Farewells and Fairmount Family Camp
The highlight of this past week was experiencing the ministry of Dr. David Drury and Rev. Patty Bray as they preached at Fairmount Family Camp. The messages were anointed and well-received in each of the main services but David’s sermon illustration with the axe may be remembered longer than most.
Special thanks to the Family Camp Committee led by Dr. Richard Schenck that created the programming and for the gracious hospitality of the Fairmount Camp team led by Angela Spangler and the Camp Board chaired by David Tippey. There are two more big events on the Fairmount Camp schedule this year to which Crossroads District has been invited, 1) the Old Time Camp Meeting (August 16-20) and 2) the Married Couples Retreat (September 8-10). For more information on these or other happenings at Fairmount Camp, check out their website: www.FairmountCamp.org
Jon Wiest and I were privileged to represent Crossroads District church multiplication in the “Missions Moment” during the Friday evening rally. It was encouraging to see folks responding to the challenge to be part of the home missions effort here in Indiana as we reach out to the 3 million+ unreached people in our great state.
The new project in Muncie received special focus because of its proximity to Grant County. Pastor Mike and Kim Hewitt will be on site in August. They’ve opened a new e-mail account for you to pass along names of prospective contacts (friends, relatives, BSU students, co-workers) in Muncie or to simply let them know you’ll be praying for them:
Farewells across the district yesterday as Rob Tippey and Jason Tash completed their pastoral ministry service at Fort Wayne Level 13 and Columbia City New Hope. We join their congregations in expressing our appreciation for their faithful and effective ministry. The pastoral search teams in both locations are making good progress and welcome your prayers as they seek the next leaders for these churches.
Rev. Timothy Witte announced his resignation as pastor of Countryside Chapel. He will continue to serve the North Wabash congregation. I’ll be meeting with the folks from Countryside to explore future direction. Your prayers are appreciated for Tim and the church.
Jordan Kizewski also bid farewell yesterday from his time in residency with Pastor Tony Bye at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church. We’re excited to announce that Jordan has accepted a new position as Senior High Youth Pastor at Holland Central Wesleyan Church. One of the things we celebrate here in the Crossroads District is our opportunity to invest in and send out next generation leaders to bless the church.
Other serving opportunities this past week included meeting with the leadership for the new daycare opening this week at Anderson Central Wesleyan, meeting with Pastor Darian Jones and the remaining trustee to wrap up details around the closing of Lynn Lighthouse Wesleyan Church, and connecting with one of our district ministerial students who is considering chaplaincy.
Last week I also had the privilege of visiting with Pastor Mark Atkinson and his mother during her final hours. Our sympathies are extended to the Atkinson family as they bid farewell to Mrs. Dorothy E. Atkinson, 86, who is survived by her sons Maurice Atkinson, Rev. Mark Atkinson (also her pastor at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan), and Rev. Myron Atkinson (pastor at Penn Forest Wesleyan Church in Roanoke, VA). She leaves a lasting legacy of faith.
Sherry and I are on vacation over the next week. We drove to Florida on Saturday to connect with Josiah, our son who serves on the worship staff at Crosspoint UMC in Niceville (near Destin/Fort Walton Beach), and celebrate his 24th birthday. Josiah joined the staff here full-time in January after completing his worship residency at 12Stone. The greatest joy of our life is to have all four of our children following Jesus.
We’ll be back from vacation in time for the Global Leadership Summit hosted at Marion College Wesleyan Church (August 10-11) and would love to see you there. Rev. Chris Williams, our full-time Assistant District Superintendent, will be leading the team while I’m on vacation and will file next week’s team update. If you need anything from our district office, feel free to contact him through our website: www.crossroadsdistrict.org
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Countryside and Family Camp
Yesterday morning, I worshiped with Rev. Timothy Witte and the folks at Countryside Chapel near Van Buren. Pastor Tim has been working diligently with a team to revitalize this small congregation. He brought a helpful message from Matthew 5:40-42 on “Givers, Matchers and Takers.” Please pray as the church wrestles with important decisions.
Sunday evening, Sherry and I joined more than 700 people gathered for the opening evening service at the historic Fairmount Family Camp. Rev. Patty Bray and Dr. David Drury are the camp evangelists this week. Rev. Bray spoke last evening challenging us to be faith-filled like Caleb, whether we’re young or old. Rev. Chris Williams, our Assistant DS, led in a meaningful celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Special thanks to Mr. David Tippey (Camp Board Chair) and Dr. Richard Schenck (chair of the Family Camp Committee) for the excellent work they and their teams have done preparing for this event. Services continue through next Sunday, July 30, so make plans to enjoy the warm fellowship, inspiring worship and anointed messages.
Last Monday I was in Anderson for a lunch meeting with Rev. Clifton and Arletta Ashlock as we interviewed a couple from Brazil about the possibility of joining the staff at Anderson United Wesleyan. Then I was on to Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan to meet with Pastor Jorge Escalante to interview another couple from Costa Rica who are prayerfully considering coming to the mission field in North America.
Tuesday included some time for reading (I finished A.W. Tozer’s classic “The Attributes of God” Volume 1), catching up on e-mail, meeting Dr. David Smith, chair of our District Board of Ministerial Development, and then hosting Pastor Dave Bever and two of his interns for supper with Rev. Matthew Trexler, our Region 1 Assistant DS. Later that evening, Dave and his interns joined me to interview a possible church planting candidate and then they were our overnight guests at Thornapple Lodge.
Wednesday morning, I accompanied Dave Bever and his team to participate in the Circle City Network, a partnership of pastors committed to church multiplication in Indianapolis. We heard from Craig Thurmond about the vision that he has for planting on the near east side of Indy and Pastor Bever shared how God had been placing Speedway on his heart as a possible campus location for CrossLink.
After lunch, Pastor Ben Thomas took the team on a tour of Speedway since he pastors the closest congregation (Nehemiah Church in Avon) and has roots from living in the Speedway community. We finished up with a time of prayer in the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway asking for God to guide us and grant us His favor on this potential church planting project.
Wednesday evening, I met with the pastoral search team at Level 13 in Fort Wayne. They’re making good progress working through the growing list of applicants. Continue to join them in praying for God’s direction in this most important decision.
Thursday morning, I attended the funeral of Rev. Carl Smith, one of our retired pastors, at Anderson Central Wesleyan Church. Carl was a real encourager and a passionate personal soul-winner. One of the highlights of the service was hearing a recent testimony of how he’d led a 92-year-old lady to Christ in their retirement home. Please remember Becky, his wife, in your prayers.
Thursday afternoon, we began the official move of Roxene Lo’s office from 401 39th Street to 1500 S Western Avenue. We are grateful for Darren and Nancy Campbell for their generosity in providing this space for our district team and look forward to welcoming you when you can stop by.
Thursday evening, I spoke with Mr. Ken Whitehurst (LBA vice-chair) and received an encouraging update on the pastoral search process at Columbia City New Hope.
Friday morning, we continued the office move in the morning and then I headed back to Upland to prepare for our evening guests. Sherry and I were delighted to welcome 7 guests for our first Urban Pastors Fellowship. We are blessed with key leaders serving in the challenging context of urban ministry. It was refreshing to worship, dialogue and pray together. Plans are for this group to expand and meet again in three months.
It’s not too late to register for this year’s Global Leadership Summit, August 10 and 11. College Wesleyan is one of several host sites across our district and they still have space available. Where else can you hear Marcus Lemonis (star of “The Profit” on CNBC) and Andy Stanley (pastor of North Point Church) in the same conference? Here’s the link to register: https://www.willowcreek.com/rega/#/reg/select
Keep on making a difference in the cause the counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Thought from Tozer: “If I haven’t felt the sense of vileness by contrast with that sense of unapproachable and indescribable holiness, I wonder if I have ever been hit hard enough to really repent. And if I don’t repent, I wonder if I can believe.” A.W. Tozer (The Attributes of God, Volume 1, p. 165)
Sunday, June 16, I had the privilege of bringing district greetings and preaching at Albion Wesleyan Church. It was good to be with Pastor Joe & Rachel Allen to celebrate what God is doing through their ministry. Pastor Joe has led the church in making significant strides since their consultation with Dr. Paul Borden and in their partnership with Pastor Jason Tash and the team at Columbia City New Hope.
AWC is now highly involved in their community with feeding programs, providing school supplies, and offering life coaching for recovering addicts. After the service, I enjoyed lunch with the Allen family and Sofia, the international exchange student from Columbia that they are hosting this school year.
Last Monday I met with Tom Ensz, GP field director for Brazil, and a team of 17 Brazilians who are part of the missions training program at the Wesleyan Bible College in Manaus. They came to Indiana to connect with Pastor Clifton Ashlock and the team at Anderson United Wesleyan Church.
Many of you will know that Clifton & Arletta served as missionaries in Brazil. One of the prime objectives was to discern the possibilities for planting a church in our region to reach Portuguese speakers. They conducted similar research with Dr. Dan Berry, SouthCoastal DS, in Atlanta.
Tuesday, I represented the district at Mr. Ron Emberton’s memorial service in Colfax. Ron was a devoted disciple who served as lay leader at Colfax Wesleyan Church, worked on short-term missions teams with Global Partners in Mozambique, and became chapter president for the Christian Motorcyclist Association in Crawfordsville.
On the way back from the funeral, I dropped in on Michele Henry and her team at Kids Camp. This was the first time our new Crossroads District team brought all our children together for one camp and it was a full house with 226 children there for the week. I was encouraged to hear wonderful reports of God at work in the lives of our next generation of leaders!
Tuesday evening, I joined the evening rally for the Never The Same Camp that was going on at Taylor University. It was good to hear Rev. Santes Beatty bring the Word and I’m always glad to catch up with Rev. Jeff and Arianna Eckart who are leading this dynamic ministry to students.
Wednesday morning, I connected with Rev. Jim & Jerolyn Bogear at HQ in Fishers. Jim and Jerolyn temporarily located their ministry base in Indy after concluding 17 years of effectively pastoring the church they planted, The River Church in Sacramento. They are both IWU grads and have so much to offer in executive coaching and marriage enrichment ministry. I encourage you to learn more about their ministry and network with them while they’re here: https://www.jimandjerolynbogear.com/
Wednesday afternoon, I was at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan for a board leadership coaching session with Pastor Johnnie Blair and Ryan Long, LBA vice-chair. This is their second year working with the Accountable Leadership Model (Discipline 781) and they are making good progress in implementing this governance model.
Frankfort’s Family Camp was running this past week and I was able to attend the Wednesday evening service. I sat with Rev. Ernest Batman, and enjoyed connecting with members of our district family for whom this camp holds such deep meaning. Rev. Don McDowell led the congregation in moments of remembrance for Rev. Paul Trent who was so supportive of the ministries at Frankfort Camp.
Thursday morning, I stopped by the Fairmount Kids Camp and then checked in on the progress at our new office hub in Marion where Mrs. Roxene Lo will be relocating later this week. We’re grateful for the partnership with Darren & Nancy Campbell that’s allowing us to base our ministry out of their facilities at 1500 S Western Ave. If you’re familiar with the building, you’ll know that Abbey Coffee and the Tree of Life Bookstore are located on the south side of the atrium. Mrs. Lo’s office will be in Suite A on the northwest corner of the atrium.
Thursday evening, Sherry joined me as we reconnected with the team from Brazil. It was good to debrief with them and to hear that they had a great week learning together, visiting Wesleyan HQ, meeting with Brazilians in the area, and prayerfully considering next steps. One possible next step is that a couple from Brazil are sensing God’s direction to explore moving to Indiana to help with multi-cultural ministry, perhaps in partnership with the work that’s already being done at Anderson United.
Friday morning, I made it back to Crossroads Kids Camp for their closing rally. My favorite moment was when the children all gathered in huddles for prayer with their counselors. In moments like that I’m reminded of what D.L. Moody wrote, “If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God.” Thank you to Michele and every volunteer who invested in the lives of these precious children this week!
Friday evening, Sherry and I hosted the pastors of the Muncie Zone for an evening of fellowship at Thornapple Lodge. Several of our zone couples couldn’t join us due to vacations or other ministry commitments, but we had a great time welcoming Mike and Kim Hewitt, our newest members of the zone, as they prepare to move here this summer to plant a new Wesleyan church in Muncie.
Saturday morning, I connected with our Hispanic leaders at the Renuevo Conference at IWU. Santes Beatty and his team did a great job hosting this event with hundreds of participants from nearly a dozen districts. Pastor Jorge Escalante and Pastor Neftali Lopez led our Crossroads District delegation. Roy and Dylana Angulo Gimenez, our planters who are coming to work with the Fort Wayne Zone, introduced me to friends of theirs who may be prospects for another Hispanic church plant in Indiana.
The Fairmount Family Camp runs from Sunday, July 23, to Sunday, July 30, with Rev. Patty Bray and Dr. David Drury as evangelists. For more details, visit the Fairmount Camp website: http://www.fairmountcamp.org/
Please pray that God will make these services a time of spiritual renewal as He has done so faithfully for generations!
Your servant in Christ,
Missionaries in America
Yesterday morning, I had the privilege of joining Sherry and Jordan for worship at Waterline Church, our home church, led by Pastor John and Danielle Freed. It was exciting to see almost every seat filled for the 11 am service in the middle of the summer.
Pastor John shared a challenging message about “The Art of Neighboring” from the parable of the Good Samaritan and dedicated the newest member of the Waterline family. It was also good to be led in worship with Mrs. Emily Love. I’m grateful for HQ staff like Dr. Ed and Emily Love who make a difference by serving in their local Wesleyan church.
Last evening, I had the joy of celebrating with Pastor Jerry Alexander and the Anderson Central Wesleyan Church as they baptized two new believers. Jerry had the privilege of leading this couple to Christ just a few weeks ago and they were excited to take this next step of faith in their spiritual journey.
Last week was a bit unusual with our office closed for holidays and staff vacations. On Wednesday, I was at HQ and was able to hear Pastor Barry Dixon (Calvary Family Church) bring an encouraging message for the HQ chapel service. He spoke from John 11:35 on “Understanding Our Tears From God’s Perspective.” Jon Wiest, our District Multiplication Team Director, and I met over lunch to map out next steps. Then, on Thursday morning, Dr. David Wright welcomed Dr. Ed Love and I to the IWU campus to share his vision for the potential of IWU graduates helping to launch 50 churches in the next 10 years. One of the highlights of the meeting was learning that Dr. Wright’s grandfather had been a bi-vocational church planter in Terra Haute. I’m grateful for Dr. Wright’s heart for the Great Commission!
Thursday afternoon, I met with a prospective pastoral candidate in Marion and then Sherry and I met with Pastor Paul and Phebe Kirk for supper in Muncie. Many of you will know that Phebe’s daughter was in a devastating car accident last month that resulted in the death of their grandson and left her daughter with a broken back. Please continue to pray for this family as they lean heavily on God’s sustaining grace.
Saturday afternoon, I dropped in at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church to support the fundraiser for their youth group’s upcoming mission trip to partner with an inner ministry in Cincinnati. It was good to see Pastor Dave Hines in action and to connect with friends like Ed Hoover.
We are delighted to welcome Rev. Tom Ensz and a team of Bible college students from The Wesleyan Church of Brazil. They are in Indiana this week making connections with Brazilians who have settled in the Hoosier state with a view to possibly launching a Portuguese-speaking congregation. Rev. Clifton Ashlock, former missionary to Brazil, and pastor of United Wesleyan Church in Anderson, is hosting the 18 team members. I’ll be meeting with them on Monday and again on Friday to hear what they’ve learned and to explore possible next steps. Pray that God will grant them discernment and favor as they explore the possibility of launching a missionary outreach here in Indiana.
Their visit is a helpful reminder that America is a mission field with more than 3 million people living in our state without a relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s why multiplying disciples and churches must be our focus. That’s why Pastor Kyle Horton and our Fort Wayne Zone are partnering with Roy and Dylana Angulo Jimenez to launch a new Spanish-language ministry in the coming year.
Charles Spurgeon reminds us that “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” (from Spurgeon’s 1873 sermon “A Sermon and a Reminiscence”) May God help us to be the missionaries He needs us to be to reach America for Christ!
Your servant in Christ,
Brinker Heights and Changes
Sherry and I had the joy of worshiping yesterday morning with Pastor Aldean and Jessie Pablo at Brinker Heights Wesleyan Church in Marion. Some of you will know that Pastor Mark Atkinson and the Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church entered into a mentoring partnership with Brinker Hieights last year and have been sharing Aldean’s ministry.
It was encouraging to hear testimonies of transformed lives and to see the progress as the church is mobilized to impact children, influence their community and increase their capacity. They set a recent attendance record of 82 this spring and gave out 5000 Easter Eggs at their community connection event. Thank you to Aldean and Jessie for their missional leadership and thank you to Pastor Mark and Eastview for their visionary partnership!
We also had the chance to greet Rev. Harvey and Rachel Herring. Please remember Rachel in your prayers as she continues cancer treatments. Though retired from full-time service they continue to be active in the ministry of their local church.
Special welcome this week to Pastor Ryan and Kelly VanMatre who arrived on site and are joining the Fountain City Wesleyan Church team where Ryan will serve as campus pastor for The Well in Richmond. (And yes, they’ve been blessed with a new member of their family since this photo).
Our office is in transition this week with the holidays, vacations, and a move from the old office in Marion to a new location adjacent to Abbey Coffee and Tree of Life Bookstore. We’ve also changed email and web service providers so please be patient, and persistent, if you’re having trouble reaching us. The rest of the team is on vacation but I’m available by cellphone for our team members.
It’s not too late to register for the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. College Wesleyan is one of several host sites in our area. This two-day event, August 10-11, features world-class leadership training at an affordable price and convenient locations.
Leadership Summit Registration
Last week included a variety of follow-up assignments from our district conference including thank you notes to so many team members who helped make our first anniversary gathering a success.
One of the key ways that a DS is privileged to serve a local church is in the pastoral search process. I met with LBA/search committees at Columbia City New Hope on Wednesday evening and Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan on Thursday evening. I know that both of these congregations welcome your prayers.
Special thanks to Pastor Jeff Luedtke for bringing his trusty pickup truck last Monday morning and helping Chris and I move some of the larger pieces of furniture over to the new location.
On Thursday, I attended the funeral of Mr. James Neal at Marion Hillside Wesleyan Church. Mr. Neal, the father of Rev. Jim Neal, was a faithful member and active lay leader for years. Rev. Gary Bingham brought meaningful words of hope and comfort to the family. While I work most closely with pastors, the reality is that reaching 3 million in Indiana will take thousands of people like James Neal who love God, their family and their neighbors. They are the salt of the earth and the front-line missionaries in offices, classrooms, factories and farms.
Prayer requests: Larry Gross, lay member at Grant City Wesleyan, was injured while volunteering at Frankfort Camp last week. He’ll be in a back brace for the next 2 months and would welcome your prayers. Rev. Lloyd Moore (retired) continues to wait for a donor match and liver transplant. He and Rhonda appreciate the prayer support they’re receiving from our district team.
On Friday, July 14, Sherry and I are looking forward to hosting the pastors of the Muncie Zone in our home for supper and fellowship. Lead/senior pastors can RSVP to my e-mail or by texting. Then, on Friday, July 21, Sherry and I are hosting some of our pastors and spouses who serve in the urban context (South Bend and Indianapolis).
Upcoming opportunities for spiritual renewal include family camps at Fairmount (July 23-30), Frankfort (July 9-16), and the Renuevo Camp at Indiana Wesleyan University (July 14-16). Please pray for the evangelists, staff and all who attend.
One final note, it is bittersweet to announce that Mrs. Raleigh Pedro has accepted a ministry position with White River Community Church in Noblesville. Raleigh has been a great blessing to our district team this year and she will be missed. We’re excited for her though as she takes this big step into ministering on the frontline in a local church while she continues her M.Div studies at Wesley Seminary. We pray that God will continue to bless Raleigh as she serves in her new assignment and send our congratulations to Luis and Raleigh Pedro on their first anniversary.
Your servant in Christ,