Sunday morning, February 27, I had the privilege of worshiping at Columbia City New Hope Wesleyan Church with Rev. Shane Wilson, lead pastor, and his team. They are making great progress in recovering from the impact of the pandemic. There was strong attendance in both morning services and it was a wonderful time of worship. Before and between services, it was good to reconnect with Pastor Shane and several members of his leadership team.
Pastor Wilson brought a timely message on the importance of leaving a legacy of faith for the next generations. Another highlight of the day was joining in the circle of leaders for a sending prayer as New Hope blessed a missionary couple that has gone from their church to serve in Peru.
My next stop was in Fort Wayne to meet with Rev. Mike Henry and the leadership team at Level 13 Church. Pastor Mike transferred into the Crossroads District from Michigan last year and is serving the church bi-vocationally while he continues working as an EMT in Dekalb County. I was encouraged by the positive attitude of the new leadership team and look forward to what God has planned for them.
The final stop of the day was to host a congregational meeting with ARISE Church in Roanoke. We had a helpful time of dialogue and I’m looking forward to working closely with Pastor Pablo as this team moves from developing church status to established church status in the coming months.
Last week began with an exceptional opportunity on Monday to sit under the teaching of Lee Domingue, Legacy Pastor at Church of the Highlands. Pastor Matthew Trexler brought Lee in for a consultation with the new Legacy Team that is being developed at The River Church. Lee’s presentation was insightful and compelling. He underscored the principle that pastors set the vision for the church but marketplace leaders help determine the pace of the vision’s fulfillment. He challenged marketplace leaders to discover "what your more is for." Lee encouraged them with the truth that marketplace ministry can be holy and redemptive when done with a focus on expanding God’s Kingdom.
Monday afternoon, Dr. Matthew Stewart, Rev. Carla Working, and I met with Dr. Chris Bounds, chair of IWU’s School of Theology and Ministry. This was a helpful conversation about ways we can better partner with IWU students who are looking for practicum and internship experiences in our local churches. I’m grateful for the initiative that Dr. Stewart is taking to improve this partnership.
Tuesday, I was back on the road for coaching conversations beginning with Dr. Joe Harmon at New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church. Rev. Ron Ferguson, pastor of Grant City Wesleyan Church, and I met later that morning. My last stop of the day was with Rev. Mike Hewitt, pastor of Rising Hope in Muncie for an exciting conversation about the church planting network that Mike is creating within our district. If you are a church planter or lead a church that is planning to plant in the near future (and aren’t we all?), you’ll want to join in with this new opportunity that will be kicking off in the fall.
Wednesday morning, Rev. Amy Luedtke (Fairmount Wesleyan Church) and I met for a coaching conversation at The Branch coffee shop. It was also good to hear an update on her counseling ministry and involvement with Wellsprings of Freedom. Wednesday afternoon, I met with Rev. Kory Christensen at Impact Church in New Haven for our coaching conversation. I had fun connecting with Rev. Zach Working and Rev. Trevor O’Dell later that afternoon to hear about their collaboration to better reach Huntington County for Christ. My last meeting of the day was via Zoom with ARISE team members.
My last coaching conversation of the week was on Thursday over lunch with Rev. Jarod Osborne, pastor of Warsaw Pathway Church. Sherry and I took Thursday afternoon and Friday off to spend time with our family in Grand Rapids and then attended the wedding of my nephew David Jones on Saturday.
We love sharing reports of lives being changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Today we’re rejoicing with Pastor Scott McDermid and the team at Sheridan Six Points as they celebrated another baptism yesterday. Praise God for another life #MadeNew!
We rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. I received word last evening that Dr. Mark Eckart, District Superintendent of the Indiana South District, had passed away very unexpectedly. Dr. Eckart has been a good friend and trusted colleague for the past seven years as we’ve served together here in Indiana. Our sympathy and prayers are extended to Mrs. Debbie Eckart, their family, and the Indiana South District.
Our next Crossroads District Prayer Gathering will be held on March 13, 6:00 p.m., at Delphi Wesleyan Church, (508 N Union St, Delphi, IN 46923). We are grateful to Pastor Dan Fisher and his team for hosting this prayer gathering. The following month (April 10) we’ll be back in the Marion area to come together for prayer at The River Church. Thank you for making prayer a priority in your church!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. It’s not too soon to make your plans to join us for our Retired Ministers and Spouses Gathering on Friday, April 8. This spring we will be meeting at Wesleyan World Headquarters in Fishers at 10:30. Your RSVP can be sent via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or you may leave a voicemail reservation with Rev. Carla Working at (260) 224-7252.