The regularly scheduled Crossroads District Team Update will return on January 4, 2021. Our office is closed this week to allow our district staff the opportunity to rest and connect with family.
I am hearing encouraging reports about our churches connecting and serving during Christmas week. We’re hoping to capture as many of those stories as possible in a special edition of our Team Update that we’ll share next Monday.
If you have a ministry report from your church that you would be willing to pass along for this special edition, please email a paragraph with the details and one or two pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: “Christmas report.”
To be included, please send your report no later than 5 pm, Thursday, December 31.
The Crossroads District and the Thrive Initiative of The Wesleyan Church have teamed up to provide a practical way to bless you and your family. You are running hard in ministry but, to sustain long-term effectiveness, you also need to rest well. Toward that end, we are making available a $475 grant towards a retreat of two nights or more. Learning resources are provided to make this time as profitable as possible.
The Thrive Initiative has a $500 matching grant available with a second set of learning resources. If your church also elects to participate in this initiative (i.e. paying down ministerial student loans, topping up retirement, fitness equipment), additional matching funds up to $500 are available. For the first month, this opportunity is only available to the first 100 solo or senior pastors that sign up. This opportunity will be made available to assistant pastors starting February 2, 2021.
For more details, please follow this link:
Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday, December 20, I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Thomas and Julie Beck at Larwill Wesleyan Church. Pastor Thomas has been serving LWC as a bi-vocational pastor since his initial appointment in 2000. Thomas and Julie are joined in this ministry by their son who runs the audio and their daughter who serves in the music ministry. Last conference year they averaged 25 in worship with 3 professions of faith. They have experienced the challenges of the pandemic but in-person ministry has continued through the year. I’m grateful for Pastor Beck and our many bi-vocational pastors who serve so faithfully and sacrificially.
Last Monday, I was in Fishers to meet with Rev. Jon Wiest who leads discipleship consulting with Groundswell. Jon does a great job helping pastors and their leadership teams across the country to develop personal disciple-making ministries. After my meeting with Jon, I had the joy of stopping by to visit with Dr. Ed Hoover and to wish him a “Happy 93rd Birthday” on behalf of our district family.
Dr. Hoover has the distinction of having served on the district boards of both Indiana Central and Indiana North and on the Indiana District Conference that preceded them. In addition to the many significant ways he has served in our denomination across the years, Dr. Hoover played a key role in the forming of the Crossroads District. He is a great example and encourager to many of us.
Monday evening, I joined the LAC (Local Advisory Committee) of Avon Nehemiah Church for a meeting via ZOOM. With the resignation of Pastor Ben Thomas, the church has been blessed by the interim ministry of Rev. Jim Bogear. Jim and Jerolyn Bogear have an expanding national ministry coaching leaders so I was grateful that Jim could make time to help us here. With the recommendation of Nehemiah Church’s LAC and the approval of our DBA, I have appointed Rev. Seth Bye to serve as supply pastor through the remainder of this conference. Seth will continue to serve on our district staff team but will be ministering at Nehemiah Church each weekend.
On Tuesday, our district office staff and their spouses joined Sherry and me for our Christmas staff appreciation luncheon in Kokomo. Even without the pandemic, it has been a year of significant transition with Rev. Chris Williams moving into the lead pastor role at Lakeview Wesleyan Church and Mrs. Roxene Lo retiring. In addition to Seth continuing in his role, Hannah Searcy Brown and Rev. Carla Working have joined the team. They have enjoyed getting to know our team and are both a blessing to work with in our district office.
Tuesday afternoon, I connected with Rev. David Kelly about the ministry of Well Springs of Freedom in their Marion office. I am pleased to announce that we will be partnering with Well Springs to offer free sessions of prayer-guided counseling with their team for 25 of our pastors in the new year. Well Springs has generously provided the first five sessions and the Crossroads District will cover the cost for the next twenty. Pastors, you can learn more about this ministry and schedule your appointment in the Marion office through their website:
Wednesday was a snow day but ZOOM made it possible to connect with Rev. Rochelle and Travis Jenkins for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Rochelle and Travis have been planting a house church called “Circle City Church” in the Irvington area of Indianapolis. Rochelle is also an RN so this has been an extremely challenging year.
The snow day also allowed me to jump in on the Exponential webinar that featured our own Dr. Ed Love with a panel of experts discussing what church planting will look like as we emerge on the other side of this pandemic. It was very encouraging to hear the many ways that God is working even now to launch new Kingdom communities.
I was back on the road Thursday for a lunch meeting with Rev. Clifton Ashlock in Anderson before heading on to Southview Wesleyan Church. Southview Wesleyan has been blessed by the ministry of Rev. Rick and Mary Matthews since 1983. With Rick’s coming retirement, the church is working through the pastoral search process for the first time in nearly four decades. The LBA is working prayerfully and diligently to prepare to launch their search process in January. Please join them in prayer for God’s direction in this important decision.
Pastor Matthew Trexler, Assistant DS for Region 1, had a minor surgery on Friday that interrupted his plans to deliver Christmas gifts to Region 1 pastors. I was glad to become Santa’s helper and had the privilege of delivering gifts for Rev. Jeff Brady (Commoners Church), Rev. Mark Schnell (Albion), Rev. Matthew Stewart (Sweetser), and Rev. Allen Laws (Warren). Many of you will know Cheryl Laws has been undergoing treatments for cancer. I was honored to represent our team in prayer with Pastor Allen and Cheryl. Please continue to keep Cheryl and Allen in your prayers.
My final stop of the day was with Rev. Paul Van Cise in Bryant. I was encouraged to hear how Bryant Wesleyan has been busy in the Christmas season. They helped a paraplegic neighbor with house repairs. They delivered gifts with fire trucks to the residents of County Home. Bryant Wesleyan also blessed an ALS patient in their town with a total of $17,000 contributed by the congregation and members of the community. I love hearing how God’s people are making a difference!
Saturday morning, I joined the LBA at Lancaster Wesleyan Church for their regular meeting and the opportunity to interview a prospective candidate for their church. In the next 10 years, we will have a significant generational shift in our district with approximately 50% of our pastors retiring. I am thankful that God is at work through our churches in raising up young leaders to carry the torch and expand the Kingdom!
I finished up the week by completing my rounds as Santa’s (Trexler’s) helper. On Saturday afternoon, I dropped off gifts with Rev. Zack Working (Huntington Hope Rising), Rev. Bob McHenry (Marion Nelson Street), Rev. Brian Williams (Simms), Rev. Shawnda Dykhoff (Marion Brinker Heights), and Rev. Ben Parker (Fairmount Back Creek).
On Sunday afternoon, it was great to connect with Rev. Jarod Osborne (Warsaw Pathway), Rev. Aaron Lee (LaOtto Cultivate), Rev. Dave Leitzel (Hamilton), Pastor Kyle Horton (Fort Wayne Three Rivers), Rev. David Dignal (Edgerton), Rev. Kory Christensen (New Haven Impact), Rev. Rick Fletcher (Fort Wayne Lifeway), Rev. Aldean Pablo (Roanoke SEND Church), and Rev. Lyle Breeding (Bluffton Sonlight). It was my first chance to see Rev. Fletcher since his hospitalization. I am grateful for answered prayers for Pastor Rick!
Our prayers and sympathies are extended to the family of Mrs. Della Yaryan, mother of Rev. Randy Yaryan who pastors our Winchester Wesleyan Church. Family visitation and celebration of life have been scheduled for next week. Here’s the link for complete information:
Here’s a special opportunity for our pastors and those who love them. Earlier this year, The Barna Group surveyed pastors and found that half (51%) admitted they were tired. In the week prior to the survey, 40% admitted that they had felt exhausted or sad. More than 65% of the pastors said they had felt overwhelmed regularly in that month.
I believe that God is powerfully working even as we move through this pandemic. There is a harvest coming and we must be prepared. To run hard, we need to rest well. The Crossroads District Board of Administration approved setting aside up to $50,000 for a “Rest Well Initiative” that we announced via email to our pastors on Saturday.
In summary, a pastor who successfully applies to the initiative can, after watching a video series on resting well, receive a grant of $475 for a minimum two-day renewal retreat with their spouse (if married). The goal is to come back with a plan for spiritual, emotional, and physical renewal in the coming year. Once the final video series is completed and the reflection report is submitted, the pastor will received a matching grant of $500 from our denomination’s THRIVE program to help fund that plan.
Local churches can also participate by assisting the pastor in this renewal project by investing up to $500 which will also be eligible for matching funds. With the district and local church each investing $500, the pastor would be eligible for a $1000 grant to be issued in June at our district conference. Church treasurers and the LBA vice chair of each church will receive the detailed information. Here’s the website link:
“But they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” Isaiah 40:31
We are praying that our pastors will make time to get away and wait upon the Lord, so they can be renewed to lead us forward in these exciting days of Kingdom advance!
Special thanks to Rev. Seth Bye, our district THRIVE coordinator, and to Dr. Mark Rennaker and Rev. Johanna Rugh, denominational leaders for the THRIVE program, for their partnership in designing this “Rest Well Initiative.” We are also grateful to the Lilly Foundation for their generous investment in the well-being of our pastors.
Merry Christmas to you, your family, and your church!
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sunday morning, December 13, I had the joy of worshiping and preaching at South Bend Sonlight Fellowship Wesleyan Church where Rev. Greg & Cheryl Holmes lead the ministry team. Pastor Greg is another of our dedicated bi-vocational pastors.
Sonlight Fellowship has taken positive steps forward to address repairs to the building and has been able to continue gathering in person. Pastor Greg celebrated two baby dedications in the previous two weeks and welcomed another new member of their church family yesterday morning. After the service, Pastor Greg and I met with their leadership team. They have a strategic location to serve the South Bend community and are prayerfully considering some unique partnership opportunities in the new year.
Sunday afternoon, I preached at Cielos Abiertos Iglesia Wesleyana in Elkhart. Rev. Eliorgy and Zoirata Guerrero have done a wonderful job planting this church. The initial core group was comprised of refugees from Venezuela. Pastor Geurrero’s many years of church planting and ministry leadership experience in Venezuela proved invaluable as he accepted the challenge of starting over from scratch.
After the service, Pastor Guerrero shared the exciting news that God is calling them to plant again, this time in one of our Heartland Region districts. They believe God is opening a door for them in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the new year so I will be returning to Elkhart on January 31 to participate in a special commissioning service. Pastor Guerrero has equipped leaders who will be able to carry on the ministry in Elkhart. The best news of the day was that another couple is hearing God’s call to church plant. Pastor Ruben and Susana Santos have been discipling a few families in South Bend and are ready to step out in the new year to launch a worship gathering.
Tuesday morning, I attended the Wesleyan Village board meeting via zoom before connecting with our district staff for our weekly meeting at Abbey Coffee. I met with the staff at Hartford City Wesleyan Church on Tuesday afternoon as we prepared to host two Christmas Eve services. Tuesday evening, I joined in with many of you on the Global Partners ZOOM prayer call with Dr. Dennis Jackson, Dr. Wayne Schmidt, and Rev. David Horn. God is at work around the world, even in this pandemic. Dr. Jackson share the exciting news that close to 200 new Wesleyan churches have been planted globally in the past year.
Wednesday morning, Dr. Mark Rennaker (Kokomo Southdowns Wesleyan) and I met at his home in Kokomo for our annual coaching conversation and then Rev. Joseph Park, (Lafayette Evergreen Wesleyan) and I met over lunch. The highlight of Wednesday afternoon was a Zoom call from General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt who was making prayer calls with every DS in preparation for the upcoming year of ministry. I am grateful for Dr. Schmidt’s example of intentional and faithful prayer for the leaders in our denomination.
Thursday morning, I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with Rev. Robert McHenry (Marion Nelson Street Wesleyan Church) for our annual coaching conversation. Dr. Steve DeNeff (Marion College Church) and I met for lunch and our coaching conversation. Thursday evening, I chaired the LBA meeting at Hartford City Wesleyan Church as we prepare to launch the pastoral search in the new year.
Friday morning, I met with Dr. Jim Lo who is such a valuable member of our Crossroads District team. In addition to his work with the DBMD, Dr. Lo leads our district intercessor ministry. Friday afternoon, I met with Dr. David Smith who is another valued member of our team. I’ve been blessed to work alongside Dr. Smith, first at Kingswood University and now here in the Crossroads District, for the past 10 years. These dear brothers have deeply impacted my life and so many of our pastors.
Saturday evening, I was able to connect over supper with Rev. Terry and Lennaire Vaughn, church planters of The Bridge Urban Church in South Bend. They have a powerful discipleship ministry with married couples and the ministry to single young adults continues, in spite of the challenges of meeting virtually. I am grateful for their leadership and excited to see what God has in store for The Bridge in the coming year.
We are praying this week with Fort Wayne Lifeway Church as their pastor, Rev. Rick Fletcher, continues to be hospitalized. Pastor Andy Jellison and the team are doing well at caring for the church in Rick’s absence, but we pray for a full and speedy recovery.
Rev. Dan Clark (Monon Wesleyan) continues his cancer treatments. Pastor Dan would be grateful for your continued prayer support for his health and for the Monon church.
Prayers are also requested for Rev. Randy Yaryan and the family of Mrs. Della Yaryan, his mother. The family shared the news via social media that Mrs. Yaryan’s health has taken a serious downturn and that they are placing her on comfort care.
We’re praising the Lord this week with Rev. Dan Fisher and the team at Delphi Wesleyan Church. Pastor Dan shared the good news that three people prayed to receive Christ yesterday in their morning worship service and another testified to divine healing. We join them in rejoicing with these answers to prayer. God is on the move!
Keep on making a difference until Christ comes or calls us home. Maranatha!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
This weekend was a change of pace. On Friday morning, Sherry and I drove her father back to Mississippi for a family reunion. We made it in eleven hours and then enjoyed two days with her extended family before heading home on Monday morning. Sunday morning, December 6, I attended a special merging service of two congregations that Sherry’s dad, Rev. Bob Wilkerson, had pastored in Philadelphia, Mississippi.
Rev. Austin Bishop, the pastor of Great Commission Church, the newly-created congregation from the merger, was a layman under Bob’s ministry. Austin, who was a professional sportswriter and active layman, sensed God calling him to pastoral ministry. Sherry’s dad encouraged him in that calling and Austin eventually became the pastor after Bob retired. You can imagine that it was a special joy for Rev. Wilkerson to celebrate the progress of this ministry under Pastor Bishop’s leadership.
Sunday evening, I had the chance to connect with Rev. Ryan Budde by phone and heard an encouraging report from Jonesboro Westview Wesleyan Church. Pastor Budde had the joy of dedicating a one-year-old child for a new family that began attending this past year. This was a new family that came to Westview Wesleyan through the church’s participation in Revive Indiana. Last week, the DBA approved the decision of Westview Wesleyan to move forward on several key projects around their facility with financing from the Wesleyan Investment Foundation. Pray that God continues to bless their efforts to share the Gospel in their community.
Last Monday, I met with Rev. Richard Meeks for lunch in Fishers. Rev. Meeks was the DS in East Michigan District before they merged into the Great Lakes District. Richard and his wife now live in Indy where Richard has based his church consultation ministry. He is also available for pulpit supply. Rev. Scott Rhyno and I met with leaders at Northview Church to learn more about a campus development model that they’ve been working with to accelerate their expansion. Pastor Rhyno is providing transitional leadership to Waterline Church in Fishers. My last meeting of the day was on Zoom with the Pastor Search Team from Waterline Church. They’ve been diligently and prayerfully working through the search process and it’s been a joy to serve with them.
Tuesday, I joined with Rev. Chris Williams and Rev. Matthew Trexler as they provided StratOp facilitation for Pastor Tony Bye and the team at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church. Pastor Tony has been proactive in using the StratOp process to facilitate planning at Brookhaven. This time around the primary focus was how to maximize their online ministry to both stay in touch with their existing congregation and to expand their connection with people who do not yet have a relationship with Christ and the church. We still have a few StratOp consultation dates available this spring. Please reach out to Seth Bye at the District office to see if this process could be a benefit for your team.
Wednesday, I was on the road for coaching conversations. My first connection of the day was with Dr. Oliver Dongell at Plymouth Wesleyan Church before meeting with Rev. Rich VanVuren at Shiloh Wesleyan Church. My last coaching conversation for the day was with Rev. Jere Gowin who leads the Kingsford Heights Wesleyan Church. Every pastor with whom I meet is being stretched as they lead through the pandemic. Please pray for and do all you can to support our frontline minister leaders.
Thursday, our Crossroads District Board of Administration convened at College Wesleyan Church in Marion. Given Covid concerns we had a large enough room for physical distancing and a few members who joined us via Zoom. While the agenda was full, the highlights of our meeting were the three presentations from church planters who presented their project proposals. Our DBA approved each of these projects, all of which are in our Region 2 (led by Assistant District Superintendent Mike Colaw). You’ll be hearing more about these partnership opportunities as we move forward together. It’s going to take all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people here in Indiana, our corner of God’s harvest field. Have you considered church planting?
Here’s a special invitation for all pastors. The current crisis has accelerated the need for change, and it’s bringing great opportunities to multiply disciples. Join General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt and Dennis Jackson, Executive Director for Global Partners, on a 30-minute Zoom call this Tuesday December 8 at 2:30pm OR 8:30pm EST. They are inviting us to join them in looking back on God’s faithfulness and looking forward together — to mobilizing a global Kingdom Force! One that’s multigenerational, multiethnic, multieconomic, women and men, lay and clergy — and multiplies disciples from everywhere to everywhere!
On a personal note, Sherry and I are delighted to announce that Rev. John Gorveatte and Rev. Lindsey Gorveatte, our son and daughter-in-law, surprised us last month with the exciting news that they are expecting their first child in May. John pastors Center Church in Byron Center, Michigan, and Lindsey serves on staff with Jeff Eckart’s team at Never the Same Camps. Grand-parenting is a brand new adventure for Sherry and me so we are welcoming advice from those of you who have already experienced this joy. In a time of so much loss and grief, I am grateful for God’s precious gifts of life.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent