Sunday morning, September 10, Rev. Jim Weinmann and the team at Evanston Avenue Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis welcomed me to bring greetings in their morning service. Pastor Jim and Angie, his wife, have deep roots in this community. Jim has lived in this neighborhood of Indy for 48 years and has served as pastor at Evanston Avenue for the past 28 years. In addition to pastoring the church, Jim works at Wesleyan HQ as the Assistant Director of Operations for the Wesleyan Pension Fund.
In his spare time, Jim serves as a volunteer chaplain with the Lawrence Police Department which includes a monthly ride-along with patrol. The church hosted an appreciation cookout for first responders, both police and firefighters, on Saturday, September 9, with more than 30 officers stopping by for the free lunch and to connect with neighbors.
On the way to Evanston Avenue, I was able to drop in on Pastor Barry Dixon and the team at the Calvary Family Church for their 9 a.m. worship service. Rev. Barry and Rev. Joyce Dixon have been faithfully serving the people of Calvary for 14 years. It’s always a joy to experience their worship service and to hear Pastor Barry preach the Word.
Sunday evening, I joined Pastor Jon Noggle at Elwood Central Wesleyan Church for a congregational meeting. The congregation has experienced some unique challenges over the past few years. They are looking forward to a vision planning retreat on Saturday, October 7.
After enjoying a break for Labor Day, I was back on the road for coaching conversations on Tuesday. Rev. Tim Witte and I met in Marion at Lola’s Coffee Shop for a chance to catch up as he leads the revitalization project at Nelson Street Wesleyan Church. Pastor Tim was on his way to spend the day recruiting ministry interns and resident pastors at Indiana Wesleyan University so he had a special shirt made for the occasion.
My next stop was in Indianapolis. I was able to drop in on the staff meeting that Pastor Mike and Leslie Colaw were leading at Trinity Wesleyan Church. They are also ramping up their commitment to providing residency and internship opportunities at Trinity. After the staff meeting, Pastor Mike and I caught up on some of his ministry adventures. Mike is on the home stretch for completing his Doctor of Ministry degree with Wesley Seminary. He also represents our Crossroads District as a member of the Board of Trustees for Indiana Wesleyan University.
My last stop on Tuesday was with Rev. Allen Gross, pastor of United Family Wesleyan Church in Cicero. In addition to leading the church, Pastor Allen serves as a supply teacher in the community schools and was the featured speaker at this year’s Frankfort Camp Men’s Retreat.
Wednesday morning, I met with Rev. Josh Fox, our pastor at Hartford City Wesleyan Church. Pastor Josh and his family joined us from New England last year and are off to a strong start at HCWC. Candace, his wife and an RN, has roots in the Gas City Eastview Church.
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Rev. Michelle Henry. In addition to serving on Rev. Tony Bye’s staff at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church, Rev. Henry serves as champion and coach for children’s ministry directors in our district. It was exciting to hear about her plans for a children’s ministry leaders workshop coming up in the spring. Stay tuned for details.
Wednesday evening, I worshiped with Rev. Claudia Ruiz and the congregation of Casa del Alfarero in Richmond. Pastor Claudia leads the ministry at this location while also serving the Casa del Oracion campus in Union City and the new Casa del Esperanza campus in Portland.
One of the keys to Rev. Ruiz’s effective ministry is raising up and empowering other leaders. This is PreacHer month in The Wesleyan Church, so I asked Pastor Claudia for this photo of the women in ministry at Casa del Alfarero who are taking FLAMA classes and being developed under her leadership.
Rev. Carla Working, our DBMD chair, and monthly cohort meeting of women in ministry that she’s leading invited me to join them for lunch in Marion. Following our luncheon, I joined Rev. Kalina Carlson and Michael Wood for our district staff meeting. My last stop of the day was in Anderson for the initial meeting of a team exploring a Habitat for Missions project. Rev. Wayne Richards does a wonderful job of leading this ministry. Pastor Joe Jackson and several pastors from the Anderson area are looking at the possibility of partnering to do a house rehab and flip project in the coming year to raise money for missions.
Friday included a DBMD preparation meeting with Rev. Carla Working in Huntington. Many of you may know that Rev. Working is now serving at Wesleyan HQ as the Director of Clergy Care and Development. We’re grateful that she continues to lead the Crossroads District Board of Ministerial Development. While she was still working in our district office, Rev. Working accepted the invitation to preach at North Anderson Wesleyan Church. Pastor David Shafer and several of their team members had special shirts printed to show their support.
Friday evening, I dropped by Fairmount Camp to check in on some of our friends attending the Married Couples Retreat. The friends in this photo came from Lafayette The Branch, Marion Brookhaven, and Sweetser Wesleyan Church. Thank you to the leadership of Fairmount Camp for offering this impactful ministry!
This week, we received the best news of all from several of our churches who celebrated baptisms! Rev. Dan Van Cise and the team at Marion West 8th Street are rejoicing with two decisions for Christ last moth and one baptism!
Pastor Michael Henry and the team at Fort Wayne Level 13 celebrated another baptism this past Sunday.
Pastor Andy Riemersma and the team at ONE Church in Westfield are celebrating more changed lives with five baptisms this past weekend. That makes 18 people since ONE Church launched!
Praise God for these lives being #MadeNew! (Please send along photos and notes from your baptism services to give God praise and to encourage the team.)
It’s not too soon to save the date and begin making plans to join us for the 2024 Heartland Gathering in Pigeon Forge, TN, on April 2-5.
Please keep the Follow Conference on your church’s prayer calendar. Would you encourage your congregation to pray for a powerful move of God among our next-generation students and their leaders? Plan to join us and bring as many teenagers and young adults as possible to this life-changing experience!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent