Sunday, October 22, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor David and Carol Leitzel at Hamilton Wesleyan Church. Hamilton is a small farming community but the congregation at HWC is making a big impact. Pastor David has been leading this warm-hearted, welcoming fellowship since 2003.
They recently pulled out all the stops to host a Fall Festival for the community. Their congregation (which averages less than 80 people) welcomed more than 400 people to their 8 acre campus for games, activities and a free meal. During the summer, earlier this year they made lots of new friends through participating in the town’s Summer Fest.
In addition to the normal ministries of a church their size they also operate Hamilton Life Center, a new multipurpose building that hosts basketball leagues and community concerts. It was an encouraging reminder that you don’t have to be a big church in a big city to have a big vision and make a difference in people’s lives!
Sunday afternoon, I met with Rev. Paul Walden, supply pastor, and the congregation at 18th Street Wesleyan Church in Muncie. The congregation has been decreasing in attendance and increasing in average age so we had a frank conversation about the life cycles of churches and options that they’ll be praying about over the next few weeks.
Special thanks to Pastor Andy Jellison and his team from Lifeway Church that hosted the October Bash last evening at Stillwater Retreat Center. There was a great turnout from area churches!
Last week began with staff meeting on Monday morning and then an afternoon catching up on email and phone calls. Tuesday morning, I met with Pastor Josh Keesling at Browns Chapel Wesleyan Church in Greenfield for our annual coaching conversation. My next meeting was with Rev. Bill Carpenter in Beech Grove as he prepares for retirement. Noblesville Lakeview Wesleyan Church has agreed (with DBA approval) to make Beech Grove Wesleyan Church a campus of Lakeview’s city-wide ministry. Pastor Bill and Mary are looking forward to more time with grandchildren!
Tuesday afternoon, I met with Dr. Wayne Schmidt in preparation for next month’s meeting of the General Board. Tuesday evening, I met with Rev. Victor and Claudia Silva at Richmond Casa del Alfarero for our annual coaching conversation. It was exciting to see the work that they’ve done to remodel and update their worship center.
Wednesday morning, I met with John Bonham (who is serving as Pastor Tom Parsons’ administrative director at Hartford City) before heading to Indiana Wesleyan University’s chapel service. It was a special privilege to hear Olivia Eckart bring the message from God’s Word. Olivia’s family has deep roots in our district and Olivia has a bright future in ministry.
She is available to come to your church to preach and lead worship. You can learn more about her ministry and contact her here: https://www.facebook.com/lightupmyschool/
Pastors Rick Fletcher, Andy Jellison and Jorge Escalante joined me for lunch on Wednesday to continue work on the plans of the Fort Wayne Zone to bring Rev. Roy and Dylana Angulo from Costa Rica to plant a church among the 14,000 Spanish-speakers in Fort Wayne. My last meeting on Wednesday was in Muncie with Lee Miller, ministerial student attending Wesley Seminary and serving at Memorial Drive Wesleyan.
Thursday noon through Saturday noon, I joined District Superintendent Aaron Sherman and the KY-TN District pastors and spouses for a ministerial retreat at Cumberland Grove Camp and Retreat Center in Jamestown, TN.
I shared leadership insights from “Lead Like Wesley” and we had a profitable discussion about ways our districts might be a blessing and encouraging to each other as the denomination explores wider regional partnerships.
This week includes several coaching conversations, but I’m also excited to see our retired pastors at one of the two “Coffee and Cupcakes” fellowships on Friday. The morning session will be hosted at Noblesville Lakeview Wesleyan Church (396 Park Street in Noblesville) at 10 a.m. and the afternoon session will be hosted at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church (414 N 10th Street) at 2 p.m. There will be door prizes and it’s always a joy to connect with these heroes of our district team!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,