Sunday morning, December 12, I had the privilege of joining Pastor Mark Atkinson and his team at Eastview Wesleyan Church and preaching in both of their morning services. The first service meets at their Jonesboro campus at 9 a.m. and the second gathering meets at their Gas City location at 11 a.m.
Following the morning services, Pastor Mark & Ronda hosted the LBA and staff members for lunch at Taylor University. The LBA had a brief meeting to officially accept four new members and I was able to bring greetings from the district. It was good to connect with their team members in this time of fellowship. They were also hosting a 40th birthday celebration for Assistant Pastor Noah Farmer in the evening. This coming Sunday, they plan to celebrate baptisms between services.
Last Monday morning, Region 1 pastors and their spouses were hosted by Assistant DS Matthew Trexler and his team at The River for a Christmas brunch. Around 80 of us gathered for delicious food catered by Velvet Haisley and The Branch Coffee in Fairmount. Participants also enjoyed hot chocolate, Christmas caroling, and receiving the special Christmas gift provided by the DBA.
Monday afternoon, I was in Greenfield to meet with Dr. Mark Eckart, Indiana South District Superintendent for a conversation about church planting partnerships. It’s a joy to serve alongside Dr. Eckart and we’re praying about future opportunities to work together to reach Indiana for Christ.
Tuesday, I was able to connect with Dr. Mark Rennaker, lead pastor at Kokomo Southdowns Wesleyan Church, for our annual coaching conversation. Dr. Rennaker is also full-time with IWU where he is chair of the Department of Leadership Studies (IWU–National and Global). Rev. Ron Hurlocker (assistant at Southdowns) met over lunch for our annual coaching conversation. Rev. Tim Witte (assistant pastor at College Wesleyan) and I met in his office for our conversation.
Sherry and I closed out Tuesday hosting our district office staff for a Christmas supper at Payne’s in Gas City. I’ve been blessed with a great team and it was good to spend time together with them and their spouses to express appreciation for all that they do to serve our district pastors and churches.
Wednesday afternoon, I traveled to Frankfort to meet with Pastor Alan Downing at Connecting Point Church. It was good to catch up with Pastor Downing and to hear how his recovery has been progressing after surgery earlier this fall. The official purpose of our meeting was to review the LBA feedback in preparation for his extended call review. The LBA joined us at 6:30 for a very positive meeting and the unanimous affirmation of Rev. Downing’s extended call to serve the church.
Thursday morning, I was in Plymouth to meet with Rev. Rich Van Vuren, pastor of Shiloh Wesleyan Church, for our coaching conversation. My final appointment of the day was at HQ in Fishers to meet with Rev. Craig Thurmon, our district treasurer, as we completed an assignment from the DBA.
Friday, I joined Rev. Mike Hewitt (Rising Hope Church) for lunch in Muncie. It was exciting to hear how God continues to open doors of evangelism for Mike and his team of pool trick-shot artists. Mike had just returned from a week of ministry in Spain and had some amazing stories to tell of God’s provision. I’m also grateful for Mike’s willingness to serve as church planting champion in our district. He’s putting together a plan to deepen the connection among our district’s network of church planters.
We’re always excited to pass along stories of God at work in changing lives. This baptism picture is from Dr. Jim Lo who sensed a burden last week to share the plan of salvation with his students. Several prayed to receive Christ and this young woman was ready to take the next step of obedience and be baptized! Praise God for lives being #MadeNew!
FUEL Conference is coming to Muncie on February 3-4! To encourage our Next-Gen leaders to invest in their personal & ministry development by attending, a full registration scholarship ($79 value) is being offered to up to 20 of our full-time district Next-Gen leaders. To claim your scholarship, please fill out this form by December 27th. For questions, email District Youth President Jessica Folz at email@example.com. For more info on FUEL, visit:
There is still time to register 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
May God richly bless you and your church team as you reach out to your community during these days of opportunity leading up to Christmas!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. Our office will be closed for the Christmas week break, but lead pastors can always reach me by text or calling my cellphone. May you and your loved ones have a blessed time celebrating Christ’s first appearing and preparing your hearts for His soon return!