This weekend was a change of pace. On Friday morning, Sherry and I drove her father back to Mississippi for a family reunion. We made it in eleven hours and then enjoyed two days with her extended family before heading home on Monday morning. Sunday morning, December 6, I attended a special merging service of two congregations that Sherry’s dad, Rev. Bob Wilkerson, had pastored in Philadelphia, Mississippi.
Rev. Austin Bishop, the pastor of Great Commission Church, the newly-created congregation from the merger, was a layman under Bob’s ministry. Austin, who was a professional sportswriter and active layman, sensed God calling him to pastoral ministry. Sherry’s dad encouraged him in that calling and Austin eventually became the pastor after Bob retired. You can imagine that it was a special joy for Rev. Wilkerson to celebrate the progress of this ministry under Pastor Bishop’s leadership.
Sunday evening, I had the chance to connect with Rev. Ryan Budde by phone and heard an encouraging report from Jonesboro Westview Wesleyan Church. Pastor Budde had the joy of dedicating a one-year-old child for a new family that began attending this past year. This was a new family that came to Westview Wesleyan through the church’s participation in Revive Indiana. Last week, the DBA approved the decision of Westview Wesleyan to move forward on several key projects around their facility with financing from the Wesleyan Investment Foundation. Pray that God continues to bless their efforts to share the Gospel in their community.
Last Monday, I met with Rev. Richard Meeks for lunch in Fishers. Rev. Meeks was the DS in East Michigan District before they merged into the Great Lakes District. Richard and his wife now live in Indy where Richard has based his church consultation ministry. He is also available for pulpit supply. Rev. Scott Rhyno and I met with leaders at Northview Church to learn more about a campus development model that they’ve been working with to accelerate their expansion. Pastor Rhyno is providing transitional leadership to Waterline Church in Fishers. My last meeting of the day was on Zoom with the Pastor Search Team from Waterline Church. They’ve been diligently and prayerfully working through the search process and it’s been a joy to serve with them.
Tuesday, I joined with Rev. Chris Williams and Rev. Matthew Trexler as they provided StratOp facilitation for Pastor Tony Bye and the team at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church. Pastor Tony has been proactive in using the StratOp process to facilitate planning at Brookhaven. This time around the primary focus was how to maximize their online ministry to both stay in touch with their existing congregation and to expand their connection with people who do not yet have a relationship with Christ and the church. We still have a few StratOp consultation dates available this spring. Please reach out to Seth Bye at the District office to see if this process could be a benefit for your team.
Wednesday, I was on the road for coaching conversations. My first connection of the day was with Dr. Oliver Dongell at Plymouth Wesleyan Church before meeting with Rev. Rich VanVuren at Shiloh Wesleyan Church. My last coaching conversation for the day was with Rev. Jere Gowin who leads the Kingsford Heights Wesleyan Church. Every pastor with whom I meet is being stretched as they lead through the pandemic. Please pray for and do all you can to support our frontline minister leaders.
Thursday, our Crossroads District Board of Administration convened at College Wesleyan Church in Marion. Given Covid concerns we had a large enough room for physical distancing and a few members who joined us via Zoom. While the agenda was full, the highlights of our meeting were the three presentations from church planters who presented their project proposals. Our DBA approved each of these projects, all of which are in our Region 2 (led by Assistant District Superintendent Mike Colaw). You’ll be hearing more about these partnership opportunities as we move forward together. It’s going to take all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people here in Indiana, our corner of God’s harvest field. Have you considered church planting?
Here’s a special invitation for all pastors. The current crisis has accelerated the need for change, and it’s bringing great opportunities to multiply disciples. Join General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt and Dennis Jackson, Executive Director for Global Partners, on a 30-minute Zoom call this Tuesday December 8 at 2:30pm OR 8:30pm EST. They are inviting us to join them in looking back on God’s faithfulness and looking forward together — to mobilizing a global Kingdom Force! One that’s multigenerational, multiethnic, multieconomic, women and men, lay and clergy — and multiplies disciples from everywhere to everywhere!
On a personal note, Sherry and I are delighted to announce that Rev. John Gorveatte and Rev. Lindsey Gorveatte, our son and daughter-in-law, surprised us last month with the exciting news that they are expecting their first child in May. John pastors Center Church in Byron Center, Michigan, and Lindsey serves on staff with Jeff Eckart’s team at Never the Same Camps. Grand-parenting is a brand new adventure for Sherry and me so we are welcoming advice from those of you who have already experienced this joy. In a time of so much loss and grief, I am grateful for God’s precious gifts of life.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent