Sunday morning, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Matthew & Kendra Ohime and the congregation at Davis Wesleyan Church (about halfway between Plymouth and Valparaiso). Pastor Matt and the team at DWC have been actively engaged in a revitalization project for this historic congregation. They celebrated baptisms in May, hosted a Maximizing Impact weekend, have updated their signage at the campus and nearby intersections, and are doing a significant remodeling of the auditorium.
After the service, I met with the Local Advisory Committee and the Ministry Leadership Team members. Then I had the joy of hosting the Ohime family, including their delightful children, for lunch. Kendra is actively involved in the ministry and leads the band program for Oregon-Davis schools. Pastor Matthew and Kendra also lead a Grief Share ministry that is having an impact on their community.
Sunday afternoon, I dropped in on Pastor Logan & Nancy Westrick and their team at Tipton Ash Street Wesleyan Church. Pastor Westrick had knocked on the doors of the 50 neighbors closest to the church and invited them to a cookout. 35 people showed up last night, including 8 people for whom this was their first contact with the church!
Last week began with the Region 1 team meeting at The River Church in Marion. Assistant DS Matthew Trexler leads this region and we were challenged by a presentation from Dr. Steve DeNeff on leading the “Church in Antioch.” Steve’s talk generated good follow-up conversations. Pastors are all busy but taking time to connect, to learn together, and to pray with one another is a special opportunity that adds value to each individual and strengthens our team.
Monday afternoon, I joined a conference call of Heartland Region district superintendents and the multipliers roundtable. It was good to catch up with this team and we had a clarifying conversation that affirmed the collaboration we’re enjoying while deferring any action toward merger. We do have a joint Heartland Region event coming up this next March 10-12, 2020 and you won’t want to miss it. Special guests include Pastor Albert Tate, Dr. Wayne Schmidt, and Pastor Heather Semple.
Tuesday morning, our district staff met in Marion and then I hit the road for a coaching conversation with Pastor Mike Colaw (Trinity Wesleyan Church) in Fishers. Later that afternoon, I was able to catch up with Pastor John Freed and Dr. Wayne Schmidt (a member of Waterline Church’s multiplication team) as Waterline Church considers their next steps in reaching out. Congratulations to Waterline Church for being recognized as one of last year’s top 100 multiplying churches in America by Outreach magazine!
Wednesday morning, Pastor Dale Munsell welcomed me to Albion Cornerstone Church for our annual coaching conversation. Wednesday afternoon, Pastor Lyle Breeding and I met at Bluffton Sonlight Wesleyan Church for our coaching connection. I’m always blessed to connect with our pastors and hear how God is at work in their ministries!
Thursday, the District Board of Administration met at The Branch (the coffee house ministry of Fairmount Wesleyan Church). We began in the morning with an orientation session. More than half of our DBA members are serving either their first or second term so it was helpful, even for some of us long-term members, to review the responsibilities of the DBA (39 items in The Discipline). We also took this opportunity to refresh our understanding of the Accountable Leadership model (policy governance/Kaiser) that we use to guide our work.
The afternoon DBA session was highlighted with updates from the church planting projects led by John Miller (Way City Church in Speedway), Aldean Pablo (SEND Church in Fort Wayne), and John Hannan (CrossRoads Church in Union City).
Friday morning, Assistant DS Chris Williams and I met for our weekly briefing and worked on follow-up items from the DBA meeting. The DBA is preparing two additional memorials to submit to the General Board for consideration at General Conference. One of those would replace area representatives with “at-large” members on the General Board and limit districts to two members. The second proposal would streamline the process for welcoming transferring ordained ministers from other denominations who have a track record of effective service. This will be helpful as we become more diverse, welcoming leaders from other cultures and countries.
Friday evening, Sherry and I were blessed to welcome members of the Warsaw Zone for an evening of fellowship and encouragement at Thornapple, our home in Upland. We had a delightful time together punctuated with laughter and prayer. We really have a remarkable team of pastors and spouses serving here in the Crossroads District.
Saturday morning, I was able to check in with Rick Carder and his Zone DBMD team as they interviewed ministerial students at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church. Our district’s dedicated DBMD teams are investing in more than 100 students this year.
That cohort of ministerial students includes nearly 20 people answering the call for whom Spanish is their first language. Special thanks to Adriana Zarate who coordinates the FLAMA seminars in our district. Rev. Johanna Rugh, from the General Department of Education and Clergy Development, helped lead this weekend’s FLAMA seminar hosted by Circle of Hope Church in Noblesville.
Eastview Gas City Wesleyan also hosted the first session of “Resourcing God’s Vision” on Saturday morning. This is a pilot program with Dr. Bob Hallett (who has helped churches raise more than $300 million) providing training and coaching for our pastors in proven stewardship principles and practices. We had a productive time together and I am grateful to Dr. Hallett for making this investment in our leaders. If you were unable to come but would like to connect for a one-on-one coaching session, please contact our office to make those arrangements.
What a joy to celebrate stories of life change from across our Crossroads District team. Here are pictures from recent baptisms at Sweetser Wesleyan Church (Pastor Matthew Stewart), Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church (Pastor Mark Atkinson), and Greentown Wesleyan (Pastor Eric Roemer) celebrated six baptisms yesterday!
Prayer is requested for Oni, daughter of Pastor Calebb (youth minister at The River Church) and Tori Proehl. She has corrective surgery today in Cincinnati and will be hospitalized for several days of recovery. You can follow them on Facebook.
Pastor Rick and Mary Matthews (Indianapolis Southside Wesleyan) would also appreciate your prayers for their son, Brett, who has been hospitalized for several days awaiting open-heart surgery.
One last exciting update. What would you not be willing to do to connect with people in your community and build a bridge to share the Gospel? Pastor Judy Hatt and her team at Hope Wesleyan Church in Fowler caught a vision to create a breakfast club for neighborhood children. They serve French toast and scrambled eggs along with a Gospel presentation on Saturday mornings.
They decided to call it “Mario and Luigi’s Breakfast Club” and Pastor Judy joined in the fun by dressing as one of the characters. Eleven children were there last Saturday morning, most for the first time. Thank you, Pastor Judy, for leading by example!
Let’s keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. Register now for Follow2019: https://www.wesleyan.org/event/follow-2019