Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping at New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church on Sunday morning. Pastor Paul and Phebe Kirk are doing a great job leading this multi-generational congregation. After a high energy worship service, I met with briefly with Pastor Paul and his board. The LBA is exploring additional staff possibilities and adding an additional worship service. There is a growing sense that Memorial Wesleyan Church is on the edge of a breakthrough.
I had the blessing of visiting and praying with Pastor Paul and Patty Trent yesterday afternoon. They have an appointment with the doctor today to learn more about Paul’s response to the treatments. They are standing strong in faith. Thank you to each one who continues to lift Pastor Paul Trent in prayer.
Last week began with Chris Williams and I joining in with the Region 3 – North Zone on Monday morning for their planning meeting. Pastor Don Bayne leads this team and they worked together to prioritize 3 hot spots for church planting from their target rich environment. South Bend and Walkerton were the top two locations while Bremen and LaPorte were tied for third. The next step is that they’re doing initial research to either confirm those choices or to direct us to other possibilities.
Each of our 10 zones will be bringing their top 3 locations for church planting to this year’s district conference (June 23-24) as the Crossroads District mobilizes to plant 100 new Kingdom communities in the next 10 years.
On the way back to Marion, Pastor Chris and I checked in on condition of our Washington Avenue property in Wabash. Later that afternoon I met with Mrs. Nancy Schoonmaker, our District Treasurer, to review financial reports in preparation for our DBA meeting. Many of our churches are tracking along at 100% of USF contributions but there are a few leaders who will need to make an extra effort to help the team finish strong.
Tuesday morning, I was in Fort Wayne for coaching conversations with Pastor Rick Fletcher (LifeWay Church) and then with Pastor Dave Dignal (Edgerton Wesleyan). It was encouraging to hear how God is at work in both of these leaders and their congregations. Pastor Dave had the blessing of baptizing his son in their Saturday evening service. Pastor Rick took time to walk me through their new addition and newly-remodeled children’s ministry area. If you’re looking for creative ideas to update your kids ministry space, it would be worthwhile to check out what they’ve done at LifeWay.
Wednesday morning I had the delight of connecting for breakfast with Dr. Jay Kelser, former president of Youth for Christ and then Taylor University, through the gracious invitation of Coach John Bonham, LBA member at Hartford City Wesleyan. Dr. Kesler was a mentor to Dr. Dick Wynn who was a mentor to Dr. Wayne Schmidt. Dr. Kesler is going strong for Christ at 81-years-young.
Pastor Mick Veach was the guest speaker at the Wednesday morning chapel at IWU. Our family served with Mick and his family in Central Asia. He did a great job challenging the IWU students to be on mission with God. It was good to catch up with Mick after the service and hear more about Mosaic, his church planting adventure in midtown Detroit. Wednesday afternoon, I was back in my Upland office for DBA prep.
The Crossroads District Board of Administration met at College Wesleyan Church on Thursday. We are all grateful for this exceptional team of leaders who guide and guard the mission of our district ministry. Church multiplication is high priority in our district and the DBA decided to reallocated funds to provide $500 scholarships for up to 40 of our leaders to participate in this year’s Exponential Conference in Orlando. The Wesleyan Church provides a pre-conference event that welcomed nearly 300 leaders from our denomination for learning and networking. Information was directly communicated to senior pastors on Friday.
Friday was a catch-up day in the Upland office and I also helped Sherry prepare to host pastors and their spouses from the Region 2 – North Central Zone for supper, singing and prayer. We enjoyed a delightful evening of Christian fellowship with Dr. Mark & Kari Rennaker, Pastor Neftali & Grace Lopez, Pastors Johnnie & Amanda Blair, Pastors John & Danielle Freed, and Pastor Logan & Nancy Westrick. There really is a special bond shared by those who serve in vocational ministry. Each month, Sherry and I will be opening our home to host pastoral couples from a different zone so be watching your email for that invitation.
Several of our district leaders and I will be traveling to 12Stone Church in Atlanta this week for the “Unleashed” conference hosted by Dr. Wayne Schmidt and Dr. Kevin Myers. Our General Superintendent has convened this gathering in response to the focused prayer that our denomination engaged in after General Conference last summer. Dr. Schmidt is casting a vision for The Wesleyan Church celebrating every time a disciple makes a disciple and the church multiplies itself until our church has a transforming presence in every zip code in America.
This week also features the CROSSROADS DISTRICT YOUTH ALL-NIGHTER on Friday in Fort Wayne. Thanks to Lane Sander and his team for organizing this event. You can find out more at this website: https://districtallnighter2017.eventbrite.com/?team_token=1727569-30q39
Pastor Duane Summit (Fishersburg Wesleyan) has an outpatient surgery on Tuesday in Indianapolis and would appreciate your prayers.
Pastor Joe Allen (Albion Wesleyan) is scheduled for back surgery in Fort Wayne on Friday, February 17. He’ll be in the hospital for 2-4 days of recovery and a minimum of 6 weeks recuperating at home. Please keep Joe and the Albion church in your prayers.
Here’s an exciting report from Pastor Tom Bradley to wrap up this week’s update:
“On January 26, 2017 there were 6 persons baptized at Etna Ave. Wesleyan in Huntington. These people range in age from 22 to 76 years young. They were all saved within 10 days of each other. Also, to make this more special, this represents 3 generations of one family, being baptized on the same day. The son-in-law gave a testimony that he had been delivered from years of alcohol. He said: ‘I am free!’ Grandma shouted ‘Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!’ Yes it was quite a day of celebration.”
We join Heaven in rejoicing these lives made new. This is why we do what we do!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,