Sunday, October 24, I was blessed to worship with the team at College Wesleyan Church and bring greetings from our district family. Assistant Pastor Ethan Linder brought the message from God’s Word and Daniel Rife hosted the service. Jordan and Daniel do a great job developing new worship leaders and yesterday morning we were blessed to be led in worship by Aynsley Vermilya (daughter of Dr. Jim and Dr. Emily Vermilya).
College Wesleyan is a wonderful partner in the Crossroads District ministry in many ways including hosting several of our recent ordination services and district conference sessions. They are also hosting our Retired Pastors and Spouses Fellowship on November 12. I am grateful for Dr. Steve DeNeff’s friendship through the many years and am excited to see what God has in store for Steve’s next 20 years at College Wesleyan.
Sunday afternoon, I joined Rev. Carla Working (DBMD Vice-Chair) as she led a Q & A session for prospective ministerial students at Restoration Church in Anderson. Rev. Mike Weller, founding pastor of Restoration, is building a ministry team that is mission focused. Carla did a great job of answering questions and casting vision for the ministry development process that is vital to our district partnership.
Rev. Working also organized our first CDI (Crossroads District Institute) to offer the required ordination class in Wesleyan Church History and Discipline. Special thanks to Rev. Chris Williams (DBMD Chair) and Lakeview Wesleyan Church for hosting our two Saturday sessions. One student audited and 15 took the course for ordination credit. I had the joy of teaching these students both in person and by Zoom. The students came from our Wesleyan churches in Chesterton, Columbia City, Gas City, Greenwood, Huntington, Indianapolis, New Castle, Pendleton, South Bend, and Tipton.
The age of the students ranged from their 20s to 60s. Some are staff pastors in midsize churches and others are leading in church plants. One third were women and one in four represented ethnic minorities. It was an inspiring picture of our current mission field and the future of our district. After our final session on Saturday, most of the students were able to join us for the graduation party!
Last week’s calendar included coaching conversations with Rev. Barry Dixon (Indianapolis Calvary Family Church) and Rev. John Miller (Speedway Way City Church) on Wednesday. Rev. Brian Holland (Westview Wesleyan), and Rev. Seth Bye (Avon 317Church) both met with me in Marion for coaching conversations on Thursday.
Another highlight of the week was the leadership development event for Region 2 pastors hosted by Rev. Mike Colaw and the team at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church on Tuesday morning. Our guest presenter was Dr. Jonathan Morgan, Associate Professor of Theology at Indiana Wesleyan University. His excellent presentation focused on how we ground our identities, particularly our sexual identities, in Christology. Pastor Mike and his team will be hosting a Region 2 Christmas event on November 19. Watch for your email invitations and RSVP as soon as possible!
After the graduation party with the DBMD class on Saturday, I made a quick trip up to Silver Lake Wesleyan Church to connect with Pastor Duane Seitz and his team. They were hosting an open house and free hog roast for the community. They’ve been working hard to clean up the church property and have recently completed a new nursery at the back of the auditorium. It was good to hear about the new connections they were able to make with community families. I am grateful for the vision and commitment of Pastor Duane and JoEllen Seitz who are faithfully serving this rural congregation.
Congratulations to our pastors who are celebrating growing families! Pastor Ben and Kirsten Jones (North Liberty Beaver Creek Wesleyan Church) welcomed their first child Violet on October 15.
Rev. Theo and Randy Griffin (Greenfield Brown’s Chapel) were blessed with the addition of their first grandchild Jason Alijah Hill on Monday, October 18. We thank God for these precious gifts and we are pleased to hear that both mothers and their babies are now at home and doing well.
Last Friday, Pastor Seth Bye and I attended the funeral for Michael (Woody) Wood’s uncle Pat. Pastor Rick Fletcher and Associate Pastor Andy Jellison conducted the service at Fort Wayne Lifeway Wesleyan Church. On Wednesday of last week, Pastor Bob McHenry (Marion Nelson Street) received word that Phil McHenry, the last of Bob’s four older brothers, had passed away. Pastor Bob will be presiding at the funeral tomorrow morning, October 26, in Elkhart. Please remember these families in your prayers.
This is the last week of October, better known as Pastor Appreciation Month! Here’s a helpful link with resources to assist your congregation in blessing your pastoral staff members: https://resources.wesleyan.org/pam
Calling all Crossroads District retired ministers. We would love to have you join us for the Retired Ministers and Spouses Fellowship on Friday, November 12, at College Wesleyan Church in Marion. You may register by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a voicemail message at our office: 765-674-8593
Make plans to join us for The Heartland Gathering on March 22-24, 2022 in Pigeon Forge, TN. Each church received a scholarship for one pastoral couple to register that can also be applied toward the THRIVE initiative. We’re excited for this opportunity for our pastoral families to rest and renew together. For the speaker lineup and more detailed information, please visit:
Three million Hoosiers have no relationship with Christ or His church. Thank you for partnering together in the Harvest!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. If you haven’t heard Pastor Johnnie Blair’s (Tipton Wesleyan Church) new album, I invite you to check out this link for a sample: