Sunday, September 22, I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Jere and Ruth Ann Gowin and the congregation at Kingsford Heights Wesleyan Church, near LaPorte. Pastor Jere was first appointed here in 2013 and serves sacrificially as another of our committed bi-vocational pastors. After the morning service, I met briefly with the Local Board of Administration and then we joined the congregation for a fellowship luncheon.
One of my favorite stories from yesterday was about Pastor Gowin claiming five of our “#MadeNew” baptism T-shirts at district conference. KHWC averages less than 20 and last year baptized one person so taking 5 shirts seemed to be a huge step of faith. The picture below is of the 5 young people that they baptized last weekend. I was able to speak with the young man in the blue shirt who helped bring his friend in the grey shirt to Christ. Praise the Lord for answered prayers!
Last week began with a road trip to LaPorte on Monday to connect with Pastor Matthew Ohime and leaders of Davis Wesleyan Church to sign legal documents as they proceed with their facility renovation. It was good to hear about the progress they are making in reaching out to their community. While on the trip up, I joined a conference call with the three other Heartland Region district superintendents as we look toward a special joint session of our DBAs in November with Dr. Dan Reiland as our guest speaker. Registration is now open for the Heartland Region Gathering, March 10-12, 2020. I’m looking forward to our speakers and a great time of inspiration as we meet in Pigeon Forge, TN. If you’ve not yet registered, today would be a great day to get that done! Here’s the link: https://gathering.heartlandregion.org/
Tuesday began with our weekly staff meeting in Marion and then I connected with Chad Peters for lunch at IWU. Chad has been serving for the last few years at SWU but we’re glad he came back home to lead student recruitment at Indiana Wesleyan University. Pastors, you’ll find Chad to be a valuable partner as you help your high school students prepare to take advantage of the amazing Christian higher education available at IWU.
Tuesday afternoon, I was in Fishers to attend the celebration of life service for Rev. Lloyd Moore, one of our retired pastors, hosted by Waterline Church at Wesleyan HQ. Lloyd was a valued pastor, counselor, and mentor to many, including a host of students that he poured into during his time as an instructor in the FLAME program. Please remember Rhonda in your prayers as she continues to serve in the General Department of Church Multiplication and Discipleship.
Wednesday, I returned to Fishers to meet with Pastor Tomasa Granados and Assistant Pastor Chris Granados for our annual coaching conversation. Sister Tomasa has led the church faithfully since the passing of her husband and she is ably assisted by Chris, her son. Iglesias Monte de Sion (Mount Zion Church) celebrated her 15th Anniversary last weekend with guests, including Pastor Calimerio & Maria Rodriguez from Frankfort.
Wednesday evening, I was back in Grant County to connect with Justin Bradbury (soon-to-be “Dr. Bradbury”). Justin and his family are planting an amazing multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church in Winnipeg, Canada. Justin’s son is a football player at IWU.
Thursday morning, I joined Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant DS, and his team of pastors from Region 3 as Pastor Logan Patriquin hosted us in The Branch’s newly-remodeled facility (formerly Schuyler Avenue). Chris shared powerful insights on planning for personal growth and development as a leader.
It was also encouraging to hear the stories of life change from across the region, including a special testimony from Pastor Joe Park at Evergreen Church in Lafayette. Pastor Joe shared the story of an older couple who’d been living together and started attending their church. They wanted to get right with God so, in addition to praying to receive Christ, they asked Pastor Joe to perform their wedding. Next, they wanted to join the church but haven’t been baptized yet, so Pastor Joe led them through the membership class and baptism. Did I mention they were older? The husband in 90 and his new bride is 86. Praise the Lord for lives “#MadeNew”!
From Lafayette, I headed to Fort Wayne to connect with Pastor Kyle Horton (Three Rivers Church) for our coaching conversation. Three Rivers Church has been in a season of transition and they are seeing growth this fall due, in part, to their long-term ministry with a nearby elementary school. They’re also excited to have Kalina Carlson join their team as Assistant Pastor. Kalina completed her MDiv at Princeton Theological Seminary this year and we’re glad to welcome her and Brad, her husband, back home to Indiana!
Friday was a quiet day back in the office answering emails and phone calls. Sherry began a new adventure taking her first class in the Doctor of Business Administration degree program (Thursday over Saturday) with Indiana Wesleyan University so it was a good time to catch up on some projects and reading.
Pastor Aldean Pablo, our planter for SEND Church in SW Fort Wayne/Roanoke, reported a good meeting with launch team members yesterday. They had 12 adults present from five families that are working together on their next outreach project, a block party in Roanoke in October. Thank you for to every pastor and church that prays for and invests in these new church planting projects. We have 3 million reasons to make disciples and multiply churches.
In other news, Pastor John Miller reported in with 40 present for week #2 with first-time guests at Way City Church in Speedway. Pastor Calimerio Rodriguez and Frankfort Templo de Poder celebrated their 18th anniversary yesterday and Pastor Allen Gross and the Cicero United Family Church celebrated their 10th-anniversary last weekend. They also celebrated one baptism. Pastor Mark Atkinson (Gas City Eastview) and Pastor David Dignal (Edgerton) also send along pictures and baptism reports, (2 at Eastview and 1 in Edgerton) so we could celebrate with them. And, just as I was finishing up this update, I received a text (pictures by next week) from Pastor Matthew Trexler to let me know that they baptized 7 more this Sunday at The River Church (a total of 23 in two weeks). Lives are being made new by the power of God for the glory of God!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent