Sunday morning, August 2, Sherry and I worshiped with Pastor Brad and Heidi LeRoy at Harvest Church in McCordsville (just northwest of Greenfield). The LeRoys and a committed launch team planted Harvest Church back in 2007. The church now owns its own building just north of the Mt. Comfort Road exit on I-70 across from the Indianapolis Regional Airport. I had the privilege of preaching in both services and meeting briefly with the LBA between services.
Josiah Gorveatte, their worship leader and our son, was celebrating his birthday yesterday so this made our visit even more fun. Many of you will know that Pastor Brad has experienced God’s grace through a long journey of medical procedures, one as recent as last week. He is grateful for the prayers and support of our district team. Harvest Church and Pastor LeRoy have strongly supported church planting and they have a vision for multiplication in their surrounding communities.
Last Monday morning, I was in Fort Wayne with Rev. Aldean Pablo, our church planter, for a productive conversation about partnership opportunities with a UMC congregation in the Roanoke community. Pray that God will grant His wisdom and favor as SEND Church makes disciples in southwest Fort Wayne. Monday afternoon, I was back in Hartford City to connect with John Bonham and the staff at our Wesleyan church.
Tuesday and Wednesday, I took advantage of the opportunity to participate in the GROW conference hosted by Pastor Chris Hodges and Church of the Highlands. Special thanks to Region 1 Assistant DS Matthew Trexler and Region 2 Assistant DS Mike Colaw for hosting area pastors to watch these sessions together. Chris Hodges led 5 sessions and John Maxwell joined in on Wednesday afternoon with insights on leading through a crisis. Church of the Highlands has grown to more than 50,000 in weekend worship since Pastor Hodges planted the church. They have a wonderful culture of excellence and generosity that was on full display as they made these sessions available for free. We had more than 70 attending the live event in our two locations and I heard from other pastors in our district who were participating on their own.
One of the takeaways for me was the reminder to “make every experience simply excellent. Don’t do too much, but do what you do with excellence.” Another was this ESPN acrostic that they use to keep their small groups focused. Every small group is reminded to have 4 key elements when they meet: Encouragement, Scripture, Prayer, and Next Steps (response/accountability). One last thought, don’t say “our people won’t change” but instead admit “we haven’t yet led our people to change.” The seminar was well worth the investment of time and I can see why the live event sells out each year.
Wednesday morning, en route to the conference, I dropped by Anderson United Wesleyan Church to welcome Rev. Nick Wilson who just arrived on site last week. Nick will be leading the youth ministry on staff with Pastor Joe Jackson. Nick and Brenda have deep roots here in Indiana and we’re glad they’ve come home to the Crossroads District after a season of serving in Maine.
Thursday morning, I was with Pastors Zach and Carla Working for a meeting in Huntington. God has been blessing their ministry with worship last year averaging 108 and 24 baptisms. Thursday afternoon, I had the joy of connecting with Pastor Hannan and members of his launch team who are preparing a building for the grand opening services of Union City CrossRoads Church on September 27.
Please keep Pastor John and Beth Hannan in your prayers as they lead this growing team in making disciples who make disciples in Union City!
Friday afternoon and Saturday, Sherry and I took some time away to enjoy the beauty of southern Indiana, overnighting in the historic town of Jasper. On Saturday afternoon, we stopped by to check on Dr. Mark Eckart, our Indiana South DS, who is recovering at home in Orleans after a recent hospital stay. If you need a quick getaway, Jasper is just south of Bloomington, close to French Lick and the beautiful Hoosier National Forest.
This was an exciting weekend for celebrations across our district family. Rev. Tim and Jaclyn (VanCise) Witte were united in marriage at College Wesleyan Church on Saturday afternoon, August 1. Pastor Tim is on staff at College Wesleyan as Special Needs Pastor. Rev. Paul VanCise, father of the bride, and Rev. Bob VanCise, grandfather, presided at the ceremony. Pastor Paul just returned from his sabbatical and would be a helpful coach to others who are making their sabbatical plans.
Pastor Duane Seitz shared an exciting report from Silver Lake Wesleyan Church where he has been diligently leading a turnaround in this country congregation. Last year at district conference, Pastor Duane felt impressed of the Lord to believe for 7 baptisms. Yesterday, they baptized 7 believers in the lake, dedicated one child, and welcomed three new members into the church family. That’s a wonderful report for a church that averaged 19 in worship last year. Praise the Lord!
Pastor Randy Yaryan passed along the good report of another baptism at Winchester Wesleyan Church yesterday, He shared some of the back story of this beautiful testimony of God’s grace. Praise God for lives that are being made new!
Ordination service is just two weeks away, August 15, at Marion Lakeview Wesleyan Church. All ordained ministers, unless previously excused, are honored to attend and support the 15 candidates who have completed the preparation journey and are excited to share in this sacred occasion. We are honored that Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, is joining us to preside over this year’s ordination service. Ministers will gather at 12:30 for photos and final directions. Seating is limited and reserved to allow for physical distancing.
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent