Sunday morning, Sherry and I worshiped with the congregation at Hartford City Wesleyan Church. The DBA graciously permitted me to fill in as the interim (very part-time) pastor for HCWC after the unexpected resignation of their pastor last summer. I’m not there often on Sundays but have chaired the weekly staff meetings and monthly LBA meetings. One of the joys has been working alongside their ministry staff which includes Rev. Mark Schnell (Assistant Pastor), Ben Robison (assistant for youth and preaching), Gillian Haenggi (youth director), Zera Garrett (children), John Bonham (administration) and others.
Yesterday was a special occasion as we said farewell to Ben Robison who has served the church so well in this transition. He carried much of the preaching load in the fall and also mentored Gillian who will be leading the youth team this year. It was a joy to join with Rev. Schnell and the leadership team in praying a blessing over Ben and Mandi as they move to Georgia for new ministry and graduate school opportunities.
Sunday evening, I enjoyed connecting with Pastor Jerome Bell and the launch team for Autumn Hills Church in Pendleton. The team enjoyed supper together (thank you, Jayne) followed by Bible study and planning. Pastor Joe and Julia Jackson (Anderson United Wesleyan) also dropped in to be an encouragement. Pastor Jerome and Lenita are excited about their “Art Camp” community connection event beginning next week. Pray that God will continue to open hearts to the Gospel as this team reaches out with God’s love!
Last week’s schedule included preparation for District Conference 2021. Our staff met on Tuesday, and then again Thursday with the DBMD and the DC2021 planning team. Tuesday also included joining in with General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt for one of his monthly Zoom meetings with the district superintendents. One of the highlights of that call was his report that 1873 unique connections joined in on one of the two live presentations of the Pentecost Prayer Gathering that he hosted last month. That online gathering included Wesleyans from 54 countries of the world!
Wednesday morning, I first met with Rev. Chip Bos (Marion College Wesleyan) and Seth Bye to shoot video for our conference before heading to Union City for my coaching conversation with Pastor John Hannan. Pastor John and Beth are doing a remarkable job of loving their community and launching CrossRoads Church. I closed out the day worshiping with the students and leaders at Fairmount Youth Camp. Jacob Thurston was the camp evangelist and the leadership team was very encouraged by the strong spiritual response (more than 30 professions of faith). Pray for the important follow-up work that will be happening in their home churches. Also pray for our district students who will be gathering this week at Indiana Wesleyan University for Never The Same (NTS) Camp.
Thursday, the DBMD (District Board of Ministerial Development) convened for a report on the review of Annual Service Reports and to make final ministerial appointment recommendations for district conference. Thursday afternoon, I met with Rev. Duane Seitz for an update on the ministry at Silver Lake Wesleyan Church. While Silver Lake only averaged 19 in worship, they celebrated 4 new professions of faith and 7 baptisms last year!
The highlight of Friday was welcoming six pastors and their spouses to our home for an evening of food, fun, and fellowship. There is something powerful that happens when pastors and their spouses get together. Laughing together, occasionally crying together, and always praying together makes a stronger team. I am grateful for each leader who was able to make this investment of time in their teammates this year.
Here’s another opportunity to join us in building a stronger team. Our next district-wide leadership development opportunity is coming up on Monday, June 21. Assistant DS Matthew Trexler and the team at The River Church in Marion are hosting Rev. Ken and Serena Murphy for three powerful sessions. You can come for only one of those sessions or join us for all three.
Many of you will know Ken from his leadership at Cypress Wesleyan Church, one of the fastest growing Wesleyan churches in the USA. Ken has a huge heart for encouraging pastors and their spouses. He and Serena understand the pressures of leadership on couples and families. There is no charge for pastors and their spouses but we do need you to pre-register so we can make arrangements for the meals. Here’s the link for more information and your registration:
For those of you who will be joining us in person, Ordination Service will begin promptly on Friday, June 25, at 7 p.m. in the chapel at Indiana Wesleyan University. All ministers under appointment in the Crossroads District are expected to attend. We are honored that Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, will be leading the service again this year.
Conference begins promptly at 9 on Saturday morning in the same location. Delegates, both ministerial and lay, have preregistered online so that meal preparations are adequate. We look forward to celebrating God’s faithfulness together. Please join us in praying that God will direct our deliberations and be glorified in our collective ministry.
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent