Reaching Our Changing Communities
Sunday morning, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Zach and Lindy Szmara at The Bridge in Logansport. This is a remarkable story of a church that has been revitalized and re-imagined to reach the expanding immigrant community in their region. Pastor Zach shared a message for Lent from Luke 11:24-26 on the “Law of Adverse Occupation.” Including this Canadian immigrant, there were 7 different nationalities represented at The Bridge this morning.
The Bridge is also the first of our Immigrant Connection Centers in the Crossroads District. It is amazing to realize that they have assisted immigrants from more than 50 nations. With Zach’s coaching, two more sites will open in our district this year. Indianapolis Trinity and Marion College Wesleyan are both moving forward in the federal approval process. I am grateful that our denomination has established a network that enables our churches to assist people who are seeking to navigate the complexities of our current immigration process.
Sunday afternoon, I was in Delphi to meet with Pastor Dan Fisher and the LBA at Delphi Wesleyan Church. The board unanimously reaffirmed Pastor Dan’s extended call and will be working with him to develop a sabbatical plan for this summer. The church has more than doubled in attendance under Dan’s ministry and the building has been remodeled.
Rev. Fisher has served tirelessly these past few weeks with three funerals in addition to extensive pastoral care related to the tragic death of two young girls in their community. One of those girls had prayed with Pastor Dan to receive Christ at their Vacation Bible School and the other girl was on Dan’s school bus route. The community continues to be in shock and grieve these tragic murders. Please keep Delphi in your prayers.
Sherry and I were in Wisconsin with D.S. Dan & Reenie Bickel for the District Ministerial on Monday and Tuesday. Dan is from Muncie and Reenie (Hoover) grew up in the Lafayette Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan Church so it was good to make the Crossroads District connection. I shared insights from “Lead Like Wesley” and it was great to see the camaraderie in this district team. I was also glad to see Pastor Mark Wilson, a dear friend, and delighted to learn that he’ll be joining the full-time faculty at Southern Wesleyan University to teach discipleship and church renewal after 26 years of effective leadership at Hayward Wesleyan Church.
Wednesday included a visit with Pastor Paul Trent at home in Chesterfield. He continues the fight with brain cancer and values your prayer support in this battle. That evening, I was blessed to participate in the Ash Wednesday service at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church as Pastor Tony Bye and the pastoral team led in a time of repentance and prayer.
Thursday, I taught the Congregational Leadership class again at Wesley Seminary and then met with the LBA in the evening at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church. They are deeply grateful for the effective ministry of Rev. Bob VanCise during Pastor Trent’s illness. The church has a remarkable midweek ministry with more than 40 children and 15 teens participating. Parkview Church has been loving and generous to the Trents through this six-month journey of cancer treatments. God’s is blessing their faithfulness.
Friday was another highlight as the Region 2 East Zone leaders gathered in Muncie to interview and pray over prospective church planters for a new Kingdom community. The leaders of the Northview Wesleyan Church, near Ball State University’s campus, voted unanimously to bring their ministry to a close this summer and turn the keys over to the launching of this new ministry. It was heartwarming to hear the pastors of the zone share their vision and then to hear how God has been preparing the hearts of a seasoned church planting couple who are prayerfully considering this assignment. The pastors of the zone voted unanimously to recommend this project and these planters to the DBA. Please pray as the process moves forward over the next few months.
On Saturday, I joined Dr. Richard Schenck and members of the Region 2 DBMD to interview ministerial students in Indianapolis. It is always a joy to hear how God is calling and equipping emerging leaders to join us in the harvest!
This coming week, Pastor Rob Tippey and I will be hosting prospective leaders for a Hispanic church planting project in Fort Wayne. On Friday evening, I’ll be in Tipton for the Crossroads District SAM (Senior Adult Ministries) Banquet hosted by Randall Hudson and his team. Next Sunday, March 12, I’ll be preaching at Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church in Muncie.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. Round up your children’s ministry staff and make plans to be part of this year’s Crossroads District Huddle featuring Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales, on April 22!
Richard Van Vuren
3/6/2017 10:35:41 am
dr dale memorial dr. muncie
3/8/2017 03:37:53 pm
just making sure dr. mark is preaching on 12th at meemorial dr. muncio
Comments are closed.