Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping at Beech Grove Wesleyan Church yesterday morning with Pastor Bill and Mary Carpenter. We also enjoyed fellowship with our new friends at their Christmas pitch-in. This is a vital ministry in a needy neighborhood that is making a difference through their Gospel preaching and community service. Twice each month, their fellowship hall doubles as a community food bank serving dozens of families. Pastor Bill and Mary have invested deeply in this ministry but are praying that God will raise up new leadership to take this team to the next level.
Sunday evening, Rev. Chris Williams and I returned to Jonesboro Westview Wesleyan Church to facilitate a town hall meeting as the congregation prayerfully considered the report of the Maximizing Impact consultation. In spite of the unusually cold weather, a good and responsive group gathered for this evening of dialogue. The congregation will vote on January 8.
Last Monday began with our office team’s staff meeting, followed by a Maximizing Impact update meeting with Pastor Clifton Ashlock in Anderson, and concluding with a joyful Christmas fellowship hosted by Pastor Mark Atkinson and the Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church for the Grant Count South Zone. This year, each of the zones have organized their own events. This option allows for more fellowship and shorter travel times. Thank you to each pastor and spouse who made the special effort to participate.
On Tuesday morning, Jon Wiest (Crossroads District Multiplication Team Leader) and I were in South Bend for a meeting with Pastor Troy Evans and a friend of his who is prayerfully considering joining our Crossroads District team. His dream is to plant a church much like “The Edge” that Pastor Troy is leading in Grand Rapids. Next steps will include completing a church planter assessment and convening the zone pastors to consider a recommendation to the DBA. Pray with us that God will raise up dozens of new church planters as we reach out to make disciples among the 3 million unreached people in Indiana.
Tuesday afternoon, I met with Dr. Oliver Dongell at Plymouth Wesleyan to consult with him on several items. I appreciate Dr. Dongell’s Kingdom vision and his willingness to help lead our district ministry in Region 3 even while he’s building for the future of Plymouth Wesleyan.
On my way from Plymouth to Lafayette, I was able to drop in on Pastor Zach Szmara at The Bridge in Logansport. In addition to the ministry of the church and the expanding impact of their Immigrant Connection, The Bridge also offers The Intersection Coffee Shop. It was encouraging to see the progress that Zach and his team are making.
Tuesday evening, I met with Pastor Alan and Teri Downing in Lafayette for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Alan is providing faith-filled leadership to Frankfort First Wesleyan even while completing the last steps in his ordination journey. If all goes as planned, he’ll join more than a dozen ministers being ordained at our Crossroads District Conference coming up on June 23.
Wednesday morning, I was at our Fishers (HQ) office for church planting meetings with Rev. Jon Wiest and then with Dr. Ed Love, Church Multiplication Director for The Wesleyan Church. Dr. Love also leads and teaches in the church multiplication certificate and degree program at Wesley Seminary. (Here’e the link for more info: Wesley Seminary – Church Planting program )
Wednesday afternoon, I had the privilege of connecting with Pastor Steve Martin in the follow-up process from their Maximizing Impact consultation. Then, Sherry and I met with Rev. Scott and Elizabeth Rhyno for supper in Fishers. Scott is leading the charge on generosity initiatives for The Wesleyan Church. He’s available to meet with leadership teams in our local churches and is prepping to launch a golf event next summer that will help us raise funding for the pastoral fitness as part of THRIVE.
Thursday, I was in Marion for meetings. Our attorney, Phil Stevenson, always provides wise counsel. Our prayers are with Phil as he continues to grieve the loss of his wife. Thursday. Pastor Chuck MacCallum stopped by in the afternoon. He is a great encourager and I’m thankful for his heart for pastors and our churches.
Thursday evening, Rev. Williams and I were in Albion for a meeting with Pastor Joe Allen and the Local Advisory Council at Albion Wesleyan. Pastor Joe and the team are working through a series of decisions and it was good to come alongside them as they seek God’s wisdom for the best path forward. It was my first visit to the church. The worship team was practicing as we arrived and I was also impressed with this ministry facility.
I was back in South Bend on Friday morning to meet with Pastor Greg Holmes at Sonlight Fellowship Wesleyan Church for our first coaching conversation. Rev. Holmes has been part of the church for 20 years, first as an active lay leader and then, for the past 10 years, as pastor. He’s actively involved with the homeless shelter in South Bend and is passionate about mentoring young adult leaders. The vision of their church is to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.
Friday afternoon, I has the joy of connecting with Dr. David Smith, Dean of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. It was my honor to work with Dr. Smith for our five years together at Kingswood University. I am always delighted when I have the opportunity to collaborate with him.
The event we’ve been working on is the Mike Hilson seminar that will be co-sponsored by Wesley Seminary and the Crossroads District on January 13-14. Because of our co-sponsorship we’re able to offer this event at no charge to Wesley Seminary students and Crossroads District team members. The event will have three sessions.
On Friday morning, January 13 from 10 until noon, Pastor Mike Hilson will be presenting a session on making disciples. This is always a vital conversation but it is especially timely as we roll out our denomination’s membership reaffirmation process. On Friday afternoon (from 1:30-4:00), Pastor Mike will be presenting new material from a forthcoming book on Moses’ model of leadership.
Then, on Saturday morning, from 9 until noon, Pastor Mike will present a seminar on “Becoming a Multiplying Church.” Every session will be helpful. The Friday sessions are specifically targeted for pastors. The Saturday morning session is designed for pastors, staff and their leadership teams to share together.
Many of you know the New Life story (check out this link: New Life Network ), but when Pastor Mike Hilson cast a vision for becoming a multiplying church their congregation was deeply in debt and running less than 100 in worship. Today, this congregation has expanded exponentially ministering to more than 3000 people in multiple venues and church plants. Don’t miss this event!
Thank you again for your prayers and to each one who has expressed their sympathy at the passing of my mother, Mrs. Anne Gorveatte. I like the phrase the Salvation Army uses as the death of their officers: “Promoted to Glory.” We’ll be holding a private family memorial service in Noblesville on Thursday and then Brooksville Wesleyan Church is hosting a public memorial service on January 3 with a brief reception at 2 p.m. followed by the service at 2:30.
The Crossroads District Team Update will take a break for the Christmas holiday but will be back online the first week in January. May God richly bless you and your loved ones this Christmas as you celebrate the incarnation of our Savior and anticipate the soon return of our King!
Your servant in Christ,