Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Daniel Van Cise and the fine folks at W 8th Street Wesleyan Church in Marion on Sunday morning. One of the highlights of the service was Pastor Daniel leading worship with his daughter.
Pastor Van Cise noted that they were missing some of the IWU students who normally worship here, and serve on the musical team, due to the Thanksgiving break. The church was beautifully decorated in preparation for the Advent season. After the service, I enjoyed connecting with their LBA before Sherry and I hosted Pastor Daniel, Alana and their children for lunch together.
Rev. Bob Van Cise preached his final message at Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield this morning, concluding his effective season of interim ministry. Pastor Bob is proof that you never really retire from ministry! Pray with Parkview as they interview a prospective interim minister this week and continue their pastoral search.
(This photo is compliments of Dr. Jim Lo)
I’m grateful for the many ways in which our Crossroads District is working together as a team. Pastor Brian Scramlin and the Wabash New Journey Church welcomed Rev. Michael Hewitt (church planter) and commissioned one of their own families (Dale & Carrie Bradford) to join the launch team at Rising Hope Church, our newest church planting project in Muncie. Together we all are stronger as workers in His harvest!
Last week’s abbreviated schedule included a district office staff meeting on Monday, connecting on Tuesday morning with Rev. David Bannach (who has just been hired as the manager of the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission’s Thrift Store), and participating in the inaugural meeting of our district’s Investment Committee on Tuesday evening.
Like many of you, we enjoyed time at home with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday. With three sons serving in local church ministry, it’s not easy to find a time to connect but this was a very special week for the Gorveatte family. All four of our children, one daughter-in-law, and one fiancee (with a wedding date set for May 26th) joined us in Upland for the Thanksgiving celebration. We couldn’t be more grateful to God for the privilege of being their parents and watching them growing in their faith!
This week, Pastor Matthew Trexler, Chris Williams and I are in Atlanta at the John Maxwell Leadership Center for three days of church consultant training with Tony Morgan and the Unstuck Group. This is a continuation of the partnership that Dr. Aaron Willis launched with Tony’s team a few years ago. We are committed to developing the capacity to better serve the leadership teams of our local churches. The StratOp strategic planning process is a great tool for helping churches reach their full potential. You can learn more about their resources here: https://theunstuckgroup.com/
Here’s another exciting opportunity for a select group of Crossroads District pastors who really want to raise the level of discipleship in their church. Pastor Jon Wiest, Director of Multiplication for the Crossroads District will be leading a 9-month learning cohort around the topic of “Disciple Making and Multiplication” beginning in January 2018. If you have interest in joining this cohort, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Our Zone Pastors’ Christmas Fellowships are just around the corner. Mark Atkinson’s zone is hosting their Christmas get-together on Monday evening, December 4, at Eastview Wesleyan Church. Rick Fletcher is welcoming the Fort Wayne zone to Lifeway Church for their Christmas party on Tuesday evening, December 5. Check in with your zone leader for details and to reserve your place.
It’s a joy to partner with you in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday, November 19, I had the joy of welcoming Rev. Ervin Webster (as an ordained minister in transfer) and the vibrant congregation of St. Stephen Church (a developing church) as our newest congregation. Pastor Webster and his team have been worshiping in the former Warren Park building for 5 years and voted this fall to join the Crossroads District of The Wesleyan Church.
They will assume responsibility for the property and continue the partnership with a Hispanic congregation that rents out the fellowship hall. St. Stephen Church is not a large congregation yet but they are working together to give out 100 Thanksgiving meals to needy families in their neighborhood. As you have opportunity, please welcome Rev. Ervin and Karen Webster and their congregation to the Crossroads team!
Sunday evening, I was invited to conduct the pastoral installation service for Pastor Lee Miller at Muncie Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church. Dr. Dale Wheeler, who had been serving as Pastor on Loan from the Greater Ohio District, resigned midyear and the LBA recommended and the congregation called Lee, who had been serving as their assistant pastor. Please welcome Pastor Lee and Jennifer Miller as they step into this new role.
Last week began with a meeting at HQ as part of a study group considering the pilot projects being developed for regional partnerships or expanded district mergers. We heard from Dr. Karl Eastlack, who is leading the Northeast Regional conversation (a merger between Penn-Jersey and Northeast District, along with other partnership possibilities), Rev. Wes Smith (DS of the Northwest District) who is leading the regional partnership conversation with Mountain Plains District and Pacific-Southwest, and Rev. Chris Conrad (DS of West Michigan) who is leading the conversation with six districts that are moving toward a merger that would create the Great Lakes Region.
Dr. David Drury did a great job facilitating this productive working meeting as the study group considered pros and cons along with potential unintended consequences. Everyone agrees that the only compelling reason for any such restructuring is if it can help us more effectively fulfill the Great Commission. The question everyone is working on is what model might best “unleash” Apostolic Multipliers to lead the way for denominational renewal.
The Executive Committee of the General Board met on Monday evening and the full board joined us on Tuesday morning for a full agenda. In addition to the variety of statistical and financial reports that the board reviews, we enjoyed substantive conversations on regional realignment, USF study committee findings, and the new model of Sending Church : Sending Church Connection (a clarification of parameters for churches that plant or launch campuses in other districts than their own).
A highlight of our time together was the concert of prayer on Tuesday evening led by Dr. Emily Vermilya, Jordan Brown Rife, and Rev. Matthew LeRoy. The evening concluded with stations for anointing and prayer led by our own pastors Rev. Barry Dixon and Rev. Neftali Lopez. The board meeting concluded on Wednesday with everyone expressing gratitude for the many ways that God is at work in our denomination. If you’ve not already viewed Dr. Schmidt’s Thanksgiving greetings, you can access it here: https://www.wesleyan.org/wayne-schmidt-gives-thanks
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Pastor Jordan Gardner in Westfield as Paradox Church completed a loan agreement with WIF that will enable them to complete renovations. It was great to back with pastors on Thursday for coaching conversations. I met with Pastor Brian Scramlin (Wabash New Journey) and Pastor Aaron Lee (LaOtto Wesleyan) in Marion, and then met with Pastor Steve Martin at Six Points Wesleyan in Sheridan. I was encouraged by the progress reports from their ministries. Pastor Steve was able to take me on a walk-thru of their newly-remodeled children’s ministry area (one of the prescriptions from their Maximizing Impact team). It’s easy for first time guests to discover that children are a high priority at Six Points.
Thursday evening, I met with the LBA at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church. They continue receiving resumes but have been blessed by the long-term supply preaching of Pastor Bob VanCise. Dr. Bob Hallett has also filled in for the past few weeks. Vice Chair Doug Shuck is serving the church well through this transition.
Friday morning, I drove to Kentucky Mountain Bible College where I was privileged to hear Dr. Mark Eckart, my friend and colleague, present at the ReCharge ministerial. It was my first visit to the historic campus. I enjoyed getting to meet the President Phil Speas and talking with students about church planting possibilities in Indiana.
God is at work in so many exciting ways across our district team. I was encouraged to hear from Pastor Dale Munsell about the ways that God is moving in their congregation at Albion Cornerstone. Attendance is also on the upswing with 82 at yesterday’s worship service (up from last years average of 43).
The River Church in Marion celebrated baptisms yesterday and Pastor Matthew Trexler had the privilege of baptizing his son, Levi. They also received a tremendous report on their capital campaign challenge with more than $700,000 pledged to date.
Many of our Crossroads District churches participate in Operation Christmas Child. Yesterday, Pastor Mark Atkinson and the team at Gas City Eastview prayer over the 1863 shoe boxes that their congregation had prepared to bless needy children around the world in the name of Jesus Christ. Thank you to each of our churches that give generously to express the love of God in such practical ways.
Please continue to remember Lloyd Moore, Joe Allen and Brad LeRoy in your prayers! Brad’s third surgery in this recent treatment process is scheduled for today.
We are delighted to welcome home all of our children and Sherry’s parents for this year’s Thanksgiving Day. We join you in praying that everyone enjoys safe travel and many meaningful moments with your loved ones this Thanksgiving!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of joining Pastor Dan & Amy Fisher as Delphi Wesleyan Church celebrated 100 years of ministry. More than 100 people attended the morning worship service, the fellowship dinner, and the afternoon session of testimonies and memories. Pastor Dan and the team have been doing a complete update and remodeling of the building. They’ve moved the fellowship upstairs with handicap access. They’ve replaced the old pews with comfortable new chairs that allow them to use their auditorium for the new Awana program they're offering. Congratulations on a great celebration to the past 100 years and a great start to the next 100!
Sunday afternoon, Sherry and I hosted our district office staff for a Thanksgiving meal and celebration of our two November birthdays (Roxene and Chris). Following the meal, we were blessed by the musical ministry of the IWU Chorale in concert at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church under the direction of Dr. Todd Guy. If you ever want to take a master class in leadership, watch Dr. Guy inspire and motivate these students to excellence.
Last week began with our staff meeting on Monday and the Zoom meeting that Dr. Schmidt, our General Superintendent, hosts each month with the district superintendents. On Tuesday, I joined 44 of our Crossroads District leaders in Chicago for the Exponential Regional Conference featuring speakers like Ed Stetzer, Albert Tate, James McDonald, and Danielle Strickland.
The best part of these conference experiences is gathering with your team to process the fresh insights and faith-expanding challenges. We enjoyed time together as a district team on Tuesday evening and again over lunch after the closing session on Wednesday. Special thanks to Jon Wiest and Seth Bye for pulling this event together for our team. We will have a group going to the Exponential East conference in Orlando in February but this regional conference was well worth the time at half the cost. We hope you’ll make plans to join us here next fall.
Thursday, I was back on the road connecting with our pastors for coaching conversations. I met with Rev. Mark Atkinson (Gas City Eastview), Rev. Jeff Ludtke (Fairmount Wesleyan), and Rev. Neftali Lopez (Carmel Amistad Iglesia). It was good to see the new dynamic duo of Jeff Ludtke and Rob Tippey manning the espresso equipment at the Branch. It looks like they’re having fun!
Chris, Seth, and I met with Dr. Ed Hoover at our district office on Friday morning. Ed has done a terrific job of number-crunching to provide data for the regional restructuring conversations that are taking place across the denomination. Ed is also making encouraging progress after his recent surgery. Sherry and I were blessed to welcome six of our pastoral couples from the Warsaw Zone for an evening of fellowship at Thornapple Lodge. These zone fellowships are precious times of connection and encouragement. Thank you to each one who has been able to join us so far this year.
The highlight of Saturday was joining the 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration for Rev. Robert and Veralyn Van Cise that was hosted by their family and friends at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church. While Pastor Bob has preached many inspiring sermons, the greatest message he and Veralyn have preached is the example of their faith and the legacy of their family. Please remember Pastor Bob in your prayers as his doctors are working on a diagnosis for some recent health concerns.
Please continue to remember Lloyd Moore, Brad LeRoy, and Joe Allen in your prayers for full recovery from recent surgeries. The best way to track their progress is by connecting on their personal FaceBook pages.
Your prayers are also welcomed this week as the General Board convenes at Wesleyan HQ in Fishers for the annual fall meeting. These are exciting days of ministry opportunity in a changing cultural landscape. Pray that God will grant His wisdom so that we will make the most of every opportunity!
Your servant in Christ,
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Rick Fletcher and the congregation at Lifeway Wesleyan Church in Fort Wayne on Sunday, November 5. Rick and I were first introduced when my father was pastoring what was then the Moeller Road Wesleyan Church. Rev. Fletcher became senior pastor after Dad retired in 1998 and is doing a great job leading the church forward.
Pastor Fletcher and Assistant Pastor Andy Jellison lead a committed team of volunteers who minister to as many people through the week (more than 200 in youth, children and Bible studies) as they do on Sunday. After yesterday’s service, I met with the LBA briefly before Sherry and I hosted Rick and Deb for lunch.
Dr. JoAnne Lyon represented The Wesleyan Church at the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in Wittenberg, Germany last week. Closer to home, I was able to enjoy an appearance by Martin Luther (as portrayed by Dr. Bud Bence) at the IWU chapel service on Monday. Dr. Bud Bence was pictured and quoted in an article on Luther in the USAToday: Dr. Bud Bence in USAToday
Monday afternoon, I met with Rev. David Hines and Pastor Steve Mathews, our District Global Partners co-directors, in Muncie for an update on their strategic plan to engage deeper and broader support for our district partnerships in Bangladesh and Mozambique. We are committed to the priority of Global Partners as the home team that deserves our first and best support!
Monday evening, Sherry and I attended a vision chat at our home church, Waterline Church in Noblesville. Pastor John and Danielle Freed did a great job of reminding our team why we do what we do to make disciples.
I had meetings in Gas City and Pendleton on Tuesday before heading to Fountain City for Rev. Bob Anderson’s funeral service. The service was a celebration of a life well-lived for God. Rev. Anderson (or Father Bob as he was affectionately called) left a lasting spiritual impact on the congregations he pastored (including Gas City Eastview and Indianapolis Eastlawn) and the family that carry on his legacy of ministry. Please remember Rev. Ruth Anderson and the family in your prayers.
Wednesday morning, I was back at IWU for the special chapel that featured a conversation between Catholics and Protestants in light of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. While we have meaningful differences, we have so much more in common. Wednesday lunch was a delight as I connected with Jordan Delks, Development Director for Wesley Seminary. Wednesday afternoon, I met with Dr. David Smith, our DBMD chair, with special attention given to developing workshops for local congregations to go deeper in the Word. I’m grateful for the investment Dr. Smith makes in developing the next generation of leaders for The Wesleyan Church.
Thursday morning, I had the unique opportunity to join with Dr. Wayne Schmidt and his team in welcoming a delegation from the Korea Evangelical Holiness Church. Four years ago, I had the honor of meeting their leadership team in Seoul, Korea while developing articulation agreements for Kingswood University.
It was encouraging to see how this relationship continues to grow with Dr. David Drury recently visiting and Dr. Schmidt being invited to address their General Conference in 2018.
Thursday afternoon, I met with Dr. Joe Harmon, our new pastor at Lapel Daybreak and then connected with Pastor Jerry Alexander in Anderson. Friday morning, I met with a ministerial student for coffee and then connected with a church planting prospect over lunch before meeting with Dave Tippey in the afternoon. Saturday morning, I accepted an invitation from Pastor Ben Parker to join their men’s breakfast to hear Dr. Joe Harmon’s challenge. I’m looking forward to speaking to this men’s group in January.
The other big event this past week was Breakaway 2017. Special thanks to Marietta Williams (Chris Williams’ spouse) and her team that hosted more than 80 spouses from across several states. Danielle Freed was the host and Sherry (my better half) was one of the guest speakers. Congratulations to Marietta for her appointment as Promotion Director for the Gathering 2019.
Pray for our team of 40+ leaders who will be attending the Exponential MidWest Regional Conference in Chicago this week. Pray specifically that we will be challenged and equipped to more effectively make disciples and multiply congregations in our mission field.
Please remember these Crossroads District pastors who are recovering from their recent surgeries: Rev. Joe Allen (Albion), Rev. Brad LeRoy (McCordsville Harvest), and Rev. Lloyd Moore (Cicero, retired).
It’s not too late to register for the Truth at Work Conference simulcast that will be hosted this Friday, November 10, at College Wesleyan Church in Marion. Here’s a link for more details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1922743097988303/
Sherry and I are looking forward to hosting our senior pastors and their spouses from the Warsaw Zone Fellowship (Rev. Jarod Osbourne, Zone Leader) this Friday evening, November 10, from 6:30 to 9.
And, don’t forget Veterans Day on Saturday, November 11. Freedom isn’t free.
Your servant in Christ,