Sunday morning, August 13, Pastor Marc and Heather Ulrich welcomed me to bring greetings from our district team to the growing fellowship at ReThink Church in Merrillville, our most northwesterly congregation. This church was planted in 2016 and averaged 80 in worship last year with six professions of faith. The ReThink team is ministering in a community that has often been labeled as “gospel-resistant” but their faithful, persistent witness is bearing fruit.
We had the joy of witnessing baptism of a young father and Pastor Marc preached a strong challenge for us to follow Christ reaching people “on the other side.” Following the service, I had the privilege of hosting the Ulrich family for lunch. Pastor Marc and Heather both serve in the public school system as well as ministering at ReThink. They’re also the proud parents of two young men, Shad and Carson, who have made an impact serving alongside their parents in this new church.
On my way to Merrillville, I took a quick detour through Chesterton to check in on our team serving at The River campus. Campus pastor Andy Hammonds shared about the effective back-to-school outreach the church hosted on Saturday. Sonny and Cody, Andy’s sons, were helping with the worship team. I first got to know Sonny (pictured in the middle) when he was still a student in the class I taught at IWU so it was fun to see how he’s jumped in to make a difference in planting this campus.
Last week was the the first week of this summer’s 21 Days of Prayer. I was able to connect with three of our churches in person. On Monday evening, I joined Pastor Zach Working and the team at Huntington Hope Rising Church.
Tuesday morning, I joined Pastor Matthew Trexler and his team at The River Church in Marion for their 6:00 a.m. prayer gathering.
Saturday morning, I joined Dr. Chris Williams and his team at Lakeview Wesleyan Church for their prayer service at 9:00 a.m. This week was a good reminder that it doesn’t matter what time of day or how many people gather, the church is at her best when she prays!
I enjoyed fellowship over a meal with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, on Monday evening, with Dr. David and Angie Smith on Tuesday evening, and with Rev. Naomi and Alex Small on Wednesday evening. I was in Lafayette to meet with the LBA at The Branch as they move into a season of pastoral transition. After the LBA meeting, I caught up with Alex and Naomi as they hosted a back-to-school kickoff with the youth group.
Coaching conversations last week included Rev. Tim Becker (Elwood Main Street Wesleyan) on Tuesday, and with Rev. Brent Miller (Gas City Southside) and Rev. Joe Park (Lafayette Evergreen) on Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, I caught up with Dr. David Wright and Dr. Judy Crossman to present their retirement awards from district conference.
You may already know this but church planters are my heroes. Last week, Rev. Mike Hewitt (our champion for church planters) and Rev. Matthew Trexler (District Treasurer) joined me in spending time with Rev. Cary Sanders as we pray about another new church plant in Indiana. The Crossroads District is blessed with so many amazing team members!
Thank you for praying for our little ones! Simon Hines arrived home safely on Friday after his successful heart surgery, much to the joy of Petra and his parents.
Eden, our granddaughter, returned home from her heart surgery on Sunday. All of these parents and grandparents are grateful for the many prayers and expressions of love!
God is on the move and here is another example of what happens when we pray. This report comes in from Pastor David Cox in Laketon: “Some great things to report from Laketon, we started a new series titled ‘Revival Fire’ we had commitments from the entire congregation to pray for revival. We have had 6 baptisms in the last two weeks, last Sunday we had one young man walk in and tell us he needed a life change and came forward and accepted Christ, the altar was full with others seeking recommitments…'” Below is a picture from one of the three baptisms on this Sunday.
God is also on the move in our Hispanic churches! Rev. Claudia Ruiz, Rev. Joe Schmit, and Rev. John Hannan baptized two new believers from the Casa network of churches on Saturday at a combined church picnic. Praise God for these lives #MadeNew!
Pastor Scott McDermid and the team at Sheridan Six Points are celebrating as another teenager, the third in three weeks, publicly professed faith in Christ through baptism!
Pastor Tony Bye and the team at Brookhaven Wesleyan in Marion had a wonderful evening of celebration on Sunday with six baptisms! Praise God for lives being transformed by the Gospel!
Don’t forget that this is the week for Old Time Camp Meeting at Fairmount Camp. Rev. Gale Janofski will be preaching and Rev. Ken Dykhoff will lead the hymn sings. Services are held each evening, 6 p.m., August 16-20, and all are welcome!
Thank you for praying with us for the Follow Conference this December. You will want to attend and bring as many teenagers as possible for this life-changing experience!
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. I will be in Chicago this week (Monday through Friday) for training and coaching certification in the Clifton StrengthsFinder resources. Michael Wood (Woody), our district administrator, will be available to you and can contact me in case of emergencies.