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