I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Dr. Rich and Rev. Carol Schenck at Circle of Hope’s Noblesville campus yesterday morning. Many of you will know that the Circle of Hope network includes campuses in Anderson, Beech Grove, and Bangladesh. One of the special guests in this service was Carol’s brother, Ron, who was prayed for during 45 days of being intubated and battling Covid. Annette Spencer, one of the Circle of Hope team members, shared the morning message on praying for God’s will in healing.
In addition to their leadership in the local church, Carol and Rich both serve in leadership roles for the Crossroads District. Rev. Carol Schenck is District Secretary and Rich, who continues to serve in the Region 2 DBMD, has accepted an appointment leading our multi-ethnic ministry task force. Dr. Schenck is also an adjunct faculty member with IWU and works with Global Partners to provide pastor training in Bangladesh. I am grateful for their leadership and thankful for this opportunity to worship with their team at Circle of Hope.
Following the service in Noblesville, I checked in on Pastor Joe Jackson and the team at Anderson United Wesleyan at their “Sunday Funday” community outreach. The United team has been prayer walking in their community and passing out invitations to this special event. They held a combined English/Spanish worship service outdoors under a tent and then shared a cookout together. Pastor Joe was encouraged that eight new guest families accepted their invitation to join them for the meal and activities. Pray with their team as they follow up with these new friends!
Sunday evening, I had the privilege of joining with Pastor Mike and Elizabeth Weller at Restoration Church, the missional community that they are leading in downtown Anderson. Pastor Mike and his team host a supper every Sunday evening. People gather around the tables for the evening’s teaching and then are hosted in guided conversations at the table as they share supper.
Restoration Church also hosts an outdoor worship service on one Sunday evening each month. Last month, they had 54 in attendance for the outdoor service and averaged 25 for their supper church gatherings. They also offer weekly Celebrate Recovery groups, one evening for men and another for women. I’m grateful for the Weller’s and this team with a compelling vision for bringing God’s love and healing to the inner city.
Last week was full with coaching conversations, staff meetings, being a guest on a podcast, and preparation for our quarterly meeting of the Crossroads District Board of Administration. The DBA met at the Branch coffee shop in Fairmount on Thursday. We began in the morning with an orientation for newer members and the regular meeting commenced after lunch with a full agenda. It was exciting to see the steps that churches are taking to make progress in spite of the pandemic. Dr. David Smith, professor at IWU and a shepherd to district pastors, brought an encouraging update and shared copies of his newest book.
The DBA was saddened to receive written communication from Lee Miller that he was withdrawing his church planting project (Muncie Crossover Church) from our denomination and turning in his ministerial credentials. Dr. Ed Love, his coach, and I have made repeated attempts but Lee is not open to meeting with us yet. We do pray that God will bless Lee and his team as they obey what they sense to be God’s leading. We want every Gospel-preaching church in Indiana to be blessed of God as we work together to reach the 3 million Hoosiers still without Christ.
I was in Richmond on Friday morning to meet with Rev. Claudia Silva for our annual coaching conversation. While I was in Richmond, I was also able to catch up with Dr. Steve Bray who is halfway through his sabbatical. He’s doing well and learning a lot but Steve can’t wait to get back to leading the team at LifeSpring Church in November. For those of you pastors who are considering sabbaticals, I learned this week that the Lilly Endowment Fund has updated their funding approval requirements. The application deadline is November 1. Here’s the link for your planning and application.
Saturday morning, I dropped in on the Region 2 District Board of Ministerial Development as they prepared to interview ministerial candidates. Rev. Clifton Ashlock chairs this regional team and Rev. Joyce Dixon is their secretary. It was so good to see Pastor Randy Yaryan who is recovering after a very difficult battle with Covid. We also gathered around Rev. Logan Westrick to pray for his granddaughter in Dayton, Ohio that needs a medical miracle.
Pastor Andy Riemersma and the launch team as Westfield ONE Church hosted another community gathering on Sunday evening. They welcomed around 60 people for this vision-casting session with at least 15 of those being first-time guests. Pray for Pastor Andy and Leanza as they continue to build the team and move toward their January launch!
Heaven joins us in rejoicing over lives being #MadeNew by the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I’ve received reports from baptisms from Pastor Dan Van Cise and the team at Marion West 8th Street Wesleyan Church, from Pastor Neftali Lopez and the team at Carmel Amistad Iglesia Wesleyana (6 baptisms and three children dedicated), Pastor Oliver Dongell and the team at Plymouth Wesleyan (4 baptisms), and Pastor Theo Griffin and the team at Greenfield Browns Chapel Wesleyan (3 baptisms). Praise God for these wonderful reports of Kingdom advance!
Thank you to every church in our Crossroads District who has stepped up to bless Rev. Ben Capshaw’s family. With the matching gifts from ECD and the district’s Thrive Fund, the total has now surpassed $75,000. I am grateful to each pastor who led their church in responding to this heartbreaking tragedy. God is honored by your compassionate generosity and is answering your continued prayers!
Plan on joining us for The Heartland Gathering on March 22-24, 2022 in Pigeon Forge, TN. We're excited for this opportunity for our pastoral families to rest and renew together. For speaker lineup and more info, visit: gathering.heartlandregion.org
Let’s keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent