Sunday morning, April 25, Pastor Ben and Amanda Capshaw welcomed me to worship with their team at Elwood Central Wesleyan Church. Pastor Ben has served this growing congregation since 2012. They went through a challenging season when their auditorium was closed by the city building inspector for structural issues. It was nearly two years before the repairs could be completed and the church was able to return to its sanctuary.
Pastor Ben led well through this transition and attendance grew even while they were worshiping in their fellowship hall. Last conference year, they averaged 112 in worship with 12 baptisms. After preaching and meeting with members of the LBA, I had the privilege of sharing lunch with Pastor Ben, Amanda and their two terrific sons, Isaac and Noah.
Sunday afternoon, I dropped in on Pastor Ryan Budde and the team at Jonesboro Westview Church during their LCC (annual local church conference). They are making progress on their revitalization project and there was a wonderful spirit of anticipation as they move through 2021 as The Year of Prayer. It was also encouraging to hear the testimonies from their Celebrate Recovery ministry. Yes, your LCC can become your annual Local Church Celebration!
Last week’s schedule included meeting with the LBA at Indianapolis Trinity on Monday evening for the extended call review for Pastor Mike Colaw. Pastor Colaw has served Trinity for the past 10 years and gives God all the glory for the progress they’ve made.
Tuesday morning, our office staff sat in with the Trinity Church staff for a special meeting as they celebrated the graduation of Ethan Zent. Ethan has been interning with Trinity this spring and was unable to participate in the normal graduation experience at Kingswood University. The Trinity team orchestrated a surprise visit from Ethan’s family and conducted a very meaningful graduation ceremony for him.
Our team met over lunch and then I connected with Rev. Mark Schnell and the staff at Hartford City Wesleyan Church. Hartford City has seen continued growth for their in person services with the last two weeks being over 160. Mark Schnell has been a great addition to the team and the congregation is responding warmly to his ministry.
Tuesday evening, I attended a gathering at First Nazarene Church in Kokomo for The Holiness Partnership. Dr. Jim Garlow was scheduled to be a keynote speaker for the event and graciously extended an invitation. The speaker on Tuesday evening was Dr. Brian Powell, Nazarene DS from Kentucky. I was back for the Wednesday morning session where Dr. Garlow delivered his compelling address. One of the highlights for me was hearing from Dr. Charles (Chic) Shaver, recipient of a life-time achievement award from Nazarene Theological Seminary for his 60+ years of service as evangelist, church planter, and seminary professor.
Wednesday afternoon, I enjoyed two coaching conversations. Pastor Andy Cole (Daybreak Church) and I met in Lapel and then I met with Rev. Bernie Haddad (Eden Unleashed) in Anderson. Pastor Bernie shared about the challenges for our partners in the church she planted in New Castle prison. Because of Covid-19, they’ve had no family visits and our ministry volunteers have not been permitted to return since last March. The good news is that the men are still studying their Bibles while confined to their cells for 23 of 24 hours each day. They just requested another box of the Banding Together notebooks.
Wednesday evening, I chaired the annual meeting of our District Conference Action Committee. I’m grateful for each of those who have served on our district committees as we prepare for DC21 (District Conference) to be held in person at IWU on June 26.
Thursday morning, Rev. Chip Bos (Marion College Wesleyan), met with Seth, Carla and I for continued DC21 preparation. The assistant DS team of Rev. Matthew Trexler (Region 1), Rev. Michael Colaw (Region 2), and Rev. Christopher Williams (Region 3) met over lunch to review plans for leadership development in our new conference year. Stay tuned to hear more about the “Next Level” workshops that Chris Williams will be leading this fall. If your church has not been able to take advantage of StratOp or Maximizing Impact, I believe you’ll find this a valuable resource for your leadership team.
Thursday evening, I led the LBA meeting at Hartford City Wesleyan. In addition to the normal agenda, I appreciated the time this team gives to praying for the needs in the congregation. Our district is blessed with so many outstanding lay leaders who take their spiritual responsibility seriously and give themselves fully to this important role.
Friday, I met with Dr. Oliver Dongell (Plymouth Wesleyan Church) over lunch in Kokomo. Dr. Dongell accepted a two-year call this spring and is doing a wonderful job of helping PWC rebound from the pandemic. They’ve just announced that Rev. Levi Lehman will be joining their staff as they ramp up for the new conference year.
Friday evening, Sherry and I had the joy of hosting five of the pastoral couples (the Beckers, the Coles, the Jacksons, the Shafers, and the Wellers) from our Madison County Zone in our home for supper and an evening of encouragement. We heard heart-warming reports of God blessing in their families and congregations. We sang together, laughed together, and prayed together. I love being part of this Crossroads District team!
We have 3 millions reasons (people without Christ in Indiana) to stay focused on our mission of making disciple-making disciples. Nothing brings greater joy in Heaven than people finding freedom in Christ (Luke 15:7). I’m hearing incredible stories of life change again this week from across our churches. Jerry Hartman is just one of those stories. For more than 30 years, Jerry’s wife and friends at Tipton Trinity prayed for him and shared the love of Christ. A few months ago, while home alone, he sensed the Holy Spirit calling him to give his life to Christ. He prayed in faith and surrendered to Jesus. Jerry, at age 86, publicly confessed his faith in Christ and was baptized yesterday along with 5 other new believers of all ages!
Pastor Lyle Breeding was praising the Lord and shared the good news that 5 people were baptized Sunday morning at Bluffton Sonlight Church. Three of these were from the same family, a mother and her two daughters.
Pastor David Dignal and the team at Edgerton Wesleyan Church are seeing God do amazing things even through the pandemic. Pastor Dave and the team celebrated two more baptisms yesterday morning!
And Pastor Matthew Trexler reported in that seven people were baptized yesterday morning in Marion at The River Church. One baptism was scheduled and the other six responded to the challenge to give their lives to Christ and make this public profession of faith.
Let’s keep praising God and believing for more lives being #madenew!
Congratulations to Waterline Church on finding their new pastor. Rev. Scott Rhyno, who has been serving as transitional pastor, accepted the near unanimous vote of the congregation and will step into this new role immediately. Rev. Elizabeth Rhyno, Scott’s wife, also serves on staff at Waterline. This will be an exciting new chapter in the life of this vibrant ministry that was launched and led so well by John and Danielle Freed.
Now is the time to register for Veritas! Rev. Mike Colaw and the team at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church are 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 from an orthodox Christian perspective. Registration is free for Crossroads District pastoral staff members but you need to register so that they can make arrangements to welcome you:
Attention Song Writers!
June 17-20 IWU will once again be hosting the Gloria Gaither Songwriting Intensive. Attendees will have the opportunity to dive into the art of songwriting as a means of storytelling with award-winning and seasoned songwriters. They will be enriched by participants from around the world in a weekend of classes and collaboration.
Along with Gloria Gaither, in-person teaching sessions will also include Michael W. Smith, Becky Nordquist, and Dr. Todd Syswerda. Natalie Grant will also lead an evening session and the Sunday morning worship time. Details are available at:
Year End Reports
Pastors, thank you in advance for timely completion of your Annual Service Report (ASR) and annual Local Church Statistical Report (LCSR). District reporting opens on May 1, 2021. On that day, each credentialed person will be notified and given direction by email for completing your reports. Wesleyan HQ has provided very helpful video resources to assist you in completing these required reports. These step-by-step videos can be found at:
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday morning, April 18, I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Tim and Jennifer Becker and the team at Elwood Main Street Wesleyan Church. I shared an update on our district ministry partnership and led in the pastoral prayer time. Pastor Tim preached a message on overcoming through our identity in Christ from Ephesians 1. Alexander Henry is off to a great start as their youth pastor intern. After the morning service. I had met briefly with the members of their board of administration. It was also good to catch up with retired pastor Rev. Ron Becker who continues to be active in serving the community.
Sunday afternoon, I met with Rev. Dr. Mark Rennaker and the LBA at Kokomo Southdowns Wesleyan Church for the four-year review and affirmation of the extended pastoral call. The board enthusiastically supports Dr. Rennaker’s ministry and voted unanimously to affirm the extended call of the church. In addition to leading Southdowns, Dr. Rennaker directs the organizational leadership degree programs at Indiana Wesleyan University.
My last stop of the day was with Rev. Duane Summitt and the congregation at Lapel Fishersburg Wesleyan Church. I appreciated the opportunity to preach the message. The church has doubled in attendance in recent months. Fishersburg is classified as a developing church and Pastor Summitt is another of our faithful bi-vocational pastors.
Today was a landmark day for Harvest Church in McCordsville as they announced a new partnership with Dr. Kevin Myers and 12Stone Church in Atlanta. Pastor Brad LeRoy shared with the congregation, "We know the Kingdom of God is advanced by partnerships faster and farther than going it alone…
And we have a relationship with our friends at 12Stone who are willing to help us go faster and farther to reach more people for Christ. The bottom line: We are better together. We are still Harvest Church, but we have a partner in ministry!”
Our district team is excited for what this means for Harvest Church and are grateful for the Kingdom-hearted generosity of Pastor Kevin Myers and 12Stone Church.
Last Monday, Rev. David Hines and Pastor Steve Mathews, co-leaders of our district’s global missions team, met with me to map out next steps for the coming year as we continue to partner with Global Partners in Bangladesh and Mozambique. Last week’s schedule also included coaching conversations with Dr. Steve DeNeff (Marion College Wesleyan), Pastor David Cox (Laketon Wesleyan), and Rev. Brent Miller (Gas City Southside Wesleyan). I led two staff meetings (for the district and for Hartford City Wesleyan Church) and chaired a followup meeting of the district nominating committee on Tuesday. Rev. Jason Tash and I met with the LBA at Albion Wesleyan Church on Thursday evening as they move forward in their pastoral search process.
Sherry and I took the day off on Friday to make an overnight trip to see our family in Grand Rapids. John, our oldest son, pastors Center Church in Byron Center. His church is in the final days of preparing to move into their new facility. He graciously gave us a sneak preview of their new space on Friday afternoon. John and Lindsey, his wife, are expecting our first grandchild on May 19 so this trip might become more frequent in the weeks ahead.
I’m still collecting baptisms stories and saw on social media that College Wesleyan celebrated several baptisms on Easter Sunday. Then, as I was writing this update, Dr. Richard Schenck texted to let me know that the Circle of Hope campus in Beech Grove baptized a new believer this Sunday morning. What a joy to celebrate lives being #madenew!
Just a reminder that Rev. Mike Colaw and the team at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church are 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 from an orthodox Christian perspective. Registration is free for Crossroads District pastoral staff members but you need to register so that they can make arrangements to welcome you:
Always remember that what you do matters for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
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: email@example.com
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