Saturday, November 13, was an exciting learning opportunity as 5 of our district churches gathered at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion for our inaugural “Next Level” workshop. Workshop presenters included Rev. Elizabeth Rhyno, Rev. Amanda Blair, Rev. Michelle Henry, Rev. Chris Williams, Rev. Johnnie Blair, and Dr. Jim Lo.
Each of the pastors brought a team of lay leaders from their congregation to focus on strategic ministry growth points. They began mapping out next steps and will be working with a district-provided coach for the next six month. Special thanks to Pastor Chris and the Lakeview team for graciously hosting this event. Spaces are limited for these events, so please reach out to our team as soon as possible if you’d like your team to participate in the next opportunity.
After three personal days away from the office, I was back on the road Thursday for coaching conversations with Dr. Oliver Dongell and the three credentialed ministers who serve on staff with him at Plymouth Wesleyan Church. It was encouraging to hear their reports of the way that Plymouth Wesleyan is rebounding from the challenge of the past 20 months.
Friday morning, it was a joy to host retired pastors and their spouses for our fall fellowship. We had not been able to gather like this since the fall of 2019. We were blessed to have a strong group of retired leaders join us ranging in age up to 99 years old. Velvet Haisley and her staff at The Branch did a wonderful job catering our brunch and Dr. Jim Lo brought an encouraging devotional. Our spring gathering for this group is planned for Friday, April 8, 2022.
Rev. Andrew Kinney, youth pastor at Chapel Pike Wesleyan Church, and I met over lunch on Friday for our first coaching conversation. Pastor Andrew shared the good news that God blessed some creative responses to the challenges of the pandemic and that their youth group has grown from averaging 20 to now averaging 40 in the past year. Praise the Lord!
Friday afternoon, I represented our district team at the funeral for Mrs. Mary Ann Troyer, wife of Rev. George Troyer, at Connecting Point Church in Frankfort. Pastor Alan Downing conducted the funeral service and Rev. Troyer shared cherished memories of life with Mary Ann as his wife and ministry partner. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are extended to Rev. Troyer and his family.
Friday evening, Sherry and I were delighted to hosted another fellowship for pastors and spouses at our home in Upland. We were blessed to spend time sharing laughter and prayer around the fireplace with Rev. Shawnda and Kyle Bilbee (Marion Brinker Heights), Rev. Mike and Kim Hewitt (Muncie Rising Hope), and Pastor Samuel and Jen Maddox (Albion Wesleyan). Our next Friday Fellowship is coming up on December 3. All lead pastors have received a direct email with the link for reserving a convenient time slot to join us.
Last Sunday, Pastor Tony Bye and the team at Marion Brookhaven Wesleyan Church celebrated two more baptisms. Rev. Michelle Henry, children’s pastor, had the joy of baptizing the two young ladies who publicly professed their faith in Jesus Christ. Praise God for lives #MadeNew!
Rev. Elizabeth Rhyno shared an update from Waterline Church in Fishers about their recent Alpha course. On Nov. 10th, 48 Waterliners completed their first-ever 10-week session of Alpha. 35 of those were able to participate in an all-day Holy Spirit focused Saturday event, where 13 prayed to be filled with the Spirit for the first time. All attendees reported tangible growth in their faith walks, highlighting the deepening of community, clear answers to their questions, and a greater boldness to share their faith. One person said afterward, “Our whole dynamic and the feeling in the air has changed. I am so thankful for God’s blessing and the work of the Holy Spirit through Alpha.” Rev. Rhyno would be glad to assist any of our district churches that would like to know more about the Alpha course.
This was an unusual week for me with some special days with family. The week began with three days helping and hosting my father in his move from Beulah Camp in Canada to Brooksville Wesleyan Village in Florida. My part of the move was meeting Dad and Merle, his wife, in Bangor, Maine last Monday and driving them to Indiana. The trip went well and I’m grateful for several of you who reached out to let us know we were in your prayers. (From here, Dad and Merle will be assisted by my sister Beth Jones as they make their way from Indiana to Florida this week.)
Then, on Sunday, November 14, Sherry and I were in Michigan, to celebrate the dedication of Lennon Joy, our first grandchild, at Center Church in Byron Center. Lennon’s parents Rev. John Gorveatte and Rev. Lindsey Gorveatte presented Lennon for dedication and Rev. Brian Blum, lead pastor of Frontline Church led the prayer of blessing. We are grateful for the blessing to be part of this special occasion.
Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Christopher Williams, pastor of Lakeview Wesleyan Church and Assistant District Superintendent for Region 3, on the successful defense of his dissertation on Wednesday, November 10, and the awarding of his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Organizational Leadership from Columbia International University. Chris began his doctoral studies while still serving full-time with the Crossroads District office team. He continued and completed his studies while pastoring full-time and also chairing our District Board of Ministerial Development. Congratulations and well done!
Executive Director Zach Coffin has released the information for the upcoming FUEL 2022 training event for youth workers. This time the event is coming to Muncie so every youth worker and children’s pastor in our district will have the opportunity to participate. Rev. Jessica Folz, our Crossroads District Youth Ministry Champion, and Rev. Michelle Henry, our District Children's Ministry Champion, will be leading our team members to participate. Please pass along this link to your youth and children’s ministry team leaders so they can take advantage of this opportunity for training and encouragement:
There is still time to register for the Heartland Gathering on March 22-24, 2022 in Pigeon Forge, TN. Every local church received a scholarship for one pastoral couple to register and that amount can also be applied toward the THRIVE initiative. For the speaker lineup and more detailed information, please visit: https://gathering.heartlandregion.org
Thank you for partnering together in the Harvest. We have 3 million people to reach in Indiana!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent