Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Dave Dignal and the Edgerton Wesleyan Church family yesterday morning. Edgerton is a small community on the Indiana-Ohio border. Pastor Dave has a great team and they are actively reaching out to nearby communities with musical concerts, children’s ministry, and home Bible studies. The church has been working through the Oikos model of evangelism (key resource is Tom Mercer’s book “8 to 15: The World is Smaller Than You Think”).
Edgerton Wesleyan Church averaged 104 last year (more than 5% of the population in their zipcode) with 12 professions of faith and 8 baptisms. After preaching the morning message and chairing a brief stand-up meeting of the LBA (local board of administration), Sherry and I hosted Pastor Dave and Stevie for lunch.
Last Tuesday, I journeyed to Wheaton College with Chris Williams and Seth Bye for a seminar hosted by Dr. Ed Stetzer and the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. Ed and his team are currently engaged in research on the future of denominations in America. Ed also took us on a tour of their museum. One of the exhibits talked about the impact of early Methodism in America. The last line read: “When Francis Asbury first came to America in 1771 there were approximately 300 Methodists in the whole country; at his death in 1816 Methodists numbered over 200,000.”
Three key points from Stetzer’s presentation were that effective denominations will be those that are mission-centric (Great Commission focused), pastor-centric (the primary customer), and contextually adaptive (without compromise on truth). While the seminar was informative, the best part of the day was time spent on the road with Chris and Seth. We are blessed to have these guys serving our district and I’m grateful that they, along with Roxene Lo, partner with me in this ministry to our Crossroads team.
Wednesday, I was back on the road for coaching conversations. Pastor Paul Van Cise and I met at Bryant Wesleyan Church in the morning. Paul was encouraged by the 4 baptisms in August and the development of more small groups. Last year they averaged 136 in a town that has a population of 252 (2010 Census). Congratulations to the Bryant Wesleyan Church as they celebrated their 135th Anniversary of ministry this weekend!
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Rev. Randy Yaryan in Winchester where he pastors the Union Street Wesleyan Church. Randy is another one of our bivocational pastors who faithfully serves the church while also driving a bus and doing real estate development.
Thursday was an office day but I was glad to have Noah Farmer drop by. Noah pastors the Jonesboro campus of Eastview Wesleyan Church. Both Gas City and Jonesboro Eastview were preparing for “First Responders Sunday” and together they celebrated 8 baptisms between their two campuses this weekend!
Friday and Saturday, Dr. David Smith led the members of our Crossroads District Board of Ministerial Development (DBMD) in ordination interviews for an outstanding group of candidates. We interviewed ministers transferring into The Wesleyan Church as well as our own students who have completed their coursework and years of service. The interviews included women and men, four ethnic groups, pastors, church planters, and missionaries. Special thanks to all the members of the zone, regional and district-wide DBMD who invest countless hours in meetings and prayerful development of those who are answering God’s call to ministry within The Wesleyan Church. We are anticipating a wonderful ordination service on Friday evening, June 26, at College Wesleyan Church.
One of the candidates we interviewed for ordination is Pastor Craig Thurmon (pictured above). Craig is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University (B.A.) and Wesley Seminary (M.Div). He and Tiffany, his wife, are leading a launch team to plant a new Wesleyan church (TEA – The Encounter Assembly) on the far east side of Indianapolis.
Pastor Craig shared encouraging reports about their disciple-making ministry. Yesterday, the Thurmons and their team hosted an outreach called “Truth and Treats” in their community to create opportunities to share the Gospel and pray with their neighbors. Please pray for the Thurmons and this new Kingdom community in Indianapolis!
Congratulations to our own Dr. JoAnne Lyon who was elected as Vice-Chair for the National Association of Evangelicals last week. Dr. Lyon has maintained her active engagement as Ambassador for The Wesleyan Church since retiring from being General Superintendent. God continues to open amazing doors for Dr. Lyon in Kingdom service so let us be faithful in praying for her.
Congratulations also to Pastor Mark Atkinson (Eastview Wesleyan) on his recognition by the Gas City Chamber of Commerce at their annual banquet and awards ceremony, which was held on Tuesday, October 15. Pastor Mark was one of three people who received the 2019 President’s Award for the impact he has on his community. The other two individuals receiving this award were Mississinewa Community Schools Superintendent Tab McKenzie and Grant County Community Foundation President/Chief Executive Officer Dawn Brown. The awards were presented by Lezlie Winter (Gas City Chamber President).
There is still time to register for the special seminar led by Dr. Bud Bence on “Wesleyan Church History and Discipline.” The seminar will fulfill the requirements for this course in the ordination track and for transferring ministers. The event will be hosted at College Wesleyan Church and begins on Friday evening, November 1 (6:30 pm) and concludes at 5:30 pm on Saturday, November 2. The $90 registration fee includes the course books. Here’s the link to register: Wesleyan Church History and Discipline
Thank you for all you do to make a difference for the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. Make sure your teenagers have registered for Follow 2019. This promises to be a life-changing event for our students! https://www.wesleyan.org/event/follow-2019