October has become the month for Pastor Appreciation here in Indiana. Thank you to the lay leaders in each church who took the initiative to coordinate the many thoughtful expressions of appreciation. Sunday morning, Sherry and I worshiped with Pastor Dan & Laurie Eckart and the team at Warren Park Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis. Dan & Laurie were honored at a breakfast before the service. They were also celebrating the birth of their newest grandchild: Hudson Taylor.
This service was a wonderful celebration of diversity as the Hispanic congregation led by Rev. Guiterrez joined in worship with St. Stephen’s Christian Church led by Rev. Ervin Webster and Warren Park Wesleyan. The service included prayers and music from each congregation. Following the service, I met with the LBA before hosting Rev. & Mrs. Guiterrez (and their son Stephen) for lunch. Having three congregations with three different cultures worship together was a delightful foretaste of heaven!
Pastor Chris Williams (our Assistant DS) was with Pastor Kory Christensen on Sunday morning at New Haven Impact Church. Chris was in Atlanta this past week with Pastor Jason Tash learning the StratOp process used by the Unstuck Group and others to assist churches with breakthrough planning.
I was in Marion on Monday for staff meeting with Mrs. Roxene Lo and Mrs. Raleigh Pedro. I enjoyed connecting with Pastor Tim Witte at Countryside Wesleyan over lunch and then touring their facility. Tim’s doing a wonderful job of loving and leading in this rural community. My last appointment of the day was with Pastor Gary Bingham at Hillside Wesleyan. It was encouraging to hear how God is continuing to bless after 25 years of ministry with three baptisms and 7 people coming to Christ in recent weeks. Praise the Lord!
Tuesday morning, I was in Kokomo for my annual coaching conversation with Dr. Mark Rennaker, pastor at Southdowns Wesleyan Church. Dr. Rennaker may be the busiest man I know between pastoring a church, coaching football, writing a book, teaching online, and directing the THRIVE initiative for The Wesleyan Church. I’m grateful that he also makes time to serve with our Crossroads District Board of Administration. My next coaching meeting was with Pastor Marvin Lamb at Miami Wesleyan. This was our first time together and I was encouraged by his sacrificial service to our country (1957-1960 in the US Navy) and as a bi-vocational pastor. He and Mary have been married for 53 years and are blessed with 3 children, including the Rev. Dr. Marcel Lamb, who all love and serve God.
My last appointment on Tuesday was with Pastor Johnnie Blair at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan. Trinity was one of the churches that took advantage of the Maximizing Impact ministry that we began offering last year. Rev. Paul James and a consultation team joined the Trinity leaders for a weekend of learning and planning.
It is exciting to see the changes that have taken place in the last 12 months. They’ve updated the signage and interior, added a second worship service, and made significant improvements to their connection (assimilation) ministry. They’ve recently celebrated 9 new commitments to Christ, dedicated 5 babies and welcomed 13 new members. God is on the move in Tipton!
Wednesday over Friday, I was in Sandusky with DS Les Crossfield and the Greater Ohio District team for their ministerial retreat. It was fun to share some of the insights from “Lead Like Wesley” and to hear the reports of their ministry. Pastor Les is a very good golfer (ask about his national championship) and an even better district superintendent.
I’m taking a few personal days this week to help my father and mother move from Brooksville, FL to Burnips, MI. I will have my phone so don’t hesitate to call with updates or questions. Assistant DS Chris Williams is in Marion this week and available for your call!
Please do continue to pray for Pastor Paul Trent, Pastor Bill Thompson, and Carson Ulrich (son of Pastor Marc & Heather Ulrich). We believe that God is still our Great Physicians and is able to bring these brothers to a full and speedy recovery!
Your servant in Christ,