Yesterday morning, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church. This visit had been on the calendar for weeks but it truly felt like a divine appointment as Pastor Paul Trent had just received a diagnosis this week of cancer on the brain. The family, church, and thousands of networked friends around the globe have joined in prayer since receiving the news on Wednesday evening.
Sunday morning, Pastor Paul invited the elders of the church to anoint him with oil and join in the prayer of faith for his healing. I was humbled to bring the morning message and lead in the time of prayer. The text for the message was 2nd Chronicles 20:12 “…We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” Please continue to join us in prayer for Pastor Paul and his family.
I also encourage you to remember the family of Rev. Darrell Dennis in your prayers. I was able to meet with family members for prayer at their home just after he passed away on Saturday morning. Rev. Dennis, on loan from the Church of the Nazarene, had been faithfully pastoring Sunshine Garden Wesleyan Church on the south side of Indianapolis for the past few years. He was especially grateful for the members of his extended family that came to Christ during this ministry. The viewing will be on Thursday evening with a funeral on Friday. Pray also for the congregation as they seek God’s direction for the future of this ministry.
Pastor Marc and Heather Ulrich reported 28 in attendance at the preview event this weekend at Merrillville ReThink Church. They are reaching out to the community in creative and caring ways. I know your prayers and support are appreciated!
Last Monday I was in Marion for our staff meeting and prayer. Then I was delighted to provide staff training for the pastoral team at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan. The team was looking forward to welcoming Pastor Mark Atkinson back from his sharpening sabbatical yesterday. I saw Pastor Mark later in the week and he was so fired up he thought he might preach for a few hours!
Monday evening, I met with Pastor Paul Kirk and two other leaders from New Castle Memorial Drive Wesleyan and for consultation and a meal.
Tuesday morning was the first Crossroads District Retired Ministers’ Coffee Fellowship. A terrific group of pastors and spouses gathered at Brookhaven Wesleyan for fellowship, updates and prayer. I was especially pleased that Rev. Ernest Batman, retired District Superintendent, was able to join us. He is a wonderful example and encourager to me. Stay tuned because we’ll be doing more of these!
Rev. Don Pruett joined me for lunch on Tuesday. Don is retired and transferring his credentials into the Crossroads District so it was good to have this opportunity to hear his stories of God’s faithfulness through his many years of ministry.
Wednesday morning I was back on the road for coaching conversations with our pastors. I had the joy of meeting with Pastor Mike Cloud in Rochester. Pastor Mike is off to a strong start leading the ministry of The Cross. The Cross is a vital part of this community serving hundreds of families each month from Matthew’s Kitchen. I’m grateful for Pastor Mike’s willingness to invest in emerging leaders as part of the Region 3 DBMD.
Pastor Ollie Dongell and I connected in Plymouth for our coaching conversation. Plymouth Wesleyan was preparing to host their annual 5k on Saturday. This event is a fundraiser to support the “First Responders” in their community. Pastor Ollie will host the first Region 3 pastors meeting on Thursday, September 29. I am grateful for Rev. Dongell’s leadership of our flagship congregation in Region 3.
My final coaching conversation for the day was with Pastor Eric Roemer at Greentown Wesleyan Church. Pastor Eric had big shoes to fill when Rev. Paul Boss retired. The church is making good progress in retooling to reach the next generation. The church has a long-term commitment to serving the needy in their community with a strong clothing and food bank ministry. They recently completed a first-rate facility to host this growing ministry. I also appreciate Pastor Eric’s commitment to investing in Crossroads District leadership events.
I could hardly wait for Thursday! For the first time since the inaugural Crossroads District Conference, our District Board convened. We have a terrific board! Pastor Steve DeNeff and the team at College Wesleyan graciously hosted our meeting. All but one of our members were present for this important meeting. After caring for a number of administrative items (including receiving reports, approving loans and approving pastoral appointments), the board focused on establishing a healthy governance model after the pattern outlined in Kaiser’s book, Winning on Purpose.
We meet again in November to continue that conversation but the clear mandate for our Crossroads District team is to mobilize disciple-making leaders and multiple disciple-making congregations to impact the 3 million Hoosiers who need Jesus!
Pastor Matthew Trexler (Marion River Church) invited me to join him for a luncheon/seminar in Indianapolis sponsored by the Aspen Group on Friday. (River Church had their highest attendance ever last weekend with 738 present for their fall kick-off event.) The seminar speaker was Doug Parks who shared insights from his work with the consulting team at IntentionalChurches.com. One of my takeaways from that presentation was the responsibility for leaders to make sure that people keep moving. Leaders must be aware of the need for each member in their congregation to take some measurable “next step” (from attending to participating in a group, from participating in a group to serving on a team) in the past 18 months. We must be attentive to the natural tendency of people to get stuck or drift if they’re not intentionally growing.
After the seminar, I was able to join the Trent family in the Anderson hospital waiting room Friday afternoon when they received word from the surgeon on biopsy procedure for Pastor Paul. It was heart-warming to be part of the family prayer circle in the waiting room.
Saturday morning, I had the unique opportunity of joining with Pastor Rick Matthews for a meeting with the leaders of the Chin congregation from Myanmar that have been worshipping in Southview Wesleyan’s building for nearly 10 years. This congregation really feels embraced by Southview and the leaders wanted to explore possible pathways forward to affiliation or full partnership with The Wesleyan Church. It is wonderful to see the doors of ministry opportunity that God is opening for our churches in the Crossroads District.
I’m in New York today and Tuesday for “Lead Like Wesley” seminars with DS Paul James and the Eastern New York New England District pastors. Then back in the office on Wednesday to connect with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent, in preparation for the upcoming General Board meeting.
Pastor Clifton Ashlock and the leaders of Anderson Memorial Circle Wesleyan Church will be hosting a Maximizing Impact consultation team this weekend led by Rev. Paul James. God has truly blessed this ministry in our churches. I encourage you to prayerfully consider hosting a Maximizing Impact event in your church this year. Please contact me directly for more information on this valuable resource.
Don’t miss the Regional Roundtables coming next week! Pastors in Region 1 meet in Fort Wayne at Three Rivers Wesleyan Church on Wednesday, September 28. Region 2 pastors meet at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan on Monday, September 26. Region 3 pastors meet at Plymouth Wesleyan on Thursday, September 29. I look forward to each of these connecting opportunities that are essential as we set the direction for our ministry partnership!
There’s still time to register for ReEquip. We have two nationally-recognized speakers and we’ll have a great time learning together! You can find more information and registration at http://www.reequipconference.org/
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,