Saturday evening, August 27, and Sunday morning, August 28, I was blessed to worship at LifeSpring Church (north campus) with Dr. Steve Bray and his team. These are good days at LifeSpring with attendance up 10% and God blessing in unusual ways. Their most recent outdoor baptism service included 20 new believers and they’re making plans for another baptism opportunity this fall.
The city of Richmond recently donated a small park directly across the street from their south campus and another donor stepped forward with a gift of $200,000 to provide parking and playground equipment on that site. The LBA (local board of administration) met with me between the morning services and it was good to reconnect with these committed leaders. Some of you may know that LifeSpring (formerly known as Fountain City Wesleyan Church) is the oldest congregation in our conference and one of the oldest in the denomination. Abolitionists like Daniel Worth, first president of the Indiana Abolitionist Society, organized this church in the spring of 1843. In the photo below, you see Dr. Bray standing at the very pulpit from which Daniel Worth, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglas preached. LifeSpring has an amazing heritage and a bright future!
From LifeSpring, our oldest church, I journeyed on to Muncie Rising Hope, one of our newest churches. Rev. Michael and Kim Hewitt were hosting a luncheon for the Ball State University students and others who will be part of Devoted, their young adult ministry, this fall. It was good to see the connections that Rising Hope is building with the BSU campus. If you have students from your congregation attending Ball State, Rising Hope would be a welcoming ministry for them during the school year. I also had the chance to sit in with Pastor Michael and his leadership team as they continue to discern God’s direction for their first multiplication project. Like every healthy church plant, Rising Hope knows that they need to plant in their first five years to ensure that multiplication is embedded in their DNA.
Sherry serves as treasurer for The River Church in Marion so Pastor Trexler invited us to attend the launching event of their newest ministry called the Legacy Team. The Legacy Team is a group of lay people with the spiritual gift of giving who are committed to maximizing their “e-ROI” (eternal return on investment). Lee Domingue, who leads the Legacy Team at Church of the Highlands, shared insights from his book (Stay in Your Lane) and challenged the team to make sure that their spiritual gifts were making an impact for eternity.
Last week began with our district office team meeting in Marion with the last part of that focused on the upcoming Celebration of Holiness event, September 30, at College Wesleyan Church. We have a great lineup of speakers for this one-day event and the $20 registration fee includes your meal and Kevin Watson’s new book, Perfect Love. Make plans to join us for this informative and inspiring presentation.
Note: This event is open to pastors, lay leaders, and ministerial students. Here’s the link to register: https://www.crossroadsdistrict.org/holiness.html
On Tuesday, Rev. Trevor O’Dell (pastor of Lancaster Wesleyan Church) and I met for our annual coaching conversation. This is Trevor’s first lead pastor role since completing his church-planting residency at Muncie Rising Hope. I’m grateful for the many young leaders that God is calling to join our team in the Crossroads District.
Rev. Angela Spangler, Executive Director of Fairmount Camp, and I met at Abbey Coffee on Tuesday. It was good to connect with Rev. Spangler and hear the encouraging reports from this past summer at Fairmount. You may recall that the Indiana North District launched Fairmount Camp as a new self-governing ministry prior to the merger that created the Crossroads District in 2016. Rev. Spangler and her team are doing a great job of providing camps and events that reach hundreds of youth, children, and adults. Their Married Couples Retreat is coming up on September 9-11 and this will mark the 50th year that this event has been held at Fairmount Camp.
Wednesday, I was back on the road for coaching conversations beginning with Pastor Mike Henry at Level 13 Church in Fort Wayne. Mike is just a few months into his new leadership role but it’s encouraging to hear the reports of disciples making disciples. My next stop was with Pastor Thomas Beck at Larwill Wesleyan Church. In addition to working full-time in the marketplace and pastoring the church, Thomas also serves a board chair for Cornerstone Christian School in Albion. My final stop of the day was with Rev. Shane Wilson, pastor at Columbia City New Hope. We met at Shane’s favorite coffee shop and it was fun to see the many connections he had with the community.
Thursday morning, I met with Dr. John Kulaga, our new president at Indiana Wesleyan University. Dr. Kulaga is an ordained minister in the Free Methodist denomination and we met as part of his application process to transfer his credentials into The Wesleyan Church. Christian higher education leadership has always been a challenge but never more so than today. Please pray for Dr. Kulaga and his team as they move IWU forward in its mission as a “Christ-centered academic community committed to changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship, and leadership.”
Thursday afternoon, I was able to join the webinar sponsored by Wesley Seminary that Joel Hunt hosted featuring Rev. Joe Colaw and Rev. Mike Colaw. This father-son combination presented a wealth of context on what it takes to thrive in long-term pastoral ministry. Pastor Joe has led the First Wesleyan Church in Bartlesville, OK for the past 32 years and he’s still going strong!
After a day off on Friday, I was able to join in the closing sessions of 21 Days of Prayer at Lakeview Wesleyan Church and The River Church. Thank you to each leader who has prioritized prayer as we move into this fall season of harvest. Churches participating in 21 Days of Prayer are already making plans for the January opportunity as we launch into the new year. We’d love to have you join us!
Saturday afternoon, before heading to LifeSpring, I dropped in on Pastor Seth Bye and his team at 317Church in Avon. They were hosting a well-attended community outreach event on their campus in preparation for their preview services in September and their launch on October 2. They had a team of approximately 40 volunteers serving at this event. Pray with Pastor Seth and Kassidy as they reach out to the rapidly-growing community in Hendricks County!
Congratulations to Rev. Jared and Kayla Webb on the birth of their daughter, Quinnly Catherine Webb, this past week. Both mother and daughter are home and doing well. Jared and Kayla both serve on staff with Dr. Chris Williams at Marion Lakeview Wesleyan Church. We praise God for this precious gift of life and can’t wait to meet the newest member of our Crossroads District ministry family.
We love to rejoice with our churches that are celebrating baptisms. This week we received news from Rev. Eliorgy Guerrero and Pastor Jose Cardenas at Elkhart Cielos Abiertos Iglesia Wesleyana had the joy of baptizing three new believers last weekend! Praise God for lives #MadeNew
Rev. Calimerio Rodriguez and the team at Frankfort Templo de Poder Iglesia Wesleyana also conducted an outdoor baptism service last week with three new believers publicly professing their faith in Christ. Praise the Lord for these spiritual victories! I thank God for Pastor Calimerio and Sister Maria Rodrigues who have been faithfully leading Templo de Poder for more than 20 years!
Pastor Dave Leitzel and Hamilton Wesleyan also celebrated a baptism service last week with three new believers! Praise the Lord!
May God continue to bless you with His favor as you make disciples and multiply the church!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. There are still a few openings left in both the Groundswell Disciple-Making cohort with Rev. Jon Wiest and in the rural ministry cooperative led by Rev. Steve McVey and the Dirt Roads Network. Contact the district office for more information and to register.