Sunday, December 17, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastors Tom & Sarah Cochran at Expansion Church in Chesterton. They’ve been serving here for the past 18 months and are making progress in focusing the church on missional ministry to this fast growing community in northwest Indiana. I was glad to see Dr. Nathan and Michelle Hoover again. Dr. Hoover was a member of our merging DBA and I appreciate his leadership wisdom. It was also a delight to reconnect with Jennie Lee Riddle and to meet Kaden Slay, from People and Songs, who are leading worship at Expansion Church. Kaden is just releasing his first album that you can find on iTunes: Kaden Slay on iTunes
I love the many creative ways our Crossroads District churches reach out to their communities during the Christmas season. Saturday was a highlight for me as I witnessed more than 200 volunteers at The River Church in Marion serve more than 1100 families from their neighborhood. This event included 4 worship services with special music and a Gospel presentation from Pastor Matthew Trexler. Every family left with a large box containing everything they will need for a great Christmas feast.
Other churches, like Parkview Wesleyan in Chesterfield, take time out to bring joy by singing Christmas carols at retirement homes.
Many others, like Brinker Heights Wesleyan in Marion, feature children in special music or Christmas programs.
Some churches, like Cicero United Wesleyan, even welcome people to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters.
However you do it, don’t miss this wonderful season of opportunity to connect with people who are far from God. Use every available means to reach every possible person with the Good News that our King has come and will soon return!
Last Monday, Rev. Chris Williams and I were in Cincinnati to meet with leaders from Greater Ohio, Indiana South, and the KY-TN Districts for a follow-up conversation about the potential for greater partnership here in the heartland of America. I’ll be bringing an update on these conversations to our district’s 3 regional meetings this spring.
Tuesday, I was met with Pastor Jordan Gardner (Westfield Paradox) and Pastor Tim Witte (Wabash North) for their annual coaching conversations before Sherry and I shared supper with Rev. Jim and Jerolyn Bogear. After their successful ministry in California, Jim and Jerolyn are back in their home area and are serving full-time in their new itinerant ministry (https://www.jimandjerolynbogear.com/) building stronger marriages and teams on the foundation of trust. They are both certified coaches and would be a blessing to your church or leadership team.
Wednesday morning, I attended the funeral for Uriah Wilson, son of Rev. Larry Wilson and grandson of Dr. Norman and Nancy Wilson. Please continue to extend your prayers and support to Uriah’s family and friends. May God grant His comfort and peace.
After the funeral, I met with Pastor John Freed (Waterline Church) at HQ in Fishers for his annual coaching conversation. While at HQ, I also met with Rev. Kimberly Gladden (CMAD), reconnected with Pastor Ervin Webster (St. Stephen Church) and then met with a new local church treasurer that evening for an orientation.
Thursday morning, I met with Pastor Tony Bye (Brookhaven) for our coaching conversation in Marion and then drove to Rochester to meet with Pastor Mike Cloud (The Cross) for our coaching conversation. My last meeting of the day was with Dr. Oliver Dongell at Plymouth Wesleyan before heading home to Upland.
Friday was a chance to catch up on correspondence in my home office before heading north with Sherry to attend the Warsaw Zone Christmas Fellowship. Pastor Jarod and Esther Osborne hosted a fun gathering of area pastors and staff members at Warsaw Wesleyan Church. One exciting update to pass along was Pastor Dale Munsell’s report that Cornerstone Wesleyan welcomed more than 300 for their community Christmas concert featuring the children of their Christian school.
Many of you will have received an email from our office this past week encouraging you to save the date of April 21, 2018 for ReEquip: http://www.reequipconference.org/
We are excited to welcome guest speakers like Rev. Mark Wilson (author of Purple Fish, long-time pastor at Hayward Wesleyan Church, now ministry professor at Southern Wesleyan University) and Matt DePrez (author and Fuller Youth Institute Church Engagement Specialist on the power of intergenerational ministry: https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/author/matthew-deprez).
Please make every effort to bring your team to this leadership event which will replace the seminars we did at last year’s district conference. We really are stronger together!
Your servant in Christ,