Sunday, August 20, Pastor Nathan Kingsbury and the team at Stoney Church in Detroit welcomed me to preach in their two morning services. Pastor Nate and I have known each other for almost 25 years and it was a joy to serve with him this weekend. The church is flourishing under his leadership. Nearly every seat was full for the 11 a.m. service. The Kingsbury family invited me to join them for lunch as they celebrated their son Micah’s 20th birthday. It’s wonderful to see how God is at work in and through this faithful family.
On Sunday evening, Pastor Nate gathered the leadership cohort that he had been leading monthly for the past year as they studied the book “Lead Like Wesley.” I shared some of the lessons I’d learned from Wesley’s ministry and then answered questions from the group. I’ll wrap up my time in a meeting with the church staff on Monday morning before heading home.
Last week, I was in Chicago for certification in StrengthsFinder coaching. Our class included people from Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Organizations represented included Caterpillar, Paramount, UK Health System, and UCLA. It was a diverse group and an intense learning experience. God also provided two gracious opportunities to share my faith and pray with classmates.
Many of you will be familiar with the Gallup organization and the work of Dr. Don Clifton in developing the research that identified 34 talent themes. Talents, when developed, become strengths. Strengths, when well-utilized, yield great effectiveness and engagement. When leaders and team members know and use their strengths effectively, they enjoy greater connectedness and produce better results.
The DBA approved this certification training and strengths-based coaching as an investment in our pastors and their staff. Every lead pastor will have the opportunity to receive their free CliftonStrengths assessment this year. Then, the annual coaching conversation with the DS will be structured around how their strengths can be deployed in their ministry. I’m excited for us to be able to offer this assessment and look forward to the impact in our churches as more pastors take advantage of this resource.
To learn more about strengths-based leadership in your ministry context, check out the book titled Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community by Albert Winseman and Don Clifton. Here’s the link: https://a.co/jhvEXBW
I returned home on Friday in time to be with Rev. Mark Atkinson, one of our Crossroads District Circuit Riders, as he hosted Old Time Camp Meeting at Fairmount Camp. Rev. Ken Dykhoff led the singing and Rev. Gale Janofski, former pastor at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church, brought the evening message. It was a beautiful evening to gather for worshiping the Lord. I’m grateful for this ministry provided by the dedicated team that leads Fairmount Camp.
Saturday morning, I was able to drop in at The River Church in Marion as they continue in their 21 Days of Prayer. Thank you to every pastor and congregation across our district that is purposefully moving deeper into gathered prayer. Missionary Hudson Taylor was right when he said “When we work, we work. When we pray, God works.”
And God is working! Pastor Terry and Lennaire Vaughn can testify that God is on the move at The Bridge Urban Church in Mishawaka. They hosted their first overnighter on Friday for neighborhood children and 62 showed up. They’ve been hosting monthly “Bless Our Block” days to better engage with their immediate community. Yesterday, they welcomed more than 100 for worship with 8 new believers publicly professing their faith in Christ through baptism!
God is on the move in the student ministries at The River Church. Rev. Sam Kauerauf, youth pastor, had the privilege of baptizing four more teenager just last evening. Praise God for these young lives being #MadeNew!
Dr. Ed Love, Executive Director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church, attends Hartford City Wesleyan Church with his family when he’s not traveling for the denomination. Yesterday, they welcomed their church family and friends to their pond for the special opportunity of baptizing their two oldest children, Josiah and Jennah. Praise God for the legacy of faith that is being passed on in this family!
Speaking of the next generation, thank you in advance for your prayers on behalf of the Follow Conference coming up in just over four months, December 28-30. Plan to attend and bring as many teenagers from your church as possible for this life-changing experience!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent