Sherry and I joined Pastor Mark and Ronda Atkinson for his final day as lead pastor at Eastview Wesleyan Church in Gas City. Pastor Mark has served Eastview for a total of 26 years, the first 13 as the youth pastor and then the last 13 years as lead pastor. In between, Mark and Ronda were used by God to plant a Wesleyan church in Macon, Georgia. The church has experienced growth in worship attendance, evangelistic effectiveness, and community impact under Rev. Atkinson’s leadership.
Dr. Joe Harmon (lead pastor at New Castle Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church) joined the celebration with lots of fun memories from the years when Mark was Joe’s assistant pastor. All four of Pastor Mark and Ronda’s children along with a table full of grandchildren came together for this special occasion. Between the first service in Jonesboro and the second service in Gas City, more than 300 people gathered to celebrate Mark’s ministry. We’re looking forward to having Pastor Mark join the district staff this year as the third of our Circuit Riders. He’ll be visiting up to 20 of our churches with a special emphasis on the joy of personal evangelism.
On behalf of the Crossroads District, I had the privilege of leading the installation liturgy for Rev. Noah Farmer who transitioned from his role as executive pastor to become the new lead pastor. Pastor Noah, Christie, and the Farmer family are lifelong residents of the community. We’re praying with Pastor Noah and the Eastview team as they move into this new chapter of ministry.
Sunday evening, I traveled to South Bend for a regional prayer gathering hosted by Rev. Greg Holmes and the team at Sonlight Wesleyan Church. It was a blessing to participate in this hour of prayer led by Rev. Holmes, Rev. Vaughn (The Bridge Urban Church), Rev. Don Bayne (New Carlisle Wesleyan), Rev. Matt Ohime (Davis Wesleyan), and Rev. Ben Jones (Beaver Creek Wesleyan). Our next regional prayer gathering will be held in September.
Tuesday, I had the privilege of representing the Heartland Region at the Indiana South District Conference. We continue to grieve the loss of our colleague and friend Dr. Mark Eckart, but there was a wonderful spirit of unity as the conference elected Rev. Doug Preston to be their new District Superintendent. Some of you will know Doug as the pastor used by God to write a miracle of revitalization at Lifeline Wesleyan Church in Greensburg, Indiana where he served for 17 years. More recently, Doug has joined the leadership team of the Dirt Roads Network as their director of revitalization initiatives, so he’ll be dividing his time between the district and DRN. Congratulations and prayers for Rev. Doug Preston and the Indiana South District as they move forward in church planting and revitalization.
Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church had another significant transition last week. Rev. Mark Atkinson conducted the funeral on Wednesday for Mr. David Huffman, long-time member and treasurer of the church, who passed away unexpectedly at age 53. In addition to his responsibilities at VIA Credit Union and at Eastview, Dave was active in his community and had served as volunteer treasurer for Marion Brinker Heights Wesleyan Church and for the Arise church plant in Roanoke. Pastor Mark did a wonderful job of honoring Dave and pointing people to Jesus.
Let me encourage you to offer focused prayer on behalf of our teenagers this week. Both Hanging Rock Camp near Lafayette, led by Rev. Seth Merrill, and Fairmount Camp, led by Rev. Jeff Brady, will be hosting youth camps for our Crossroads District churches this week. Pictured below is the scene at Laketon Wesleyan Church as Pastor David Cox and the congregation prayed over the teens from their church who will be taking part in youth camp this week. Many of you will have memories of God working in your life during this special time of ministry. Pray for young lives to be changed and young leaders to be called to His service!
Also on the agenda this week is the national Wesleyan Bible Bowl competition to be held at Southern Wesleyan University. Pictured below is Dr. Matthew Stewart, pastor of Sweetser Wesleyan Church and master Bible quiz coach, as he leads their congregation in praying for the teams that will be competing this week. If your church would like to learn more about the Wesleyan Bible quizzing program, please reach out to Dr. Stewart.
Nothing brings greater joy to our team than to rejoice with our churches who are celebrating baptisms! Pastor Harold Henson and the Colfax Wesleyan Church family celebrated two baptisms on Sunday, June 5. This was even more meaningful for Rev. Harold and Angie Henson are completing their ministry at Colfax and moving to Alabama where they’ve accepted a new pastoral calling. We will miss them and are grateful for the impact they have made at Colfax Wesleyan Church.
Rev. Matthew Trexler and the team at The River Church celebrated baptisms again yesterday. We are rejoicing with these professions of faith and giving God all the praise for lives being #MadeNew!
The Crossroads District Ordination and Conference are coming next week, June 24-25. Join us in praying for God’s anointing on these important gatherings. Please pray that we will enjoy a keen awareness of His presence, clearly discern His will, and faithfully move forward in unity to accomplish His mission for us.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent