Sunday morning, September 17, Sherry and I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Andy & Elicia Cole and the team at Lapel Daybreak Community Church on their 25th anniversary. The special service included 3 baptisms and was followed by a fellowship meal. I was welcomed to bring greetings and special remarks on behalf of our Crossroads District team.
Rev. Richard and Debbie Cole founded the church back in 1998 while Richard was still working full-time at General Motors. The church has witnessed more than 500 conversions, more than 200 baptisms, and more than 20 people who have answered God's call to missions or ministry. The church has lived through some challenges and is excited for the next 25 years of making disciples in Lapel and beyond. Congratulations!
Sunday evening, I dropped in on Pastor Jerome Bell and the team at Autumn Hills Church in Pendleton. They hosted a "Back to Church" event for the community with a great team of volunteers serving the meals and welcoming new families.
Last week's schedule included a day on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University hosted by Dr. Jim Lo. Dr. Lo invited me to present to two of his classes and Dr. Jonathan Morgan was also gracious in allowing me to connect with students in his class.
This was also Summit Week at IWU so I was able to attend chapel with Dr. Lo and his students on Tuesday and then returned on Wednesday evening for the closing rally. God powerfully ministered through the preaching of Rev. Mick Veach, pastor of Kentwood Community Church. Altars were lined in response to Mick's challenge of answering God's call to missions and ministry. Pray for our IWU leadership and faculty members, especially those in the School of Theology and Ministry!
Our Crossroads District Board of Administration (DBA) met on Thursday at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion. Thank you to Dr. Chris Williams and his staff for their gracious hospitality. Your DBA handles a wide variety of business on behalf of the district conference. We approved property improvement grant proposals and also approved a $300 scholarship (1 per church) to assist pastors in attending the Heartland Gathering coming this April 2-5.
Nothing is more exciting for the DBA than commissioning new church planters. We welcomed Rev. Cary and Cindi Sanders (and Grace, their 11-year-old daughter) who have accepted the challenge of launching a new Wesleyan ministry in the Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis utilizing the sanctuary and parsonage of the former Central Wesleyan Church congregation.
Fountain Church, a Wesleyan ministry, will focus on this diverse zip code where nearly 40,000 people live, many of them without any religious affiliation. If you and your church would be interested in investing prayers, service, or matching gifts from your Multiplication Fund (1%), Pastor Cary would be delighted to connect with you.
I met with Dr. Tim Kellerman, DS for the NorthEast Indiana District of The Church of the Nazarene, over breakfast on Friday. Dr. Tim has been an effective pastor for many years and is off to a great start in his new assignment as DS. I'm grateful for his friendship and prayers.
Friday evening, Sherry and I hosted another amazing group of Crossroads pastors and their spouses in our home for food, fun, and fellowship. There's something very special about the camaraderie of people who have answered the call to serve Christ and His Church. There are still a few more evenings set aside for this conference year and we'd love to have you join us.
Praise God for the many signs that He is moving across our district family. Way City Church, in Speedway, is one of our newest congregations. This past Sunday, Rev. John Miller and the Way City Church baptized five new believers, two of whom were Pastor John's own children!
Greenfield Brown's Chapel Wesleyan Church hosted their annual "Back to Church Sunday." In addition to welcoming 15 first-time guests, and praying with four people who wanted to receive Christ, Rev. Theo Griffin had the joy of baptizing three new believers on this special occasion!
We're always excited to celebrate lives being #MadeNew here in the Crossroads District but we also rejoice when we hear from our district missionaries who are serving around the globe. Last week we received this note and photograph from Rev. Matt and Caryl Aukerman in Albania:
"Each week I look forward to reading the district update to keep up to date on some of what's happening back in Indiana. I always look forward to seeing reports of baptisms in our district churches and join in celebrating how God is at work. I just wanted to share the good news that we had the opportunity to baptize three Albanian Christ-followers yesterday here in Durres, Albania, where Caryl and I have been serving with Global Partners for nearly 17 years."
Rev. Titus and Jewel Romdenh (missionaries from our Brookhaven Wesleyan Church) shared this picture from a recent baptism in Cambodia where they serve under appointment with World Gospel Mission. The T-shirts have the words "Made New" in both English and Khmer.
Praise God for precious lives being #MadeNew here in Indiana and around the world! (Please send photos and notes from your baptism services to praise God and encourage the team.)
Please keep the Follow Conference on your church’s prayer calendar. Would you encourage your congregation to pray for a powerful move of God among our next-generation students and their leaders? Plan to join us and bring as many teenagers and young adults as possible to this life-changing experience!
It’s not too soon to save the date and begin making plans to join us for the 2024 Heartland Gathering in Pigeon Forge, TN, on April 2-5.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent