers and then hosted the afternoon group at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church in Marion. We were delighted to have Randall & Theresa Hudson present the upcoming events for our district’s Senior Adult Ministry. The fall bus tour this year will include Williamsburg, VA and then the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. Our featured guest on Friday was Rev. Ron McClung, Assistant General Secretary of The Wesleyan Church, who brought an informative and encouraging report of developments in our denominational family.
On Saturday morning, I had a breakfast meeting with Rev. Purciful and the pastoral staff from North Anderson Wesleyan Church, before heading to Marion for the funeral and home-going celebration for Rev. Edna Larimore at West 8th Street Wesleyan Church. Pastor Dan Van Cise led the heart-warming tribute for a life well-lived for God.
After the funeral, I dropped in on the meeting of the Board of Directors for Fairmount Camp. Mr. Dave Tippey leads this team and they were encouraged by the report from Angela Spangler, Executive Director, that their fundraising efforts had exceeded the $40,000 in matching funds from new donors!
This week’s schedule includes District Action Committee, District Budget Committee, District Nominating Committee and, best of all, ReEquip! I’m looking forward to seeing our team come together this Saturday to learn how to lead our ministries to even greater levels of effectiveness in Great Commission ministry.
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
This past weekend, I joined with Rev. Paul James (lead consultant with Church Health Initiative), Rev. David Dignal and Rev. Mark Atkinson for a Maximizing Impact consultation at Anderson Central Wesleyan Church. Pastor Jerry and Teresa Alexander have been leading this turnaround project which has had some ups and downs. (There were 71 in attendance on Sunday.)
After the individual interviews and focus group on Friday, Rev. James taught the Maximizing Impact principles to an engaged group on Saturday. On Sunday morning, Rev. James preached and then presented the consultation team’s report. I’ll be back at Anderson Central next Sunday evening for the town hall meeting and the congregation will vote on the report on April 29. Pray that God will grant clear direction and unity!
Sunday afternoon, I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Calimerio and Maria Rodriguez and the growing congregation of Templo de Poder in Frankfort. The ministry has been welcomed into the Frankfort First Wesleyan facility and this partnership is benefiting both congregations. Pray as they seek ways to deepen this partnership in the days ahead.
My final meeting of the day was with Rev. Alan Downing and the LBA of Frankfort First. Pastor Alan’s call will be voted on at their upcoming annual conference and it was encouraging to see the strong support of the LBA that unanimously recommended an extended call.
Much of last week was consumed in board meetings. First, on Tuesday, I participated as a member of the Wesley Seminary board. Rev. Stan Hoover chairs that group and it was an interesting day given to stewarding the remarkable progress that has been made in the past 10 years. Dr. Colleen (Wilson) Derr is off to a strong start as the new president and it was a delight to be there for her installation on Wednesday. The highlight, for me, of her installation was the moment when the faculty gathered around her for the consecration prayer that was led by her father, retired General Superintendent, Dr. Earle Wilson.
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Rev. Dr. Mark Eckart (Indiana South DS), Rev. Les Crossfield (Great Ohio DS), and Rev. Aaron Sherman (KY-TN DS) at Thornapple Lodge for continued dialogue around the opportunities for partnership in the heartland region. One of the possibilities is a shared services agreement with the General Treasurer’s office so we were pleased to welcome Mr. Kevin Batman to the discussion. Our pastors will hear more about these developments at our regional meetings this week.
The Indiana Wesleyan University Board of Trustees met on Thursday. I was able to participate in the morning session before heading to Avon to minister to the family and conduct the funeral service for retired Crossroads District pastor, Rev. Edward Reel, Jr. Please remember Sister Rose Reel and her daughters in your prayers as they grieve the loss of their husband, father, and faithful servant of the Lord.
Friday morning, the IWU Board continued to meet and took part in the chapel service that marked the beginning of FUSION weekend. The chapel service was anointed and I’ve heard great reports from the weekend led by Rev. Charlie Alcock and his dedicated team of students. Sherry and I were privileged to provide housing at Thornapple Lodge and host the youth group from Journey Church in Caledonia, Michigan.
I’m looking forward to our Regional Meetings this week where we’ll be drawing names to win the Grand Prize of a free couples registration to “The Gathering” in Orlando!
Sherry and I are looking forward to Friday when we’ll be hosting the Retired Ministers and Spouses for “Coffee & Cupcakes” in the morning at Wesleyan HQ in Fishers and in the afternoon at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church in Marion. Invitations were mailed last month and we’ve already heard back from nearly 30 friends who will join us for fellowship and a presentation from Rev. Ron McClung on the latest developments at HQ.
Friday evening, April 13, Sherry and I are pleased to welcome the lead pastors and spouses from the Indy Zone for supper and fellowship at Thornapple Lodge (from 6:30 to 9). You may still RSVP by calling or emailing Seth Bye.
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
It’s Monday morning and He is still Risen! As one of my friends likes to say, every day is Easter for disciples who are following Jesus Christ.
Easter Sunday was another great day in the history of our new district as Rising Hope Church in Muncie held their first preview service at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Pastor Michael and Kim Hewitt, with a wonderful team including several from the former Northview Church, have been building bridges to the community and making preparation for the full launch in September.
This was the first opportunity for Rising Hope to mobilize their growing team for a public worship experience. (Special thanks to Pastor John Freed for sending members from Waterline to help with tech!) God is already writing redemption stories and you’ll hear more about that at our regional gatherings next week. Thank you to each one who is praying for and partnering with the Hewitt’s as they minister among the 80,000 unchurched in Delaware County.
I also enjoyed dropping in on Pastor Lee Miller for their SonRise Service at Muncie Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church. They followed this early service with a breakfast and then moved into their worship service at 10:30. It was exciting to receive Pastor Miller’s report that they had 90 for their main worship service (LYA = 52).
Sunday evening, I closed out my day worshiping with Pastor Matthew Trexler and their 6 p.m. service at The River Church in Marion. They have been in an exciting season of growth with 755 yesterday.
Last week began with staff meeting on Monday in Marion. Jon Wiest, our district Multiplication Director, met in Fishers to update our church planting preparations for the new budget year. I’m excited about the book project Jon is completing, Banding Together, that will tell the unfolding story of the discipleship ministry at Trinity.
Tuesday, I was in Avon to meet with Pastor Ben Thomas (Nehemiah Church) for our annual coaching conversation. Then I stopped by to visit with Mrs. Rose Reel, the widow of Rev. Ed Reel. Ed passed away last Sunday and I’ll be conducting his funeral in Avon this coming Thursday. Funeral Notice and Obituary
Tuesday afternoon, Pastor Tim Becker and I met at Elwood Main Street Wesleyan for our coaching conversation. I closed out the day meeting with the LBA at North Anderson Wesleyan Church.
Wednesday found me on the west side of our district for coaching conversations with Pastor Dan Fisher (Delphi Wesleyan), Rev. Steve Sparks (Monon Wesleyan), and Dr. Morris Jones (Lebanon Wesleyan).
Thursday, I was in Muncie for lunch with Pastor Michael and Kim Hewitt as they prepared for Rising Hope’s launch service. Then, I made my way north for a coaching conversation and home-cooked meal with Pastor Jere and Ruth Gowin (Kingsford Heights Wesleyan Church).
Good Friday’s noon service at College Wesleyan Church in Marion is always a highlight of Holy Week. I was able to attend again this year and appreciated the impactful worship experience led by Dr. Steve DeNeff and his team. Then on Friday evening, Sherry, Jordan and I joined Pastor John and Danielle Freed and the team at Waterline, our home church, for their Good Friday service. They had a special focus on family participation in various prayer stations and in sharing the Lord’s Supper.
Saturday morning, I was able to represent the Crossroads District at the funeral of Mrs. Josephine Walker, widow of Rev. Harold Walker, who faithfully served with her husband in several pastoral appointments across our district including congregations in Upland, Mathews, and Fowlerton. Judy Walker McNaughton, Josephine’s daughter, was a member of a small group at Kentwood Community Church with Sherry, my wife, while we lived in Grand Rapids, MI.
Saturday evening, Pastor Mark & Ronda Atkinson hosted Eastview Wesleyan Church’s Easter weekend worship service at the Gray Barn in Upland. Eastview is expanding their reach with services this weekend in Brinker Heights, Jonesboro, Upland and their central campus in Gas City.
Pastor Mark reported that Eastview’s worship attendance over the weekend at these 4 sites totaled 555 with 34 professions of faith (with the 66 attending at Brinker Heights and 47 attending in Jonesboro).
Pastor David Anderson reported 23 baptisms this weekend at the two campus of Fountain City Wesleyan Church. According to Pastor Anderson, Pastor-elect Steve Bray preached a “Grand Slam!”
Pastor Don Bayne reported 295 in attendance and 13 people taking steps of faith this weekend at New Carlisle Wesleyan Church. Pastor Dale Munsell called to report that another person gave their life to Christ last week bringing the total to 24. They set a goal of 25 for this conference year and are praying and working to break this month.
Pastor Brent Miller reported 40 in their early service with 128 in their second service and seven professions of faith at Southview Wesleyan Church in Gas City.
There are many more encouraging reports yet to come in from across the district. If you have time, and are able, please share a report and post a picture from your Easter celebrations on our Facebook page for others to be encouraged with you! Link to Crossroads District’s FaceBook page
This week I’ll be in Marion for board meetings at Wesley Seminary and then at Indiana Wesleyan University. A highlight of those meetings will be the installation of Rev. Dr. Colleen Derr as the new president of Wesley Seminary on Wednesday, April 4, 11 am. Here’s the link for more information: http://seminary.indwes.edu/derr_installation
Thank you to each one of you Crossroads District team leaders for all you do to advance the Kingdom of our Risen Lord!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. April 21 is coming fast but there’s still time to register your leadership team: http://www.reequipconference.org/ As Dr. H.C Wilson would often say, “Make tracks, not excuses!”