Sunday morning, August 26, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Tony Bye and the team at Marion Brookhaven Wesleyan Church. It was a joy to participate in the dedication prayer for their newly-remodeled children’s ministry and Christian education spaces. After the service, Sherry and I hosted the Bye family for lunch. While Brookhaven has a great legacy of faithfulness, I am glad that they are still taking risks to share the Gospel to the next generation.
Sunday evening, Sherry and I were at our home church, Fishers Waterline Church, for an outdoor worship gathering and baptism. This was also a special anniversary marking 8 years to the day from the first launch team meeting with Pastor John & Danielle Freed. Praise the Lord for the difference this young church is making!
After the service, Sherry and I had the special privilege of connecting with Bishop D’Aldo Jones and his members of his team from "The Pour House", an urban church that stepped out in faith to plant 19 years ago. We have mutual friends in Pastor Terry and Lennaire Vaughn. Pastor John Freed also stopped by our table to meet our new friends.
On Monday morning, I joined Pastor Matthew Trexler's (Region 1 Assistant DS) and his leadership cohort in Huntington at Hope Rising Church. This mentoring group has been meeting monthly through the summer and are working through J.D. Greear's challenging book "Gaining by Losing." (Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant DS, hosted his Region 3 leadership cohort for their first meeting this past Thursday in Logansport.)
Sherry and I had a new experience leading an online prayer meeting on Monday evening as part of Waterline's 21 Days of Prayer. Once we figured out the logistics of FaceTime Live, it was good to connect with several other members of the congregation to lift up specific prayer requests. Waterline does this with different volunteers leading in each of the 21 evenings leading up to the fall launch.
Tuesday, I joined Rev. Chris Williams as he led a StratOp renewal with the leadership of Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church. It is exciting to see the progress at Trinity and to join them in planning for extended impact through their new campus in Kokomo.
Wednesday was an office day for phone calls and emails before heading over to Lapel Daybreak to meet with their LBA as they interviewed a pastoral candidate. The congregation voted unanimously on Sunday to call Rev. Andy Cole as their next pastor. Pray for Pastor Andy and Elicia as they seek God’s direction.
Thursday morning, I met with Elvin Weinmann, head of our district audit committee, and Nancy Schoonmaker, District Treasurer. While this is not a full professional audit, it was good to receive the clean bill of health from our audit team.
Later that morning, I met with Dr. Ed Hoover to review the update stats report program that he has developed. He does a wonderful job of compiling helpful information and charts that are valuable to the planning process for our local churches. Please keep Ed in your prayers as he prepares for a serious surgery on September 10.
Friday morning, I met with John Bonham, Town Council Chair for Upland. In addition to his active role with the town of Upland, John is also actively involved in our Hartford City Wesleyan Church. I met with him to better understand the needs and opportunities of the town in which Sherry and I now live. I was glad to pray with him in the leadership role that God has entrusted to his stewardship for our community.
Friday evening, Sherry and I hosted Pastor Jarod Osborne and the Warsaw Zone pastors and spouses for a time of fellowship at Thornapple. This zone has been praying for an open door for Hispanic ministry in their zone and are excited to partner with Rev. Eliorgy Guerrero and the team in Elkhart to explore church planting in Warsaw and Goshen. In addition to the food, fellowship, and prayer, we managed to enjoy another Indiana tradition. Pastor Seitz was the beanbag tossing champion of the evening.
On Saturday, Sherry and I hosted Pastor Dale Munsell and the team from Albion Cornerstone for their first annual planning retreat. Some of you may recall that Cornerstone has the highest ratio of conversions to attendance in our district this year with 25 professions of faith. They are also looking at hosting a Maximizing Impact team next spring as they reach out to the thousands of lost people in their zip codes.
It’s hard to believe that summer is nearly over and Labor Day Weekend is upon us. Sherry and I will be with our children in Michigan for a couple of days and then I’ve heard a rumor about a football game in Marion on Saturday that I don’t want to miss. Hope to see you there. Go Wildcats!
This coming Sunday, I’m looking forward to worshiping with Pastor Rick Fletcher and the team at Lifeway Wesleyan Church.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. There’s still time to register for the Discipleship Making Conference at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church on October 1 and 2, but slots are filling fast! Register here:
Southdowns, United, and Hope Rising
This morning, I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Dr. Mark & Kari Rennaker at Southdowns Wesleyan Church in Kokomo. Pastor Mark is dearly loved by his people and they treasure his expositional Bible teaching in their adult Sunday School class. Mark came to Southdowns in 1993 and has faithfully taught this class since then, taking them through every book of the Bible more than once.
The last time I was with them they were finishing up their second year in the book of Job. This morning, I joined them as they were working their way through the book of Genesis. After the morning service and a brief meeting with their LBA, I enjoyed fellowship over lunch with Mark, Kari and Joel, their youngest son, who is headed to IWU for his freshman semester. Pastor Mark is a bi-vocational who also serves as Chair of the Department of Leadership Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University and plays a key role in the denomination’s THRIVE initiative funded by a grant from Lilly.
Sunday afternoon, I joined Pastor Clifton Ashlock and Ministry Leadership Team (MLT) at Anderson United Wesleyan Church for a review of their Maximizing Impact initiatives and future planning. They are making significant progress on their projects and strongly endorsed the MLT format for ministry coordination.
Sunday evening, Rev. Zack Working was installed at the senior pastor at Hope Rising Church in Huntington along with Rev. Carla Working (assistant pastor), and Caleb & Kiana Kimball (resident pastors). Pastor Carla is also staying busy as she works with Dr. Colleen Derr at Wesley Seminary. There is a growing tide of momentum as they reach out to the community. There were 91 in attendance this morning, which marks a new high for the summer. A good group came out for the evening service and the dessert reception in their fellowship hall. Pray that God continues to direct and bless Hope Rising!
Thank you to all who have been praying for our churches in transition. The LBA at Marion Nelson Street Wesleyan Church has voted to recommend that the Local Church Conference vote to extend a two-year call to Rev. Don Glenn.
Congratulations to New Castle Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church on the successful completion of their pastoral search. Rev. Eric George, from the Greater Ohio District, candidated last weekend and accepted a strong vote for a 2-year call as their next pastor. We look forward to welcoming Pastor Eric and Diana George to the Crossroads team!
I was in Knightstown last Monday to do a final walk-through of the building with one of the trustees. They’ve not had services since earlier in the year. The few members left, primarily due to declining health, have determined that they’re unable to continue. Pray for wisdom in the stewardship of the facility. Monday afternoon, I was at HQ to meet with Scott McDermid, the pastor who has been invited to candidate at Sheridan Six Points Church this coming weekend.
On Tuesday, I joined Rev. Chris Williams in meeting with Pastor Tim McClellan and the staff at Marion Lakeview Wesleyan Church. There is a rising tide at Lakeview and we’re looking forward to working with their team this November in a StratOp planning retreat.
Tuesday evening, I had the privilege of meeting with Pastor Gary Bingham and the LBA at Marion Hillside Wesleyan Church. Hillside had another strong year of ministry with 20 people saved and 11 baptisms. It was good to affirm their team and to walk through the Maximizing Impact consultation process as they prayerfully consider a date next spring.
I had a variety of other calls and correspondence through the week, but the highlight was undoubtedly being able to attend Old Time Camp Meeting with Dr. Jim Lo speaking. I was able to attend Wednesday-Saturday evening. I appreciated Dr. Lo’s exposition of the Sermon on the Mount with the repeated call to seek righteousness, not happiness. He reminded us of the importance of purity in our attentions, our affections and our allegiance. We don’t need to grow colder just because we’re getting older!
There’s still time to take advantage of the Crossroads District matching fund for churches who are helping with their pastor’s registration for the Gathering. This opportunity for renewal and retooling happens once every four years. Don’t miss out! Here’s the link: Gathering 2019
And the Discipleship Conference at Trinity Wesleyan Church is just around the corner, October 1 and 2. People are coming from across the US but we’re blessed to have this next door. Here’s the link to register: https://www.encountertrinity.com/DMC2018/
Here’s a reminder of why we do what we do: Rev. David Dignal has been leading the Edgerton Wesleyan Church in implementing the Oikos (8-15) model of intentional evangelism. Just this week, Pastor Dave had the joy of leading another one of the men in his 8-15 circle to Christ. The men in Dave’s discipleship group stepped up and committed that each one of them would take a specific day to pray for this new brother in Christ who is going through a tough time. Today, this new believer was in church and brought along his father who is also taking first steps in following Christ.
Keep on making disciples who make disciples!
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday, August 12, I worshiped at Chesterton Expansion Church with Pastor Tom and Sarah Cochran. Pastor Tom has been preaching through the Lord’s Prayer this month and shared the truth of “God’s Will, God’s Way” yesterday. He reminded us that prayer is not about seizing control but about surrendering control to God. After the service, I met briefly with their leadership team and then shared lunch with Tom and Sarah.
Sunday afternoon, on the way back south from Chesterton, I had the joy of stopping in at Davis Wesleyan Church to welcome Rev. Matthew and Kendra Ohime. This is a homecoming to Indiana for Matt and Kendra after serving in Wisconsin District for several years as church planters. Kendra is the new band director at Oregon-Davis High School and we’re excited that Matt has agreed to provide leadership at Davis Wesleyan while he attends Wesley Seminary. They have three terrific children so keep the family in your prayers as they settled into these new responsibilities and relationships.
Sunday evening, I joined with the congregation at Anderson North Wesleyan Church for the pastoral installation of Rev. David Shafer, as senior pastor, and Rev. Scott Stamper, assistant/administrative pastor. This is a great team and there are exciting days ahead at Anderson North. The service concluded with a meaningful time of consecrating prayer around the altar. It was good to see retired pastor Rev. Eddie and Julianne Purciful there for the service. Rev. Purciful led so well that it’s taking two pastors to fill his shoes.
Last week included coaching conversations with Rev. Duane Summitt (Fishersburg), Rev. Brent Miller (Gas City Southside), and Rev. David Leitzel (Hamilton). On Wednesday evening I met with the LBA (Local Board of Administration) at Marion Nelson Street Wesleyan Church. They have asked Rev. Don Glenn to fill in for the remainder of this conference year. Continue to pray for the Fletcher family and for this Nelson Street congregation.
Dr. Aron Willis was in town this week and it was a delight to connect with him over breakfast on Thursday morning. On Thursday evening, I interviewed a prospective youth pastor/church planter couple in Marion.
Friday evening, Sherry and I joined with Rev. Dr. Richard Schenck and Rev. Carol Schenck to host Rev. Joshe Bose, National Director of The Wesleyan Church of Bangladesh. Bangladesh and Mozambique are the two fields in which the Crossroads District has ongoing commitments with Global Partners for the Jesus Film, church planting, and pastoral education.
Under Rev. Bose’s leadership, The Wesleyan Church in Bangladesh now numbers 45 congregations with 1900+ in attendance in a country that is less than 1% Christian. The Schenck’s have played a key role in the development of this field and I’ll be joining their team for leadership training there in October.
On Saturday, Dr. Norman and Kim Wilson joined us to host our Hispanic leaders for lunch at Thornapple Lodge in Upland. We had a great time of fellowship and worship with this growing group of pastors who have joined our team from Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela. Rev. Nephtali Lopez, pastor at Carmel Amistad leads this zone and it was a special joy to welcome Rev. Eliorgy Guerrero representing our newest congregation in Elkhart.
Like many of you, I participated in the Global Leadership Summit last Thursday and Friday, joining the Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church staff on Thursday morning and watching the remainder from home. The speakers were terrific again this year and Craig Groeschel provided a classic example of what it looks like to lead in a crisis. If you weren’t able to attend, you can catch up through blogger Brian Dodd’s summary (Brian Dodd on #GLS18) or check out Megan Brigg’s selection of quotes from the event (GLS Top 50 Quotes).
I received word last week from our Wesleyan Education and Clergy Development Office that Wesleyan pastors are being invited to participate in an important national study on clergy wellness conducted by Dr. Matthew Bloom. Dr. Bloom (University of Notre Dame professor) is the principal researcher. The ECD office will send an explanatory email to all Wesleyan pastors on August 14 and the survey will be sent out on September 18. This is part of the Lilly Endowment Fund’s ongoing commitment to clergy well-being over a lifetime of ministry. One of the fruits of the previous research is the THRIVE initiative from which many of our pastors have received financial assistance. Please participate!
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Three last thoughts from #GLS18:
Logansport Bridge and DBMD Retreat
Pastor Zach and Lyndy Szmara thought they were preparing for an international mission field when they graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University. They were but it turned out to be in Logansport, Indiana. I had the privilege of worshiping with them and the growing congregation at The Bridge on Sunday morning, August 5.
Nico Loran led the music and prayer (in Spanish and English) and Pastor Zach Szmara brought the message from Acts 6 (in English with Spanish translation via headsets). The Bridge also hosts Immigrant Connection and the Intersection Coffee Shop, building bridges of hope and reconciliation in this rebounding community.
Sunday afternoon, I worshiped with Rev. Calimerio & Maria Rodriguez at Templo de Poder in Frankfort. The worship here is always inspiring and Pastor Calimerio’s messsage from John 16:33 was a call to live in the peace of God.
Sunday evening, I had the privilege of representing our district in the installation of Rev. Harold Henson as the new pastor at Colfax Wesleyan Church. Rev. Henson graduated from Wesley Seminary at IWU this spring and returned to his home church after a term of service in Oklahoma. The congregation has warmly welcomed Harold and Angie.
I appreciated the special effort of Rev. Logan and Shaina Patriquin to come down from The Branch (former Schuyler Avenue) Wesleyan Church to represent the pastors in the Lafayette Zone. Following the installation service, the congregation hosted a reception in the fellowship hall. Pray that God will bless the ministry of the Henson’s and reach out to extend your welcome.
Monday morning, I assisted Rev. Rick Fletcher and Rev. Marty Fletcher in the memorial service for Rev. Steve Fletcher, pastor of Marion Nelson Street Wesleyan Church. Fairmount Wesleyan Church, where Steve and Patsy has served for 17 years, hosted the service and a reception. The service was a celebration Steve’s faith in Christ and love for his family with inspiring music and meaningful memories. Please remember Patsy, their family, and the Nelson Street congregation in your prayers as they move forward.
Last week included a variety of meetings with members of our district team, including the first coaching conversation of this new conference year. Some of you will know that I have the privilege of meeting one-on-one with every lead/senior pastor in our district each year for a guided conversation that covers personal and family well-being, along with ministry growth and challenges. Pastor Tom Parsons (Hartford City Wesleyan Church) and I met on last week. Coaching conversations this week will include Pastor Duane Summit, Pastor Brent Miller, and Pastor Dave Leitzel.
On Thursday afternoon, I joined Rev. Jon Wiest and members of his Discipleship Cohort who convened via ZOOM to continue this year-long learning journey. They’ll be wrapping up next month and then coming together for the Discipleship Conference at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church on October 1-2. You can register here:
Leadership development is one of the core values of the Crossroads District. Assistant DS Chris Williams and Dr. David Smith (chair of the DBMD) led our District Board of Ministerial Development in meetings on Friday and Saturday at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church. With nearly 100 students already in our process, and another 60 individuals from our district taking ministry preparation classes but not yet licensed, this team plays a significant role in shaping the future of our Crossroads District and our denomination.
DBMD team members invest significant time, energy and prayer into the task of preparing Christ-servant leaders. You may be aware that our denominational leadership is updating and revising the educational track from a checklist of courses to a core set of competencies. These core competencies will be developed and assessed in both educational environments and the supervised ministry of the local church.
Our DBMD recognizes and affirms that every believer is called to ministry, regardless of their context or career. We also affirm the specific equipping ministry of Word and Sacrament that The Wesleyan Church recognizes in ordination. Pray that God will continue to bless this team as they serve our ministerial students.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. It’s not just for people over 55 (like me)! Regardless of your age, if you appreciate familiar hymns and warm-hearted preaching, you’ll want to attend the “Old Time Camp” next week, August 15-19 at Fairmount Camp, with prayer gatherings led by Alex Mandura, Bible Study with Pastor Don Glenn, and the preaching of Dr. Jim Lo.