Sunday morning, May 23, I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Neftali and Grace Lopez and the congregation at Carmel Amistad Cristiana. It is always a joy to be with this loving church family. Pastor Neftali had the privilege of dedicating the newest member of the church. I brought the message and then met with the board members after the service.
Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday and many of us were able to participate in the special online prayer events (7 a.m. and 7 p.m.) hosted by our General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt. It was encouraging to hear the stories of God at work in Wesleyan churches around the world. It was also good to see the number of people from our district who joined in the comment section.
Last Monday included a meeting with Rev. Matthew Trexler (Marion River Church) about an exciting leadership development opportunity coming up on June 21. Ken Murphy (Cypress Wesleyan Church) and Serena, his wife, will be joining us for a day of learning for pastors and their spouses. Hold the date and stay tuned for details that will be emailed to pastors.
Tuesday morning, I met with Rev. Ervin Webster (Indianapolis St. Stephen Church) for our annual coaching conversation. Tuesday afternoon, I met with the Crossroads District staff and then closed out the day with Rev. Mark Schnell and the Hartford City Wesleyan staff.
Wednesday morning, Dr. David Smith and I met for an update on his new book and work with our district pastors. Dr. Bob Hallett and I met about a potential interim ministry assignment. That afternoon, I met with Dr. Rich Schenck (Noblesville Circle of Hope) for an update on our missions partnership with Bangladesh. My last meeting of the day was on Zoom with the board of Wesleyan Bible Conference Association (Wesleyan Village in Brooksville).
Thursday and Friday were office days primarily working on year end reporting. Thursday wrapped up with an LBA meeting at Hartford City Wesleyan.
Saturday, I was able to jump in with Pastor Mike Colaw and the team at Fishers Trinity Wesleyan Church for their inaugural Veritas Conference. We had a strong turnout from across the district for these helpful sessions on crucial issues that we’re facing today. Thank you to Pastor Mike and the Trinity team for their vision and hospitality!
Saturday afternoon, I joined Pastor Aldean Pablo and the team at SEND Church in Roanoke as Rev. Jason Tash was wrapping up their StratOp planning retreat. Aldean is doing a great job bringing together his team as they prepare for a fresh relaunching this fall. If you and your team would value the investment of a weekend with our StratOp team, please reach out to the district office for the remaining dates available this fall.
Praise the Lord that He is still in the business of changing lives! Dr. Steve Bray and Campus Pastor Ryan Van Matre had 8 people step forward for baptism yesterday at Richmond LifeSpring South and Pastor Kyle Horton and the Fort Wayne Three Rivers Wesleyan Church celebrated with Thomas this month as he publicly professed his faith and obeyed the command of Jesus Christ to be baptized. #MadeNew
Our prayers and sympathies are extended to Rev. Bob McHenry (Marion Nelson Street Wesleyan Church) on the passing of his brother Walt McHenry on Sunday morning, May 23.
Our congratulations are extended to Assistant Pastor Laura Walls (Fishers Waterline Church) and her husband Micah on the birth of Malachi, their first child. Rev. Clifton (retired) and Arletta Ashlock are Laura’s parents and Malachi’s proud grandparents.
In less than five weeks, we’ll be gathering in Marion at Indiana Wesleyan University for our 2021 District Conference and Ordination. Ordination is on Friday, June 25, and conference will be held on Saturday, June 26. Pastors have received links to register themselves and their delegates. For more information, including the schedule, visit our website:
Thank you for making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. Happy Aldersgate Day!
Fowler is a small community of less than 2,500 people located 30 minutes northwest of Lafayette. Sunday morning, May 16, I had the privilege of ministering with Rev. Judy Hatt and the faithful folks who attend Hope Wesleyan Church. Pastor Judy, now in her 80s, has served as their pastor since 2017. Pastor Judy also conducts a Bible study for a retirement facility in the community. She is hoping to restart their outreach to community children that was shutdown last year by pandemic restrictions.
After the morning service, I met with the Local Advisory Council led by John Paul Godbey, vice chair and treasurer. Following that meeting, Rev. Hatt and I met for our coaching conversation. Pastor Judy’s husband John has been battling cancer and they would be grateful for your prayers. Pictured here are Rev. Hatt and Mr. Godbey:
Sunday afternoon, I connected with Rev. Jerome Bell who is leading the church planting team in Pendleton as they prepare to launch Autumn Hills Church this fall. They are currently gathering on Sunday evenings for prayer, planning and discipleship. They have an art camp for neighborhood children coming up as the next step in serving the community and building relationships. The new sign arrived this weekend and plans are still pointing toward a launch this fall. Pastor Jerome and Lenita Bell welcome your prayers and would be glad to follow up on any leads for unchurched prospects you may know in the Pendleton area. You can follow their progress and communicate via their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Autumn-Hills-Church-103364954912201
Last week’s coaching conversations began with Rev. Chris Williams (Marion Lakeview) on Monday. Then, on Wednesday, Rev. Craig Thurmon (Indianapolis The Encounter Assembly), Rev. Jeff Brady (Marion Commoner’s Church), and Rev. Calimerio Rodriguez (Frankfort Templo de Poder). Thursday’s first coaching conversation was with Rev. David Leitzel (Hamilton Wesleyan) and then I met with Rev. Shawnda (Dykhoff) Bilbee later that afternoon.
My visit with Pastor Calimerio Rodriguez was a special joy as his team recently completed a new worship and fellowship building that they have been working on since 2014. Pastor Calimerio and Maria planted Templo de Poder (Temple of Power) Wesleyan Church in 2001. Although Connecting Point Church and Pastor Alan Downing have been gracious hosts for the past few years, it has always been part of this congregation’s vision to have their own ministry facility.
Through the generosity and sacrificial efforts of their members, the building was completed in March and the grand opening was held on the weekend of April 10-11. We are praising God with Pastor Rodriguez and the growing congregation at Templo de Poder!
Last week’s schedule included participating in the monthly meeting of the Wesleyan Bible Conference Association board of directors, leading our district staff meeting and a planning meeting for DBMD, and connecting with the staff team at Hartford City Wesleyan Church.
Another highlight of the week was dropping in on Pastor Chris Williams and the Lakeview team on Saturday evening as they hosted their annual “Dream Team” event. In addition to valuing their volunteers and recognizing outstanding service, Pastor Chris took this opportunity to share a sneak preview of the inspiring new vision that Lakeview has been developing over the past several months. God has great things in store for this team!
We’re always delighted to hear reports of life change and baptism celebrations across our district family. Sunday morning, May 16, Pastor Andy Cole and the team at Lapel Daybreak Community Church had the joy of celebrating with four believers who publicly professed their faith in Jesus Christ!
General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt is calling the worldwide Wesleyan Church to a special prayer event on May 23, Pentecost Sunday. Pastors have already received this communication directly from HQ but everyone is welcome to join together in this online prayer experience.
Here are a few things to know: You’ll be able to access the video and chat by visiting the same link you use to RSVP: www.wesleyan.org/together. You may also see live.wesleyan.org in some materials, and don’t worry — that link will work too! The chat room for our service will open at 6:30 a.m. (EDT) and 6:30 p.m. (EDT), 30 minutes prior to the event. Our hosts look forward to talking and praying with you!
In less than six weeks, we’ll be gathering in Marion at Indiana Wesleyan University for our 2021 District Conference and Ordination. Ordination is on Friday, June 25, and conference will be held on Saturday, June 26. Pastors have received links to register themselves and their delegates. For more information, including the schedule, visit our website:
Thank you again to all pastors and district leaders who completed their annual reports by the deadline. Your assistance is greatly appreciated as we prepare for annual conference.
You still have time to register for the Veritas Pastors Conference coming this Saturday, May 22. This is a new event hosted by Rev. Mike Colaw and the team at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church. Crossroads District is pleased to co-sponsor this equipping experience for pastors and their leadership teams 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:
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday morning, May 9, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Logan Patriquin and the team at The Branch Wesleyan Church in Lafayette. Pastor Logan and Shaina have been blessed to help lead the turnaround. It was encouraging to see the younger families who’ve become part of the congregation with 20 or more in children’s ministry each Sunday.
Following the morning service, I met with the LBA and then was able to connect with the Patriquin family. It was also good to see Allan and Pam Conley who have played a key role as lay leaders at The Branch. In addition to leading children’s ministry, Pam is also a member of our District Board of Ministerial Development.
Last week’s schedule included a Monday evening Executive Committee meeting followed by a full day with the General Board of The Wesleyan Church on Tuesday. In addition to receiving the normal departmental reports, it was encouraging to hear from our own Zach Szmara who shared about the progress of Immigrant Connection. Pastor Zach reported that this ministry, in its seven years of operation, has directly served over 10,000 individuals and families from over 125 countries of origin.
Perhaps the most significant outcome of the General Board meeting was the following shared statement:
A Statement of the General Board of the North American General Conference of The Wesleyan Church
We affirm our deep commitment to our core mission of evangelizing the lost, discipling believers, equipping the Church, and ministering to society. This mission is foundational as we seek to be agents of the hope and holiness of Jesus Christ.
Unprecedented times is a term often used to accurately describe our current reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended many things we have taken for granted for decades. Coupled with the ever-shifting sands of our culture on the social and political issues of our time, uneasiness, and a sense of angst hover in the air.
Changes thrust on us have raised questions and perhaps even fears and apprehension as we attempt to navigate the shifting landscape. More than once we have asked, “What next?”
Our General Superintendent, General Board, and the presidents and board chairs of our college and universities, have prayed, discussed, and reasoned together on these matters and unanimously approved the following statement of affirmation:
“We hereby declare that we remain deeply committed to proclaim, defend, and hold each other accountable for the historic and orthodox doctrinal positions of The Wesleyan Church as presented in our Articles of Religion, and
We hereby affirm our full and ongoing support for the official Position Papers on the social issues of our time including our commitments:
1) To affirm that persons of all races are created equal in the image of God and are entitled to equal justice under the law.
2) To affirm the sanctity of life and that all life is sacred from conception to death.
3) To affirm that God’s only design for marriage is between one man and one woman.
4) To affirm that religious freedom is a liberty essential for our pluralistic democracy.”
Loyalty has not changed. Love still thrives. Commitment remains strong. The core is solid.
While commitment to our understanding of Biblical truth is unwavering, we do understand that there are other points of view on a range of social issues. There is room for courteous dialog on these issues within the boundaries of Biblical truth.
As our leaders, we commit ourselves to pray earnestly for the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to rest on the ministry of The Wesleyan Church. Our deep passion is to be agents of both grace and truth in this time and place in history.“
I stand in agreement with them and I am grateful for these leaders who are united in championing our historic, orthodox doctrines and the statements of collective conscience that have been approved by our General Conference.
Wednesday, I was back on the road for lunch with a prospective church planter from Indianapolis. Then I connected with one of our churches that is taking steps to launch a ministry training center. I finished the day meeting with the Local Advisory Council for Albion Cornerstone Wesleyan Church.
Thursday morning, I was in Kokomo to meet with one of our ministers for a pastoral counseling conversation. Rev. Steve Binns and I met over lunch in Anderson for an exit interview as he concludes his ministry tenure at Lone Oak Wesleyan. My last appointment of the day was with Rev. Mike Weller who is planting Restoration Church in downtown Anderson. We met for our annual coaching conversation and a positive report on this newest Wesleyan church launch in Madison County.
Friday and Saturday were invested in final interviews with this year’s group of ordination candidates. Rev. Chris Williams, interim chair, and Rev. Carla Working, vice-chair, led our District Board of Ministerial Development through two days of intensive interviews with a dozen individuals and their spouses who are nearing completion of their journey toward ordination. I am grateful for the prayerful and deliberate way in which our DBMD members undertake this process. I am thankful for the dedicated candidates who are answering God’s call to the equipping ministry of Word and sacrament. Please make plans to join us in Marion on Friday evening, June 25, 7 p.m., for the ordination service to be led by our General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt.
Our prayers and sympathies continue to be extended to the family and friends of Dr. Wilbur and Professor Ardelia Williams who passed away earlier this spring. Indiana Wesleyan University and College Wesleyan Church shared a beautiful celebration of their lives on Monday afternoon, May 3. Together, Wilbur and Ardelia made a profound impact on thousands of students, Indiana Wesleyan University, and our denomination. For those who may not know of their legacy, here is a video that was produced by IWU back in 2011.
Pastors, thank you in advance for your timely completion of both your Annual Service Report (ASR) and annual Local Church Statistical Report (LCSR). District reporting opened on May 1, 2021. Each credentialed person should have been notified and given direction by email for completing your reports. Please contact us if you did not receive that email. Wesleyan HQ has also provided helpful video resources to assist you in completing these required reports. These step-by-step videos can be found at:
Today would be a good day 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 co-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:
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday morning, May 2, I had the privilege of bringing greetings and worshiping with Pastor Aldean and Jessie Pablo at SEND Church in Roanoke, Indiana. It has been a remarkable journey for the Pablos as they were commissioned from Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church over a year ago. Last fall, they moved from home groups into worshiping with the Roanoke campus of Sonrise UMC. This spring, the main campus allowed the Roanoke campus to vote on becoming part of the SEND Church project. The vote carried 52-1 and they’re growing with attendance of 112 for Palm Sunday. Pastor Aldean preached a powerful message yesterday on living a holy life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Following the service, I had the opportunity to share information with the combined leadership team over lunch. Continue to pray with Pastor Aldean and Jessie Pablo as they lead SEND Church to reach Roanoke and southwest Fort Wayne.
Sunday evening, I enjoyed working with Assistant Pastor Mark Schnell and the leaders at Hartford City Wesleyan Church as we conducted our annual Local Church Conference. Officers were elected, memberships were reaffirmed, and encouraging ministry updates were shared. There were 53 voting members present with several guests attending who joined together for the ice-cream social following the meeting. Hartford City Wesleyan celebrated 4 baptisms last conference year and 4 more yesterday morning, including a 75-year-old gentleman who recently came to Christ.
Last Monday evening, I met with the LBA at Lone Oak Wesleyan Church in Anderson to assist them in their pastoral search process. Tuesday morning, I met with Rev. Allen Laws in Warren for our annual coaching conversation. Later that morning, I joined a Zoom call hosted by General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt with DS colleagues. Following that Zoom call, our district staff met on the campus of IWU on Tuesday afternoon and did a walk-through of the chapel with IWU staff in preparation for our June 26 district conference.
Wednesday morning, Rev. Charles Moorer (Indianapolis Divine Direction Church) and I met in his office for our annual coaching conversation. Rev. Moorer, in the past year, released his second album and completed his Juris Doctor degree while running his own insurance adjustment company and serving as pastor for this vibrant inner city congregation. His single, Think About Your Soul from the album Keeper of My Soul, was added to the rotation on Sirius/XM’s Watercolors channel.
Wednesday afternoon, Dr. David Smith, Rev. Carla Working and I met online with the team from the Education and Clergy Development office as they continue to roll out the new ordination and licensing process for our ministerial students. Our district will be continuing in the traditional/legacy process for the coming year until the 2022 General Conference approval process.
Our District Board of Administration met in Pendleton at Autumn Hills Church on Thursday. The final meeting in this conference year provided an opportunity for reflection on God’s faithfulness in this past year of ministry and a look forward as we heard from Pastor Andy Riemersma (Westfield One Church) and Pastor Aldean (SEND Church). The DBA approved the request of Laketon Wesleyan Church to move from developing to established church status and approved the district budget for FY2022. Thank you to Pastor Jerome Bell and his team for hosting our meeting.
Friday morning, I met with Dr. Ed Love for an update on our denomination’s church planting movement. Dr. Love is doing a great job building out the systems and structure to support a multiplication movement in The Wesleyan Church. We’ve had a wonderful shared history since I first met Ed and Emily as students at Asbury Seminary before they joined us in Michigan to plant Epic Church. I’m grateful for his ongoing personal investment in Crossroads District church planters.
Friday evening, Sherry and I had the privilege of hosting 4 couples from the Region 2 North Central Zone for an evening of fellowship in our home. We each shared updates from our family life and ministry settings, laughed together, and then closed our time together in prayer around the circle. It is an honor to serve with the Crossroads District team.
On a more personal note, Sherry and I are celebrating with our youngest son Joel Jeffery Gorveatte on the happy occasion of his graduation from IWU’s Wesley Seminary with his Master of Divinity degree on Saturday evening. We were delighted to have Joel and Christie, his wife, here for the weekend and to be able to attend the ceremony in person. Joel serves as Worship and Next Steps pastor at Journey (Wesleyan) Church in Caledonia, Michigan.
Congratulations to Rev. Mike and Brenda Cloud on their retirement! Pastor Mike completed 43 years of ministerial service, most recently as senior pastor at The Cross Church in Rochester, Indiana. Mike has played an active role in district boards and committees, most recently on our District Board of Ministerial Development. When not visiting grandchildren, Mike and Brenda will reside in the Rochester community and will be available for supply ministry in area churches. Well done!
Congratulations also to Dr. Jim Lo who was selected by students as the Outstanding Professor of the Year for Indiana Wesleyan University. In addition to his teaching load at IWU and his work with our District Board of Ministerial Development, Dr. Lo is serving alongside me this year as a District Shepherd. Dr. Lo will visit a group of 20 churches to bring greetings from our team, preach as requested, and spend time with the pastoral family. In addition to the weekend visit, our District Shepherds will stay in touch with those 20 pastors throughout the year as prayer partners. Dr. David Smith has also agreed to join us in this new role beginning this summer. I’m grateful that these wonderful leaders who are great examples and encouragers in my life will expand our capacity to care for our frontline leaders.
Congratulations to Muncie Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church on the successful conclusion of their pastor search process. The members voted unanimously on Sunday to call Rev. Eric George as their next pastor. Rev. George, an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church, is a full-time chaplain in a nearby correctional facility but has also been serving as supply pastor for the Memorial Drive congregation since December.
Dr. Rich and Rev. Carol Schenck passed on the good news of three baptisms at the Beech Grove campus of Circle of Hope Network. They also shared the story of ladies from their Noblesville campus providing meals for police officers working the night shift.
Please keep Rev. Bob Van Cise, one of our beloved retired ministers, in your prayers. He was hospitalized last weekend for a heart condition and will be undergoing tests and treatment this week.
Please pray for the General Board of The Wesleyan Church as they convene this Tuesday and Wednesday in Fishers. These are days of great opportunity and challenge.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent