Last week kicked off with Exponential in Orlando. I flew down on Monday for an evening event hosted by The Wesleyan Church which featured presentations by multipliers from across our movement. The Crossroads District was well represented that evening with Danielle and John Freed serving on one of the panels.
More than 400 Wesleyans gathered at Exponential this year making us one of the largest groups represented at this national conference. Tuesday morning, Dr. Wayne Schmidt and Dr. Ed Love rallied our team in a pre-conference event with the call to sharpen our focus on making disciples and multiplying congregations to close the Gospel gap. We are making progress but the need has been expanding faster than we’ve been planting.
The regular conference began at noon on Tuesday and concluded at noon on Thursday. The Crossroads District had more than 50 participants so Assistant DS Chris Williams, District Multiplication Director Michael Hewitt, and Seth Bye hosted a supper event for our team in Disney Springs on Wednesday evening. The largest delegation from our district came with Pastor Terry Vaughn and The Bridge Urban Church in South Bend.
In addition to a strong turnout in Orlando, several of our pastors took time to watch the event free online. I flew back early on Wednesday and also watched from home. We will have the digital all-access pass available at the district office if you were unable to attend Exponential 2019 and would like to watch the sessions.
Thursday, I was in Marion for a lunch meeting with a prospective pastor before meeting with a potential church planter and his sending church pastor. Friday morning, I was in Indianapolis to meet with an out-of-state pastor who is feeling called to inner city ministry. Friday afternoon, I stopped by Brookhaven Church to extend condolences on behalf of our district family to Pastor Rob Tippey on the passing of his grandfather, Dr. Byron Tippey. The memorial service was held at Brookhaven on Saturday morning.
Friday evening, Sherry and I hosted the pastors and spouses from the Fort Wayne Zone. We had a great time of fellowship and prayer with these leaders. We also talked about potential church planting partnerships ahead for greater Fort Wayne.
Saturday morning, I joined Assistant DS Mike Colaw as he convened the pastors of Region 2 for a delicious breakfast followed by encouraging time of worship and fellowship. It was exciting to hear about the doors for ministry that God is opening in the inner city, in prisons, in schools and in nursing homes. I celebrate the spiritual entrepreneurship and collaboration that is being unleashed as we step out in faith to follow Christ into His harvest field here in Indiana. Special thanks to Pastor Colaw and his team (especially Barb) for graciously hosting!
This weekend marked our 35th Anniversary so Sherry and I drove to Grand Rapids on Saturday evening to be with some of our children and with Rev. Steve and Beth (Gorveatte) Jones, my sister and her husband. We were married on March 10, 1984 and they were married on March 10, 1986. Sunday morning was a special highlight for us as we worshiped at Journey Church in Caledonia, Michigan. Sherry and I had the joy of helping to launch Journey Church in our living room while I was serving as District Superintendent in West Michigan. Now, Joel (our youngest son) serves on staff at Journey with founding pastor Rev. Jon Allen. Joel brought the morning message and Christie, his wife, led the worship team. We are thankful for all of God’s blessings but nothing means more to us than watching our children follow God.
The countdown is on to ReEquip (April 6), the Prayer Retreat (April 12-13) and Easter (April 21). We are delighted to welcome Rev. Mike & Tina Hilson as our guest speakers at ReEquip. God has been working through them to write a miracle story at the New Life Network in LaPlata, Maryland. We also have breakout sessions planned for your children and youth workers all together at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church in Marion, so please don’t come alone. Register your group today!
This is pastoral vote season in our district and I received word that Winchester Wesleyan Church voted unanimously yesterday for Pastor Randy Yaryan to continue his service for another four years. Dr. Jim Lo has been leading a revitalization initiative at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church which included a succession plan. Yesterday, Parkview Wesleyan Church voted unanimously to call Rev. Jeremy Armiger as their next lead pastor. Dr. Jim Lo has agreed to join Jeremy’s staff as they continue moving the church forward in reaching their community for Christ. Pictured below is Dr. Lo and the congregation praying over the Armigers as they accepted this call to lead.
Please remember our Church Planters Boot Camp in your prayers this week (Friday and Saturday in Fishers). Pastor John and Danielle Freed do a terrific job in helping our prospective planters develop strategic plans for effectively making disciples and establishing new churches among unreached people in our mission field. Pray that God will anoint and empower these sessions!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Duane and JoEllen Seitz at Silver Lake Wesleyan Church for their Friend Day. Pastor Duane received and accepted a new 4-year call to serve this rural congregation. When some people might be relaxing and enjoying their retirement years, Rev. Seitz has been leading this turnaround project with vision and sacrifice. Last year, Pastor Duane personally knocked on the doors of every one of the 364 homes in town to offer to pray for them. This year, Pastor Duane is starting out on a second round of door-to-door visitation to share the plan of salvation. Following the service, we shared in the fellowship meal and then I led a brief meeting with the LBA. Another praise point was the generous $365 offering Silver Lake gave at Christmas to participate in our Bangladesh partnership.
Last Monday, Seth Bye led a Young Leaders Listening Tour at The Branch Coffee Shop in Fairmount to learn how our Crossroads District can better serve pastors and staff members who are starting out in their ministry journey. Chris Williams was assisting Seth and I was able to sit in on part of their meeting. The future is bright with leaders like these joining the team.
Tuesday morning began with our office staff meeting at The Abbey Coffee in Marion before I headed out to Muncie to meet with Rev. Paul Walden (Muncie 18th Street Wesleyan) for our annual conversation. I was also able to connect with Pastor Mike Hewitt while in Muncie and rejoiced with him over the Ball State student that he led to Christ on Monday evening. My last meeting of the day was in Avon at Nehemiah Church for a meeting with Pastor Ben Thomas and his leadership team.
Wednesday morning, I met with Pastor Steve DeNeff (College Wesleyan Church) for our annual coaching conversation before heading over to the World Changers Convocation honoring Ernie Johnson, Jr., at Indiana Wesleyan University. Over lunch, Pastor Tony Bye (Brookhaven Wesleyan Church) connected for our annual coaching conversation. Wednesday afternoon, Calebb Proehl and I met over coffee. Calebb (yes, it is spelled with “bb”) is our newest team member who is transferring to us from the Nazarene Church to lead the student ministries at The River Church. My last meeting of the day was a coaching conversation with Pastor Steve Colter (Chapel Pike Wesleyan).
Thursday was a long but productive day. I drove to Cypress Wesleyan Church in Columbus, Ohio for the next installment in the ELEVATE leadership development initiative that we’re sharing in the Heartland Region. Pastor Ken Murphy and his team were gracious hosts for the event and Ken shared powerful lessons for church leaders.
Following the ELEVATE sessions, I spent another 3 hours with the other district superintendents in our Heartland Region before heading home. Plans are coming together for next year’s Heartland Regional Gathering in Pigeon Forge. Please mark your calendar for March 10-12, 2020 and plan to join us!
Friday morning, I met with Pastor Duane Seitz in Marion for our annual coaching conversation. Friday afternoon, Assistant DS Chris Williams and I met for our weekly check in before a busy weekend that had Chris and Matthew Trexler leading a StratOp refresher for the team at Fountain City Wesleyan Church.
Friday evening, Sherry and I had the special privilege of welcoming Rev. Michele Henry, our Crossroads District Children’s Minister Director and a wonderful group of 14 children’s ministry leaders from across our district. I appreciated this opportunity to hear what they’re learning as they’re ministering to the next generation and the families of our churches. It was a blessing to be able to say “thank you” to these leaders and to share in worship and prayer together.
Saturday, I was in South Bend to meet with Rev. Terry and Lennaire Vaughn, our church planters who are preparing to launch The Bridge Urban Church. They’ve been diligently looking for options for space in which to launch this exciting new ministry. After knocking on many doors, they were excited to show me the space that God has opened up for them at the Century Center convention hall. The space is great and the lease was very reasonable.
They were able to meet there this weekend with their team. The launch is being planned with a special kickoff in partnership with Pastor Troy Evans and the artistic team from The Edge for a “Love Your City” event in May. Pray that God will continue to grant them favor for this disciple-making ministry focused on youth in the city center.
I left South Bend in time to stop in Elkhart to connect with Pastor Guerrero and the team at Cielos Abiertos Wesleyan Church. They were hosting their first youth group connection at their home. I enjoyed meeting these students and telling them about the ministry training and camping opportunities that our district offers. Pastor Guerrero is also working with a home Bible study group in South Bend that may become the base camp for another Hispanic church plant. Praise God for these steps of progress!
Rev. Joe Jackson received a unanimous call to become the next pastor at Anderson United Wesleyan Church, succeeding Rev. Clifton Ashlock who will be retiring this summer. We’re looking forward to welcoming the Jackson family back to the Crossroads District.
Our sympathies and prayers are extended to the family of Dr. Byron Tippey, grandfather of Pastor Rob Tippey. Dr. Tippey was an exemplary lay leader in our Crossroads District serving on boards in his local church, the district and the general church level. From 1963 to 1987, Dr. Tippey was a valued faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University. A funeral notice was sent to our district team and the full obituary may be found online: Dr. Byron Tippey obituary
Pray for the 50+ leaders from our Crossroads District who will be attending the Exponential Conference in Orlando. More than 400 Wesleyan leaders are registered for this premiere event focused on church multiplication.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts!
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday morning, February 24, I traveled to Lafayette to worship with Pastor Logan Patriquin and his team at The Branch (formerly Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan Church). Pastor Logan has wisely and patiently led the congregation in renewing the vision, remodeling the facilities, and rebranding the ministry for greater effectiveness in connecting with their community.
They’ve also recently added Amber Bass to their staff team as youth and worship director. Attendance is averaging in the 90s and they are seeing an increase in first-time guests. After the service and a brief meeting with the LBA, I enjoyed connecting with the pastoral team over lunch. These are exciting days for the Branch and the future is bright!
Sunday afternoon, I met with Lay Supply Pastor Kay Dickerson and her husband, Bill, at Kirklin Wesleyan Church. We had a great meeting and I stayed to bring greetings in the evening service. Bill and Kay have served at the church for 30+ years and have seen it through some ups and downs. The church averaged just 14 in 2015 and some people questioned whether it could survive. Sister Kay (or Mama Kay as some of the folks like to call her) agreed to provide spiritual leadership to the congregation and was appointed as a Lay Supply Pastor by the DBA beginning in the fall of 2015. The church has rebounded under her leadership and averaged 46 last year.
The church was originally planted in 1893 by three women meeting with a burden for their community. The church continues to have a heart for the hurting today as they partner with the crisis pregnancy center in Frankfort, a recovery ministry, and a homeless ministry in downtown Indianapolis. They hosted a New Year’s Eve service and singspiration with 100 in attendance. They’ve undertaken repairs on the parsonage and paved their parking lot this past year, all debt-free. I’m grateful for leaders like Sister Kay who step up and stand in the gap!
Last week was lots of fun with a variety of meetings and leadership connections!
After completing the Team Update on Monday morning, I met with Dr. David Smith for an insightful conversation on the connection between spiritual transformation and persistence in congregational participation.
Monday evening, I connected with Dr. Steve DeNeff in his office and then met with the College Wesleyan Church LBA (Local Board of Administration) as they unanimously affirmed Pastor Steve’s extended call. These are exciting days at College Wesleyan as more than 21 leaders are taking the Sunday messages back into their weekday workplaces and leading Bible studies. Pastor Steve shared some amazing stories of the life transformation that is taking place through the ministry of these lay leaders.
Tuesday morning, I met with our district staff before heading north to meet with Pastor Steve Sparks in Monon for our annual coaching conversation. My final meeting of the day was with Pastor Don Bayne (New Carlisle Wesleyan) for supper and our annual coaching conversation in Michigan City.
Wednesday, I met with Pastor Ben Thomas (Avon Nehemiah Church) in Kokomo for our annual coaching conversation and preparation for their upcoming pastoral vote. Pastor Ben is midway through the Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy training at Community Health in Kokomo. Wednesday afternoon, I met with Kevin Batman, General Treasurer, for an update on the work that his team is doing in preparation for the shared services agreement we're undertaking in the new conference year. Kevin is a long-time member of our district family (also our former district treasurer) and has a great heart for serving local churches and pastors.
Thursday, Pastor Matthew Trexler (Region 1 Assistant DS) and his team at The River Church in Marion hosted the quarterly meeting of our Crossroads District Board of Administration. I am grateful for the dedicated members of our DBA who provide direction and counsel to our collaborative ministries. We had an engaging conversation about societal and technological changes that are impacting ministry for our churches today and over the next 10 years. Pastor Trexler also provided a guided tour of The River’s recently completed remodeling project.
Friday, Chris Williams and I met for follow-up work from the DBA meeting. Coach Jeff Clark and I met for follow-up from the College Wesleyan LBA meeting. In addition to a full plate at IWU and serving as a member of the DBA, Jeff also serves as the LBA vice-chair at College Wesleyan. Friday afternoon, I met with Dr. Jim Vermilya at IWU to learn more about the ways that IWU is encouraging students to consider participating in a church plant when they move to their first job whether its in health care, education or business. President Wright is casting an exciting vision for 50 churches to be planted by teams of students from IWU over the next 10 years!
Friday night was also our Marion Zone Fellowship with a great turnout at Thornapple to share a meal, conversations, and prayer. Thank you to Zone Chair Jeff Luetke for rallying his team and to Mrs. Gorveatte for her gracious Southern hospitality.
After the Zone fellowship, Pastor Jeff Luedtke and I made a quick late-night run to Fort Wayne to drop in to connect with students and thank the leaders who make our Annual Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter event happen. A huge thank you goes to Lane Sander (DYP) and Andy Jellison for leading the team that produced another amazing all-nighter! Special thanks to every pastor and youth sponsor who invested their energy (and lost some sleep) to make sure their teenagers could be part of this high-energy, spiritually-impactful event. Youth groups were represented from across our district, from Anderson to Chesterton.
We are grateful for the support of large churches like Lakeview, Brookhaven, and College Wesleyan, but just as excited to see the 6 teenagers that Lennaire Vaughn brought from the Bridge Urban Church, our church planting project in South Bend. Muncie Rising Hope blew everyone away when they showed up with 23 students. One of my favorite pictures of the evening was of the teens from Rising Hope connecting with the students from Brookhaven that had spent their summer missions trip in Muncie last summer renovating the fellowship hall into a community center for youth outreach.
Here’s a picture of these two youth groups together:
Remember to mark your calendars and bring your leadership teams to ReEquip at Marion Brookhaven Wesleyan Church, April 6. Here’s the link to share with your team and to register today: http://www.reequipconference.org/
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sherry and I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Jeff & Amy Luedtke and their team at Fairmount Wesleyan Church on Sunday morning, February 17. Pastor Jeff has served as senior pastor at Fairmount since 2012. The church has worshiped in its current location for more than 150 years but is still taking risks to reach people for Christ. Fairmount Wesleyan averaged 226 in worship last year (with 13 professions of faith and 7 baptisms) with recent Sundays running over 270 in worship.
The biggest step of faith that Fairmount took in recent years was purchasing a building in the center of town and remodeling it to create “The Branch” as an attractive gathering space for community, coffee, and delicious food. Pastor Jeff led the project and launched the ministry. Pastor Rob Tippey has now joined the team, manages the operations there, and has now launched a new worship experience on Sunday mornings. This alternative gathering features live music and the pre-recorded message from the main campus.
I brought greetings in both services at the main campus, then Sherry and I joined Jeff and Amy for the service at The Branch. The coffee shop was full with seven guests connecting for the first time. After the services, Jeff and I met briefly with the LBA and then joined our wives for lunch. As I thought about our time visiting FWC, I was reminded of the truth that we never change the message but we must always be ready (like John Wesley) to change our methods if we can find more effective ways to impact our community. Thank you to Pastor Jeff, Pastor Rob and the leadership team at Fairmount Wesleyan Church for their vision and boldness to step out in faith!
Sunday afternoon, I met with Pastor Matthew Stewart and the LBA at Sweetser Wesleyan Church as they prepare for their upcoming pastoral vote. They’ve been working diligently on the prescriptions from their Maximizing Impact consultation and I was encouraged to hear that they have 3-4 new families attending in the past several months!
Last Monday evening, I had the privilege of meeting with the LBA at The River Church in Marion to conduct the four-year review of Pastor Matthew Trexler’s extended call. The LBA unanimously affirmed Pastor Trexler’s leadership and continued service. These are exciting days at The River. They just hosted their annual “Night to Shine” in conjunction with the Tim Tebow Foundation and are making progress in their Chesterton campus.
Tuesday morning, our district staff team met for planning and prayer. After lunch, I connected with Pastor Tony Bye in Marion before a quick trip to Wabash to meet with Pastor Brian Scramlin and the team at New Journey Church. It also was good to see Assistant Pastor Megan Cox back in the office at New Journey. Many of you are aware of her experience and may know that she has another surgery upcoming as she recovers from a life-threatening medical emergency. She expressed her appreciation for the prayer support she’s been receiving from her family, friends, and our district team. Pastor Brian and his team showed me recent developments in the extreme makeover project that they’re doing on the old school building that New Journey calls home.
Wednesday morning, I was in Indy to connect with Rev. Josh Keesling and then met with Pastor Brad LeRoy (McCordsville Harvest Church) over lunch for our annual coaching conversation. Wednesday afternoon, Pastor Steve Arnett and I met in Muncie for his annual coaching conversation. My last meeting of the day was with the LBA at Elwood Main Street Wesleyan as they prepare for their congregational vote. Pastor Tim Becker’s leadership and ministry is appreciated and affirmed.
Thursday morning, I met with Rev. Rich Wollan, and then Pastor Ben Parker (Fairmount Back Creek Wesleyan Church) and I met over lunch for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Ben is another of our 48 bi-vocational pastors who balance challenging time demands to fulfill their calling. Thursday afternoon, I participated in the monthly ZOOM meeting that our General Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Schmidt, hosts for district superintendents. My last meeting of the day was in Jonesboro with the LBA at Westview Wesleyan Church in preparation for the upcoming congregational vote for Pastor Ryan Budde. One of the new ministries that has launched under Pastor Budde’s ministry is Celebrate Recovery. I’m grateful for Westview and each of our churches who are taking faith-filled steps to minister to those trapped in addictions!
Friday morning, I met with Pastor Mark Atkinson (Gas City Eastview) for an update on developments at their Jonesboro campus. Pastor Brent Miller (Gas City Southside) and I met at Abbey Coffee in preparation for his upcoming pastoral vote. Then, Pastor Daniel Van Cise (Marion West 8th Street Wesleyan) and I met over lunch for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Dan, another of our committed bi-vocational pastors, has faithfully served at West 8th Street since 2008.
Saturday morning, I joined Assistant DS Chris Williams, Rev. Matthew Stewart, and Rev. Ben Capshaw who were at North Anderson Wesleyan Church on a team with our lead consultant, Rev. Paul James (Church Health Initiative). Pastor David Shafer and Executive Pastor James Stamper did a great job hosting the Maximizing Impact consultation. Pastor David posted this review on FaceBook: “What a fantastic weekend at North Anderson Wesleyan Church. I believe God is going to do some awesome things.”
*** If you’d like to explore how your church could benefit from a Maximizing Impact consultation, please connect with Rev. Chris Williams (email@example.com).
The Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter happens this Friday night in Fort Wayne. Pray for our students and their leaders as they gather. This event has been a significant moment of spiritual transformation for so many teenagers!
Also on Friday, the Region 1 South Zone 1 pastors (Zone Leader – Jeff Luedtke) will be gathering for an evening of fellowship and prayer at our home. Sherry and I appreciate these opportunities to connect more deeply with our team members.
ReEquip 2019 is just around the corner! I am delighted that Pastor Mike & Tina Hilson (New Life Network in LaPlata, MD) are coming as our keynote speakers. Leaders are learners so bring your team with you to Brookhaven Wesleyan Church on April 6!
The very next weekend, April 12-13, is vital as we prepare to celebrate Easter and to ask for God to empower us for Great Commission service. Thank you to Dr. Jim Lo and our team of intercessors for inviting our district pastors and lay leaders into this special event.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. – Here’s a challenging reminder from E.M. Bounds on the power of prayer:
“God has of his own motion placed himself under the law of prayer, and has obligated himself to answer the prayers of men. He has ordained prayer as a means whereby he will do things through men as they pray, which he would not otherwise do. If prayer puts God to work on earth, then, by the same token, prayerlessness rules God out of the world’s affairs, and prevents him from working. The driving power, the conquering force in God’s cause is God himself. ‘Call on me and I will answer thee and who thee great and mighty things which though knowest not,’ is God’s challenge to prayer. Prayer puts God in full force into God’s work.” [E.M. Bounds “The Weapon of Prayer” Chap. 2]
Yesterday morning, Sherry and I attended the first of the grand opening services at Waterline’s new campus in Pendleton led by Pastor Joe & Dawn Deckard. This day also marked the 8th anniversary of the launching of Waterline Church that was birthed in 2011 under the leadership of Pastor John & Danielle Freed. Congratulations to Waterline on this milestone and their first daughter church!
Pastor Danielle Freed brought a wonderful team of volunteers from the Fishers campus to serve together with the team that has committed to help launch this campus. They are launching in a building where our Crossroads District formerly had a congregation called New Life. That congregation closed several years ago and we had recently been leasing the facility to another congregation knowing that when God opened the door, we wanted to relaunch ministry in this zip code. Pastor Joe & Dawn moved into the parsonage just last month but have been actively engaging the community over the past year with their children in the local schools. Yesterday, they welcomed 91 in attendance and celebrated another decision for Christ.
I always enjoy it when Sherry can travel with me to visit our churches but she also volunteers as treasurer for Waterline, the church where we are members, and loves to attend there so she feels torn. Yesterday, she was able to do both!
Last Monday, I was on the road in Frankfort to meet with Pastor Alan Downing (Connecting Point Church) and Pastor Calimerio Rodriguez (Templo de Poder) about the church planting project they are praying about. I love the way our churches are praying and dreaming together about advancing the Kingdom in new communities and among new people groups!
Tuesday morning, our district office staff connected and then I pointed the car north that afternoon to meet with Pastor Rich VanVuren at Shiloh Wesleyan Church and Pastor Ollie Dongell at Plymouth Wesleyan Church. Wednesday morning, I met with Pastor Rick Fletcher at Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne, and then met Pastor Randy Yaryan at Winchester Wesleyan for lunch. On my way back from Winchester, I stopped at Rising Hope in Muncie to see the progress they’re making on remodeling the campus. The chairs had arrived that Pastor Mike Colaw, our Region 2 Assistant DS, and Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan so graciously donated. I celebrate the generosity of our churches!
My final stop of the day was with Pastor Tim McClellan and the LBA at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion as the leadership team affirmed Pastor Tim’s extended call.
Thursday’s schedule took me back to Huntington to meet with Pastor Zach Working (Hope Rising Church) before heading on to Warsaw to meet with Rev. Eliorgy and Zoraida Guerrero, pastor of Cielos Abiertos (Open Heaven Wesleyan Church in Elkhart).
Rev. Guerrero has helped us connect with a church planting team in Goshen, is coaching a couple who will be working to reach out to Hispanics in Warsaw with Pastor Osborne and Pathway Church, and he’s started another home Bible study with a group in South Bend. Pastor Guerrero models apostolic imagination and multiplication!
Friday morning, I met with Assistant DS Chris Williams before connecting with two ministry students from Indiana Wesleyan University for an interview about our denomination. Both of these students had other denominational families before studying at IWU but are now in our DBMD process and looking forward to serving in The Wesleyan Church. The future is bright with young leaders like this stepping up!
My final meeting of the day was with our District Treasurer as we begin the budgeting process for the new conference year which begins on May 1. Mrs. Nancy Schoonmaker, CFO for IWU, does a terrific job serving our district and also serves on the finance team at her home church. It is a joy to serve with committed leaders like Nancy and the other members of our District Board of Administration.
Saturday morning, I was with Pastor Mike Colaw and Don Cady at Indianapolis Trinity as they interview a couple about possibilities for inner city ministry partnership. God is blessing the Kingdom vision of Trinity and it will be exciting to see what He has in store as they reach out to their city.
Mark your calendar for April 6. Don’t miss out on ReEquip 2019, coming up in 8 weeks! Every leader brings a carload!
Click here to visit the ReEquip website!
Keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. Be careful out there. It’s pothole season!
Sunday morning, February 3, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Joe & Nancy Park at Evergreen Wesleyan Church in Lafayette. Pastor Joe has faithfully pastored this congregation since 1974. Attendance averaged 65 last year with 14 professions of faith and 4 new believers baptized. This was my third visit to Evergreen since moving to Indiana and it is encouraging to see the progress they’ve made with expanding their parking lot and welcoming new members. After the morning service, I met with Pastor Park and the LBA for a helpful conversation as they consider the possibility of hosting a new Hispanic church plant.
Sunday afternoon, I was in Muncie at Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church to meet with the LBA and Pastor Lee Miller in preparation for Pastor Miller’s renewal of call vote. The LBA voted unanimously to recommend the four-year call to the local church conference. Attendance last year was 55 with 7 professions of faith and 2 baptisms. They recently completed a strategic ministry plan, have launched an addiction recovery ministry, and are actively considering possibilities for expanding their facilities or relocating.
The weather last week wasn’t ideal for travel but I was able to make all our scheduled appointments. Monday evening, I was with Pastor Jim Weinmann and the LBA at Evanston Avenue Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis for the extended call review. The LBA unanimously approved his extended call and affirmed his ministry. Jim is another of our faithful bi-vocational pastors and he has served at Evanston Avenue since 1995. One of the recent developments at Evanston Avenue is hosting the launch team meetings for a new Hispanic congregation that will be led by Rev. Dimas and Rev. Irma Alberto.
Tuesday morning, our staff met at Abbey Coffee in Marion and then I connected with Pastor Mark Schnell over lunch. Pastor Mark & Sharie have been a wonderful blessing providing interim ministry to our Albion Wesleyan Church this year. Tuesday afternoon, I was in Elwood to connect with Pastor Tim Becker as Elwood Main Street prepares for their pastoral vote. Tim has served since 2013 and attendance has increased from 95 to 124 during his tenure. Last year they celebrated 8 professions of faith and 8 baptisms.
Wednesday morning, I met with Rev. Heath Croft in Fort Wayne. Rev. Croft is an ordained minister in process-of-transfer who is serving the team at Level 13 Church. Continue to pray for Heath and Hayley as they help their family make the adjustment from the warmth of Alabama to the subzero temperatures we experienced this past week.
I met with a prospective church planter over lunch and then connected with Pastor Shane Wilson at Columbia City New Hope Church in preparation for his upcoming renewal of call. Shane is completing his second conference year as lead pastor at New Hope. Last year, New Hope baptized 31 new believers!
Wednesday evening, I met with Pastor Dale Munsell and the LBA at Cornerstone Wesleyan Church, near Albion, in preparation for his renewal of call vote. The LBA strongly affirmed Pastor Dale’s leadership. Attendance has grown from 43 in his first year to 59 last year when they also celebrated 25 professions of faith. They’ve also tackled building projects and updated the sanctuary.
Thursday morning, I met with Dr. Colleen Derr, President of Wesley Seminary, in Fishers before heading on to Cincinnati to participate in FUEL. Rev. Zach Coffin and the team from CMAD did a great job hosting and pouring into youth and children’s leaders from across our denominational family on Thursday and Friday. Pastor Charlie Alcock shared a powerful message on reconciliation in the opening rally. He does such an amazing job of pouring into next generation leaders at IWU and he had a great team with him from the KERN program.
Cincinnati will be the site for FOLLOW 2019, the international youth convention for The Wesleyan Church, December 28-31. It’s not too soon to be working with your youth group to make plans for this life-changing event. Zach Coffin asked how many of the FUEL participants had experienced a significant spiritual encounter at previous youth conventions and the vast majority raised their hands in affirmation. Don’t let your teens miss out on this powerful experience.
Saturday morning, I was glad to visit with Scott Drury, VP of Advancement for Southern Wesleyan University. Scott is off to a great start in the job that his father held 35 years ago. I also had the opportunity to connect with Pastor Zach Working at Hope Rising in Huntington. Jackie Vick sent some T-shirts from Global Partners for the baptism service that Hope Rising had planned. Pastor Zach baptized 2 men yesterday, one new believer with a terminal brain tumor and another who had run from God for 17 years. The church was full with 175 gathered for this celebration of God’s live transforming power!
Pastor Joe Deckard reported another positive preview event at the new Waterline campus in Pendleton including new families attending and 1 profession of faith. Pray as they build momentum for a strong launch heading into Easter.
In case you missed it, two very special people celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary this past weekend. Dr. Jim and Roxene Lo are a wonderful blessing to so many in our district family and as they lead at Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield. Congratulations to this Kingdom couple on this significant milestone!
Our sympathies and prayers are extended to the family members of Rev. Charles Jacob McCallum (age 95), including our own Rev. Chuck McCallum. Rev. Charles McCallum passed away early last Thursday. Rev. McCallum, a member of the Tri-State District, was ordained in 1946 and served faithfully for more than 50 years. The family will welcome visitation in the chapel at College Wesleyan Church in Marion on Saturday, February 9, from 10 until noon. The memorial service will be held in Kansas on February 23. A full obituary will be distributed to our district leaders later this week.
There’s still time to register your students for the Crossroads District All-Nighter in Fort Wayne on February 22-23. Here’s the link for more information and to sign up your teens: 2019 All-Nighter
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Sherry and I enjoyed the warm-hearted worship and fellowship with Pastor Allen and Cheryl Laws and the fine folks yesterday morning at Warren Wesleyan Church. We’d had to reschedule due to the weather closing on the previous Sunday so I was glad the sun was shining and the roads were clear yesterday. Warren is another of Indiana’s small towns with a rich history. Economic decline in the past years resulted in the high school closing and families leaving. The town does seem to be turning a corner with more jobs available.
Pastor Allen, another of our faithful bi-vocational pastors, has played a key role in the community serving with the food bank, assisting with re-employment and helping people enter addiction-recovery programs. I had a brief meeting with their leadership team after the service and then Sherry and I hosted the Laws for lunch.
Last week’s attempt was postponed by weather, but Pastor Joe & Dawn Deckard led their team in the first preview service held in Pendleton for Waterline’s new campus. They are using a building we own that formerly hosted New Life Wesleyan. It was encouraging to hear that the launch team volunteers with their families and friends totaled 56. Pray with them as they continue to build momentum with two more preview services and prepare for a full launch before Easter. Pictured here are the launch team members:
Last Tuesday, our district staff met on Tuesday morning and then I jumped in on a Zoom call with Dr. Schmidt, GS, and members of the General Board. Tuesday afternoon, I met with Pastor Ryan Budde (Westview Wesleyan Church) and then with Pastor Matthew Stewart (Sweetser Wesleyan Church) before heading south to meet with Pastor Brad LeRoy and the LBA at Harvest Church in McCordsville. Pastor Brad’s extended call was unanimously affirmed for another 4 years. The Harvest Church leadership team is also excited to welcome Rev. Chris Classen next month as their new executive pastor. Chris is presently on staff at Watermark Wesleyan Church (Hamburg, NY) and I served with Chris earlier when he was part of the staff at Kentwood Community Church in Michigan. Pastor Brad LeRoy is enjoying better days on the health front after the past few difficult years. He and Heid are surrounded and loved by the strong and supportive team at Harvest.
Wednesday morning, I met with Pastor Lee Miller (Muncie Memorial Drive) and then met with Rev. Kim Gladden, Director of Discipleship, at HQ to learn more about the upcoming discipleship initiatives she has planned. https://www.wesleyan.org/discipleship
Pastor Joe Deckard joined me for lunch and an update on their progress in building the team in Pendleton. Wednesday evening, I met with Pastor Mark Atkinson and then with the Eastview Wesleyan Church LBA as they completed their 4-year review and unanimously affirmed Pastor Mark’s extended call.
Thursday, I was wiped out by a flu bug or virus of some kind, so special thanks to those who were willing to reschedule our appointments.
Assistant DS Chris Williams led the district conference planning team that met at Abbey Coffee on Thursday morning. We’re excited to partner with Indiana Wesleyan University this year as they host our event in the Phillippe Performing Arts Center. Ordination service is scheduled for Friday evening, June 21, and District Conference is set for Saturday, June 22. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us. (A gentle reminder that this is a required “all-hands on deck” event for our appointed ministers.)
Congratulations are in order to Rev. Chris Williams on his acceptance into the PhD in Organizational Leadership at Columbia International University (South Carolina). In addition to his many other skills and strengths, Chris is a gifted teacher who already serves as an adjunct faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Pastor Mike and Kim Hewitt graciously stepped up to host our Region 2, East Zone, Pastors and Spouses Fellowship at Rising Hope’s community center in Muncie on Friday evening, after Sherry and I were not up to full speed. I was back up and able to join the group that night and we shared a wonderful time together. It is a remarkable blessing to rejoice with those who rejoice and to carry one another’s burdens as we minister together in the harvest. Thank you also to Pastor Steve Arnett (New Castle Mount Zion) for coordinating our time together as zone chair!
Saturday morning, I attended the celebration of life for Mr. Duane Cady, Don Cady’s father. Don serves on staff at Trinity Wesleyan Church (Indianapolis) and Sharon, Don’s wife, is a valued member of our Crossroads District Board of Administration. It was a moving tribute to a Christian gentleman who loved his family and faithfully served the Lord in his community and in the church as a lay leader and Sunday School teacher. Don and Sharon Cady were joined by Randy and Becky Weidman in a quartet to sing one of Duane’s favorite songs: “Wait Till You See My Brand New Home.”
Rev. Art Davis was at the funeral and told me the story of the day that Duane, as a 37-year-old man, gave his life to Christ under the revival ministry of Dr. Flexon while Rev. Davis was pastoring the church on 46th Street. Mr. Cady leaves a wonderful legacy of faith in his family and friends. Our prayers for God’s comfort go out Mrs. Mary Cady (his widow), and their extended family.
On the way back from Indy, I stopped over at Rising Hope Church to catch up with Rev. Ethan Linder. Ethan was there with some of his young adults from College Wesleyan Church who took the time to come over and assist Pastor Mike Hewitt and some of his young adults from Ball State University in the facility remodeling project. I celebrate every time our churches link arms together to impact our region for Christ.
Thank you for all you do in your respective assignments as pastors and lay leaders to advance God’s Kingdom. The call is clear, the need is great, the time is short. and we are “Sent Now!” (John 9:4)
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. There’s still time to register your youth group for the 2019 Crossroads District All-Nighter in Fort Wayne on February 22! Click here: Registration Link
Are you old enough to remember the blizzard of 1978? President Carter declared a federal disaster in Indiana on January 27, 1978 and the governor activated the National Guard. It wasn’t quite this bad over the past weekend but the blowing snow and temperatures made it wise for many of our congregations to not hold worship services.
While gathering to meet in a building wasn’t an option for many, I was encouraged by the number of our churches who provided creative online options. FaceBook Live seemed to be one convenient format that several pastors used to connect with their congregation. Here’s a sample with Pastor Mark Schnell from Albion Wesleyan Church:
Sherry and I were scheduled to worship with Pastor Allen and Cheryl Laws at Warren Wesleyan Church on Sunday but Pastor Laws got word to us on Saturday evening that their service was cancelled. Sherry has been helping out with accounting at The River Church in Marion, so we fired up the AWD and made it in to Marion for an encouraging time of worship with Pastor Matthew Trexler and his team. They held one combined service yesterday and attendance was strong for that gathering.
Tuesday, January 15, began with our weekly district office staff meeting and then I met with one of young couples who are serving as resident pastors in our district. Tuesday evening, I connected with Pastor Tony Bye and the leadership team at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church as they prepare for the normally-scheduled pastoral vote. It was encouraging to hear the report of 14 baptisms at BWC so far in this conference year!
Wednesday, I was on the road for coaching conversations. The first was in Lebanon with Dr. Morris Jones, pastor of Lebanon Wesleyan Church. Dr. Jone is another of our faithful bi-vocational ministers. He serves as an academic advisor at IUPUI during the week and also serves as a member of the city council in Lebanon. He was excited to share how the church has been exploring new ways this past year to connect with their neighbors and serve their community.
Pastor Logan Patriquin and I met for his coaching conversation over lunch and then he took me on a tour of the remodeling projects at the church. Formerly known as Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan Church, the Branch is making strides to better connect with their community through an after-school mentoring program. They’ve recently welcomed Ms. Amber Bass as part-time paid staff in worship and youth. Pastor Logan has been encouraged by the way the team has come together for these projects and attendance is on the upswing.
My last coaching appointment of the day was in Logansport with Pastor Zach Szmara at The Bridge. Pastor Zach does an amazing job of juggling his responsibilities as lead pastor at The Bridge and serving as National Director for Immigrant Connection, the multi-site ministry that helps people navigate the complexities of our immigration process. The Bridge is a multicultural congregation reaching into the Hispanic community but has recently added several families from Haiti who have come to work in Logansport. These families had Wesleyan roots from the ministry on the island of La Gonave. Elyse Garverick has recently joined with Zach on the pastoral team and the influence of the church continues to expand beyond its walls to serve Logansport.
Thursday morning, I was in Marion to meet with a pastoral couple who are exploring ministry opportunities in our district before heading to Fishers. I met with Pastor John Freed and Pastor Joe Deckard for an update on their progress toward launching Waterline in Pendleton. Then, Pastor Neftali Lopez (Carmel Amistad) and I met over supper for his annual coaching conversation. I am grateful for the leadership that Pastor Lopez brings as a bi-vocational pastor serving in the U.S. Navy reserves, in restaurant management, and as a chaplain for IWU campus buildings in the Indianapolis area.
My last meeting of the day was with Pastor Tom Parsons and the LBA at Hartford City Wesleyan Church. Pastor Tom is completing 18 years of effective ministry at HCWC but has answered a call to pastor a church in Georgia. He shared that announcement with the congregation earlier this month and I am working with the LBA as they prepare to launch their pastoral search. Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant DS, also shared a presentation on the accountable leadership model of governance that was well-received.
Pastor Tom & Kara Parsons have been used of God in remarkable ways to bless HCWC. While we are going to miss them here in the Crossroads District, we pray that God will bless them in even greater measure in their new ministry assignment. Please join us in praying as the leadership team prepares to call a new pastor to lead this vital ministry.
Friday morning, I joined with Dr. Smith, our Chair, and other members of the District Board of Ministerial Development to interview ordination candidates. I’m always encouraged to hear these stories of how God is calling women and men to lead the church in these exciting days of ministry challenge and opportunity.
Friday evening, I joined Pastor Paul VanCise and his team at Bryant Wesleyan Church as Assistant DS Chris Williams led them through the first session in their StratOp planning retreat. The weather forecast resulted in the additional sessions being rescheduled. The first session focused in on learnings from their church’s journey. It was encouraging to see how God has blessed this vibrant rural ministry under Pastor Paul’s leadership.
The 2019 District All-Nighter is fast approaching! The main rally for this event is returning to Pathway Community Church (11910 Shearwater Run., Fort Wayne) at 8pm on the February 22nd (Doors open at 6:30pm and Pre-Rally starts at 7:45pm).
The night kicks off with a rally featuring giveaways, worship, message, and pizza. After the rally, students enjoy their time at Skyzone, Ultrazone/Laser X, Crazy Pinz, and the YMCA. If they love laser tag, trampolines, bowling, putt putt golf, swimming, pizza, open gym, and rock walls, this event is for your students! Plan to join several hundred other students and adults from the Crossroads District for this event! Here’s the link for more information and to register your group:
2019 Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
More than 150 Crossroads District team members (pastors and their spouses) joined with another 1800 Wesleyan leaders who came from across the USA, Canada and even New Zealand for The Gathering. First established in 2007, this marked the fourth time that Wesleyan leaders have convened like this for worship, training and renewal.
Rev. Carol Schenck, Noblesville campus pastor for Circle of Hope and our District Secretary, posted this on her Facebook page:
“Preparing to head back home after an amazing Pastors’ Conference. We thank our home district, Crossroads, for their assistance in helping provide many of us as district pastors funding to attend. This conference was life-changing in so many ways for many of us. On behalf of all of us from Circle of Hope campuses, we say thank you for the care you give to us as district pastors. We are the blessed ones!”
Congratulations to Executive Director Becci Wood and her team who organized The Gathering, a ministry of the HQ Department of Education and Clergy Development. The generosity of the Wesleyan Investment Foundation as the lead sponsor was a special blessing to this event.
The music team led us in Spirit-filled worship. The speakers were real and relevant. And the fellowship was sweet as new friendships were formed and long-time ministry colleagues reunited. Special appreciation goes to our District Board of Administration who committed resources from our Thrive Fund to match the contributions of local churches and make it possible for so many of our pastors and their spouses to attend.
Sherry and I left on Sunday afternoon and drove to the event with 8 large boxes of T-shirts to be distributed as the Heartland Region launched its new website:
My first appointment was with the members of the Boards of Trustees from all five our Wesleyan higher education institutions. Our sessions began with lunch on Tuesday and concluded on Wednesday afternoon. We covered a variety of helpful topics for the challenging times that face our colleges.
My schedule changed when we received word that Assistant DS Chris Williams’ mother, Mrs. Joyce Williams, had unexpectedly passed away on Tuesday. We were already scheduled to host our Crossroads District team for a luncheon on Thursday so Sherry, Seth and I handled that and then I had a planning meeting with the Heartland Region DS team late Thursday afternoon. As soon as that meeting was over, I left for Maryland and arrived in Salisbury, MD on Friday evening to represent our team at the visitation time. The funeral was held at Emmanuel Wesleyan Church on Saturday morning.
Rev. Chris Williams and Sean, his son and Joyce’s oldest grandchild, both did a great job sharing memories and paying tribute to Mrs. Williams as a loving mother and grandmother. Rev. Mark Bunting and Rev. Tom Bunting conducted the funeral and they both affirmed the wonderful legacy of faith that Joyce left for her family and friends.
From Maryland, I was heading west into the oncoming snowstorm so Rev. Damian and Anne Williams graciously hosted me in the Pittsburgh suburbs. The Williams generously funded several of our first Maximizing Impact weekends here in Indiana and it was good to reconnect with them. I worshiped with them at Allison Park Church, their home church, on Sunday morning,
This wonderful ministry, led by Pastor Jeff Leake, has launched more than 100 church plants across the northeastern states in the past 10 years. After a brief lunch with the Williams, I hit the road and made it safely back to Indiana before sunset. No matter how far you roam, there’s no place like home!
This week we’re praying for Pastor Joe & Dawn Deckard who are hosting their first preview service in Pendleton this coming Sunday, 10:30 a.m., for a new church plant as part of the Waterline Church network. If you have unsaved, unchurched friends or relatives in the Pendleton area, let them know about this new campus of Waterline Church:
There is still time to register for the Crossroads District’s Youth Ministry All-Nighter. This year’s event is scheduled for Fri-Sat, Feb. 22-23, in Fort Wayne. All the youth leaders who are on file with our district office have received detailed information from DYP Lane Sander. If you haven’t received the information, please add you name to the list at our office and make sure your teenagers don’t miss this powerful event! Click here for more information!
Mark your calendar for ReEquip 2019, on April 6, in Marion. Our guest speakers will be Pastor Mike & Tina Hilson, (New Life Network in LaPlata, MD) who are setting the pace for church multiplication, and Dr. David Smith, TrueNorth Ministry, who is helping churches deepen the level of Bible engagement among their members. There will also be specialized breakouts for children and youth leaders. Click here to visit the ReEquip website!
We’re praising the Lord with Pastor Tony Bye and the Brookhaven Wesleyan Church who are off to a great start in 2019 baptizing 7 new believers yesterday morning. Praise the Lord for each one who publicly professed their faith in Christ!
I’m believing with you for a great year of Kingdom advance in 2019!
Your servant in Christ,
Happy New Year! It’s always exciting to launch into a new year of ministry. Sunday morning, January 6, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Brent and Naomi Miller and the welcoming congregation at Southside Wesleyan Church in Gas City. After the service, I held a brief meeting with the Local Board of Administration.
Pastor Brent is completing his sixth year of ministry as lead pastor after a season on staff with Pastor Mark Atkinson at Eastview Wesleyan. Pastor Brent is one of our effective bi-vocational pastors. Southside is his home church so he’s navigated some unique challenges as he’s led the church from averaging 40 to running more than 70. They’ve made positive improvements in the ministry and facility. One of their recent initiatives was to host a community outreach event called: Who-Bilation.
The team worked hard to pull off this special event and were blown away when the community responded with more than 500 attending. Pray for Pastor Brent and the Southside team as they follow-up on some new friends and reach out to their community.
The last Sunday of the year, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Franz & Yuldia Gonzalez at Vida y Esperanza. Pastor Frank and his family received immigration status in the USA among the many thousands who have fled the socialist regime in Venezuela. They came to Goshen, Indiana, with little but their vibrant faith in Christ. In March, 2016, Pastor Franz gathered the first small group in his home. Today, they worship in rented space with as many as 60 people now comprising the congregation. Through our mutual friend in Elkhart, Pastor Eliorgy Guerrero, Pastor Gonzalez and this Goshen congregation are taking steps to joining our Crossroads District team. Pray that God will bless their outreach to the growing Hispanic community in northern Indiana.
Last week included our staff meeting on Wednesday, attending the funeral of Dr. Thomas Phillippe (beloved church leader and a ministerial member of the Crossroads District), meeting with Pastor Tim McClellan and the StratOp team at Lakeview Wesleyan Church, meeting with one of our pastors in preparation for his upcoming vote, and meeting with an LBA members from another church who will be leading their team’s pastoral search. (As much as I enjoyed the break, I was excited to get back to the work that God has called us to do together!)
I trust your Christmas was blessed with meaningful times of celebration and connection, both with your church family and with loved ones. There are inspiring reports posted on social media from many of our churches who also made this a season of focused outreach to their communities. Thank you to each church leader who went the second and third mile to mobilize their teams for these high impact opportunities. If you haven’t already done so, make time to debrief with your team. Take notes on what worked and what you can improve. Christmas 2019 will be here before you know it!
Sherry and I will be joining about 1500 other Wesleyan pastors and their spouses in Orlando this week for The Gathering. Please pray that God will meet with us and pour out His Holy Spirit on us in fresh ways for the Harvest.
Three upcoming events that you’ll want to add to your calendar:
Our Crossroads District’s Youth Ministry hosts an amazing all-nighter each year. This year’s event is scheduled for Fri-Sat, Feb. 22-23, in Fort Wayne. All the youth leaders who are on file with our district office have received detailed information from DYP Lane Sander. If you haven’t received the information, please add you name to the list at our office and make sure your teenagers don’t miss this powerful event! Click here for more information!
ReEquip 2018 was terrific and this year’s one-day training event for lay leaders and pastors promises to be even better. Our guest speakers will be Pastor Mike & Tina Hilson, (New Life Network in LaPlata, MD) who are setting the pace for church multiplication, and Dr. David Smith, TrueNorth Ministry, who is helping churches deepen the level of Bible engagement among their members. There will also be specialized breakouts for children and youth leaders. Plan to bring your team and join us in Marion on April 6. Click here to visit the ReEquip website!
Oswald Chambers wrote that, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” If that quote challenges you as much as it challenges me, please join us for “Crying Out” our 2019 prayer retreat to be held this year at Fairmount Camp on April 12-13. Dr. Jim Lo and a team of intercessors will be leading pastors and local church leaders through guided corporate and personal prayer during this retreat. Please put this date on your calendar and plan to join us.
Let’s pray and work together for an amazing year of Kingdom harvest in Indiana in 2019!
Your servant in Christ,