Sunday morning, April 11, I had the privilege of connecting with Dr. Steve Bray and his team at LifeSpring Church first at the north campus in their 9:30 service and then with the south campus in the 11 a.m. service. Both campuses are coming back strong from the challenges of the past year. Dr. Bray was preaching at the north campus and Pastor Ryan VanMatre was preaching at the south campus. Both sites are focusing on the theme of “Breakthrough” and today’s message talked about getting into God’s Word so that God’s Word gets into you with its transformational impact.
Sunday afternoon, I joined Pastor Claudia Silva and the team at Casa del Alfarero. This wonderful Hispanic congregation was planted through the generosity of the LifeSpring Church team and Sister Claudia is in her 13th year of ministry here. It was a blessing to bring the message from God’s Word with Rev. Silva translating.
On my way from Richmond to Anderson, I stopped by to check in on Pastor Jerome Bell and the launch team at Pendleton Autumn Hills Church. They are meeting on Sunday nights for vision casting and team building. Jayne is one of their outstanding volunteers and it was fun to see some of the remodeling work she’s been helping with to welcome children. Pray with Pastor Bell and his team as they prepare to launch in the new school year.
My last stop of the day was to chair a congregational meeting at Anderson Lone Oak Wesleyan Church. Pastor Steve Binns has announced his resignation so it was helpful for the LBA to hear from members of the congregation before launching into the pastoral search process. We had a helpful conversation about the current realities and future hopes of this congregation. Like many other churches, attendance is about 50% of their pre-pandemic average but there is a committed core of faithful, generous members.
Many of us have been praying with the pastoral search team at Fishers Waterline Church through the past year. This morning, the search team presented their recommended candidate to become the next lead pastor. Rev. Scott Rhyno, who has served so well this year as their transitional pastor, has agreed to allow his name to be voted on at their annual local church conference on April 25.
Scott served as the lead development officer for our Wesleyan denomination and before that as Vice President for Enrollment and Development at Kingswood University. He and Rev. Elizabeth Rhyno, his wife, also have previous pastoral experience on the team at Presque Isle Wesleyan Church in Maine. Please pray for Waterline and the Rhyno family as they prepare for the congregational vote on April 25.
Last week’s schedule included coaching conversations on Wednesday with Rev. Johnnie Blair (Tipton Trinity), Rev. Logan Westrick (Tipton Ash Street), and Rev. Harold Henson (Colfax Wesleyan). Pastor Henson gets the prize for arriving on the best set of wheels that day with his beloved Harley Davidson motorcycle. You won’t be surprised to learn that Harold also finds his bike to be a great opener for witnessing conversations.
Wednesday evening, Sherry and I had the delightful opportunity to share supper and hear the testimony of Amanda Banter, Global Partners missionary to the Czech Republic. Amanda has an incredible story of God’s grace and His calling to serve with Global Partners. She has been an active part of the ministry team at River Church for the past five years and is now in the support-raising phase of her appointment with GP. If you’ve not yet had the privilege of having Amanda share with your congregation, she still has some open Sundays before she heads overseas this fall. You can learn more about Amanda and how to join her support team through Global Partners: https://www.globalpartnersonline.org/missionary/wm04-0433/
Wesley Seminary and Indiana Wesleyan University held their board meetings this past week. I have enjoyed serving with Dr. Colleen Derr and the board of Wesley Seminary for the past few years. These are good days for the seminary with global expansion through their Spanish-language degree programs. The IWU Board of Trustees met for committee assignments via Zoom on Thursday and then the full board convened online for a full-day agenda on Friday. These are challenging days for Christian higher education and President Wright welcomes our prayers as he diligently leads the IWU team to fulfill their mission.
Nothing is more exciting than receiving reports from our churches of lives being transformed by the Gospel! I’ve enjoyed receiving texts and photos from our pastors as their congregations are celebrating baptisms. This weekend alone, I’ve received word of six baptisms at Fairmount Wesleyan (Pastor Jeff Luedtke), 4 baptisms at Cicero United (Pastor Allen Gross), 3 baptisms at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan (Pastor Mark Atkinson), and another amazing story of redemption from ReThink Church in Merrillville (Pastor Marc Ulrich). One of the highlights of this year’s district conference (June 26 at the IWU Chapel) will be the pictures of baptisms celebrated across our district since our last conference. If you have photos to share, please send them along to Woody: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant DS Pastor Mike Colaw and the team at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church will be hosting the inaugural Veritas Pastors’ Conference on May 22. Crossroads District is pleased to help sponsor this event that will equip pastors to better understand and address key cultural issues. Registration is free for Crossroads District pastoral staff members so register today:
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom. What you do matters for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
For most of our churches, this was the first opportunity to publicly celebrate Easter since 2019. I am grateful for every leader who prayed hard and worked hard to make this weekend a wonderful time of regathering. It was a blessing for me to worship with four of our Crossroads District churches today. My first stop was at the 8:45 service hosted by Pastor Matthew Trexler and The River Church in Marion.
The highlight of the morning for Pastor Matthew was baptizing Lydia, his youngest daughter in the 10 a.m. service. The River was also glad to have access to 80+ spaces in their new parking lot. My second stop was at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church for their 10 a.m. worship service. Pastor Tony Bye and his team offered three times for worship and their services featured a choir from their student ministries.
My third stop of the day was at Mississinewa High School to join Pastor Mark Atkinson and the team from Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church for their combined 11 a.m. worship gathering in the basketball gymnasium. They welcomed more than 400 in attendance with 12 people coming forward to publicly confess their faith in Christ.
My last stop of the day was with Pastor Mike and Elizabeth Weller who are launching Restoration Church in downtown Anderson. This was their first public gathering and they had beautiful weather for this outdoor service. Pastor Mike shared a challenging message and several people responded to his invitation for prayer. Dr. Ed Love, Rev. Mike Hewitt, Rev. Steve Binns and I were there to represent the Crossroads District team. Restoration Church will be meeting in the park on the first Sunday evening of each month and meeting in their facility for supper church on the other Sundays of the month. Please keep Pastor Mike and his team in your prayers as they begin hosting these weekly services.
Some of our churches hosted Maundy Thursday services and others gathered on Good Friday. Rev. Mark Schnell, Assistant Pastor for Preaching and Congregational Care, preached the Good Friday service at Hartford City Wesleyan Church. This was our first opportunity to sit under his preaching since he officially joined the pastoral staff on April 1. We are grateful to have Pastor Mark serving on the team at Hartford City and look forward to his ministry!
Saturday afternoon, I was able to drop in on Pastor Lee and Jennifer Miller as Muncie Crossover Church (launching this fall) hosted an Easter outreach event at Camp Red Wing. Pastor Lee shared exciting stories of the connections that were made with unchurched families. Total headcount including volunteers was more than 180!
Last week’s schedule included coaching conversations with Rev. Tim Becker (Elwood Main Street), Rev. Greg Holmes (South Bend Sonlight), Rev. Matthew Trexler (Marion River), Rev. Brian Williams (Swayzee Sims Wesleyan), and Rev. Matthew Stewart (Sweetser Wesleyan). A highlight of the week for me was our Maundy Thursday evening prayer gathering for pastors via Zoom. Thank you to every pastor who was able to join us in praying for God’s anointing on our Easter weekend services.
Congratulations to Pastor Andy and Leanza Riemersma (planting One Church in Westfield in FY2022) on the arrival last week of their first child, Alijana Ruth. We are pleased to hear that mother and daughter are both doing well. Welcome Alijana as the newest member of our Crossroads District pastoral family!
Let’s support each other in prayer this week with a special focus on the follow-up ministries that will be taking place across our district in the next few days, especially for those who made public professions of faith in Christ.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent