Sunday morning, November 7, I had the joy of joining Pastor Matthew Ohime and the team at Davis Wesleyan Church located in the country near Hamlet and Knox. Pastor Matthew and Kendra, his wife, have 3 gifted children who assist them in the ministry. The church has completed a beautiful remodeling project and taken the lead in creating the Starke County Resource Center to serve the homeless in their community.
Pastor Matthew was wrapping up the second to last sermon in the series he has been preaching through the Gospel of Mark. After the service, I was glad to catch up with members of the leadership team. They are still working to regain the momentum they had experienced before the pandemic but morale is good and their focus on serving the community is strong. Pray with them for continued Kingdom impact!
Sunday, November 7, also marked the conclusion of Rev. Jeff Brady’s interim ministry with Level 13 Church in Fort Wayne. Rev. Brady had the delight of concluding his service by celebrating the rite of baptism for a newborn in their congregation.
We are delighted that Rev. Mike Henry has accepted the appointment as pastor for Level 13 and will be transferring into our district from the Great Lakes District. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Pastor Mike and Hannah Henry and their family and pray that God will bless this new chapter in the ministry of Level 13 Church.
I was glad to catch up with Rev. Jason Tash on Monday afternoon. Jason serves with Destiny Rescue and Rev. Rob Tippey’s staff at Wabash New Journey Community Church. He also continues to make an impact in our district churches as StratOp facilitator and ministry coach. Following my meeting with Jason, I traveled on to Warsaw to meet with Pastor Jarod Osborne and the LBA at Pathway Community Church. Pastor Osborne and the LBA have a sabbatical policy but were interested in learning more about the best practices we are seeing across our district.
Many of you will know that The Wesleyan Church recommends sabbaticals for pastors after seven years of service. The Lilly Foundation also provides generous sabbatical grants for which our pastors are eligible to apply. Please reach out to our district staff or to the Education and Clergy Department at Wesleyan HQ if you or your team would welcome assistance in crafting your sabbatical policy and developing proposals.
Members of the General Board and district superintendents participated in a series of four Zoom forums, two on Tuesday afternoon and two on Thursday afternoon, in preparation for the General Board’s meeting later this month. Each of the sessions focused one of the specific memorials that have been developed around key issues: 1) credentialing process revision, 2) USF policy revision, 3) simplification of The Discipline’s guidelines for local and district governance, and 4) revision of the guidelines for use of spiritual gifts in our congregations. Any of these alone would be significant, but the four together could make for an interesting General Board meeting (November 16-18) as we prepare for General Conference in St. Louis (May 2022).
On Wednesday, I was in Indianapolis for coaching conversations with Rev. Darrell Herring (Central Wesleyan Church) and Rev. Jim Weinmann (Evanston Avenue Wesleyan Church). Rev. Herring requested prayer for Shirley, his wife, who will be needing a transplant procedure in the near future. Rev. Weinmann graciously hosted me in his new office at Wesleyan Pension Fund where he recently accepted the position of Assistant Director of Operations.
I was also able to drop in on the training that Rev. Carla Working, DBMD Vice-Chair, was leading for Rev. Clifton Ashlock, Region 2 Chair, and other members of the Region 2 DBMD team. Rev. Joe Jackson graciously hosted the training session at United Wesleyan Church.
Thursday evening, I was able to be part of the Fall Revival service that Rev. Ben Parker was hosting at Fairmount Back Creek Wesleyan Church. This year’s evangelist was Rev. Dr. Joe Harmon, pastor of New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church. Dr. Harmon has been a long-time friend and mentor for Rev. Parker. Pastor Mark Atkinson (Gas City Eastview) and other friends from the area joined in for the service which featured Dr. Harmon both singing and preaching. I’m grateful for Dr. Harmon’s ministry at New Castle and for his continued investment in developing leaders!
My last coaching conversation of the week was with Rev. Randy Yaryan at Union Street Wesleyan Church in Winchester. It was encouraging to hear the story of a new teenager who has joined the Bible quiz team as part of his discipleship and has already memorized the first 8 chapters of Romans.
This coming week, I’ll be assisting my father as he migrates from Beulah Camp in Canada to Brooksville’s Wesleyan Village in Florida coming through Indiana on his way south. I’ll be out of the office traveling with him from Monday through Wednesday but our district team is available to assist you and can always reach me in emergencies.
Sherry and I are looking forward to hosting our retired ministers and their spouses on Friday morning in Marion and also hosting our monthly pastors’ fellowship on Friday evening at our home. Then, on Saturday, I am excited that we will have nine churches and more than 50 leaders coming to the Next Level Church training event hosted by Dr. Chris Williams and Lakeview Wesleyan Church.
Executive Director Zach Coffin has released the information for the upcoming FUEL 2022 training event for youth workers. This time the event is coming to Muncie so every youth worker in our district will have the opportunity to participate. Rev. Jessica Folz, our Crossroads District Youth President, will be hosting our district youth leaders who attend. If you’ve added staff or volunteers who may not yet be on our contact list, please forward this link so they can jump in for this training:
Make plans to join us for The Heartland Gathering on March 22-24, 2022 in Pigeon Forge, TN. Every local church received a scholarship for one pastoral couple to register and that amount can also be applied toward the THRIVE initiative. For the speaker lineup and more detailed information, please visit: https://gathering.heartlandregion.org
Our prayers and sympathies are extended this week to Rev. Jorge Escalante, Jr., (Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church) and his family on the death of his father, Mr. Jorge Escalante, Sr., on November 3. The funeral was held in Topeka on Saturday, November 6, with Rev. Jorge Escalante and Rev. Zulema Escalante conducting the service.
Thank you for partnering together in the Harvest. We have 3 million people to reach in Indiana!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent