Sunday morning, June 16, I worshiped with Pastor Dale Munsell and the team at Cornerstone Wesleyan Church as they honored fathers. Cornerstone is another of our country churches, located 8 miles south of Albion and 10 miles north of Columbia City.
Pastor Dale and Lori are originally from our district and after serving for many years in Illinois, Rev. Munsell came back home to pastor Cornerstone in 2017. In addition to the active ministries of the church, they also have a Christian school. Last year they averaged 55 in worship with 6 baptisms and 27 professions of faith. Cailtyn Alvord assists Pastor Dale with worship and youth ministry. After the service, I held a brief meeting with the LBA and affirmed the progress they’re making on the Maximizing Impact plan.
Youth camps were in full swing across our district last week. We had over 300 students (combined total) meeting in three locations, at Hanging Rock Camp near Lafayette, Never the Same Camp at IWU, and the Junior High Camp at Fairmount. Monday, I dropped in at Fairmount for the first day of a busy week. Rev. Levi Lehman (Assistant Pastor at Shiloh Wesleyan) looked like he had everything under control when I caught up with him on the athletic field.
This year’s theme at Fairmount is “FearLess” and Rev. Jeff Brady reported that counselors recorded 46 decisions for professions of faith or rededications for this week of junior high camp.
Monday afternoon, I met with Rev. Matthew Trexler, pastor at The River Church in Marion, for our annual coaching conversation. I’m grateful for Pastor Matthew’s leadership in his local congregation and for the way he invests in other leaders as our Assistant DS for Region 1.
Tuesday morning, I met with our district staff in Marion, before heading to Fort Wayne to connect with Pastor Heath Croft (Level 13 Church) for our annual coaching conversation. My final stop on Tuesday was an evening meeting with Pastor Lee Miller and the LBA team at Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church in Muncie as they consider Maximizing Impact and future ministry opportunities. I learned from Pastor Lee that two people came to Christ the Sunday that Assistant DS Chris Williams was there to preach and they’ll be among the 9 people being baptized at MDWC in the next month.
*** If your church would like to know more about Maximizing Impact, check out this article from Pastor Steve Arnett about Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church’s experience:
Wednesday morning, I met with a potential church planter in Marion before heading north to meet with Pastor Rich Van Vuren (Plymouth Shiloh Wesleyan) for our annual coaching conversation. Rich shared an encouraging update including the story of a man that he recently led to Christ and about the 5 people they have preparing for baptism.
Wednesday evening, I was in Indianapolis for the well-attended Wednesday evening prayer service at Central Wesleyan Church. Rev. Darrel Herring and his wife used to travel as song evangelists and accompanied the singing for the prayer service. Hearing them play together stirred fond memories of my father and mother doing the same.
After the prayer service, I met with Central’s leadership team in the fellowship hall. Like many urban congregations, Central Wesleyan is facing some critical decisions about its ministry future as the community around it changes rapidly.
Thursday morning, I joined Rev. Chris Williams and the District Conference planning team as they confirmed some final details for our gathering this weekend. Then, Assistant DS Trexler and I met with Rev. Aldean Pablo over lunch for an update on his strategic action plan to make disciples and build a team for planting a new congregation called “SEND Church” on the southwest side of Fort Wayne. Later on Thursday afternoon, I met with Pastor Nicholas Zarate in Anderson for a church multiplication conversation.
My last meeting of the day was with Rev. David Shafer (pastor of North Anderson Wesleyan Church) for our annual coaching conversation. He and his team are working together to implement their Maximizing Impact plan. A highlight of our conversation was celebrating with Pastor David over the eight teenagers who’ve given their lives to Christ at NAWC since November 2018.
Friday morning, Chris and I met for our weekly check-in and then we were joined for lunch by Michael Colaw (Assistant DS for Region 2), and Matthew Trexler (Assistant DS for Region 1) for a vision alignment conversation. Chris, Mike, and Matthew have all developed unique approaches to leadership development and multiplication mapping in their respective regions. It was good for us to compare notes on last year’s progress and to build alignment toward our district goal of seeing at least 10 new Kingdom communities launched each year while raising up 100 new disciple-making leaders.
My last stop on Friday was at the closing rally for the first week of Never The Same camp at IWU. Charlie Alcock was the main rally speaker for the week and I always appreciate hearing his heart for mobilizing the next generation. Rev. Jeff Eckart and his team are building momentum for a nationwide prayer gathering for students in Kansas City next summer, July 4th weekend, called Claim Your Campus 2020. To learn more, visit their website: CLAIM YOUR CAMPUS 2020
District Conference week is one of the highlights of our Crossroads District calendar. We will gather in Marion on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University at the Philippe Performing Arts Center on Friday evening, June 21, for the Ordination Service led by General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt. All ordained ministers gather at 6:30 p.m. for our annual group photo (formal attire) and then to line up for the procession. All guests should be in their seats before 7 p.m.
Doors open for District Conference on Saturday at 8 a.m. in the Philippe Performing Arts Center again with the first session commencing at 9. We are pleased to have Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our GS and a member of our district conference, to be present with us for these sessions. We would all be grateful if you would take time this week and join us in praying for God to have His way in our deliberations and elections.
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday morning, June 9, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church with Pastor Johnnie and Pastor Amanda Blair. They were celebrating Friend Day as part of their 20/20 Vision series. Pastor Johnnie preached from John 4 and cast vision for a church that exists to bridge the gap between our loving God and broken people.
Speaking of Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well, Rev. Blair reminded us that “Jesus went out of His way to connect with people that everyone else went out of their way to avoid.” This is an exciting season of ministry as Tipton Trinity has adopted Kokomo Trinity for a revitalization project that expands their potential impact. Last year, Tipton Trinity reported 40 professions of faith, celebrated 16 baptisms and averaged 248. Pray for God’s continued direction and blessing as they reach into Kokomo.
Last Monday’s meeting concluded with Dr. Bob Hallett, CEO of TLC Stewardship Ministries. Bob and his wife are members of our Hartford City Wesleyan Church since relocating there from New Castle. Bob has tremendous experience in capital campaigns and church stewardship ministries. We’ll be working with Dr. Hallett this fall to offer a seminar on October 7 (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) for pastors and LBA members on the topic of “Resourcing God’s Vision.” Follow-up coaching and consultations will be available as we work to help disciples and congregations fully realize the Kingdom impact of their stewardship. Bob will be at our Crossroads District Conference with a free resource for pastors and lay leaders who will plan to join us for this seminar.
Monday’s meetings included a Nominating Committee follow-up, connecting with a prospective church planter, and dropping in on Angela Spangler and some of her dedicated staff members at Fairmount Camp.
This week, Fairmount Camp hosts the Junior High youth. I’m grateful for the way that Angela and her team graciously host a great group of youth pastors from across the Crossroads District for summer ministries. While at the camp, I had the opportunity to connect with some of the students and ministry leaders who were onsite preparing for this week’s event. Please remember all of our youth camps in your prayers!
Tuesday morning began with our CD (Crossroads District) staff meeting at Abbey Coffee and then I hit the road for New Castle. Rev. Eric George (pastor of New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church) and I met for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Eric is just in his first year leading the congregation and joining our team. It was good to hear how God is at work in the church and their outreach to the community.
Tuesday afternoon, I met with Rev. Tom Cochran and learned more about his ministry with Destiny Rescue, a nonprofit that rescues children from human trafficking. Tom and Sarah will be relocating to Florida to spearhead Destiny Rescue’s southeastern US awareness and fundraising. We’re grateful for the contribution that the Cochran’s made as part of our Crossroads District team planting New Journey Church in Wabash, serving in Chesterton, and leading our church planter assessment center.
Rev. Brian Williams (Swayzee Sims Wesleyan Church) and I met for our annual coaching conversation over supper in Marion. Pastor Brian has faithfully served the congregation since 1987. It was encouraging to hear that he had shared the plan of salvation with two men in the past year who both prayed to receive Jesus as Lord. Brian is another of our valued bi-vocational pastors who balances the challenges of full-time ministry in the marketplace with his calling to serve the local church.
Tuesday evening, I was able to participate in Rev. Dan LeRoy’s presentation “Rediscovering Our Holiness Heritage” at Wesley Seminary. Dr. Derr and her team did a wonderful job of hosting the full house for this event.
This wonderful gathering included a cross-section of academics, pastors, and lay leaders. Dan’s presentation on holiness was compelling and convicting. If you were unable to attend, Wesley Seminary has graciously provided this link to the video: Dan LeRoy’s presentation
Wednesday morning, I was back on the road meeting with Rev. Logan Westrick, one of our young-at-heart pastors, who leads the Ash Street Wesleyan Church in Tipton. Pastor Logan has a warm heart and a quick wit so you can understand why I enjoy meeting with him. In addition to other projects around the church, Pastor Logan and his team recently installed this new light to welcome their guests. He was also excited to report that they had a baptism scheduled for this week.
I met with Rev. Darrel Herring for lunch near his home in Westfield. Rev. Herring is on loan to our denomination from the Bible Methodists and has served under annual appointment as our supply pastor at Indianapolis Central Wesleyan since 2002. It was good to glean from his insights into the changing Fountain Square downtown Indy neighborhood where this church is located.
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Community Pastor Joe Deckard who leads the Pendleton campus of Waterline Church. Pendleton was rocked by last week’s tornado but is on a rapid path to recovery. Pastor Joe has been able to lead their volunteer team in connecting and serving families displaced by the storm damage. The church is also making progress averaging 80 or more in recent weeks.
Thursday morning, I joined Rev. Chris Williams and our District Conference planning team for a Zoom meeting while I was on the road to Indy for a coaching conversation with Rev. Rick Matthews. Pastor Rick has been leading our Southview Wesleyan Church since his first appointment in 1983. This weekend, Pastor Rick and his team hosted their first Camp-In. More than 20 families from the congregation brought their RVs, campers and tents to enjoy a weekend together on the church grounds.
Thursday afternoon, I had the privilege of connecting with Rev. Nathan and Jenny Richardson as they are prayerfully considering ministry opportunities in the Crossroads District. They are just concluding an effective time of ministry in Iowa and we’d be delighted to have them join our team.
Pastor Lee Miller (Muncie Memorial Wesleyan Church) and I met for our annual coaching conversation over supper in Muncie that evening. Pastor Lee is another of our Wesley Seminary students. One of his recent initiatives has been providing a leadership development session after the Sunday morning worship services.
They’ve also started prayer walks and ice cream socials to connect with their neighborhood. Two young adult men in the neighborhood, who first connected with the church through an ice cream social, have now begun meeting regularly with Pastor Lee for discipleship and are on track to be baptized this summer. This past conference year, Muncie Memorial averaged 52 in worship with 10 professions of faith and 5 baptisms.
Friday morning, Rev. Chris Williams and I met for our weekly check-in at Abbey Coffee. Dr. David Smith and Roxene Lo joined us at 10 a.m. for follow-up on recent DBMD interviews. Our DBMD interview teams work with an average of 100 students each year.
Friday afternoon, I left for Grand Rapids, Michigan to spend the day on Saturday with Rev. John Gorveatte, pastor at The Center Church, and his leadership team in a planning retreat. John is our oldest son and he serves as a teaching/campus pastor in the Zero Collective with Pastor Brian Blum and the team at Frontline Church. Nothing gives parents more joy than to see their children walking with Jesus!
Are you ready? We’re counting the days until we gather at Indiana Wesleyan University on Friday evening, June 21, for our Crossroads District Ordination Service with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, preaching a challenging message to our candidates. Saturday morning, we gather at the Philippe Performing Arts Center for our Crossroads District Conference. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and everyone will be in their seats and ready to roll by 9. We have a full agenda, including memorial and delegate elections for the important General Conference 2020. If you’re not able to be with us, please lift these gatherings in prayer!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday morning, June 2, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Paul and Angelyn VanCise and the team at Bryant Wesleyan Church. Pastor Paul has served here since 2003 and God is blessing his ministry at this vibrant rural church. They have a wonderful impact in their community and are expanding their ministry partnership in Honduras.
Bryant Wesleyan’s leadership team participated in a StratOp planning retreat earlier this year and are working on two key action initiatives to move the church forward to even greater effectiveness. After a brief meeting with the LBA, I enjoyed lunch with the VanCise family in Portland.
Last Tuesday began with our district office staff meeting at Abbey Coffee on Tuesday working on wrapping up this conference year. I met with Pastor Steve Binns (Anderson Lone Oak) over lunch for our annual coaching conversation. This is Steve’s first appointment as a pastor so it has been a year of learning and new experiences.
Tuesday afternoon, I met with Pastor Chuck Moorer (Indianapolis Divine Direction) for our annual coaching conversation. Rev. Moorer has his own business and a blossoming music career, but still makes time to lead the church in impacting their inner-city community. Last Thanksgiving, they provided meals for 300 people and then adopted 50 families to bless for Christmas. They are training volunteers and preparing to roll out a new food bank program with a strong discipleship component.
Wednesday morning, I had a meeting in Marion and then had the privilege of participating in the 2019 Doctrinal Symposium directed by the Education and Clergy Development Department of The Wesleyan Church and hosted by Wesley Seminary. This year’s symposium focused on “Kingdom Force: Disciples Making Disciples in the New Testament and Early Church.” Presentations from Dr. Ken Schenck (IWU), Dr. Sarah Derck (Houghton), Dr. Stephen Elliot (Kingswood) and Dr. David Riggs (IWU) were received with opportunities for reflection and discussion. The backdrop for this event is the focus that Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, has given to disciples making disciples. Here are some of the discipleship questions that Dr. Schmidt posed in his article on the healthy church:
The symposium concluded at lunchtime on Thursday so I was able to head down to Lapel in the afternoon to connect with Pastor Andy Cole at Daybreak Community Church for our annual coaching conversation. These are exciting days at Daybreak with attendance now running over 100. They have welcomed 3 new families since Easter and have 8 baptisms scheduled for June 23.
Friday morning, I connected with Chris Williams for our weekly planning session and then met with Dr. David Smith to review items for the District Board of Ministerial Development. Dr. Smith does a terrific job leading our credentialing team in serving as many as 100 ministerial students each year.
Friday afternoon, I met with Pastor Matthew Ohime (Hamlet Davis Wesleyan Church) for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Matt is leading DWC in an intentional revitalization project that included reclassifying the church as “developing” and they have signed on for a Maximizing Impact consultation (July 18-21). They’ve recently celebrated baptisms and are remodeling their welcome area and worship center. I love seeing churches like Davis Wesleyan take bold steps to become more effective in the mission of God!
Friday evening, I met with Pastor Calimerio Rodriguez (Templo de Poder) in Frankfort. Pastor Rodriquez is another of our faithful bivocational pastors who serves the Lord with passion and effectiveness. The family has sensed God’s grace in the past month as they experienced both the funeral of Calimerio’s brother-in-law and the wedding of Ezekiel, their son. Pastor Alan Downing (Connecting Point Church) and Rev. Rodriguez (Templo de Poder) are to be commended for the wonderful partnership they are developing between their congregations to better impact Frankfort for Christ.
The community of Pendleton took a direct hit last Monday evening with an EF2 tornado damaging at least 75 homes. Fortunately, there were few injuries and no lives were lost. The Pendleton campus of Waterline Church was not damaged. Rev. Joe Deckard, Pendleton Waterline’s Community Pastor, led the team of staff and volunteers from both Waterline campuses that sprang into action serving meals and providing support to the relief efforts. The team from Waterline is working closely with the Pendleton EMA as cleanup operations continue. Thank you to Pastor John & Danielle Freed, Pastor Joe, and the Waterline team for responding so well to this crisis.
This was a big graduation weekend in many of our churches. Congratulations to these graduating seniors and their families. Rev. David Hines (Brookhaven Wesleyan in Marion) was one of the youth pastors who made celebrating these seniors a special part of the worship service. Many of them will be heading to Indiana Wesleyan University this fall and we’re blessed to have this partnership in discipling the next generation.
Pastor Zach Working reported that in addition to recognizing three graduates yesterday, Huntington Hope Rising Wesleyan Church also welcomed 20 new church members and had 1 individual declare a call to ministry!
This Sunday was also special at Rising Hope Church, our newest church plant in Muncie, not only for celebrating graduates but it also marked the first time that they have been able to worship in their building at 1500 W. Cowing Drive. They’ve been meeting in the nearby middle school since launching last fall. Having their own building reduces costs and the energy required for setup each week. They will have an official grand opening in the fall but the team worked overtime last week to prepare the facility for this occasion.
Plan to join us this Tuesday, June 4 (7:00 p.m.) at Wesley Seminary in Marion as Rev. Dan LeRoy lectures on “Rediscovering Our Holiness Heritage.” Our General Superintendent is making this a priority on his calendar and we’d love to welcome you.
Fairmount, Frankfort, Hanging Rock and Never the Same youth camps are ramping up for another summer of life-changing ministry. Students from College Wesleyan and Lakeview Wesleyan headed off yesterday for 3 Fires Camp. Please pray for all of these camps, the young people and the staff. Pray for safety in travel and activities but, most importantly, pray for eternal spiritual impact in these lives. Thank you to the volunteers, donors, and parents who make these camps possible!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintedent
P.S. – Mark your calendar for District Conference and Ordination, June 21-22, at the Philippe Performing Arts Center on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University.