Sunday morning, February 2, I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Steve and Rosie Binns at Lone Oak Wesleyan Church in Anderson. Pastor Steve left his previous career and answered the call to lead this congregation in 2018. Now, in his second year of leading Lone Oak, they are taking new steps to reach out to their neighborhood and the nearby elementary school. The LBA just voted for Pastor Steve to begin a Sunday evening home Bible study for younger adults and folks on the margins, and the mature members of the congregation will take responsibility for the Sunday evening gathering at the church. I was also glad to connect with the LBA for a brief meeting after the service. Pray that God will continue to bless their efforts to move the church into mission.
Last Monday evening, I met with the Local Board of Administration at Lancaster Wesleyan Church. Rev. Doug Sharrard has faithfully served the Lancaster congregation for more than two decades but felt that the time was right for his transition. Doug and Cheryl purchased a home in Marion and will make that the base for their next season of ministry. I enjoyed working with the LBA as we mapped out next steps. They committed to leading the congregation in a 30-day prayer focus as we begin the pastoral search.
After teaching at IWU and meeting with our office staff on Tuesday, I flew to Tampa for a series of meetings. My first schedule stop was in Brooksville. I was recently elected to serve as denominational representative on the Wesleyan Village Board of Director. (I think this officially confirms that I’m past being middle-aged.) Dr. Don Maness is doing a great job as Executive Director. More than 800 lively seniors enjoy this active Christian community during the winter season, including my father. After our meeting, we shared lunch in the dining hall and I ran into some Crossroads District friends (Rev. Dennis & Barbara Hilton and Dr. Joe Harmon) who were enjoying their time at Wesleyan Village.
Wednesday evening supper began the Wesleyan Superintendents’ Institute back in Tampa with Dr. Wayne Schmidt and my colleagues from across North America. We enjoyed our meal together that evening and discussions continued through lunch on Thursday. Dr. Schmidt shared an update on the “ReThink Small” Church Conference recently held in North Carolina and Dr. Dennis Jackson cast vision for a strategic prayer initiative that will lead us into General Conference. There is warm collegiality among these district leaders and a growing sense of anticipation as we approach GenCon 2020.
Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, I was part of the Exponential Multipliers Learning Cohort that met at the Tampa Underground. Crossroads District leaders joining us in this year’s Exponential cohorts include Zach Szmara (Logansport – The Bridge), Terry Vaughn (South Bend – The Bridge Urban Church), Ollie Dongell (Plymouth Wesleyan), Steve Bray (Richmond LifeSpring), Tony Bye (Marion Brookhaven) and Matthew Trexler (Marion River Church). Brian Sanders and Larry Walkemeyer led our main sessions and stretched our thinking about what we might envision in the church of tomorrow. Larry’s church in California was involved in launching 19 new congregations. Brian and his team at the Underground now form the resource hub for more than 200 micro-churches scattered across Tampa. I love learning about the creative ways that God is moving to mobilize the church for disciple-making in this generation.
Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne recently knocked out walls for expanded capacity (up to 400), remodeled their auditorium, and replaced their pews with comfortable chairs. Yesterday, they had 215 present for their first service in this welcoming space and reports are that everyone loved the renovation. Associate Pastor Andy Jellison preached and encouraged the congregation to keep on sharing Christ with their personal mission field of 8-15. Pastor Rick Fletcher and Pastor Andy are doing a great job leading together through this season of intentional succession. Congratulations, Lifeway Church!
Last evening, I was blessed to connect with Pastor John Hannan by phone for an exciting update from CrossRoads Church, our newest church in Union City. Instead of football party, they gathered for a baptism celebration. While they have not yet begun to hold regular Sunday morning worship services, they are staying focused on meeting needs and making disciples. Yesterday, they baptized two new believers and celebrated together with a new high of 40 people in their launch team gathering. Pray for Pastor John and Beth Hannan as they lead in planting this new congregation.
Dr. Rich Schenck, lead pastor of the Circle of Hope Network, passed along the encouraging report that their Beech Grove campus had 1 baptism last week and that Pastor Nicolas and Adriana Zarate, celebrated 4 baptisms yesterday at the Rey de Gloria (King of Glory) campus in Noblesville with 44 in attendance.
Pastor Jeremy Armiger and Dr. Jim Lo continue leading the Chesterfield Parkway Wesleyan Church in reaching their community with the Gospel. They celebrated another baptism yesterday of an adult who was far from God this time last year. God is moving!
Thank you for all you are doing to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
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