Sunday morning, May 20, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Ryan Budde and the team at Jonesboro Westview Wesleyan Church. After bringing the morning message, I met briefly with the LBA and then hosted Pastor Ryan and Rachel Budde for lunch.
Westview’s new theme is to be a church “on the move.” They have a vibrant community soccer program, effective outreach to neighborhood children on Wednesday evenings and they just launched Celebrate Recovery. They’ve welcomed 11 new members in the past few months. Westview is one of our district churches that has taken advantage of both Maximizing Impact and StratOp.
Last week began with staff meeting in Marion on Monday and lunch with Pastors Zack & Carla Working (Huntington), before heading to Rochester to meet with Pastor Mike Cloud and the building committee at The Cross.
Tuesday morning, I was able to drop in on College Wesleyan’s Festival on Discipleship to hear Matt LeRoy and Dr. David Drury’s presentations before heading to Muncie to connect with Pastor Paul Kirk (New Castle Memorial Wesleyan) for our annual coaching conversation. Sherry and I finished off the day with a supper fellowship gathering that included Dr. Wayne & Jan Schmidt, and Dr. & Mrs. David Wright.
Wednesday morning started off with a Zoom call from General Superintendent Schmidt as part of his round of conversations with every DS. Then I connected with Pastor Tim McClellan and ViceChair Jeff Boyce at Lakeview Wesleyan Church. I’m looking forward to serving their team with a StratOp planning retreat this fall. Wednesday afternoon, Rev. Chris Williams and I participated in a ReEquip Conference debrief with the terrific team that helped us make this redesigned event a positive experience.
The final meeting of Wednesday was in Huntington with Pastor Zack Working and the leadership team at Etna Avenue. They’re making some exciting plans for the future!
The highlight of Thursday was connecting with our District Board of Administration for our fourth quarterly meeting of the conference year. We shared a full agenda and finished the day by joining our spouses for supper at Grains and Grill in Fairmount. Special thank you to Pastor Mark Atkinson and Mrs. Cindy Horn for graciously hosting the DBA meeting at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church.
Friday morning, I met with Duffy Smith, a retired CEO, who has been helping our team with leadership coaching following up from StratOp and Maximizing Impact consultations. My next meeting was with Rev. Jerry Alexander (Anderson Central) and Rev. Dr. Richard Schenck (Noblesville Lakeview) to review a proposal for a ministry partnership between their congregations.
Rev. Rick Carder met with me on Friday afternoon to share more about his new ministry role at White’s Residential and Family Services. Friday evening, Sherry and I connected for supper and fellowship with the Lafayette pastors/spouses. It’s always a blessing to connect with our leaders to hear how God is at work in their families and ministries.
This week, Sherry and I will be away on vacation as we head back to Canada to celebrate the marriage of our youngest son Joel and Christie MacPhee at her home in Prince Edward Island. We’re looking forward to this celebration with our family. We’ll have limited communications access until we return home next Wednesday. While we’re away, Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant DS, and the office team are available to continue providing their valuable assistance to our team.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. – Ordination is set for June 22 at College Wesleyan Church followed by District Conference on Saturday, June 23. Plan to join us for these significant gatherings!
Sunday morning, May 13, I had the privilege of bringing greetings from our district, leading in congregational prayer, and worshiping with Pastor Aaron and Jennifer Lee and the congregation of LaOtto Wesleyan Church. Founded in 1850, LaOtto Wesleyan has a wonderful multi-generational ministry serving their four-county region.
This coming weekend, the congregation is voting on a new name “Cultivate Church” to mark this new season of ministry. The church has seen many changes over the years but the message and the mission stays the same. Almost 170 years old and going strong!
I was able to make it over to Albion Wesleyan Church just as Rev. Mark Schnell was wrapping up their worship service. The pastoral search continues there and I was able to connect with Brian Frick, their LBA vice chair to discuss next steps in their process. Rev. Schnell had been an incredible blessing to the team serving in this interim ministry.
From Albion to Elkhart in time to join Rev. Eliorgy Guerrero and the growing congregation at Iglesia Cielos Abiertos. Mutual ministry friends introduced us several months ago and it is a joy to witness the progress of this ministry. Yesterday, more than 30 people gathered in their home for worship.
Most of the congregation are refugees from the political unrest in Venezuela, but there are also new immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. Rev. Guerrero and a team of leaders, including other potential church planters, will be joining us at District Conference, June 23, in Marion and I know you’ll enjoy meeting them and hearing their passion for advancing the Kingdom!
Yesterday was the second preview event for Rising Hope Church in Muncie as they prepare to launch this fall. Pastor Michael and Kim Hewitt led the launch team in a creative experience at Muncie’s Northside Middle School for mothers and that families that saw several first-time connections from the community.
Pastor Michael described it as “one of the best Mother’s Day services I have ever been a part of in ministry... decisions for Christ, tears in service–we did a really powerful drama. After the service, people hung out way too long. Way past our rental time. People didn’t want to leave.” Pray for Pastor Hewitt and the team as they follow up on these new connections and make disciples in Muncie’s newest church. (www.risinghopechurch.com)
Last week was a great opportunity for learning and fellowship as Wesleyan district superintendents gathered for their annual roundtable. This year’s gathering was graciously hosted by Rev. Buddy and Joan Rampey in Charleston, South Carolina.
One of the highlights was connecting with Pastor Wayne and Amy Otto who are leading the church multiplication team in South Carolina District. We heard presentations from four new church planting leaders, two of whom were just launched out this year as Wayne and Amy sent 60 of their best team members from Providence Wesleyan Church to seed these new congregations.
In addition to discussions about regional partnerships and an update on the USF Study Committee’s work, we were privileged to welcome Greg Surratt, founding pastor of Seacoast Community Church (a multi-campus ministry of 17,000 plus attending one of 14 campuses) who also leads ARC (Association of Related Churches).
ARC has now planted 800 churches, 120 in the last 12 months, including partnerships with Wesleyan, Vineyard and Free Methodist projects. Greg was generous with his time and shared insights like this:
I arrived home Wednesday evening and enjoyed taking the next few days off catching up on reading and yard work while minimizing phone calls and e-mail.
This promises to be a full week with College Wesleyan Church hosting their Festival on Discipleship beginning Monday evening and through the day Tuesday. There’s still room to slip in on these terrific sessions featuring Dr. Steve DeNeff, Dr. David Drury, Rev. Jon Wiest, Rev. Matt LeRoy and Dr. Jason Runyon. https://www.collegewes.com/festival/
Thursday, our District Board of Administration meets for our last full session wrapping up the 2017-2018 conference year. It’s a joy to work with the dedicated team of lay leaders and pastors who represent our district and guide our mission so well.
Another highlight this week will be hosting pastors and spouses from the Lafayette Zone at our place on Friday evening for the DS-Zone Fellowship. Sherry and I always enjoy the blessing of these evenings spent in sharing and prayer with our co-laborers.
Please remember that this Pentecost Sunday, May 20, is also the day that Wesleyans across North America receive a special offering for church multiplication. This is not an offering you send into the denominational office, but an offering your church takes to invest in church multiplication opportunities that God places on the heart of your leadership team. For more information and video links, visit this helpful website: https://www.wesleyan.org/event/cms
Thank you for all who joined in prayer for Pastor Matthew Trexler. He and Nicole returned home safely on Friday but Matthew continues to be treated in what looks to be a long recovery. I spent time with Matthew this morning and he testifies to the power of answered prayer. His condition was far more serious than many may have realized and he would be grateful for your continued prayers for a full and speedy recovery.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Fountain City Wesleyan Church has a wonderful history serving Christ and His Kingdom for the past 175 years. Rev. David Anderson has faithfully led the church through its most exciting chapter over the past 34 years. Today marked the official transition as Rev. Steve Bray was officially installed as the new senior pastor. It was a joy to represent our Crossroads team and celebrate this special occasion in the Saturday evening and two Sunday morning services.
There were so many significant moments in these services that included a powerful message from Dr. Don Bray (Steve’s father) and more than a few smiles. This photo is from a special moment when Pastor Dave Anderson passed on his mantle (a topcoat he wore years before in a stewardship campaign video) to Pastor Steve. May God grant a double-portion of His favor and anointing on this ministry!
Sunday afternoon, I chaired the Local Church Conference at Colfax Wesleyan Church as they elected their officers and voted to extend an initial call to Rev. Harold Henson. Then, I drove on to Frankfort First Wesleyan Church to join Rev. Alan Downing and his team for their annual conference and to chair the pastoral vote. The congregation voted unanimously to provide an extended call to Pastor Downing. Another highlight of their annual meeting was the report of 5 baptisms and 15 new members this year.
Last week began with a staff meeting in Marion on Monday morning. Monday afternoon, I was in Fishers to meet with two church planters from inner city Indianapolis who are prayerfully considering transferring into The Wesleyan Church. Then, on Monday evening, the Executive Committee of the General Board of The Wesleyan Church convened in preparation for the General Board (GB) meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m grateful for the leadership of Dr. Wayne Schmidt and these leaders who gather from across North America to provide governance to our team. Among the presentations at this session of the GB was a multiplication update led by our own Danielle Freed with Rev. Mike Hilson (New Life Network) and Rev. Steve McVey (Dirt Roads Network). God is writing amazing stories through these multiplication networks.
The General Board set aside time to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the merger between the Pilgrim Holiness Church and The Wesleyan Methodist Church back in June 1968 at Anderson, Indiana. Dr. Bob Black, retiring professor of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, shared his encouraging historical perspective on the trajectory of the merged denomination. These are exciting days as God continues to sharpen our focus on disciple-making and church multiplication.
Thursday, I was able to meet with Pastor Ben Parker (Back Creek Wesleyan Church), Rev. Michael Hewitt (Rising Hope Church) and Rev. Calimerio Rodriguez (Frankfort Templo de Poder) for coaching conversations. It was also a joy to meet with Dr. Aron Willis to close out the day. He and Cheryl are close to completing their new home in North Carolina but he was back in Indiana to conduct a family funeral. I’m grateful for his friendship and encouragement through the years.
Friday and Saturday, I joined with Dr. David Smith and members of the Crossroads District Board of Ministerial Development who met in Marion to interview this year’s ordination candidates. We have an incredible team of committee members across our district who work with our ministerial students in preparation for ordination.
Our team is blessed to serve the growing cohort of emerging leaders that God is calling as workers into His harvest field. Please mark your calendar for June 22 and plan to join us at College Wesleyan Church for the Celebration of Ordination on Friday at 7 p.m.
Just a quick reminder to our pastors and credentialed ministers that it is time to promptly file annual service reports and annual statistical reports for our churches. Our office team is available if you have questions or need assistance.
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,