Sunday morning, May 9, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Logan Patriquin and the team at The Branch Wesleyan Church in Lafayette. Pastor Logan and Shaina have been blessed to help lead the turnaround. It was encouraging to see the younger families who’ve become part of the congregation with 20 or more in children’s ministry each Sunday.
Following the morning service, I met with the LBA and then was able to connect with the Patriquin family. It was also good to see Allan and Pam Conley who have played a key role as lay leaders at The Branch. In addition to leading children’s ministry, Pam is also a member of our District Board of Ministerial Development.
Last week’s schedule included a Monday evening Executive Committee meeting followed by a full day with the General Board of The Wesleyan Church on Tuesday. In addition to receiving the normal departmental reports, it was encouraging to hear from our own Zach Szmara who shared about the progress of Immigrant Connection. Pastor Zach reported that this ministry, in its seven years of operation, has directly served over 10,000 individuals and families from over 125 countries of origin.
Perhaps the most significant outcome of the General Board meeting was the following shared statement:
A Statement of the General Board of the North American General Conference of The Wesleyan Church
We affirm our deep commitment to our core mission of evangelizing the lost, discipling believers, equipping the Church, and ministering to society. This mission is foundational as we seek to be agents of the hope and holiness of Jesus Christ.
Unprecedented times is a term often used to accurately describe our current reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended many things we have taken for granted for decades. Coupled with the ever-shifting sands of our culture on the social and political issues of our time, uneasiness, and a sense of angst hover in the air.
Changes thrust on us have raised questions and perhaps even fears and apprehension as we attempt to navigate the shifting landscape. More than once we have asked, “What next?”
Our General Superintendent, General Board, and the presidents and board chairs of our college and universities, have prayed, discussed, and reasoned together on these matters and unanimously approved the following statement of affirmation:
“We hereby declare that we remain deeply committed to proclaim, defend, and hold each other accountable for the historic and orthodox doctrinal positions of The Wesleyan Church as presented in our Articles of Religion, and
We hereby affirm our full and ongoing support for the official Position Papers on the social issues of our time including our commitments:
1) To affirm that persons of all races are created equal in the image of God and are entitled to equal justice under the law.
2) To affirm the sanctity of life and that all life is sacred from conception to death.
3) To affirm that God’s only design for marriage is between one man and one woman.
4) To affirm that religious freedom is a liberty essential for our pluralistic democracy.”
Loyalty has not changed. Love still thrives. Commitment remains strong. The core is solid.
While commitment to our understanding of Biblical truth is unwavering, we do understand that there are other points of view on a range of social issues. There is room for courteous dialog on these issues within the boundaries of Biblical truth.
As our leaders, we commit ourselves to pray earnestly for the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to rest on the ministry of The Wesleyan Church. Our deep passion is to be agents of both grace and truth in this time and place in history.“
I stand in agreement with them and I am grateful for these leaders who are united in championing our historic, orthodox doctrines and the statements of collective conscience that have been approved by our General Conference.
Wednesday, I was back on the road for lunch with a prospective church planter from Indianapolis. Then I connected with one of our churches that is taking steps to launch a ministry training center. I finished the day meeting with the Local Advisory Council for Albion Cornerstone Wesleyan Church.
Thursday morning, I was in Kokomo to meet with one of our ministers for a pastoral counseling conversation. Rev. Steve Binns and I met over lunch in Anderson for an exit interview as he concludes his ministry tenure at Lone Oak Wesleyan. My last appointment of the day was with Rev. Mike Weller who is planting Restoration Church in downtown Anderson. We met for our annual coaching conversation and a positive report on this newest Wesleyan church launch in Madison County.
Friday and Saturday were invested in final interviews with this year’s group of ordination candidates. Rev. Chris Williams, interim chair, and Rev. Carla Working, vice-chair, led our District Board of Ministerial Development through two days of intensive interviews with a dozen individuals and their spouses who are nearing completion of their journey toward ordination. I am grateful for the prayerful and deliberate way in which our DBMD members undertake this process. I am thankful for the dedicated candidates who are answering God’s call to the equipping ministry of Word and sacrament. Please make plans to join us in Marion on Friday evening, June 25, 7 p.m., for the ordination service to be led by our General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt.
Our prayers and sympathies continue to be extended to the family and friends of Dr. Wilbur and Professor Ardelia Williams who passed away earlier this spring. Indiana Wesleyan University and College Wesleyan Church shared a beautiful celebration of their lives on Monday afternoon, May 3. Together, Wilbur and Ardelia made a profound impact on thousands of students, Indiana Wesleyan University, and our denomination. For those who may not know of their legacy, here is a video that was produced by IWU back in 2011.
Pastors, thank you in advance for your timely completion of both your Annual Service Report (ASR) and annual Local Church Statistical Report (LCSR). District reporting opened on May 1, 2021. Each credentialed person should have been notified and given direction by email for completing your reports. Please contact us if you did not receive that email. Wesleyan HQ has also provided helpful video resources to assist you in completing these required reports. These step-by-step videos can be found at:
Today would be a good day to register for Veritas! Rev. Mike Colaw and the team at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church are hosting the inaugural Veritas Pastors’ Conference on May 22. Crossroads District is pleased to co-sponsor this event that will equip pastors to better understand and address key cultural issues from an orthodox Christian perspective. Registration is free for Crossroads District pastoral staff members but you need to register so that they can make arrangements to welcome you:
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent