Sunday morning, September 4, Sherry and I were blessed to minister with Rev. Barry and Joyce Dixon at Calvary Family Church in Indianapolis. This church ministers in a difficult community with limited resources but lives are being changed and the Kingdom is advancing. Barry and Joyce joined us for lunch and it was great to hear more of their story. I’m also grateful that Mrs. Joyce Dixon agreed to serve on our District Board of Administration. Those of you who were at InterChange in June will remember their seminar on “The ABCs for a Ministry Marriage.”
Sunday evening, I met with the congregation at Knightstown Wesleyan Church. Pastor Gail and David Whitmire are resigning effective the end of September. The church is down to just a handful of dear people who really care for each other. Pray with them as they make decisions over the next few weeks.
Last Monday began with our staff meeting in Marion and then I met with Rev. Brian Williams at Sims Wesleyan Church for our annual Coaching Conversation. Pastor Brian is one of several ministers in our district who serves bi-vocationally. The church continues to take steps forward under his leadership and the next project they’re working on is a new sign.
Monday afternoon, I met with Rev. Keith Jones, pastor of our Sonlight Wesleyan Church in Crawfordsville, and Rev. Josh Jones, pastor of the Nazarene Church in Crawfordsville (but no related to Keith), to consult with them in their developing conversation of sharing a worship facility. It was encouraging to learn more about this partnership possibility.
Tuesday, I was back on the road for coaching conversations beginning with Rev. Jared Osborne at Warsaw Wesleyan. Pastor Jarod is off to a strong start in Warsaw. The church has taken some bold steps after a consultation with Dr. Paul Borden and Pastor Jarod was part of the Unstuck Group cohort that Dr. Willis initiated. They realized their daycare had lost alignment with the mission of the church and took the difficult step of closing that program. They’re in the process of updating and repurposing the facility as they aggressively reach out to the 52,000 people in their 20-mile radius who have no religious affiliation.
My next coaching conversation was back in Marion with Dr. Steve DeNeff at College Wesleyan Church. Pastor Steve continues to lead a great team at College Wes with vision and passion. They continue to be ever more intentional about connecting with the needs in their community. With all the demands on his schedule, I really appreciate Dr. DeNeff’s willingness to serve on our District Board of Administration.
Tuesday evening, I was with Pastor Clifton Ashlock and the LBA at Anderson Memorial Circle Church as they make preparations to welcome the Maximizing Impact consultation team September 23-25. The church has taken bold steps in the past becoming a multi-ethnic congregation and, in the past year, relocating to more spacious facilities gifted to them by a nearby Friends church. Pray with them as they seek God’s direction for next steps and even greater Kingdom impact.
Wednesday, I enjoyed coaching conversations with Pastor Mark Atkinson (Gas City Eastview Wesleyan), Pastor Tim McClellan (Marion Lakeview), and Pastor Matt Stewart (Sweetser Wesleyan). I was reminded again that it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. Eastview has experienced a strong season of growth as Pastor Mark returned to the church where he had been a staff member. It was fun to catch up with Mark in the middle of his sabbatical and hear the insights he’s been gleaning in his sabbatical.
Lakeview Wesleyan is a church with a great legacy of impact but a church that has also been through some difficult recent experiences. I’m grateful for Pastor Tim McClellan who has brought his wealth of experience to lead this turnaround. They are truly unique as a congregation that offers a flourishing professional counseling ministry and a K-12 Christian school. That is not without its challenges, but Pastor Tim and the leadership team are committed to this vision of ministering to the whole person.
My final coaching conversation on Wednesday was with Rev. Matt Stewart. Matt is leading a turnaround at Sweetser Wesleyan and is personally engaged in the community, serving on the town council. Matt also enjoys working with ministry interns from Indiana Wesleyan University. Matt’s family has adjusted well after their move from upstate New York to Indiana.
Thursday’s dialogues included Pastor Tony Bye at Brookhaven Wesleyan and Pastor Steve Fletcher at Nelson Street Wesleyan. I’ve shared some of the exciting happenings at Brookhaven in earlier updates but this was my first visit to Nelson Street. This church has a rich history but is facing the challenges of many churches in learning new ways to serve a changing neighborhood. They are making inroads with their community garden and addiction recovery ministry. Pastor Steve is open to the possibility of hosting a Hispanic congregation if we can recruit a Spanish-speaking church planter to join their team.
I met with Pastor Ken Dykhoff over lunch and then went back to Fishers for a Thursday afternoon meeting with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent.
I was off on Friday and then met with Pastor George Martin and the leadership team at The Sanctuary Church in Indianapolis on Saturday morning for a productive discussion on next steps in their affiliate relationship with The Wesleyan Church.
This week’s highlight will be the Wesleyan Married Couples Retreat at Fairmount Camp!
Keep on praying and keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,