Sunday morning, October 28, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Rich and Cynthia VanVuren at Shiloh Wesleyan Church. Shiloh is a vibrant, multi-generational church on a country crossroad in the middle of cornfields near Plymouth.
But don’t let anyone tell you that rural churches can’t thrive. Pastor Rich challenges the church to impact their neighbors and to have a heart for the world. They averaged 147 in worship last year with 10 professions of faith and 12 baptisms. November is their month for global missions emphasis and Rev. Luis Martinez will be their keynote speaker. Assistant Pastor Levi Lehman leads the growing youth ministry and they also have an exciting children’s ministry. After the service, I enjoyed connecting with the members of the Local Board of Administration.
Last Monday, I joined several of our district pastors to support Rev. Ron Herring at the funeral of his beloved wife and ministry partner, Mrs. Sarah Herring. Rev. Tim McClellan, Marion Lakeview Church, conducted the service and brought an encouraging message of hope. Please keep Pastor Ron in your prayers.
Tuesday morning, I met with our staff at Abbey Coffee before heading to Carmel for an afternoon coaching conversation with Pastor Darrell Herring, pastor of our Indianapolis Central Wesleyan Church. The last meeting of the day was with Rev. Jonathan Lewis, DS of North Carolina East, (via ZOOM) who had some questions about the Heartland pilot project that we are part of with Indiana South, Greater Ohio, and Kentucky-Tennessee.
Wednesday was invested in coaching conversations with Rev. Paul VanCise (Bryant Wesleyan), Rev. Clifton Ashlock (Anderson United Wesleyan), and Pastor Benjamin Tlungloei (Shalom Church – Burmese in Indianapolis). These coaching conversations are helpful to keep me connected with the joys and challenges our pastors encounter in the wide variety of contexts that make up our district family.
I participated in two different ZOOM meetings with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, on Thursday before joining Pastor Matthew Trexler, Assistant DS, for lunch and a walkthrough of their recently completed facility. This is an exciting development for River Church and the good news is that it was completed on budget and ahead of schedule.
My last meeting on Thursday was a coaching conversation with Pastor Randy Yaryan (Winchester Wesleyan) over supper in Muncie. Pastor Randy was on his way to conduct the funeral for a relative in Pennsylvania who received Christ as a result of Randy’s sermon at family funeral this past year. Never miss an opportunity to share the Gospel!
Friday morning, Dr. Wright was preaching at IWU’s chapel service and presented the theme for this year “Christ’s Ambassadors” from 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. He challenged the students with the vision that IWU could become an embassy of God’s Kingdom, or “a little bit of Heaven dropped into the cornfields of Indiana.” He reminded students that an embassy of the Kingdom is a place of transformation (2 Cor. 5:17), a place of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19) and a place of delegation (2 Cor. 5:20) “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…” Please keep Dr. Wright, our faculty, staff and students in your prayers as they live this out!
Friday evening, Sherry and I were delighted to host our first Thornapple fellowship for youth pastors. DYP Lane Sander helped coordinate this gathering and we’ll be having more opportunities to connect in the spring as we take time to express our appreciation for these leaders who invest deeply in the next generation. Friday night was also a happening time for our students in Fort Wayne and Richmond. Pastor Andy Jellison and his team at Fort Wayne Lifeway Church hosted several area youth groups for their annual FallNighter and Pastor Jacob Gibson welcomed Rev. Zach Coffin for Ignition2018!
I’m at New Life Network in La Plata, Maryland for meetings through Wednesday afternoon but will be back in time for our Region 3 Fall Gathering in Plymouth on Thursday morning and our Indy Zone Fellowship at Thornapple on Friday evening.
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Thank you to every congregation in our district that has taken time this month to specifically express appreciation to your pastors! If you haven’t yet, you still have this coming Sunday to let your pastor know how much you value her or his ministry. For creative ideas, check out this website: https://resources.wesleyan.org/pastor-appreciation
Saturday evening and Sunday morning, October 20-21, I had the privilege of ministering alongside Pastor Mark Atkinson and his team at Eastview Wesleyan Church in Gas City. These are exciting days at Eastview Wesleyan with 15 new believers professing faith in Christ this month and a baptism scheduled for this coming weekend.
The congregation took time in each of the services to express their appreciation to Pastor Mark and the pastoral staff with hand-made cards from the children and gift cards from the adults. Attendance was 333 on the previous weekend and they are praying about the next two communities in which they sense that God may be leading them to develop campuses. After the second morning service, I met with the LBA and was blessed with a card and thoughtful gifts for the DS Appreciation. My favorite? The 1926 PHC Manual! (Not counting the listing of all credentialed ministers, it was only 108 pages long.)
Sunday evening, I met with Pastor Clifton Ashlock and the leadership team at United Wesleyan Church in Anderson. After 40 years of ministerial service, including 20 years at Anderson United, Pastor Ashlock has announced his retirement at the conclusion of this conference year. Anderson United is a welcoming, multicultural church with 30% of the church having Spanish as their first language. This was my second meeting with these leaders and they’re now beginning the process of inviting applications/resumes. Pray with Anderson United as they seek God’s leader for this next chapter of their ministry.
Before our Crossroads District GP team left for Asia last week, I was able to jump in with Assistant DS Matthew Trexler and the Region 1 team as they welcomed Rev. Gregg Parris, lead pastor at Muncie’s Union Chapel Ministries. He told the story of their journey of faith from less than 100 people to more than 1000 as he’s faithfully served and they’ve generously given. Pastor Gregg has a Kingdom vision to plant 100 churches in the next 10 years from their congregation and they’ve been a blessing to our newest church plant in Muncie, Rising Hope. (Reminder to Region 3 pastors that you’re meeting with Assistant DS Rev. Chris Williams at Plymouth Wesleyan Church on November 1, 10 am to noon).
Many of you will know that the Crossroads District has long-established ministry relationships with Global Partners’ fields in Mozambique and Bangladesh. This past week, I joined Dr. Rich Schenck, Rev. Carol Schenck, Rev. Emily Hines, and Rev. David Hines to serve and encourage the wonderful GP team in Bangladesh. This Wesleyan ministry is less than 10 years old but has already grown to 50 churches, 10 of which were planted just last year.
This field has a holistic ministry of compassion and outreach that is bearing lasting fruit in this unreached country where less than 1% profess Christ. Dr. Rich and Rev. Carol have been actively engaged and providing oversight to this field from its earliest stages of development. They will have another team going next year and they would love to introduce you to the blessing of partnering with these anointed leaders.
DYP Lane Sander passed along the encouraging report from last evening’s “OctoberBash” hosted by Rev. Andy Jellison and his team from Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne. 120 students and adults gathered from 8 of our churches for this great night of worship, connection and outreach. Paul Masters, from Cultivate Church (LaOtto), brought a challenging message from God’s Word.
Sherry and I are looking forward to hosting the Crossroads District Youth Pastors at our place this Friday evening, October 26, 6:30 p.m. If you’re coming but have not yet sent your RSVP, please connect with Rev. Seth Bye no later than Wednesday.
Our sympathies and prayers are extended to Rev. Jim Weinmann, Mr. Elvin Weinmann, and other family members as they mourn the death of their brother Mr. Rick Weinmann, of Ohio. We also received word that Mrs. Sarah Herring, wife of retired pastor Rev. Ron Herring, passed away last Thursday. She was a vital part of their pastoral ministry and also served in Marion Community Schools for 37 years. Thank you in advance for reaching out to these families to express your support.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
This week’s team update is a guest post by Chris Williams, one of the Assistant District Superintendents in the Crossroads District.
Structuring for Effective Missional Ministry
Over the last few years, 25 of our churches have gone through the Maximizing Impact process. Our consulting teams have observed that one of the common issues facing our congregations is an inadequate leadership structure for effective missional ministry. In order to address this need, we have encouraged churches to implement the Accountable Leadership Model developed and articulated by John Kaiser in his book, Winning on Purpose.
In this model, the board governs, the pastor leads, the staff (both paid and unpaid) manage, and the congregation ministers. Understanding these four layers of church ministry organizing them accordingly helps a church align with the biblical mandate of Ephesians 4 where the leadership equips God’s people for works of service. When these four layers are working together the people in the community are reached, the people in the congregation are cared for, and the church moves toward higher levels of health and effectiveness.
To help churches implement the Accountable Leadership Model, we have designed a simple training process that can be delivered to your Local Board of Administration. The training takes approximately 60 minutes and is provided for your church at no charge. A member of our district team will introduce your church board to the Accountable Leadership Model and will outline clear next steps to help your church begin the implementation. In addition, sample policy documents and ongoing coaching are provided to assist you throughout the process.
If you would like to learn more about the Accountable Leadership Model, please contact the district office (765.674.8593 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
G19 Scholarships Still Available
The Gathering (G19) is a great opportunity for you to join with other Wesleyan ministers from across the denomination for a Sabbath from our work to stop, rest, pray, play and thrive with God and each other.
The Crossroads District Board of Administration has allocated funds for scholarships to cover 50% of the early bird registration fee for G19. This means that the Crossroads District will cover $429.50 for pastoral couples and $384.50 for single pastors that are attending the conference. This scholarship is for all solo, lead, and staff pastors in the Crossroads District, and will be available until the scholarships are gone or until registration closes (whichever comes first).
In order to receive the scholarship, ministers should:
1) Register for G19. Click HERE to register.
2) Forward your confirmation email to Roxene Lo in the Crossroads District office.
Pastors under appointment within the Crossroads District completing these two steps will receive a reimbursement check for 50% of the early bird registration costs as stated above.
Please note: Travel costs and other expenses related to attending G19 are the responsibility of the registrant.
Reserve Your Date for Maximizing Impact and StratOp
We have one remaining spring date for Maximizing Impact, our weekend consulting process to help your church move towards greater health and effectiveness. We also have several dates open for StratOp, our Strategic Planning Process for local churches. If you are interested in learning more about these two tools or in reserving your date, please contact Chris Williams (765.617.7882 or email@example.com).
Sherry and I had the privilege of joining Pastor Tom and Kara Parsons for morning worship at Hartford City Wesleyan Church on Sunday, October 7. It was a joy for me to be able to bring the message from God’s Word in this special service with Pastor Tom dedicating 4 children and baptizing 8 new believers. The congregation celebrated these steps of spiritual progress while also enjoying the comfortable new chairs that were installed just this week. After the morning service, I met with the LBA and then we hosted the Parsons family for lunch. It is encouraging to see another multi-generational, Gospel-preaching Wesleyan church thriving in small-town America!
On Monday, Wesley Seminary President Dr. Colleen Derr welcomed the Board of Advisors for our fall meeting. This fall semester marks the beginning of the 10th year for Wesley Seminary. It’s been a remarkable story from the dream stage with President Henry Smith, Dr. Ken Schenck, Dr. Keith Drury, Rev. Russ Gunsalus, and others brainstorming about a new kind of seminary that would serve the changing needs of the local church.
President Wright and the Board shared a supper with seminary faculty on Monday evening and together celebrated Rev. Stan Hoover’s service as he announced that this would be his final year as board chair. Rev. Hoover has effectively served alongside the leadership of seminary from the beginning days with Dr. Wayne Schmidt to the transition to Dr. Derr’s leadership this past year. Pray for Dr. Derr and the administration of Wesley Seminary as they chart the exciting course for this next decade of vital ministry.
Pastor Mike Colaw, Pastor Jon Wiest, and the team at Trinity Wesleyan Church hosted their first Disciple Making Conference Monday and Tuesday with more than 200 leaders from dozens of churches across several states gathering to glean insights from the disciple-making movement that God has been blessing at Trinity.
Guest speakers included Rev. George Martin, Dr. Ed Love and Dr. Wayne Schmidt joining with Jon and Mike in making the case for “disciples making disciples” as the fundamental mission of the church. If you haven’t picked up Jon Wiest’s new book (Banding Together) that tells the story, you can find it here: Banding Together listing on Amazon
I was able to jump in on the Tuesday morning session and then join with Pastor Mike Colaw as he hosted the Region 2 Pastors for a lunch meeting. We welcomed new team members to the region including Pastor Eric George (New Castle Memorial), Pastor Steve Binn (Anderson Lone Oak) and Pastor Scott McDermid (Sheridan Six Points). I’m always encouraged to hear praise reports from across our churches and there’s nothing better than seeing our pastors join in prayer for harvest opportunities in greater Indianapolis.
I was back in the office on Wednesday morning catching up on correspondence and phone calls. I met with one of our ministerial students over lunch at IWU and then enjoyed learning from Dr. Lo in his class on Evangelism and Discipleship. Rev. Russ Gunsalus and the HQ team from the Education and Clergy Development met with Dr. Smith and several members of our DBMD on Wednesday afternoon to preview the new online, competency-based ministerial preparation process that they’ve been developing. While this new process will not impact licensed ministers who are approaching ordination, it will be a significant move forward for the next generation of ministry leadership development and credentialing in The Wesleyan Church.
Thursday and Friday, I was honored to represent the Crossroads District at the IWU Board of Trustees meeting. President David Wright and his team do an exceptional job of navigating the challenging currents of Christian higher education in a society that is increasingly hostile to our Biblical values. It was inspiring to hear the reports of spiritual growth from across the campus and we enjoyed being part of the exciting 2018 Homecoming celebrations including an inspiring concert with Lauren Daigle. Congratulations to the IWU Wildcats on their first Homecoming football game.
Your prayers are always appreciated for Dr. Wright and his team as they work together to develop a truly great Christian university serving Christ and The Wesleyan Church.
Saturday morning, I dropped in on the Fairmount Camp Married Couples Retreat to thank the volunteers and staff who worked hard to pull this event together after severe September weather forced a rescheduling. Fairmount Camp’s Executive Director Angela Spangler always does a great job hosting groups. Pastor Mike and Leslie Colaw were outstanding as the keynote speakers for this year’s retreat.
This week, I’ll be meeting with pastors for coaching conversations and joining Pastor Matthew Trexler on Wednesday morning for the Region 1 Pastors Meeting at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church. Then, Dr. Rich and Rev. Carol Schenck, Rev. David and Rev. Emily Hines, and I will be heading to Bangladesh for the week to continue our leadership development partnership with Rev. Joshe Bose and his team. I’ll have the privilege of teaching pastors from the insights captured in “Lead Like Wesley.” We’ll be returning on October 18 and would be grateful to be remembered in your prayers.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday morning, September 30, I enjoyed worshiping with Pastor Dave & Carol Leitzel and the folks at Hamilton Wesleyan Church. I brought greetings from our team, met with the LBA after the service, and hosted the Leitzels for lunch. It was encouraging to see the full house and to sense the energy of 30 children worshiping in this intergenerational church. Pastor Leitzel is preaching through a series of what it means to follow Jesus on Sundays and leading a Bible study prompted by Dr. Jim Garlow’s book, Well-Versed.
Sunday evening, Sherry joined me as I traveled to New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church to install their new pastor, Rev. Eric George. I shared the message for the evening and the liturgy of installation. The service closed with a circle of leaders gathering around Pastor Eric & Diana George. Rev. George most recently served in the Greater Ohio District. Originally from New York, Pastor Eric holds degrees from Houghton College and Indiana Wesleyan University. Memorial Wesleyan has a wonderful facility, a strategic location in their community and a committed core of lay leaders. We’re joining them in praying for a bright future of Kingdom impact.
The highlight of last Monday was connecting with Dr. Richard and Rev. Carol Schenck. They are leading an innovative network of churches based out of what was Noblesville Lakeview Wesleyan Church. Their new network of ministries will be called Circle of Hope Wesleyan Church. The network includes the Noblesville campus, a campus in Beech Grove, the Bethel ministry in the core city of Indianapolis, and the former Central Wesleyan Church in Anderson, The network is combining staff and core services (website, communication, finance, administration, teaching team) to better reach these communities for Christ.
I was at Memorial Wesleyan in New Castle on Tuesday morning for the funeral of Rev. James Judd, one of our retired ministers. Rev. Ernest Batman, retired DS, and Rev. Paul Kirk, former pastor at Memorial, shared scriptures and memories of this faithful servant. Rev. Judd never pastored a large church but he was faithful in preaching the Word and leading people to Christ in every appointment. Our prayers and sympathy are extended to his family. Tuesday afternoon, I had two meetings back in Marion with ministerial students. It was interesting to connect with these leaders in the beginning chapters of their ministry on the same day we celebrated Rev. Judd’s homegoing. May God continue to send laborers into His harvest field.
Wednesday over Friday, I was in Pittsburgh for training in the life planning process developed by Leadership League. One of the commitments our District Board made last year was to develop capacity to offer life planning retreats for younger, mid-stage, and convergence seasons of their ministry. We believe that everyone in the church benefits when the leader is more effective. You’ll be hearing more about this development at District Conference 2019.
Saturday afternoon, I met with Rev. Eliorgy Guerrero and Rev. Frank Gonzalez in Warsaw to take next steps in building a network of Hispanic church leaders with a vision for church planting in the northern tier of Indiana. Both of these effective leaders immigrated to America from Venezuela and bring strong-track records of church planting experience to our team. I’m also grateful to Dr. Norman Wilson and Pastor Jarod Osborne (Warsaw Pathway) for their generosity in developing this partnership.
I’m looking forward to all that this coming week holds with board meetings at Wesley Seminary (October 1-2) and Indiana Wesleyan University (October 4-5), but the highlight will be the Disciple Making Conference at Trinity Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis: https://www.encountertrinity.com/DMC2018/ This event is sold out. Please pray for Pastor Mike Colaw and Pastor Jon Wiest as they invest in ministry leaders in our region.
Thank you for making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
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