Sunday, February 19, Rev. Eric George and the team at Muncie Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church graciously welcomed me to bring greetings from our district and to share the morning message. Memorial has been rebuilding from the past two years. They had a good group out for worship yesterday. After the morning service, I met with the LBA (Local Board of Administration) in preparation for their upcoming pastoral vote. Rev. George is another of our faithful bi-vocational pastors. He serves as a chaplain in the New Castle correctional facility. I’m grateful for the faithful witness that Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church is having in the heart of Muncie.
Sunday afternoon, Rev. Randy Yaryan and the LBA at Union Street Wesleyan Church met with me in Winchester. Pastor Randy was one of our fearless leaders who drove a group of teenagers to Fort Wayne for the youth all-nighter and stayed awake the whole evening, even playing laser tag. Rev. Yaryan, another of our bi-vocational pastors, has served the church in Winchester for 26 years!
Sunday evening, I traveled to Wilmore, Kentucky to take part in the evening service at Asbury University. Many of you have read or heard reports of the gracious reviving work that God started here two weeks ago, a reviving work that is spreading to other college campuses across America. If you’re on Facebook, you can read more about it from Pastor Michael Colaw’s visit (Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church) with his family or from several postings by Dr. Jim Garlow. As I approached Wilmore, the traffic on the main route into town was being turned back. Here’s the sign that welcomed me:
Fortunately, there is more than one way to get to Asbury and I was able to join the overflow crowd worshiping in Asbury Seminary’s McKenna Chapel. There was an obvious sense of God’s presence on the campus. I appreciated the students’ clear desire to keep the focus on Jesus and the thoughtful restraint of celebrity. I also commend President Brown’s administration for the wise and gracious way in which they are stewarding this historic moment. May God empower this rising generation for Great Commission ministry!
Monday evening, Rev. Andy Jellison and Rev. Rick Fletcher welcomed me to Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne. Rev. Fletcher has served the church as lead pastor since 1998. Over the past few years, Pastor Rick has led the LBA in a pastoral succession process that will be completed this spring when the church votes to call Rev. Jellison as their new lead pastor. Pastor Rick has been serving part-time for much of the past year and will continue to be part of Pastor Andy’s team going forward.
Tuesday found me back on the road for coaching conversations in New Castle with Rev. Ron Ferguson (Grant City Wesleyan Church) and with Rev. Dr. Joe Harmon (New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church). Rev. Eric George (Muncie Memorial) and I met in Muncie later that afternoon in preparation for his upcoming vote and my visit on Sunday.
Wednesday morning, Dr. Mark Rennaker (Kokomo Southdowns) and I met in Marion for our annual coaching conversation. Rev. Lyle Breeding (Bluffton Sonlight) met with me over lunch in Marion and then I drove down to Anderson. Rev. Carla Working and Michael Wood joined me at Madison Park Church of God for a second walk-though of the facility. We will be holding our 2023 District Conference on this site due to the generous hospitality of Pastor Heather Kinnan Semple and her team. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, June 24, and plan to join us in Anderson!
Thursday afternoon, the Crossroads District Board of Administration met in Tipton. We had a full agenda including the board’s review of the DS evaluation. Thank you to the 51 pastors who participated in the evaluation and provided feedback that will help me serve you better.
The DBA was blessed with our two guest presentations. Rev. Seth and Cassidy Bye brought an encouraging update from 317Church, the relaunching project in Avon. Rev. Andrea Shaull (pictured below) brought an inspiring report of the work that she and Austin, her husband, are doing in planting The Table, a new Wesleyan micro-church network in Indianapolis. Continue to pray for these projects and keep asking God to send more workers into His harvest field here in Indiana.
Sherry and I were blessed to host another gathering of lead pastors and their spouses at our Thornapple retreat on Friday night. Not only was this group a lot of fun but they also provided the musical highlight of the year with this old quartet song:
These evenings of fellowship, laughter, and prayer have been a blessing to our district team. Hearts are encouraged, new friendships are formed, and our partnerships are growing stronger. There are still a few slots open for the remaining evenings this spring if you’d like to join us.
The last stop for Friday was with our amazing team of leaders who hosted this year’s Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter in Fort Wayne. I love this picture of Rev. Jessica Folz (Marion Lakeview), our District Youth President, Rev. Lane Sander (Bluffton Sonlight), and Rev. Andrew Kinney (Marion Chapel Pike). Even though they’re all smiling, Pastor Andy is still keeping an eye on his teenagers. Thank you to the 83 youth pastors and sponsors who provided this amazing event for 427 junior and senior high school students!
Saturday morning, I met with the LBA at Harvest Church in McCordsville. Rev. Brad LeRoy, founding pastor, is stepping away from his leadership role at the end of this month to focus on his health. We’re praying for Pastor Brad’s full recovery. The LBA worked with me to map out next steps as they lead this transition. Rev. Wayne Richards has agreed to help the church in this interim season. Pray with Harvest Church as they seek God’s best for their future.
Later than morning, I joined Rev. Seth Bye and our district building committee on a conference call as they complete work on a checklist for our churches to use in their annual review of facilities. They’ve done great work on this project and I appreciate the investment they’ve made to help our churches.
My last stop on Saturday was in Anderson. Rev. Mike Weller, church planter and pastor of Restoration Church joined me for lunch. He shared that one of their recent Sunday evening gatherings fed over 50 people with at least 40 staying for the sermon, table discussions and prayer time. Pray with Pastor Mike and their team as they consider the possibility of purchasing the building in which they’ve been meeting.
I love to share stories of how God is working across our district family and Rev. Mike Hewitt (Muncie Rising Hope) passed along the good news of 3 more baptisms this Sunday. Pastor Mike also shared the story of evangelist Gypsy Smith who said the secret of revival was to “Go home. Take a piece of chalk, Draw a circle around yourself. Then pray, ‘O Lord, revive everything within this circle.'” Pastor Mike passed our pieces of chalk at the close of the service and dozens of people took time to draw circles and pray for revival in their lives, their families, and in their circles of influence.
Pastor Matthew Trexler reported that The River Church in Marion celebrated more baptisms on Sunday with more than 1100 in attendance. The children and student ministries alone had over 300 present. Pray that God will continue to guide and guard the team at The River in this season of explosive growth.
Pastor Joe Jackson sent along this photo and an encouraging report of the most recent missions team from Anderson United Wesleyan Church. Ten people from United spent last week in Cuba where they ministered to 15 pastors and local churches through construction, preaching, and other serving projects.
Thank you, Crossroads District team, for all that you are doing to advance the Kingdom of God!
Keep on making a difference in this cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. If you’ve not yet read it, here’s the link for Dr. Tom McCall’s article on the Asbury Revival.