Sunday morning, I had the unique opportunity of worshiping with two of our congregations in neighboring communities. Lapel and Fishersburg share everything including the gas station, the post office, and their public schools. I joined Rev. Duane Summitt and the folks at Fishersburg Wesleyan Church for their service. Pastor Duane gave me a warm welcome and put me to work leading the congregational singing. Rev. Summitt is another of our district's many committed bi-vocational pastors.
Following that first service, I drove across town to Lapel Daybreak Church in time to hear Pastor Andy Cole preach a challenging message. After the service, it was good to catch up with retired pastor Rev. Richard Cole and to tour the remodeling project that they are close to completing. Driving away from these two different experiences, I was reminded again that it will take all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people among the 3 million yet to be reached here in Indiana.
Monday morning, I dropped in on the Region 1 Leadership Cohort that Pastor Matthew Trexler (Region 1 Assistant DS) is leading at The River in Marion. It is great to see these leaders encouraging and cheering one another on in ministry. Rev. Clifton Ashlock and I reconnected over lunch. Clifton is semi-retired but stays active in DBMD and supply preaching for our churches. My last meeting of the day was with Rev. Bob McHenry who is leading the turnaround project at Marion Nelson Street. I was glad to hear that he’s providing opportunities for IWU students to preach and complete practicum requirements under his mentoring.
Tuesday began with a special visit to Rev. Matthew Stewart (soon to be Dr. Stewart) who both leads the Sweetser Wesleyan Church and also teaches as an adjunct for IWU. It was a delight to connect with Matthew and the students in his Wesleyan Church History class. After class, I jumped online to participate in the monthly board meeting for Wesleyan Village in Brooksville, Florida. Dr. Don Maness is the president of Wesleyan Village and I deeply respect his leadership in this challenging season of ministry.
My commitments precluded me from being part of the Region 2 leadership event hosted on Tuesday morning by Rev. Mike Colaw (Region 2 Assistant DS) at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church. Seth, Carla, and Woody were able to take in this event featuring worship led by the Trinity team and an excellent presentation from Dr. Dan Poff (professor at IWU).
Thank you to the pastors and spouses who joined us on Tuesday afternoon to support Rev. Allen Laws (pastor of Warren Wesleyan Church) at the funeral for Cheryl, his beloved wife. The service was held at the Jonesboro campus of Eastview Wesleyan. Allen and Cheryl (Richards) Laws had been active at Gas City Eastview Church before entering pastoral ministry. Special thanks to the Eastview team members who rallied around the Laws and Richards family. Please continue to support Pastor Allen and his family in your prayers.
Wednesday included an opportunity to meet with Rev. Jason Tash, one of our district StratOp facilitators. Jason’s full-time work is with Destiny Rescue but he graciously continues to serve our district churches by facilitating these weekend planning retreats. I was also able to connect with the leadership team at the Avon Nehemiah Church via Zoom on Wednesday evening. Rev. Seth Bye has been a great help to the church serving as their supply pastor through this time of transition.
Thursday, I joined our team online for District Conference 2022 planning. Please mark your calendars for June 25-26, Friday-Saturday. We will be convening at the IWU Chapel for the Friday evening ordination service and the Saturday conference sessions. Dr. Steve Bray (LifeSpring Church) and I met in Richmond over lunch for our annual coaching conversation. These are good days at LifeSpring with wonderful stories of life transformation.
Thursday afternoon, I joined with my DS colleagues in the Heartland Region as the planning moves forward for our next regional gathering in Pigeon Forge, TN on March 29-31, 2022. The response to our last regional gathering was overwhelmingly positive and we’re looking forward to another encouraging event with our neighboring districts. It is a joy to work with these colleagues!
Thursday evening, the district nominating committee reconvened. We met last year just before the pandemic lockdown began. With the postponement of last year’s general and district conference, the committee had some additional work to complete. Thank you to Cindy Horn and the team at Gas City Eastview for hosting our meeting.
Friday included two helpful meetings in the morning but the highlight of the day definitely was hosting our Spanish-speaking pastors and their spouses for an evening of fellowship at our home in Upland. It was a blessing to host these 22 brothers and sisters who are serving so effectively across our district. Praise the Lord that He is raising up leaders and opening doors for more church planting among our Spanish-speaking neighbors!
Many of you have been joining me in prayer for pastoral transitions. We know that few decisions in the life of a congregation are more significant than the calling of a new pastor. God has been answering those prayers as two of our churches have voted to call new pastors and have announced the acceptance of their call. Rev. Martin Furrow has accepted the call to move from being the assistant pastor to becoming the lead pastor at Rochester The Cross, following the upcoming retirement of Rev. Mike Cloud. Join us in praying for God’s blessing on Pastor Martin and Misty Furrow.
Indianapolis Southview Wesleyan Church is delighted to announce that Rev. Nathan Richardson has accepted their call to become their next pastor, following the retirement of Rev. Rick Matthews. This past year, after seven years of effective ministry in Iowa, Nathan and Jennifer have been actively involved at Greentown Wesleyan Church, Jenny’s home church. We’re glad to welcome them back home to Indiana and pray for God’s blessing as they prepare to lead the team at Southview Wesleyan in a new chapter of Kingdom impact.
We are rejoicing this week with Pastor Matthew Stewart and the team at Sweetser Wesleyan Church as they celebrated a wonderful story of life transformation and a public profession of faith in baptism yesterday! I know many of our churches are planning baptism services in the next few weeks. Please do pass along stories and photos so we can celebrate with you!
Just a gentle reminder that we are hosting an “All Pastors” prayer gathering on Thursday evening, April 1, at 8:00 p.m. to cover our Easter weekend services in a shared time of intercession. We’ll gather online first as an entire district team and then break out into smaller groups for specific points of prayer. Thank you in advance for making this a priority.
My devotional reading this morning included 1st Samuel 14:6 (NLT) with these encouraging words: “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few.” God moved on behalf of Jonathan and his armor bearer that day and they were victorious although outnumbered 10 to 1. Let’s move forward in faith this week to press the battle for the souls of the 3 million in our harvest field!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent