Sunday morning, April 25, Pastor Ben and Amanda Capshaw welcomed me to worship with their team at Elwood Central Wesleyan Church. Pastor Ben has served this growing congregation since 2012. They went through a challenging season when their auditorium was closed by the city building inspector for structural issues. It was nearly two years before the repairs could be completed and the church was able to return to its sanctuary.
Pastor Ben led well through this transition and attendance grew even while they were worshiping in their fellowship hall. Last conference year, they averaged 112 in worship with 12 baptisms. After preaching and meeting with members of the LBA, I had the privilege of sharing lunch with Pastor Ben, Amanda and their two terrific sons, Isaac and Noah.
Sunday afternoon, I dropped in on Pastor Ryan Budde and the team at Jonesboro Westview Church during their LCC (annual local church conference). They are making progress on their revitalization project and there was a wonderful spirit of anticipation as they move through 2021 as The Year of Prayer. It was also encouraging to hear the testimonies from their Celebrate Recovery ministry. Yes, your LCC can become your annual Local Church Celebration!
Last week’s schedule included meeting with the LBA at Indianapolis Trinity on Monday evening for the extended call review for Pastor Mike Colaw. Pastor Colaw has served Trinity for the past 10 years and gives God all the glory for the progress they’ve made.
Tuesday morning, our office staff sat in with the Trinity Church staff for a special meeting as they celebrated the graduation of Ethan Zent. Ethan has been interning with Trinity this spring and was unable to participate in the normal graduation experience at Kingswood University. The Trinity team orchestrated a surprise visit from Ethan’s family and conducted a very meaningful graduation ceremony for him.
Our team met over lunch and then I connected with Rev. Mark Schnell and the staff at Hartford City Wesleyan Church. Hartford City has seen continued growth for their in person services with the last two weeks being over 160. Mark Schnell has been a great addition to the team and the congregation is responding warmly to his ministry.
Tuesday evening, I attended a gathering at First Nazarene Church in Kokomo for The Holiness Partnership. Dr. Jim Garlow was scheduled to be a keynote speaker for the event and graciously extended an invitation. The speaker on Tuesday evening was Dr. Brian Powell, Nazarene DS from Kentucky. I was back for the Wednesday morning session where Dr. Garlow delivered his compelling address. One of the highlights for me was hearing from Dr. Charles (Chic) Shaver, recipient of a life-time achievement award from Nazarene Theological Seminary for his 60+ years of service as evangelist, church planter, and seminary professor.
Wednesday afternoon, I enjoyed two coaching conversations. Pastor Andy Cole (Daybreak Church) and I met in Lapel and then I met with Rev. Bernie Haddad (Eden Unleashed) in Anderson. Pastor Bernie shared about the challenges for our partners in the church she planted in New Castle prison. Because of Covid-19, they’ve had no family visits and our ministry volunteers have not been permitted to return since last March. The good news is that the men are still studying their Bibles while confined to their cells for 23 of 24 hours each day. They just requested another box of the Banding Together notebooks.
Wednesday evening, I chaired the annual meeting of our District Conference Action Committee. I’m grateful for each of those who have served on our district committees as we prepare for DC21 (District Conference) to be held in person at IWU on June 26.
Thursday morning, Rev. Chip Bos (Marion College Wesleyan), met with Seth, Carla and I for continued DC21 preparation. The assistant DS team of Rev. Matthew Trexler (Region 1), Rev. Michael Colaw (Region 2), and Rev. Christopher Williams (Region 3) met over lunch to review plans for leadership development in our new conference year. Stay tuned to hear more about the “Next Level” workshops that Chris Williams will be leading this fall. If your church has not been able to take advantage of StratOp or Maximizing Impact, I believe you’ll find this a valuable resource for your leadership team.
Thursday evening, I led the LBA meeting at Hartford City Wesleyan. In addition to the normal agenda, I appreciated the time this team gives to praying for the needs in the congregation. Our district is blessed with so many outstanding lay leaders who take their spiritual responsibility seriously and give themselves fully to this important role.
Friday, I met with Dr. Oliver Dongell (Plymouth Wesleyan Church) over lunch in Kokomo. Dr. Dongell accepted a two-year call this spring and is doing a wonderful job of helping PWC rebound from the pandemic. They’ve just announced that Rev. Levi Lehman will be joining their staff as they ramp up for the new conference year.
Friday evening, Sherry and I had the joy of hosting five of the pastoral couples (the Beckers, the Coles, the Jacksons, the Shafers, and the Wellers) from our Madison County Zone in our home for supper and an evening of encouragement. We heard heart-warming reports of God blessing in their families and congregations. We sang together, laughed together, and prayed together. I love being part of this Crossroads District team!
We have 3 millions reasons (people without Christ in Indiana) to stay focused on our mission of making disciple-making disciples. Nothing brings greater joy in Heaven than people finding freedom in Christ (Luke 15:7). I’m hearing incredible stories of life change again this week from across our churches. Jerry Hartman is just one of those stories. For more than 30 years, Jerry’s wife and friends at Tipton Trinity prayed for him and shared the love of Christ. A few months ago, while home alone, he sensed the Holy Spirit calling him to give his life to Christ. He prayed in faith and surrendered to Jesus. Jerry, at age 86, publicly confessed his faith in Christ and was baptized yesterday along with 5 other new believers of all ages!
Pastor Lyle Breeding was praising the Lord and shared the good news that 5 people were baptized Sunday morning at Bluffton Sonlight Church. Three of these were from the same family, a mother and her two daughters.
Pastor David Dignal and the team at Edgerton Wesleyan Church are seeing God do amazing things even through the pandemic. Pastor Dave and the team celebrated two more baptisms yesterday morning!
And Pastor Matthew Trexler reported in that seven people were baptized yesterday morning in Marion at The River Church. One baptism was scheduled and the other six responded to the challenge to give their lives to Christ and make this public profession of faith.
Let’s keep praising God and believing for more lives being #madenew!
Congratulations to Waterline Church on finding their new pastor. Rev. Scott Rhyno, who has been serving as transitional pastor, accepted the near unanimous vote of the congregation and will step into this new role immediately. Rev. Elizabeth Rhyno, Scott’s wife, also serves on staff at Waterline. This will be an exciting new chapter in the life of this vibrant ministry that was launched and led so well by John and Danielle Freed.
Now is the time to register for Veritas! Rev. Mike Colaw and the team at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church are hosting the inaugural Veritas Pastors’ Conference on May 22. Crossroads District is pleased to help sponsor this event that will equip pastors to better understand and address key cultural issues from an orthodox Christian perspective. Registration is free for Crossroads District pastoral staff members but you need to register so that they can make arrangements to welcome you:
Attention Song Writers!
June 17-20 IWU will once again be hosting the Gloria Gaither Songwriting Intensive. Attendees will have the opportunity to dive into the art of songwriting as a means of storytelling with award-winning and seasoned songwriters. They will be enriched by participants from around the world in a weekend of classes and collaboration.
Along with Gloria Gaither, in-person teaching sessions will also include Michael W. Smith, Becky Nordquist, and Dr. Todd Syswerda. Natalie Grant will also lead an evening session and the Sunday morning worship time. Details are available at:
Year End Reports
Pastors, thank you in advance for timely completion of your Annual Service Report (ASR) and annual Local Church Statistical Report (LCSR). District reporting opens on May 1, 2021. On that day, each credentialed person will be notified and given direction by email for completing your reports. Wesleyan HQ has provided very helpful video resources to assist you in completing these required reports. These step-by-step videos can be found at:
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent