Sunday, January 5, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Thomas Beck and the growing congregation of Larwill Wesleyan Church. Rev. Beck is another of our district’s bi-vocational pastors. He and Julie have faithfully served the Larwill church family since 2000. This is a loving congregation with a heart for their small rural community, located midway between Warsaw and Columbia City. This conference year has been an exciting season of ministry with eleven baptisms and a recent high attendance of 45.
After the worship service in Larwill and lunch with the Beck’s, I headed north to Elkhart to worship with Pastor Eliorgy Guerrero and the growing congregation at Cielos Abiertos Iglesia Wesleyana in their 3 p.m. service. I am grateful for Rev. Guerrero who now serves on our Crossroads District Hispanic Ministry leadership team along with Dr. Norman Wilson and Rev. Neftali Lopez. It was a delight to hear the message from Jose Cardenas, a lay pastor who is also working alongside Rev. Jarod Osborne to develop Hispanic ministry at Pathway Church in Warsaw.
Follow 2019 Youth Conference was incredible. Zach Coffin and this team, including several of our Crossroads District pastors (Aldean Pablo, Christian Kelley, Jennifer Ellison, and others) did a terrific job of designing and delivering an amazing spiritual encounter for approximately 5000 Wesleyan students. I appreciated their leadership and the sense of God’s presence in each of the services I attended. Special thanks to all the parents, pastors, and volunteers who made it possible for so many of our Crossroads District students to participate in this life-impacting event.
Many of our congregations are focusing prayer on our service men and women stationed in conflict zones. One of our youth pastors is currently deployed as a chaplain in the Middle East and sent me an encouraging report from his first three weeks on the ground. “11 Salvations and 3 baptisms so far overseas. God is on the move.” Pray that the Lord will continue to provide protection and blessing on the ministry of our chaplains.
Pastor Matthew Stewart and the congregation at Sweetser Wesleyan Church are entering into a season of shared ministry with Sweetser United Methodist Church through July 12. Both congregations voted affirmatively to take this exploratory step that may result in a more formal merger in the coming year. Worship will be hosted in the UMC sanctuary and will be led by the Wesleyan team. The pastors will alternate sharing the pulpit. Pray that God will grant wisdom and unity in this initiative to more effectively reach their rural community with the Gospel.
On a personal note, Sherry and I enjoyed time with our extended family over the Christmas break. We worshiped with three of our children in Grand Rapids, Michigan on the Sunday before Christmas and then joined Pastor Mark Atkinson and the team at Eastview Wesleyan Church for their Christmas Eve service. We were also blessed to have Josiah Gorveatte, our son, move closer to home from Florida last month to join Pastor Brad LeRoy’s team at Harvest Church in McCordsville.
I’m looking forward to this new year of ministry. This week includes a new round of coaching conversations, hosting the Region 1 South Zone (Jeff & Amy Luedtke’s zone) on Friday evening, and my first experience teaching Wesleyan Church History and Discipline at IWU. Next Sunday morning, I’m looking forward to being with Pastor Ben Jones at Beaver Creek Wesleyan Church.
Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent