Sunday morning, January 3, I had the privilege of bringing greetings from our district team and worshiping with Pastor John and Beth Hannan at CrossRoads Church in Union City. Many of you have been praying with John and Beth as they launched CrossRoads Church on September 27, 2020. While attendance has fluctuated with Covid-19, they’ve welcomed 34 last Sunday and have baptized 8 new believers since launch. They had two first time guests yesterday who filled out a connection card and expressed their desire to get to know Christ.
Pastor John and Beth are committed to expressing God’s love in practical ways. This Christmas they raised funds to bless a grandmother in their congregation. The frame in her car rusted through and the vehicle had to be scrapped. She still wanted to attend with her granddaughter so members of the church had been driving out to bring them. The church raised enough money to purchase a vehicle. Since the fundraising had been anonymous, even the grandmother had contributed to help with the project. Imagine her surprise when they gave her the keys to the car on Christmas Sunday morning.
Few people would recommend trying to launch a church plant in the middle of the pandemic, but God is on the move as we answer His call into the harvest. Pastor Lee and Jennifer Miller are doing just that on the east side of Muncie. Rev. Miller has served effectively at Muncie Memorial Wesleyan for the past few years but sensed God’s call to reach out to the community where he and Jennifer live near the reservoir. God opened a door for them to hold launch team meetings and preview services in a former Boy Scout camp near the reservoir. This past Saturday, they hosted a sneak preview event that they shared on Facebook. Imagine how encouraged they were when more than 75 people showed up to learn more about Crossover Church. They will plan to continue building a launch team and holding preview gatherings this spring with a launch tentatively scheduled for August. Please keep our church planters in your prayers!
Many of you who are leading in the local church can relate to Pastor Scott McDermid’s Christmas update from Six Points Wesleyan Church in Sheridan. He wrote: “This Christmas Eve did NOT go as planned. A few days before, we got word of several members who had attended the previous Sunday and now tested positive for COVID (they are doing fine) but due to an abundance of caution we decided to have our Christmas Eve services online only. This was disappointing (it is often one of our busiest services of the year and a great opportunity to have visitors) but our team did a great job creating an excellent online service. Over the past 10 months we have been buying, installing and upgrading our tech (equipment, software, internet speed…) and it all came together on Christmas Eve to allow the online viewer to see and hear all the parts of the service at home.”
The year 2020 confirmed that church is more than just meeting in a building. Pastor Rich Van Vuren shared that Shiloh Wesleyan Church, near Plymouth, reached out in a new way this last year. He wrote: “We have a large number of homeless and extremely needy people in the Plymouth area and responded by doing a drive through Thanksgiving dinner in November. As a result of the Thanksgiving initiative a few ladies from our church were further burdened and spearheaded a Christmas Dinner initiative in which we dropped off over 200 meals to some of the higher homeless density areas of Plymouth and trailer parks. We had over 20 volunteers all together.”
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 Wesleyan denomination’s Thrive Initiative has a $500 matching grant available when you complete the second learning journey. 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:
I’ve been encouraging our pastors to rest well and some of them have challenged me to do the same. Last week, Sherry and I enjoyed a two-day getaway with an overnight stay in Jasper, Indiana. Joel, our youngest son, and Christie, his wife, joined us for this adventure. The highlight of our trip was exploring Marengo Cave National Landmark. If you haven’t been there yet, add it to your list. One surprising fact was that this cave has often hosted worship services in one of the larger rooms. There is even a pulpit rock dedicated (1924) to Bishop H.H. Fout of the Indiana Conference Church of the United Brethren. I’d be glad to hear about your favorite places in Indiana to rest and recharge.
There is no guarantee that 2021 will be any less challenging than 2020, but never doubt that God will prove Himself to be faithful again this year. The spiritual needs have never been greater and the Kingdom opportunities have never been more abundant. I am believing with you for a terrific year of ministry as we labor together here at the Crossroads of America. Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 1:3-6 NIV
P.S. – I encourage you to check out this helpful article from Dr. Dan Reiland: