This week’s Crossroads District team update is abbreviated in light of the General Conference reporting and our opportunity to be with family in Michigan over the Memorial Day weekend. I trust you were able to find time to connect with loved ones and to remember those who gave their full measure for the freedom that we enjoy here in the United States of America.
The Wesleyan Church regularly meets every four years for our annual North American General Conference. The Covid pandemic delayed our gathering by an extra two years and it was evident from the very first session that we were delighted to be able to reconnect after the passing of six years. While the primary purpose of our gathering is to conduct essential business on behalf of our denomination, precious times of fellowship, prayer, and worship ensure that our conference is more than just a legislative process.
The worship service on the first Sunday evening concluded with a powerful time of prayer led by Rev. Mick Veach, lead pastor at Kentwood Community Church. Monday’s session began with our General Superintendent Rev. Dr. Wayne Schmidt presenting his “State of the Church” report followed by his re-election for another four-year term. Dr. Schmidt is also a member of our Crossroads District so it is a special joy to congratulate him and pledge our support for his leadership over the next four years.
The election of general directors took place on Monday afternoon. Rev. Dr. Ed Love, also a member of our Crossroads District, was elected as the new General Director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship. I’m excited about Dr. Love’s track record of leadership which has long been focused on church planting and disciple-making. Please join me in praying for Dr. Schmidt and his Executive Cabinet.
Business sessions continued on Tuesday and concluded at noon on Wednesday. Major items of business for the conference included a modified statement that more positively frames the spiritual gift of tongues, a major rewrite of the guidelines for local church administration, and an overhaul of our United Stewardship funding plan that lowers the amount assessed for educational and denominational ministries from 6% down to 5% by 2026.
Those of you who will be serving as delegates to our Crossroads District conference (June 25) will be asked to consider two constitutional matters. All constitutional changes must be approved by 2/3 of the delegates voting at General Conference and then by an aggregate 2/3 of all delegates voting at the North American district conferences this summer. If approved here, the constitutional items will proceed for approvals at the two other general conferences of The Wesleyan Church (Caribbean and Philippines).
We will be well represented by the three members of our district who were elected to serve on the General Board: Dr. Jeff Clark (lay member - College Wesleyan Church), Dr. Steve DeNeff (ministerial member – College Wesleyan Church), and Dr. Carl Shepherd (lay member – Indianapolis Trinity Church). For a full rundown of elections and approved memorials, please visit the website: https://www.wesleyan.org/category/general-conference
I’m grateful for our lay and ministerial delegates who took time from busy schedules and family to faithfully represent our Crossroads District for this 14th General Conference. This was the first general conference as delegates for half of our team. We prayed together, laughed together, learned together, and then returned home with an even deeper appreciation for our denominational team.
While it is important to fulfill the administrative responsibilities essential to our denominational ministries, nothing is more vital than keeping our focus on the Great Commission. How wonderful to receive word from Pastor Mark Atkinson (Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church) that on Thursday, his first day back from General Conference, he was blessed to celebrate two baptisms at the reservoir, Praise God for these lives being #MadeNew by the power of the Holy Spirit!
We are looking forward to our ordination service on Friday, June 24, at College Wesleyan Church and our district conference on Saturday, June 25, at the Indiana Wesleyan University Chapel. Please join me in praying for God’s favor and anointing on our time together next month.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent