This week’s team update is a guest post by Chris Williams, one of the Assistant District Superintendents in the Crossroads District.
Update Regarding Mark Gorveatte
On October 22, our District Superintendent Mark Gorveatte experienced a heart attack and was admitted to the hospital in Fishers. After successfully inserting a stent and monitoring his heart for 48 hours, doctors sent Mark home on Thursday.
His travel schedule will be limited for the next few weeks but he will be able to receive phone calls as necessary.
Rev. Mike Colaw, Vice-Chair of the DBA, can handle action items that may need DBA decisions. Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant District Superintendent, is leading the office team and can help with any administrative support you may need. Rev. Seth Bye, Executive Ministry Partner, will be reaching out to reschedule appointments.
Last Week to Save $50 for The Heartland Gathering
Early bird registration for The Heartland Gathering ends this week. The registration fee covers two nights of lodging, breakfast for two days, and the conference experience. Lunch and dinner are on your own each day. If you register before October 31, the fee is $300. On November 1, the fee will increase to $350, so be sure to register this week to take advantage of the savings.
This event was birthed out of a partnership between the Crossroads, Greater Ohio, Indiana South, and Kentucky-Tennessee District and is designed to create space for our pastoral families to have fun, develop new friendships, and flourish.
To that end, we reserved The Ramsey Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and designed a high-quality event geared to give you time away for rest, connection, fun, and inspiration.
Join us March 10-12, 2020 at The Heartland Gathering.
To register for the event, visit the conference site at gathering.heartlandregion.org.
Sunday Church Visits and the Installation of Rev. Shawnda Dykhoff
It was a joy for me to preach in the morning service at Calvary Family Church in Indianapolis. Pastor Barry and Joyce Dixon have led this church for the last 10 years and have developed a warm and loving congregation there. Before the service, I was able to meet with Pastor Barry and hear about the ministries of the church and the unique challenges they face in the urban context.
While I was visiting our brothers and sisters at the Indy Calvary Family Church, Mark was able to be at Marion Brinker Heights. Mark shared this update:
“I was grateful for the privilege of preaching Sunday morning and installing Rev. Shawnda Dykhoff as pastor of Brinker Heights Wesleyan Church. God is so good!”
Pastor Joe Jackson and the congregation at Anderson United Wesleyan celebrated baptisms on Sunday (Pictured above). Lakeview Wesleyan also baptized four in their weekend service (Pictured below).
If you’ve recently had a baptism service at your church that we haven’t heard about, please send along a report and any pictures you can share.
Building a Comprehensive Outreach Strategy, Part 1
As I work with churches in coaching and consulting relationships through Maximizing Impact and Strategic Planning Weekends, I have been talking to them about how to develop a comprehensive outreach strategy.
Four Components of an Outreach Strategy
Level One: Public Relations. The first and most basic level of an effective outreach strategy is the things we do to signal to our community that we see ourselves as part of the neighborhood, town, or city. These might involve putting a float in the Christmas parade, serving at the town festival, or participating in a community-wide special event.
Level Two: Meeting Needs. The next level of an effective outreach strategy is finding and meeting tangible needs in our community. This could involve adopting a school to provide backpacks or school supplies. It may also mean running addiction recovery programs or a food pantry. It could also take the form of job training programs that help the unemployed or underemployed find and keep higher-paying jobs. All of these are things the church can do to demonstrate the love of Christ to its community.
Level Three: Bridge Events. A bridge event is an event that the church offers in an attempt to attract people from the community into an environment where they can make a connection with the church, hear the Gospel, and be introduced to the person of Jesus Christ. While these events can be held onsite or offsite, the main purpose is the same: Build a bridge to the people in your community that makes it easier for them to find their way into the church and into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Level Four: Personal Evangelism. This level of an effective outreach program occurs when a church equips every follower of Christ to intentionally and consistently share their faith with others. If every follower of Christ led just one person to Christ each calendar year, the church’s missional impact would double every twelve months. This may seem like an unrealistic goal. However, the call of Jesus to each person is to follow him and fish for people (Matt. 4:19).
If you are interested in learning more about our Maximizing Impact or Strategic Planning Weekends for churches in the Crossroads District, feel free to reach out to me (email@example.com) to schedule a conversation.
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Dave Dignal and the Edgerton Wesleyan Church family yesterday morning. Edgerton is a small community on the Indiana-Ohio border. Pastor Dave has a great team and they are actively reaching out to nearby communities with musical concerts, children’s ministry, and home Bible studies. The church has been working through the Oikos model of evangelism (key resource is Tom Mercer’s book “8 to 15: The World is Smaller Than You Think”).
Edgerton Wesleyan Church averaged 104 last year (more than 5% of the population in their zipcode) with 12 professions of faith and 8 baptisms. After preaching the morning message and chairing a brief stand-up meeting of the LBA (local board of administration), Sherry and I hosted Pastor Dave and Stevie for lunch.
Last Tuesday, I journeyed to Wheaton College with Chris Williams and Seth Bye for a seminar hosted by Dr. Ed Stetzer and the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. Ed and his team are currently engaged in research on the future of denominations in America. Ed also took us on a tour of their museum. One of the exhibits talked about the impact of early Methodism in America. The last line read: “When Francis Asbury first came to America in 1771 there were approximately 300 Methodists in the whole country; at his death in 1816 Methodists numbered over 200,000.”
Three key points from Stetzer’s presentation were that effective denominations will be those that are mission-centric (Great Commission focused), pastor-centric (the primary customer), and contextually adaptive (without compromise on truth). While the seminar was informative, the best part of the day was time spent on the road with Chris and Seth. We are blessed to have these guys serving our district and I’m grateful that they, along with Roxene Lo, partner with me in this ministry to our Crossroads team.
Wednesday, I was back on the road for coaching conversations. Pastor Paul Van Cise and I met at Bryant Wesleyan Church in the morning. Paul was encouraged by the 4 baptisms in August and the development of more small groups. Last year they averaged 136 in a town that has a population of 252 (2010 Census). Congratulations to the Bryant Wesleyan Church as they celebrated their 135th Anniversary of ministry this weekend!
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Rev. Randy Yaryan in Winchester where he pastors the Union Street Wesleyan Church. Randy is another one of our bivocational pastors who faithfully serves the church while also driving a bus and doing real estate development.
Thursday was an office day but I was glad to have Noah Farmer drop by. Noah pastors the Jonesboro campus of Eastview Wesleyan Church. Both Gas City and Jonesboro Eastview were preparing for “First Responders Sunday” and together they celebrated 8 baptisms between their two campuses this weekend!
Friday and Saturday, Dr. David Smith led the members of our Crossroads District Board of Ministerial Development (DBMD) in ordination interviews for an outstanding group of candidates. We interviewed ministers transferring into The Wesleyan Church as well as our own students who have completed their coursework and years of service. The interviews included women and men, four ethnic groups, pastors, church planters, and missionaries. Special thanks to all the members of the zone, regional and district-wide DBMD who invest countless hours in meetings and prayerful development of those who are answering God’s call to ministry within The Wesleyan Church. We are anticipating a wonderful ordination service on Friday evening, June 26, at College Wesleyan Church.
One of the candidates we interviewed for ordination is Pastor Craig Thurmon (pictured above). Craig is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University (B.A.) and Wesley Seminary (M.Div). He and Tiffany, his wife, are leading a launch team to plant a new Wesleyan church (TEA – The Encounter Assembly) on the far east side of Indianapolis.
Pastor Craig shared encouraging reports about their disciple-making ministry. Yesterday, the Thurmons and their team hosted an outreach called “Truth and Treats” in their community to create opportunities to share the Gospel and pray with their neighbors. Please pray for the Thurmons and this new Kingdom community in Indianapolis!
Congratulations to our own Dr. JoAnne Lyon who was elected as Vice-Chair for the National Association of Evangelicals last week. Dr. Lyon has maintained her active engagement as Ambassador for The Wesleyan Church since retiring from being General Superintendent. God continues to open amazing doors for Dr. Lyon in Kingdom service so let us be faithful in praying for her.
Congratulations also to Pastor Mark Atkinson (Eastview Wesleyan) on his recognition by the Gas City Chamber of Commerce at their annual banquet and awards ceremony, which was held on Tuesday, October 15. Pastor Mark was one of three people who received the 2019 President’s Award for the impact he has on his community. The other two individuals receiving this award were Mississinewa Community Schools Superintendent Tab McKenzie and Grant County Community Foundation President/Chief Executive Officer Dawn Brown. The awards were presented by Lezlie Winter (Gas City Chamber President).
There is still time to register for the special seminar led by Dr. Bud Bence on “Wesleyan Church History and Discipline.” The seminar will fulfill the requirements for this course in the ordination track and for transferring ministers. The event will be hosted at College Wesleyan Church and begins on Friday evening, November 1 (6:30 pm) and concludes at 5:30 pm on Saturday, November 2. The $90 registration fee includes the course books. Here’s the link to register: Wesleyan Church History and Discipline
Thank you for all you do to make a difference for the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. Make sure your teenagers have registered for Follow 2019. This promises to be a life-changing event for our students! https://www.wesleyan.org/event/follow-2019
Sunday morning, October 13, I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Gary & Karen Bingham and their church family at Hillside Wesleyan in Marion and bringing the morning message. Pastor Gary has faithfully served Hillside since 1992 and last year they averaged 117 in worship with 11 new believers baptized.
The Hillside Church family came together this past week to lovingly support Karen, her mother, and the family, at the passing of Ray Noll, her father. (Ray, aged 91, was a beloved member of the congregation who served his country in World War II.) Pastor Gary and I met briefly with the Local Board of Administration following the morning service and then joined the congregation for lunch in their fellowship hall.
Sunday afternoon, I was able to drop in on Pastor John Hannan and the launch team of CrossRoads Church in Union City as they were setting up for another community outreach event. (Pastor Mike Hewitt graciously loaned them the giant inflatable bouncy castle from Rising Hope.) The CrossRoads team spent last week knocking on doors and inviting neighbors to this gathering. Fifty-five people registered and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of food, fun, and fellowship with Pastor John and his team.
Sunday evening, I had the privilege of joining with the congregation of Greenfield Brown’s Chapel Wesleyan Church in welcoming and installing their new pastor Rev. Theo Griffin. Pastor Theo and Randy, his wife, are looking forward to settling into their new home and their new assignment. Dr. Abson Joseph, Academic Dean of Wesley Seminary, is a dear friend of Rev. Griffin and led the prayer of blessing as the leaders and congregation members gathered around the Griffins at the altar. The congregation hosted a lovely reception for the Griffin’s after the service.
Last week included meetings on Monday with Dr. David Vardaman (IWU School of Theology and Ministry) and Josh Delph (Chair of the Fairmount Camp Board of Trustees). On Tuesday, the Wesley Seminary board met in session for the day and I was able to represent our district on that board. Wednesday, I checked in on Dr. Ed Hoover as he prepares for a move to Fishers. That evening, I attended the congregational town hall meeting at College Wesleyan Church hosted by Pastor Steve DeNeff. College Wesleyan is working on plans to expand their facilities to better serve the community.
Thursday and Friday, I had the opportunity to represent our district as the Indiana Wesleyan University Board of Trustees convened for their fall meetings. Several members of the Crossroads District serve on this board including Dr. Dale Sloan, Dr. Nathan Hoover, Dr. Steve DeNeff, Mr. Don Cady, Mr. Gary Ott, and Dr. Carl Shepherd, who is the Board Chair. These are challenging days in higher education in general, and Christian higher education is facing strong headwinds. Dr. David Wright continues to lead Indiana Wesleyan University with wisdom and with grace. Indiana Wesleyan University needs and deserves your consistent prayers and generous support.
My last official assignment of the week was to join Pastor Mike Colaw, Assistant DS for Region 2, on Saturday morning as he hosted his pastors for a breakfast with special guest Rev. Doug Preston, pastor of Lifeline Church in Greensburg and a revitalization specialist with Dirt Roads Network. Barbara Nichter always does a great job coordinating these gatherings and this was no exception. It was encouraging to hear reports shared by the pastors of how God is moving across this region. Pastor Colaw closed our gathering by having us circle around and pray for John Hannan, our church planter in Union City.
We’re always delighted to share reports of baptisms from around the Crossroads District team. This week, we join Heaven in rejoicing over lives changed by the Gospel and celebrated by following Christ in the waters of baptism at Marion College Wesleyan Church (3), Lapel Daybreak Community Church (2), and Muncie Rising Hope Church (8). If you’ve recently had a baptism service at your church that we haven’t heard about, please send along a report and any pictures you can share.
We’re excited to announce that Dr. Bud Bence will be teaching a special seminar on Wesleyan Church History and Discipline next month, November 1-2, at College Wesleyan Church in Marion. This course may be taken in fulfillment of your ministerial license / ordination requirements or for personal enrichment. There is a registration fee of $90 for the seminar. Here’s the link for more information and to register:
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. Register now for Follow2019: https://www.wesleyan.org/event/follow-2019
Sunday morning, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Matthew & Kendra Ohime and the congregation at Davis Wesleyan Church (about halfway between Plymouth and Valparaiso). Pastor Matt and the team at DWC have been actively engaged in a revitalization project for this historic congregation. They celebrated baptisms in May, hosted a Maximizing Impact weekend, have updated their signage at the campus and nearby intersections, and are doing a significant remodeling of the auditorium.
After the service, I met with the Local Advisory Committee and the Ministry Leadership Team members. Then I had the joy of hosting the Ohime family, including their delightful children, for lunch. Kendra is actively involved in the ministry and leads the band program for Oregon-Davis schools. Pastor Matthew and Kendra also lead a Grief Share ministry that is having an impact on their community.
Sunday afternoon, I dropped in on Pastor Logan & Nancy Westrick and their team at Tipton Ash Street Wesleyan Church. Pastor Westrick had knocked on the doors of the 50 neighbors closest to the church and invited them to a cookout. 35 people showed up last night, including 8 people for whom this was their first contact with the church!
Last week began with the Region 1 team meeting at The River Church in Marion. Assistant DS Matthew Trexler leads this region and we were challenged by a presentation from Dr. Steve DeNeff on leading the “Church in Antioch.” Steve’s talk generated good follow-up conversations. Pastors are all busy but taking time to connect, to learn together, and to pray with one another is a special opportunity that adds value to each individual and strengthens our team.
Monday afternoon, I joined a conference call of Heartland Region district superintendents and the multipliers roundtable. It was good to catch up with this team and we had a clarifying conversation that affirmed the collaboration we’re enjoying while deferring any action toward merger. We do have a joint Heartland Region event coming up this next March 10-12, 2020 and you won’t want to miss it. Special guests include Pastor Albert Tate, Dr. Wayne Schmidt, and Pastor Heather Semple.
Tuesday morning, our district staff met in Marion and then I hit the road for a coaching conversation with Pastor Mike Colaw (Trinity Wesleyan Church) in Fishers. Later that afternoon, I was able to catch up with Pastor John Freed and Dr. Wayne Schmidt (a member of Waterline Church’s multiplication team) as Waterline Church considers their next steps in reaching out. Congratulations to Waterline Church for being recognized as one of last year’s top 100 multiplying churches in America by Outreach magazine!
Wednesday morning, Pastor Dale Munsell welcomed me to Albion Cornerstone Church for our annual coaching conversation. Wednesday afternoon, Pastor Lyle Breeding and I met at Bluffton Sonlight Wesleyan Church for our coaching connection. I’m always blessed to connect with our pastors and hear how God is at work in their ministries!
Thursday, the District Board of Administration met at The Branch (the coffee house ministry of Fairmount Wesleyan Church). We began in the morning with an orientation session. More than half of our DBA members are serving either their first or second term so it was helpful, even for some of us long-term members, to review the responsibilities of the DBA (39 items in The Discipline). We also took this opportunity to refresh our understanding of the Accountable Leadership model (policy governance/Kaiser) that we use to guide our work.
The afternoon DBA session was highlighted with updates from the church planting projects led by John Miller (Way City Church in Speedway), Aldean Pablo (SEND Church in Fort Wayne), and John Hannan (CrossRoads Church in Union City).
Friday morning, Assistant DS Chris Williams and I met for our weekly briefing and worked on follow-up items from the DBA meeting. The DBA is preparing two additional memorials to submit to the General Board for consideration at General Conference. One of those would replace area representatives with “at-large” members on the General Board and limit districts to two members. The second proposal would streamline the process for welcoming transferring ordained ministers from other denominations who have a track record of effective service. This will be helpful as we become more diverse, welcoming leaders from other cultures and countries.
Friday evening, Sherry and I were blessed to welcome members of the Warsaw Zone for an evening of fellowship and encouragement at Thornapple, our home in Upland. We had a delightful time together punctuated with laughter and prayer. We really have a remarkable team of pastors and spouses serving here in the Crossroads District.
Saturday morning, I was able to check in with Rick Carder and his Zone DBMD team as they interviewed ministerial students at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church. Our district’s dedicated DBMD teams are investing in more than 100 students this year.
That cohort of ministerial students includes nearly 20 people answering the call for whom Spanish is their first language. Special thanks to Adriana Zarate who coordinates the FLAMA seminars in our district. Rev. Johanna Rugh, from the General Department of Education and Clergy Development, helped lead this weekend’s FLAMA seminar hosted by Circle of Hope Church in Noblesville.
Eastview Gas City Wesleyan also hosted the first session of “Resourcing God’s Vision” on Saturday morning. This is a pilot program with Dr. Bob Hallett (who has helped churches raise more than $300 million) providing training and coaching for our pastors in proven stewardship principles and practices. We had a productive time together and I am grateful to Dr. Hallett for making this investment in our leaders. If you were unable to come but would like to connect for a one-on-one coaching session, please contact our office to make those arrangements.
What a joy to celebrate stories of life change from across our Crossroads District team. Here are pictures from recent baptisms at Sweetser Wesleyan Church (Pastor Matthew Stewart), Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church (Pastor Mark Atkinson), and Greentown Wesleyan (Pastor Eric Roemer) celebrated six baptisms yesterday!
Prayer is requested for Oni, daughter of Pastor Calebb (youth minister at The River Church) and Tori Proehl. She has corrective surgery today in Cincinnati and will be hospitalized for several days of recovery. You can follow them on Facebook.
Pastor Rick and Mary Matthews (Indianapolis Southside Wesleyan) would also appreciate your prayers for their son, Brett, who has been hospitalized for several days awaiting open-heart surgery.
One last exciting update. What would you not be willing to do to connect with people in your community and build a bridge to share the Gospel? Pastor Judy Hatt and her team at Hope Wesleyan Church in Fowler caught a vision to create a breakfast club for neighborhood children. They serve French toast and scrambled eggs along with a Gospel presentation on Saturday mornings.
They decided to call it “Mario and Luigi’s Breakfast Club” and Pastor Judy joined in the fun by dressing as one of the characters. Eleven children were there last Saturday morning, most for the first time. Thank you, Pastor Judy, for leading by example!
Let’s keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. Register now for Follow2019: https://www.wesleyan.org/event/follow-2019