This weekend marked significant milestones in the life of two of our Crossroads District churches. Sunday morning, I was with Pastor Don Bayne and the team at New Carlisle Wesleyan Church as they celebrated their 120th anniversary. This congregation was launched as a result of a revival back in 1897 and relocated to their present location in 2002 under the leadership of Rev. Bayne (pastor since 1995).
Today, the church is effectively ministering to their community (16 professions of faith and 12 baptisms last year) and looking to extend their Kingdom impact to surrounding communities through church planting partnerships in South Bend and a new campus in a nearby community. It was a special joy to see Rev. Richard and Eula Carr who pastored the church from 1955-1965.
Harvest Church in McCordsville celebrated their 10th Anniversary this weekend. Pastor Brad & Heidi LeRoy stepped out in faith with a committed team to reach this growing community on the northeast side of Indianapolis. Today, Harvest ministers to more than 300 in their community (36 professions and 22 baptisms last year) with a heart for the world. They threw an amazing block party on Saturday to mark this special occasion!
Our district office team met on Monday morning and then I jumped on to the Zoom meeting with Dr. Wayne Schmidt and several DS colleagues. The rest of the afternoon was invested with Rev. Chris Williams and Seth Bye in planning for upcoming meetings.
Tuesday included a breakfast meeting with Dr. Jim Vermilya and VP John Jones to explore the potential of a “Church Planter in Residence” partnership at IWU. Coaching conversations on Tuesday included meeting with Rev. Steve Colter (Chapel Pike Wesleyan) and Rev. Steve Fletcher (Nelson Street Wesleyan). Later that day I was able to jump in on a zone DBMD meeting led by Rev. Rick Carder. Tuesday evening, I was with Rev. Ervin Webster and the congregation of St. Stephen’s Church that has been meeting at Warren Park Wesleyan Church. It was encouraging to hear more about their vision and to explore the future possibilities of ministering together.
Wednesday included coaching conversations with Rev. Brad LeRoy (Harvest Church) and Rev. Bill Carpenter (Beech Grove Wesleyan). I met with Dr. Dennis Jackson on Wednesday afternoon for final prep as we head this week to Xai Xai Bible College in Mozambique. Wednesday evening, Sherry and I joined President Dr. David and Helen Wright for the closing rally of Summit, the campus-wide spiritual life emphasis at IWU. Dr. Dwight Robertson shared a passionate call to live with “a heart on fire and a life on purpose.” Dwight is an ordained minister in our Crossroads District who leads FORGE, an equipping ministry raising up laborers for the Harvest. You can find out more about the powerful team at their website: https://forgeforward.org/
We had a great meeting of our ReEquip planning team on Thursday morning. Rev. Amanda Blair is leading the team in designing a district-wide “all hands on deck” training opportunity on April 21. Mark your calendar and plan to join us in Marion.
Coaching conversations on Thursday afternoon included Pastor Johnnie Blair (Tipton Trinity) and Pastor Ben Capshaw (Elwood Central). Both of these ministries are seeing God work in unusual ways. Elwood Central has grown from 25 to 100 in the past few years (in spite of having their building condemned for 2 years) and Tipton Trinity celebrated 65 professions of faith and 28 baptisms last year.
Thursday evening, I drove to Cincinnati for a Friday morning meeting hosted by Greater Ohio DS Les Crossfield. Many of you will be aware that there are ongoing conversations across our denomination about the potential for creating regional partnerships. Dr. Mark Eckart (Indiana South DS), Rev. Aaron Sherman (KY-TN DS) and I joined Rev. Crossfield for a productive exploratory conversation about our shared values and possible ways we might better serve one another in reaching the heartland of America.
Saturday, I had the privilege of joining Dr. Jim Lo’s DBMD team at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church for a positive round of interviews with ministerial students. It was a special joy to pray for Titus Romdehn as he and Jewel prepare to leave for ministry in Cambodia.
Rev. Chris Williams was busy this weekend with Rev. Paul James (lead consultant) and Rev. Mark Atkinson serving the leadership team at Huntington Etna Avenue Wesleyan Church in a Maximizing Impact consultation. We only have two dates left for church consultations in this conference year so please contact our office ASAP if you’d like to welcome a team to help your church increase its Great Commission effectiveness.
Sherry and I welcome your prayers as we travel to Mozambique with Dr. Dennis and Gwen Jackson for ministry at the Bible college and with district leaders. I’ll be back in the district after September 27 but Rev. Chris Williams will keep things moving forward while we’re out of the county.
Thank you again for all you do to advance the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,