Sunday morning, September 24, I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Don Bayne and the team at New Carlisle Wesleyan Church. New Carlisle is a bedroom community just to the west of South Bend. Pastor Don has served this healthy congregation since 1995. Assistant Pastor Andrew Colaw leads worship and the youth ministry. The youth ministry is rebounding under Andy’s leadership with 25 students attending just this past Saturday.
Following the service and a brief meeting with the Local Board of Administration, I hosted Pastor Don and Karen, his wife, and Ty, their son for lunch. I’m grateful for the many ways that Rev. Bayne has served in our Crossroads District team over the years and how he continues to provide strong leadership to this important ministry.
Sunday evening, I was blessed to represent our district for the installation service of Rev. Ed Friberg at Shiloh Wesleyan Church. Pastor Ed had previously served at Plymouth Wesleyan Church but accepted the call to Shiloh Wesleyan earlier this summer. The ministry is off to a strong start with 8 baptisms this month. I’m excited to see what God has in store for the future!
Last week’s schedule included dropping in to check on Rev. Matthew Trexler’s leadership cohort at The River Church in Marion. Pastor Matthew has been leading a monthly morning group for the past 2 years and agreed to open an afternoon group this year. The two groups overlap for a fellowship over the noon meal. “Iron sharpens iron!”
Monday evening, I joined my friend Dr. Keith Loy at Taylor University for a special pre-screening of Ordinary Angels, a new inspirational film starring Hillary Swank.” The film is based on a true story from the ministry of Rev. Dave Stone at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville. Kevin Downes, the producer of “Jesus Revolution” and this new movie, was present to introduce the project and answer questions from the film school students after the screening. The film is scheduled to be released in February.
I was back on the road Tuesday for coaching conversations. My first stop was with Rev. Chris Taylor, our new pastor at Plymouth Wesleyan Church. Rev. Jarod Osborne, pastor of Pathway Wesleyan Church in Warsaw, was my second stop. Rev. Martin Furrow, pastor of The Cross Wesleyan Church in Rochester was my final stop of the day. This was the first day of coaching conversations based on the CliftonStrengths assessment and the book “Living Your Strengths” that we’re providing for every lead pastor this year.
Wednesday morning, I met with Assistant DS Dr. Chris Williams in preparation for the six weeks that I’ll be away on sabbatical (October 15 – November 30). I appreciate Dr. Williams’ leadership at Lakeview Wesleyan Church and his willingness to go the second mile in serving our district in this important role. Dr. Williams also leads our impactful church coaching initiative called “Next Level Experience” which will be offered again this fall (November 11).
Wednesday evening, I was in Lafayette to meet briefly with the LBA at The Branch as they manage through this time of pastoral transition. I am grateful to Allan Conley who provides effective lay leadership and to Rev. Naomi and Alex Small who serve respectively with children and youth. In addition to the normal operations, the LBA has also started planning for the church’s 100th anniversary celebration next spring. Dr. Aaron Perry and Rev. Shannon Rodgers have been assisting the church with pulpit supply. The LBA plans to begin the pastoral search process in January.
On the way back from Lafayette, I dropped in on Pastor Johnnie Blair and his team at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church who are engaged in a facility planning process. They are looking at creative ways to utilize current space and options for expanding their worship capacity.
I took Thursday as a day off and then, on Friday, I was in Indianapolis to connect with Rev. Cary and Cindi Sanders as they work on planting The Fountain Church in downtown Indy. Saturday morning, I connected with two of my heroes, Rev. Grace and Rev. Neftali Lopez in Fishers, where Neftali is the general manager for a new restaurant, Ali’i Poke. Grace leads our FLAMA courses for Hispanic leaders and has also been helping at Monte De Sion. In addition to working as a part-time chaplain for IWU, and working on his doctoral degree with Liberty University, Neftali serves as a circuit rider with our Crossroads District Hispanic churches.
We celebrate every time someone takes the step of obedience to publicly profess their faith in Christ. Often, these are younger people in our congregation but occasionally someone receives Christ later in life. In addition to the six more baptisms just this past Sunday at Sheridan Six Points Church, Rev. Scott McDermid had the joy of baptizing Rex, an 89-year-old gentleman, on the previous Sunday. As Pastor Scott wrote, “It’s never too late to say YES to Jesus!”
Pastor Andy Jellison and the team at Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne had another successful VBS this summer with 9 first-time commitments to Christ. On Sunday, Pastor Andy baptized one of those new believers with more to be baptized later this fall. Praise God for lives being #MadeNew!
The Encounter Assembly on the east side of Indianapolis is led by Rev. Dr. Craig Thurmon. Dr. Thurmon also serves as our Crossroads District Secretary and member of the DBA executive team. He passed along the exciting news that their church celebrated six baptisms on Sunday. Included among those six was Cayden Thurmon, son of Pastor Craig and Tiffany!
I’m looking forward to hosting our retired ministers and their spouses for our annual fall fellowship on October 6, 10:00 a.m., at College Wesleyan Church. Dr. Joe Harmon will be our guest speaker for this delightful time together. If you’ve not yet reserved your place, you may RSVP by emailing email@example.com or calling the district office at 765-674-8593.
Rev. C.K. Chitty is leading our Crossroads District Senior Adult Ministry (SAM). He and his team have planned a special event on December 1st at the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis for our seniors. Here’s the link to register:
Please keep the Follow Conference on your church’s prayer calendar. Would you encourage your congregation to pray for a powerful move of God among our next-generation students and their leaders? Plan to join us and bring as many teenagers and young adults as possible to this life-changing experience!
Please save the date and begin making plans to join us for the 2024 Heartland Gathering in Pigeon Forge, TN, on April 2-5. The DBA has approved one $300 scholarship for each church to help cover the majority of the registration cost. More information and registration is coming soon.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent