Sunday, November 10, Sherry and I were privileged to worship with Rev. Don Glenn and the congregation of Marion Nelson Street Wesleyan Church as they celebrated their 110th Anniversary. Pastor Glenn and his team prepared a wonderful celebration event that honored God’s faithfulness in the past and pointed to the future.
The church has a remarkable history. Nelson Street began as a church plant (mission) meeting first in homes in 1909, God blessed their evangelistic outreach and holiness emphasis. The ministry grew and they relocated twice in temporary locations before building their own facility in 1911. By 1948, the church averaged 335 in Sunday School attendance. The legacy of the church includes many individuals called to ministry and missionary work. I preached the message in the morning service and Rev. Glenn brought a challenging message in the afternoon service calling the church to the unfinished task.
As many of you will know, I had a heart attack on Tuesday morning, October 22, en route to a gathering with our pastors in Indianapolis. God intervened that day in so many beautiful ways and I’d be glad to tell you more about it when you have the time. The good news is I was cleared to begin cardiac rehabilitation and to work toward resuming a full load over the next 8 to 12 weeks. Our district staff team has been a tremendous blessing. Assistant DS Chris Williams stepped up to cover the last two Team Updates and Seth Bye jumped into action rescheduling appointments. Thank you to all those who have been so cooperative as we’ve been making needed adjustments.
The week after returning home, I resumed coaching calls via ZOOM. Then, on Friday, November 1, I was delighted to join our retired pastors and spouses for our fall luncheon and fellowship hosted at College Wesleyan Church. Pastor Bob VanCise brought an encouraging message and we shared a delicious meal provided by Velvet Haisley and her staff at Fairmount Wesleyan Church’s coffee shop, “The Branch.”
That evening, we hosted the pastors and spouses from our Fort Wayne Zone. I appreciate these opportunities for fellowship and encouragement with our frontline leaders. Pastor Rick Fletcher leads this zone and it was a special delight to welcome Rev. Aldean and Jesse Pablo as the newest members of the group.
The doctor cleared me for flying as long as I wasn’t the pilot and agreed to not lift more than 20 pounds. That allowed me to fulfill a commitment that I had made to Dr. Keith Loy, pastor at Celebrate Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I traveled out on Saturday, worshiped with their team on Sunday morning and then taught from “Lead Like Wesley” in the evening to 300+ ministry team leaders.
Pastor Keith and Kay Loy joined our staff at New Hope Church in Williston back in 1998. It has been a joy to stay in touch and to watch God work in their lives and ministry over the last 20 years. Terry and Barb Rosendahl are also special friends who first worked with us at New Hope and now Barb is a key staff member with Dr. Loy at Celebrate.
Celebrate’s small group ministry has grown from 80 groups 3 years ago to more than 300. They have 104 people who have answered the call to prepare for vocational ministry, with most focused on church planting. They have already launched 14 church planting teams. I have invited Pastor Keith to consider sending a team to the Heartland Region and he has opened the door for students from Crossroads to participate in church planting internships and residencies at Celebrate.
I began cardiac rehab on Thursday afternoon (the first of 24 one-hour sessions over the next 8 weeks) and then met with two of our Indianapolis pastors for coaching conversations. Rev. George Martin leads The Sanctuary Church, an affiliated congregation that worships in the former Eastlawn Wesleyan Church property on Post Road. Rev. Barry Dixon pastors Calvary Family Church and is a member of our District Board of Administration. Pastor Barry is another of our faithful bi-vocational ministers who serve sacrificially as a labor of love. He and Joyce, his wife, are in the stage of life where caring for both your parents and your grandchildren makes life challenging.
Friday morning, I sat in on the College Day hosted by the team at Wesleyan Headquarters. Students were present from all five Wesleyan higher educational institutions for this denominational orientation event. Dr. Lenny Luchetti shared insights from his ministry experiences including this lesson: “Pastors, if you don’t find a healthy hobby, an unhealthy hobby will find you.”
After his session, Dr. Luchetti and I met for an update on his interim ministry at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion. I was encouraged by this progress report and by his sincere passion for the church.
Friday afternoon, I traveled to Trinity Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis for the visitation with the family and friends of Mrs. Betty Davis, beloved wife of Rev. Art Davis. Her funeral was held on Saturday with Pastor Mike Colaw and Rev. Randy Davis officiating.
Saturday morning, Dr. Jim Lo and the Crossroads District intercession team led a prayer gathering at Fairmount Camp. Thank you to each one who participated and to the team for the way in which they prepared for and led this event. Special thanks to Fairmount Camp’s Director Angela Spangler and her team for graciously hosting this special time.
This week, a team of our leaders will be traveling to San Diego together to participate in a Wesleyan Church training event in partnership with Exponential that will be focused on church multiplication. We welcome your prayers for our travel and learning.
Registration is still open for the Heartland Region Gathering, March 10-12, 2020. I’m looking forward to our speakers and a great time of inspiration together as we meet in Pigeon Forge, TN. If you’ve not yet registered, today would be a great day to get that done! Here’s the link: https://gathering.heartlandregion.org/
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent