Sunday, March 27, I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Jason Tash and the team at Columbia City New Hope Wesleyan Church in both of their morning services. I brought the message in each service and then met briefly with the LBA following the second service. New Hope generously engages ministry outside its walls with a backpack/meals program with a nearby school, an ongoing prison ministry, and a global missions support including the Gallants (one of our Crossroads missionary couples) serving in Cambodia. The church is preparing to celebrate their 25th anniversary next month.
They are ramping up for a new season of ministry with a new discipleship and leadership development strategy and will be unveiling their new website as part of their anniversary celebration. Each Easter they offer a dramatic presentation of the life of Christ and typically welcome more than 1200 people for this outreach event.
I am grateful for the way that Pastor Jason Tash invests in other churches and leaders. He serves on our District Board of Administration as an Assistant DS / Regional Director for Region 1 which includes our churches in northeast Indiana. He also completed training in the StratOp church planning process with the UnStuck Group and is available to lead consultations for churches who are looking to take their ministry to the next level.
Westfield Paradox Church took another big step yesterday as they launched their weekly Sunday morning gatherings after several months of preparation and community engagement. Pastor Jordan and Karen Gardner and the Paradox team were praying and working hard to prepare their ministries and the facilities for this next phase of their launch strategy.
We celebrate with them as more than 90 adults and 30 children gathered for the first time as a worshiping congregation. I was only partly joking when I asked Pastor Jordan if they were planning for double services on Easter weekend. One of the needs they have to address is additional parking. Pray as they build with this initial launching group toward their “grand opening” in September.
Our pastoral family grew this past weekend with the blessed addition of Emery Ann, born to Pastor Logan and Shaina Patriquin (Lafayette Schuyler Avenue). Emery arrived on Saturday morning weighing in at 7 lbs and 6 oz. Mother and daughter are both doing well.
Last week began with meetings on Monday that concluded with our Hispanic pastors monthly leadership connection at HQ in Fishers. Tuesday, I was on the road for coaching conversations with Pastor John Freed and Pastor Jon Wiest. Tuesday afternoon I had the privilege of debriefing with Rev. Travis and Melody Croft who completed their church planter assessment in Michigan earlier in the month. Even if you’re not planning to plant for a few years, the church planter assessment is an exceptional opportunity to consider how God has designed and gifted you for Great Commission ministry. If you’d like to know more about steps toward church planting, call or text me and let’s have a conversation.
Wednesday morning, I sat in on a planning meeting for our first Crossroads District Church Planter Training event on May 12-13. This will be for people who are eager to understand more about what it takes to successfully launch and sustain a new church. We are pleased to announce that Rev. Chris Conrad, West Michigan DS and former Director of Church Multiplication for The Wesleyan Church, will be one of our keynote presenters.
Wednesday afternoon, I was in New Castle to meet with Pastor Paul Kirk (Memorial Drive Wesleyan) for our annual coaching conversation and then in Muncie to meet with Pastor Paul Walden (18th Street Wesleyan) for the same.
Thursday, I taught the Congregational Leadership class at Wesley Seminary and welcomed Sherry Gorveatte as a guest presenter on congregational finances and tax issues. Thursday evening, Sherry and I had supper with a pastor and his wife who are exploring transferring to The Wesleyan Church from the United Methodist Church. These are days of uncertainty for many evangelicals in the UMC. While we are always open to welcoming like-minded and warm-hearted Wesleyan Arminians to join our leadership corps in the Crossroads District, do pray for these brothers and sisters who are faced with difficult decisions.
Friday morning, I was in Monon to meet with Pastor Steve Sparks for our annual coaching conversation. I met Sister Kay Dickerson (lay supply pastor serving at Kirklin) for lunch in Frankfort. She and her husband Bill are standing in the gap at Kirklin and seeing wonderful answers to prayer. Attendance has doubled, giving is up, people have been saved and they’ve seen God move in healing. I wrapped up the day meeting with Pastor Dan Eckart (Warren Park Wesleyan).
Easter is just 3 weeks away. I’m encouraged by the reports from churches that are making preparations to invite and welcome guests on Easter weekend. Let’s also make this a point of focused prayer that people will clearly hear and respond to the Gospel. Let’s also be as intentional about following up on guests and discipling new converts as we are getting ready for Easter.
Just a gentle reminder that we close our books on another conference year on April 30. Thank you in advance for your strong support of the United Stewardship Fund and your timely filing of statistical reports. Together, we are making a difference!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. – Sherry and I will be away on vacation (with limited communication access) leaving this Wednesday and returning home next Tuesday evening. Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant District Superintendent, will be available to answer questions or assist in other ways.