Sunday morning, November 15, I had the privilege of worshiping at College Wesleyan Church in Marion and bringing greetings in both morning services on behalf of our Crossroads District team. Dr. Steve DeNeff and his team minster with excellence and intentionality. Between the two morning services, Pastor Steve and I met with their Local Board of Administration. They are, like other churches across our district team, seeking God’s wisdom to navigate through the uncertainties of this pandemic. College Wesleyan just celebrated 125 years of ministry on the south side of Marion. Their newest project, an expansion of the JC Body Shop facility, will provide exceptional space for youth and community outreach programs. I am grateful for Pastor Steve’s exemplary leadership and our partnership in ministry with College Wesleyan Church.
Sherry and I were invited to celebrate an early Thanksgiving dinner yesterday afternoon with the congregation of Hartford City Wesleyan Church. Mrs. Velvet Haisley and her team from “The Branch” in Fairmount catered the delicious meal. Lake Placid Christian Conference Center provided space enough for distancing. Thank you to John Bonham and the wonderful staff and volunteers at HCWC who put this event together.
Yesterday, Dr. Lo, who serves as Prayer Ministry Coordinator for our Crossroads District team, ministered in Lancaster Wesleyan Church. Dr. Lo preached in the morning services and then taught an afternoon seminar on prayer walking as part of the evangelism strategy of the church. Dr. Lo ministered on prayer and spiritual warfare in several of our churches this fall (The River Church, Bryant Wesleyan, Lafayette Evergreen) and has a few dates left open for the spring. I appreciate the many ways that Dr. Jim and Roxene Lo invest in our Crossroads District leaders and churches.
Last Monday, I met with Pastor Jeff Brady for an update on the Commoners House Church planting mission. Jeff is also helping provide interim ministry at Level 13 Church during this time of transition. Pastor Mark Atkinson and I met in the afternoon. It is amazing to see the progress that he’s making in his recovery. Pray that God continues to bless him with health and strength.
Tuesday morning, I joined Dr. Schmidt and several other district superintendents for a Zoom call and then headed over to Winchester to meet with Pastor Randy Yaryan for our annual coaching conversation. I swung back through Hartford City for staff meeting before finishing up the day in Huntington.
Hope Rising Church has been working through an intentional revitalization plan that included becoming a developing church for a season. Under the leadership of Rev. Zack Working and Rev. Carla Working, the church has made incredible progress. Last year they had 24 baptisms and averaged 108 in worship. They are consistently running over 100 this fall and are ready to move from developing status into established church status. It was great to meet with their leadership team and work through that next step.
Wednesday morning, I met with Rev. Craig Thurmon, pastor of The Encounter Assembly and our district treasurer. We connected at Wesleyan HQ to review our midyear progress with the team from Shared Accounting Services, a ministry of the General Treasurer’s office. Our midyear USF collection rate came in at 93% of assessment and we are operating within our budgeted expectations. Thank you to every leader who continues to make our shared stewardship a priority.
Rev. Barry Dixon (Indianapolis Calvary Family Church) and I met at his office for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Barry also serves on our district board of administration. I value his experience and wisdom as we minister together.
Rev. Jim Weinmann (Indianapolis Evanston Avenue) and I met at Wesleyan HQ where Jim also serves on the team in Wesleyan Publishing House. Jim is another of our faithful bi-vocational pastors. In addition to his other responsibilities, Jim serves as a volunteer chaplain with the Lawrence Police Department.
My last coaching conversation of the day was with Rev. Darrel Herring who serves as supply pastor for Indianapolis Central Wesleyan Church. Pastor Darrel was rejoicing with a new believer who came to Christ on the previous Sunday and another who came back to Christ after many years away. Praise the Lord for lives being #madenew!
Thursday morning, I met with Pastor Matthew Ohime (Hamlet Davis Wesleyan) for our annual coaching conversation. In addition to leading the turnaround and remodeling project at Davis Wesleyan, Pastor Ohime has answered the call to provide leadership in establishing a resource center for homeless people in nearby Knox. God has granted Pastor Matt favor with community leaders like Bob, a local restaurateur, and miraculously provided a free building that we were able to tour together.
Thursday evening, I was at Southview Wesleyan Church, our southernmost congregation, to meet with their Local Board of Administration to begin conversations about succession planning. Rev. Rick and Mary Matthews have been a blessing as they’ve served here at Southview Wesleyan since 1983.
My last event of the week was in Warsaw. Sherry and I hosted pastors and their spouses from Region 1 North Zone for our annual fellowship time. Our group was smaller with last minute changes but we had a delightful evening with these team members.
We were saddened to receive news last week of the passing of Mrs. Cheryl (Placeway) Boss, wife of Rev. Paul Boss, on November 12. Before retiring in 2015, Rev. Boss served as pastor for Greentown Wesleyan Church and Assistant District Superintendent of the Indiana Central District for more than 20 years. A private family service will be conducted on Wednesday, November 18, in Owosso, Michigan. Our sympathies and prayers are extended to Rev. Boss and Cheryl’s family.
Rev. Mike and Leslie Colaw are delighted to announce the newest addition to their family last week. Miss Julia arrived safely on Friday morning, November 13. Rev. Colaw pastors Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church and serves as our Assistant DS for Crossroads Region 2. We celebrate this joyous occasion with the Colaw family and welcome Julia to the Crossroads District family!
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to provide leadership challenges for us all. Some of our churches may decide that discontinuing in-person services is the wisest course of action in their unique context, but the state of Indiana is not prohibiting any church from holding public worship gatherings. If you are able to provide spatial distancing through seating arrangements and/or multiple services, if you will encourage and provide masks, and if you can care for the necessary sanitizing between services, please know that you are providing an essential service to your congregation and community with our full support.
Let’s pray for and encourage each other as we work together to reach the 3 million here in Indiana, in our corner of His harvest field.
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday morning, November 8, I was delighted to worship with Pastor Scott McDermid and the team at Sheridan Six Points Wesleyan Church. This was my first time to be back at Six Points since Scott became pastor and it was encouraging to see the progress they’ve been making even in the middle of this pandemic. Scott is joined on staff by Andrew Colaw whose responsibilities include youth and worship. Following the morning service, Pastor Scott and I joined the members of their Local Board of Administration for a brief meeting. I am grateful for Pastor Scott, Nicole, and their family. They are new to The Wesleyan Church but are making a wonderful contribution as they lead at Sheridan Six Points.
Sunday afternoon, I was blessed to worship with Rev. Nicolas Zarate and Rev. Adriana Zarate at the congregation at Rey de Gloria in Noblesville. Pastor Adriana brought an encouraging message from 2 Kings 5 on Elisha and the healing of Naaman. We are grateful to God for the rapid recovery of health that Nicolas has experienced. In addition to leading this ministry as part of the Circle of Hope network, Adriana and Nicholas pastor the Hispanic congregation at United Wesleyan Church in partnership with Rev. Joe Jackson.
On Monday, the Crossroads District staff met at HQ in Fishers and hosted a lunch meeting with members of the Wesleyan Shared Accounting Services team. General Treasurer Kevin Batman and his team are providing bookkeeping and accounting services for several district and affiliated nonprofit organizations. We appreciate Kevin and his team members for their effective service to our district’s congregations.
Monday evening, Seth and I hosted the three Regional Assistant District Superintendents for a supper meeting in Fishers. Matthew Trexler (Region 1), Michael Colaw (Region 2), and Chris Williams (Region 3) are a blessing to our pastors through regional gatherings, leadership cohorts, and consulting with their pastors on variety of local church challenges.
Tuesday was Election Day and I took the opportunity to join with my neighbors voting at Upland Community Church. Thank you for all of you who voted and especially for the extra prayer focus that many of you gave to this election.
Tuesday afternoon I connected with Pastor Johnnie Blair and his team at Tipton Trinity. Michael (Woody) Wood helped me record a video to congratulate Rev. Dr. Richard Waugh, retiring National Superintendent, and the New Zealand Wesleyan Methodist Church on their 20th Anniversary. I had the joy of serving with Richard and the NZWMC team on several occasions as they were launching out and developing resources for church planting. Dr. Waugh is stepping aside after 18 years in national leadership to give priority to leading East City Wesleyan Church where our own Josh Bowlin (from Marion Chapel Pike) serves on the pastoral staff. Rev. Brett Jones was elected as the new National Superintendent and installed by Dr. Waugh, National Superintendent Emeritus.
Wednesday morning, I met with Rev. Ryan Budde at Jonesboro Westview Wesleyan Church for our annual coaching conversation. It was good to catch up with Pastor Ryan and to meet Nick Reynolds, their newest staff member, who is leading their children’s ministry. Ryan and Shelby, his wife, came to Westview after graduating from Olivet Nazarene University and serving at Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis.
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Pastor Jeff Luedtke for our coaching conversation at Fairmount Wesleyan Church’s own coffee shop, The Branch. In addition to his leadership role at the church and coaching basketball at Mississenawa, Jeff serves on our district board of administration. Dr. Amy Luetke has joined the pastoral staff, with a focus on Congregational Care and Connections, and Sydney Feree, youth ministry director, is the newest member of their team.
My last meeting on Wednesday was in Muncie with Mike Hewitt, our district’s multiplication champion, who was excited to introduce me to another prospective church planter. After our meeting, I dropped in to greet the Rising Hope staff at their weekly supper meeting. They have a great team!
Thursday morning I was in Columbia City to meet with Pastor Shane Wilson (Columbia City New Hope) for our coaching conversation and then Pastor Thomas Beck (Larwill Wesleyan Church) and I met for our coaching conversation over lunch. Dr. Wayne Schmidt hosted an online meeting for district superintendents on Thursday afternoon that I was able to join by phone. My last meeting on Thursday evening was with the leadership team at Albion Wesleyan Church. Rev. Mark and Sharie Schnell have done a great job ministering to the AWC team through the pandemic. They will not be planning to continue after the end of this conference year so it was good to visit with the AWC about possibilities for the next chapter of their ministry. I’ll be returning to Albion later this month for a congregational meeting.
Friday morning, I was blessed to represent our Crossroads District team at the celebration of life service for Mrs. Melody Barlow, wife of Rev. William (Bill) Barlow. Rev. Jeremy Armiger, pastor of Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church, conducted the service and family members shared loving tributes. Together, Bill and Melody pastored churches in the Crossroads District and also serve at World Gospel Mission. Please remember Bill and the Barlow family in your prayers.
Friday afternoon, I met Rev. Mike Schultz (Indy Trinity East campus pastor) regarding his work with bridging the racial divide. Mike has already seen God bless his initiatives in Rapid City, South Dakota, and in Muskegon, Michigan. It was also good to hear how God is at work on the Trinity East campus.
Saturday morning, I joined in on for the online meeting with Josh Delph (chair), Angela Spangler (Executive Director), and the board of trustees for Fairmount Camp. The camp staff have had a major challenge this year with Covid-19 closing most of their activities. They’ve responded well and were able to make adjustments to still host some events including 60 people for their Married Couples Retreat. The camp is still available to host events with limited capacity this winter and would welcome an opportunity to work with your groups.
Nothing brings more joy to our team than celebrating with our local churches who are seeing lives being made new by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Muncie Rising Hope Church was praising the Lord with three people who planned to be baptized yesterday morning and then rejoiced with one more new believer who stepped forward to public profess his faith in Christ. Pastor Mike Hewitt is pictured here with their youth ministry leaders Derric and Bree Gowan and the first three teens who were baptized.
Pastor Mark Atkinson is enjoying being back in the pulpit and leading the team at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church. He is preaching a series of messages entitled “I Want to Go to Church.” The highlight of this weekend was the five people who were baptized as a public declaration that their lives were being made new by God’s grace!
We continue to have several pastors in our district team recuperating from surgery and illness. Pastor Dan Clark (Monon Wesleyan Church), Pastor Steve Arnett (New Castle Mount Zion), Mrs. Cheryl Laws (Warren Wesleyan Church pastor’s wife), Rev. Ervin Webster (Indianapolis Saint Stephen’s), Rev. Alan Downing (Frankfort Connecting Point), Rev. Tony Bye (Marion Brookhaven), and Rev. Seth Bye (Crossroads staff) are among those in need of prayer this week. Thank you for carrying one another’s burdens in prayer!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday morning, November 1, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping at Rising Hope Church in Muncie. Rising Hope was planted just three years ago by Rev. Mike and Kim Hewitt. They’re doing a great job of connecting with their community including partnering with Awaken Ministries to reach Ball State University students. Rising Hope is located just 4 blocks north of the BSU campus and hosts Awaken’s Tuesday evening worship gathering. There were at least a dozen college students there yesterday morning including serving on the worship and tech teams.
Rising Hope is committed to multiplication through church planting and it was good to hear Trevor O’Dell, their first church planter resident, bring the morning message. It was also encouraging to hear an update from their youth ministry’s fall retreat. They are excited for next week’s baptism service. Thank you to each Crossroads District leader and congregation that prayed for and financially supported this new church plant in Muncie. Together we are stronger!
Sunday evening, I had the joy of dropping in on the team at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church for their Heritage service. Assistant Pastor John Walton led us in the hymn singing and testimony time. Rev. Bob VanCise brought an encouraging message from Ephesians 3:20 on the truth that our God is able to do abundantly more.
Monday, I met with Rev. Scott Rhyno in Fishers. Scott is serving as transitional pastor for Waterline Church as they continue their pastoral search. It was good to catch up with Scott and the news from Waterline. Both Scott and Elizabeth have aging parents in Canada that are in declining health and in need of prayer. That afternoon, I had the opportunity to check in with Pastor Andy Cole at Lapel Daybreak Community Church. In addition to pastoring, Andy is a skilled carpenter so I was able to visit with him onsite at one of his latest projects. Monday evening, I joined the Waterline Church pastoral search committee in an online meeting. They’ve been hard at work and are diligently working through the many resumes that they’ve received. Please pray with them for God’s best in this leadership transition.
Tuesday, I was back in Fishers to meet with Andy Riemersma. Andy serves as youth pastor on staff with Pastor Mike Colaw at Trinity Church in Fishers and also leads the Awaken team that has student ministry at IWU, Ball State, University of Indianapolis, and is preparing to launch a new chapter at the University of Louisville. Pastor Andy is an evangelist at heart and I enjoyed hearing how God is at work in his life. My last meeting of the day was with the staff at Hartford City Wesleyan Church. We are working through Andy Stanley’s book “Seven Practices of Effective Ministry” and I enjoy learning with this team.
Wednesday morning, I met with our Crossroads District office team. Rev. Seth Bye, Rev. Carla Working, and Hannah Searcy Brown are a joy to work with as we serve our district pastors and churches. We met at The River Church in Marion and then joined in on the Exponential Roundtable hosted by Assistant DS Rev. Matthew Trexler.
The Exponential Roundtables this fall are focused on the Great Collaboration (John 17). We had pastors participating from each of our three regions. The keynote speakers and the discussions groups were helpful in processing how we can work toward greater missional and racial unity in the body of Christ in a time of cultural and political divisiveness. Special thanks to Pastor Trexler and his team for graciously hosting this year’s event.
Wednesday evening, I traveled to Albion Cornerstone Wesleyan Church to meet with Pastor Dale Munsell and his leadership team. They’ve experienced significant setbacks compounded by Covid-19. Pray as they seek God’s wisdom for next steps forward to impact their community for Christ.
Thursday morning, Pastor John Miller and I met via Zoom for our annual coaching conversation. John and Heather stepped out in faith to plant Way City Church in Speedway. They launched public worship gatherings last fall (2019) but have now been ministering longer under the Covid-19 restrictions than before the pandemic. Their young church has experienced heartbreak but continues to reach out in person and online. John found an open door to serve the community by directing the Speedway High School play this year. Thank you for praying for and supporting Way City Church.
Thursday afternoon, Rev. Mike Hewitt and I met with a prospective church planting couple in Anderson. Pastor Mike serves as our district’s champion for church planters and provides great insight to our multiplication conversations. Pray for Rev. Jerome and Lenita Bell as they prayerful consider the opportunity to join our team and plant a new church to help reach Madison County for Christ.
Friday, I wrapped up my office work and headed to Indianapolis for a pastoral visit with Rev. Ervin Webster. Rev. Webster leads our St. Stephen’s Church in Warren Park. He suffered a stroke last month while vacationing in Tennessee. Pastor Webster is recovering at home, and looking forward to being back to full strength soon.
We are celebrating baptisms again this week. Pastor Mike Colaw and the team at Trinity Church in Indianapolis baptized 8 new believers this past weekend. All eight of these new professions of faith are part of the youth ministry so Youth Pastor Andy Riemersma had the joy of officiating in the sacrament of baptism.
If your church has recently celebrated baptisms but we’ve not yet received word at the district office, please send a note along with pictures. We are always glad to share these encouraging reports with the district team!
Congratulations to Rev. Eric and Amanda Roemer (Greentown Wesleyan Church) on the safe arrival of their son Asher, the newest addition to their family to join their two daughters. Congratulations also to Pastor Jordan and Daniel Rife (College Wesleyan Church) on the safe arrival of their first child, Evey Joy. We celebrate God’s blessing with these families!
Our deepest sympathies are extended this week to Assistant Pastor Josh Warren (Laketon Wesleyan Church) on the passing of his grandfather, and to Rev. Bill Barlow and his family on the passing of Melody Barlow, Bill’s beloved wife, mother and grandmother. Please remember these families in your prayers.
Congratulations to Rev. Shawnda Dykhoff (Marion Brinker Heights Wesleyan Church) on the happy occasion of her engagement to be married to Mr. Kyle Bilbee.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent