Sunday morning, August 1, I was blessed to worship with Pastor Rick and Debbie Fletcher at Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne. Associate Pastor Andy Jellison and his family were on a well-deserved vacation break. I brought greetings from the district team and shared a message in their series on the attributes of God. Attendance has rebounded well after last year.
The church recently completed a record Vacation Bible School with 118 children registered. Lifeway is a warm, welcoming multi-generational church with a big heart for the community. The church is in a planned succession journey with a pastoral vote upcoming to call Rev. Jellison as the new senior pastor while Rev. Fletcher steps back to assist. After the morning service, I enjoyed connecting with the LBA for a brief meeting and then hosted the Fletchers for a delightful lunch at one of their favorite restaurants.
Sunday evening, I presided over the pastoral installation of Rev. Martin Furrow as the new senior pastor at The Cross Wesleyan Church in Rochester. After several years as assistant pastor, Rev. Furrow accepted the call of the church to succeed Rev. Mike Cloud. Pastor Martin and Misty, his wife, have three children. The two younger ones, Anna and Aaron, are still at home but their oldest child, Abraham, is serving in the US Air Force. Following the installation service, the congregation gathered for fellowship and refreshments. The Cross expanded their foyer and completely remodeled their worship center during the Covid lockdown. They have a growing Celebrate Recovery ministry and serve hundreds of individuals each month from their food bank. Pastor Furrow is leading the search for a new full-time Family Ministries Pastor. Here’s the link for more information: https://secure.wesleyan.org/job/frame/8289
Last week, I joined nearly 90 leaders from the Crossroads District in Birmingham, Alabama at Church of the Highlands for the three-day GROW Conference. Pastor Chris Hodges and his team did an amazing job of hosting this practical and inspirational learning experience. In addition to the keynote presentations from Pastor Hodges, key staff members shared learning labs on everything from finances to small groups. A highlight of the conference was the Wednesday evening worship service with Dr. John Maxwell preaching. Wesleyans were well-represented and Crossroads was the largest single group attending. This event sells out every year (one year, every ticket was gone in the first 30 minutes) so we are grateful to Dr. Craig Dunn and WIF for their assistance in making this happen. The powerful prayer meeting on Thursday morning was worth the drive.
If you weren’t able to attend GROW this year, grab coffee with a friend who did and ask them to share their insights. The heart of the conference was captured in this thought: “Growth is essential as long as heaven and hell are realities.” That’s why Highlands focuses on helping people to Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose, and Make a Difference. You might ask your friend about Session #2 on Structure, Systems, and Spirit. Pastor Chris reminded us that our systems are perfectly designed to deliver the results that we are currently producing. Or you might ask them about the acrostic “ESPN” that frames their small group ministry coaching. Here’s one last take away, “Excellence is not always having the best, excellence is doing the best with what we have.”
If you’ve not yet planned a baptism service for this summer, there’s still time. Pastor Mike Hewitt and the team at Muncie Rising Hope had a wonderful celebration Sunday on August 1 with 4 professions of faith and 4 baptisms. They also had 37 out last evening for their youth event. Praise the Lord for lives being #MadeNew!
Thank you for all you’re doing to make disciples who make disciples and multiply churches!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent