Larwill, Baptisms, and Pastoral Searches
Sherry and I worshiped at Larwill Wesleyan Church yesterday morning with Pastor Thomas and Julie Beck. This community church is located just off Hwy 30 between Warsaw and Columbia City. Attendance averages in the 20s and at least half of the congregation are children and teens. Julie and Alyssa, their daughter, led the singing while Nicholas, their son, ran the sound system.
Thomas is one of our denomination’s many bi-vocational pastors who works a full time job in a manufacturing facility doing quality control before taking on sermon preparation and pastoral care. Thomas started at Larwill Wesleyan by just filling in as a supply pastor. Seventeen years later he continues to serve this congregation and community. Bi-vocational pastors like Thomas are unsung heroes who faithfully minister out of the spotlight and keep making a difference for eternity. (The sanctuary, built in 1869, is one of our older buildings still in use.)
After hosting Tom and Julie for lunch, Sherry and I drove to Muncie to drop in on the first launch team development meeting hosted by Pastor Mike and Kim Hewitt. It was good to see some familiar faces from the Northview congregation and some new friends from the community and Ball State University who were interested in learning more about the project. Please let Pastor Mike know ( email@example.com ) if you have contacts in the community that might be open to joining in this launch team. Do remember Mike in your prayers as he undergoes a scheduled surgery this Thursday.
I arrived home from Dad’s wedding on Tuesday night and was back at our HQ office in Fishers on Wednesday morning to meet with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent and then met with Pastor Jorge Escalante for an update on his work with immigrant services. Wednesday evening, I was at the Grant City Wesleyan Church for their midweek Bible study followed by a meeting with the LBA. It was good to serve Pastor Dan Heylmann and his team as they implement the new discipleship/membership model.
Our staff hosted the district conference planning team on Thursday at the new office in Marion for a debrief and preplanning for next year’s event. Chris Williams does a great job leading this team. Thank you to each one who provided helpful feedback that will helps us make our district gatherings to be as productive and inspirational as possible.
Friday morning, I met with Dr. David Smith who chairs our District Board of Ministerial Development. David is one of those truly unique educators who has both a scholar’s mind and a pastor’s heart. I’m grateful for the profound investment that Dr. Smith makes in shaping future leaders for the church.
Friday evening, Sherry and I joined Rev. Bob and Cindy Burchell at Lake Placid Camp (near Hartford City) for the annual retreat they host for the chaplains who serve students in IWU’s adult and professional studies degree programs, both online and at the extended campus sites. Chaplains gathered from across Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky for this event. It was a privilege to bring the evening message and lead them in communion.
Saturday morning, I joined Pastor John Freed with the leadership team at Waterline Church meeting for a planning retreat in Fishers. Waterline is our home church and Sherry volunteers as their treasurer. John and Danielle Freed are doing a terrific job in leading the charge at Waterline and these are exciting days as God is opening new doors for ministry partnership in their community.
Saturday afternoon, I met with the LBA at Lapel Daybreak Community Church as they move forward in their search to find someone to fill the big shoes of Rev. Richard Cole, their founding pastor. Richard and Debbie are moving toward retirement after 20 years invested in launching Daybreak. The LBA has several resumes to consider and is prayerfully moving forward.
On the pastoral search front, I received the good word from Columbia City New Hope Wesleyan Church that the congregation approved the recommendation of the LBA to call Rev. Shane Wilson as their new senior pastor. Shane served effectively as part of the pastoral staff under Rev. Jason Tash and the congregation’s overwhelming vote was a strong affirmation of Rev. Wilson’s calling to this leadership role. Join us in welcoming Shane and praying for this family as they lead the ministry at New Hope.
I’m continuing to work with the LBA and search team at Level 13 in Fort Wayne and will meet this coming Thursday evening with the LBA at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church as they move forward in their pastoral search.
Our sympathies and prayers are extended to Pastor Joe Park on the death of his father, Joseph Park, who passed away on August 24. For many years before his retirement in 1996, Mr. Park worked as a printer for Wesley Press. Visitation will be at Evergreen Wesleyan Church in Lafayette on Tuesday evening from 5 to 8, and for one hour before the funeral there at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
We challenged our pastors to schedule one more baptism service this year than last year. I was delighted to receive the following report from Pastor Steve Runyon:
“I planned a baptism liked you challenged us to do last fall (or winter). When I told you about it, you asked me to send some pictures when we had the baptism. Please find attached pictures of the 5 we baptized on Saturday. The Lord blessed us with a fantastic day for a baptism and church picnic. There were over 50 people who attended. We were all blessed.”
Just to better understand the context, Beaver Creek Wesleyan had only baptized 5 new believers in the last 10 years and none in the past 2 years. Praise God for changed lives!
The Madison County Zone senior pastors will be meeting at our home on September 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. Before the conference year is over, Sherry and I look forward to welcoming the senior pastors from every zone for a time of food, fellowship, and encouragement. Your zone chair will have the dates and we’d love to have you join us!
Keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
New Churches & Old Time Camp Meeting
I’m writing today from New Brunswick, Canada. Yesterday, I worshiped at Moncton Wesleyan Church where Joel Gorveatte, my brother, is the senior pastor. This is the church where my father’s faith was nurtured as a teenager when he answered the call to preach. It’s remarkable to be here now and see how God is already blessing the ministry of my brother in this historic congregation.
The primary reason for this quick trip to Canada was to join my family on Saturday to celebrate the marriage of my father, Dr. Ken Gorveatte, to Mrs. Merle Stevens. Many of you will know that my mother passed away last year before Christmas. While we all miss Mom, we are so pleased that God brought Dad & Merle together for this next chapter of their lives. My sisters and I will be flying home on Tuesday.
Last week began with our district staff meeting on Monday morning. We’re grateful that Seth Bye has joined our team. He will primarily be coordinating scheduling and special events. Monday evening, I met with a personnel committee from a church in Region 1.
Tuesday morning, I participated in our district multiplication team meeting led by Rev. Jon Wiest and held at The Branch in Fairmount. It’s exciting to see how God is bringing together a terrific team with a variety of strengths to lead this movement. This is one team that is never boring as we lean into the opportunities that God has placed before us. And yes, we also shared a few laughs!
Tuesday evening, Sherry and I were in Muncie to host the Hewitt family for supper as they settle into their new assignment. The children are adjusting to their new community and their new schools. Please continue to pray for Pastor Mike and Kim as they begin making connections and building the team to launch a new disciple-making movement in Muncie.
Rev. Chris Williams and I met with Rev. Amanda Blair, director of our district church fitness team. She is leading the team in preparing for our district-wide leadership development day next April. She and Pastor Johnnie Blair continue to lead the turnaround at Tipton Trinity and serve other churches in the process.
Wednesday evening and Thursday evening I attended the Old Time Camp Meeting at Fairmount Camp. Rev. Williams, our Assistant DS, brought challenging messages from Hebrews 11 on what it means to be people of faith. Chris is a gifted and anointed communicator! Rev. Bob Van Cise did a great job hosting the services and Angela Spangler’s team provided wonderful hospitality for the campers.
Thursday included meetings with Dr. David Wright, president of Indiana Wesleyan University, and later with Douglas Bradburn, a new Christian counselor who is working with churches in the New Castle area.
I love how so many of our churches find creative ways to connect with their community. Harvest Church in McCordsville created an event called “Touch a Truck” that’s connected them with dozens of families with young children. Pastor Brad LeRoy is still in recovery from surgery but was back on the platform for this special weekend.
Pastor Marc and Heather Ulrich’s team at Merrillville ReThink Church handed out over 1000 donut holes to parents waiting in the “drop off line” at their neighborhood school. Then, on Saturday night, they welcomed 130 people for the Vision Night put on by their Leadership Academy (a team of emerging leaders that they’ve been mentoring).
People with passion for a vision will do whatever it takes, short of sin, to build bridges with people who don’t yet have a relationship with Christ!
Keep on shining bright in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping at Wabash New Journey Church yesterday morning with Pastor Brian Scramlin. Many of you know the story of Pastor Tom & Sarah Cochran stepping out in faith more than seven years ago to launch this ministry before accepting their current role at Chesterton Expansion Church. Pastor Brian and Jessica came back to Indiana after serving on staff in Spooner, Wisconsin.
The church meets in a former public school building that provides a welcoming space for the congregation and their neighborhood. After the service, Sherry and I shared lunch with the Scramlins along with Megan Cox (Youth Pastor) and Matt, her husband. The staff families are all graduates of IWU and several other IWU staff and alumni are part of this exciting congregation.
I joined with 200+ participants at College Wesleyan Church to enjoy this year’s Global Leadership Summit. The event featured outstanding speakers and creative elements to challenge us to take our leadership to the next level. Special thanks to Rev. Chris Williams, Site Coordinator, and the team at College Wesleyan who did a terrific job hosting the event. There was a strong representation this year from IWU administrators and faculty. For the top 50 quotes from this year’s speakers (like this nugget “Most organizations fail for reasons everyone is aware of but no one says.” or this one, “Of course talent counts, but effort counts twice.”), check out the list at: http://churchleaders.com/news/308247-top-50-quotes-global-leadership-summit-2017.html
For video highlights, check out this site: https://vimeo.com/229426137/c8fa48c4b2
Next year’s event is scheduled for August 9 and 10. You can find registration information (and an early bird discount) at this website: https://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/
We’re excited to welcome Rev. Mike & Kim Hewitt who landed in Muncie this past week and are settling in to build a launch team for our first church plant in Muncie in nearly 50 years. They need your prayer support for this vital first phase. They would also welcome your help in connecting with any unchurched friends, relatives or co-workers in the Muncie area. Pastor Mike would welcome your email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re looking forward to hearing more reports about the baptism services at our churches since the challenge at district conference to schedule at least one more. Dr. Ollie Dongell called last week to let me know that 43 people publicly professed their faith in Christ through baptism this month at Plymouth Wesleyan Church.
Many of you have already received Dr. Schmidt’s excellent statement on the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. If not, I encourage you to read and share this post as you express your own condemnation of the bigotry and violence:
Don’t be silent, but don’t stop with words. The Gospel begins with reconciliation with God but results in reconciliation between all, regardless of the color of our skin. Pray and work toward that reconciliation. One timely step would be to participate in the upcoming Christian Community Development Association annual meeting in Detroit:
I am pleased to announce that Seth Bye has joined our district office team. He will work directly with Chris and me in scheduling, communications and event planning. Seth’s home church is Brookhaven Wesleyan and he most recently served on staff at Waterline Church. We’re excited to have him join the team and you’ll enjoy working with Seth!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. If you’re in the area, don’t miss Rev. Chris Williams preaching this week at Fairmount Camp’s Old Time Camp Meeting!
Weekly Update - 8-7-2017
This week’s Team Update is a guest post by Chris Williams, Assistant District Superintendent of the Crossroads District. Chris comes alongside leaders and churches to help them reach their potential and increase their missional effectiveness. Chris and his wife, Marietta, live in Marion with their three kids, Sean, Anika, and Elliot.
Every church has limited resources of people, time, and money. It is this fact that makes thinking strategically so crucial for every congregation.
To think strategically is to prayerfully ask and answer a certain set of questions so the church can leverage the limited resources they have for maximum kingdom impact.
These questions revolve around three key areas:
1) Mission and Vision - Why do we exist and where do we hope to be in 3 to 5 years?
2) Current Reality - Where are we right now and what is true about our current situation?
3) Strategy - How will we move from where we are to where we want to be and what are the next steps?
As I pray for the churches of the Crossroads District, one of the things that I continually ask God for is to help each pastor, board, and leadership team to think strategically. With a growing mission field around us in the state of Indiana and the limited resources at our disposal, we need to be strategic in pursuing God’s purposes in our time.
That’s why we partner with The Unstuck Group to provide a tool like StratOp (shorthand for Strategic Operations). The StratOp process is designed to facilitate crucial conversations among the key leaders of a congregation around the three key areas described above: Vision, Current Reality, and Strategy.
What if every church in the Crossroads District knew its current reality, had a clear mission and vision, and was equipped with a plan to move from here to there? Seeing this become a reality would increase the health and missional effectiveness of our churches and would help us reach our part of the 3 million Hoosiers who currently do not have a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you’d like to learn more about StratOp and how a tool like this could help increase the health and missional effectiveness of your church, contact me directly by phone, text or email (765.617.7882 or email@example.com). Our church health team would love to come alongside you to help you think strategically about what God wants to do in and through your church.
Global Leadership Summit - August 10-11, 2017
One of our top three priorities as a district is Leadership Development. And one of the best annual leadership development opportunities is the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit.
Your influence matters! When you improve your leadership, you impact lives, churches, businesses, governments, schools and families. On August 10-11, join 405,000 people globally for two days of world-class leadership training.
To learn more about the Summit and to purchase your ticket, click HERE.
The Willow Creek Association has provided a discounted rate for solo pastors, senior pastors, and executive pastors in the Crossroads District who attend the Summit at the College Wesleyan Church site in Marion, Indiana.
The discounted rate is $129 per person. This is a savings of $100 per person off the normal rate.
If you’d like to take advantage of this discount please email Chris Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor’s spouses, hit the reset button this November! Join us at Breakaway 2017 as we step away from everyday patterns and busy schedules to intentionally connect with God and each other. Be refreshed and encouraged through engaging sessions, inspiring worship, and meaningful connections. Take advantage of the pre-conference option for a little extra time away and additional growth and fellowship opportunities. We look forward to seeing you there!
Breakaway ONLY Rate: $69
Regular Breakaway & Pre-Conference Rate: $99
Early Bird Breakaway & Pre-Conference Rate: $84
(Must be received by September 15)
Registration Deadline: October 20, 2017
Go to pastorsspouse.com to register and get all the details!