Church planters are my heroes! Pastor Marc and Heather Ulrich moved to Merrillville, just 30 minutes southeast of Chicago, back in 2016 to plant ReThink Church. They experienced what is sometimes known in church planting circles as a “parachute drop” with no existing core team to help launch the ministry. The Crossroads District, especially Pastor Matthew Trexler’s team at The River Church, backed them with prayer, finances, and the use of an abandoned church building. The Ulrichs faced the daunting task of starting from scratch but they were held steady by their clear calling from God. Today they are celebrating a growing multi-ethnic church that is making disciples who make disciples.
Sherry and I had the privilege of connecting with Pastor Marc and Heather over supper on Saturday evening. They shared the stories of God opening doors in the business community and how they are both now serving in the public schools. Heather works in central services with personnel while Marc teaches life skills and mentors students. Sunday morning, we worshiped with their church family and then hosted the Ulrichs, including their sons Shad and Carson, for lunch. Pray that God will continue to bless this committed church-planting family!
Last week’s schedule included our office staff meeting on Monday, a pastoral care visit to check on Rev. Craig Thurmon in Indy on Tuesday (he’s recovering well), coaching conversations through the week with Rev. Jerry Alexander (Anderson Circle of Hope), Rev. Caleb Wakeman, Rev. Amy Biegel, and Sam Kueraug (Marion The River Church), and Rev. Chuck Moorer (Indianapolis Divine Direction Church).
The district nominating committee met on Tuesday evening at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church. That was a good reminder that our district conference is less than 3 months away. Please plan to join us in Marion on Friday evening, June 24, for the ordination service and on Saturday, June 25, for the conference. We will have a full agenda with reports and action items from our General Conference.
Wednesday afternoon, Assistant DS Matthew Trexler and I went to Westfield for a meeting with Rev. Andy Riemersma and a consultant who helped us explore options for expanding the capacity at the present location for ONE Church. Pastor Andy and his team are encouraged with the progress in these first three months since launch and are making plans for continued growth as God blesses.
Friday morning, I met with John Bonham, administrator, and Rev. John Davey, TIPS interim pastor serving our Hartford City Wesleyan Church, for an update on their pastoral search process. Continue to pray for our congregations who are still seeking God’s direction as they seek new pastoral leadership.
Friday evening, April 1, Sherry and I had the joy of hosting another terrific group of pastors and their spouses in our home. Every one of these evenings is a special time of fellowship but it seems like God is deepening these relationships in our district team as we share one another’s joys and prayer concerns.
Congratulations to Rev. Charlie Alcock and his team at IWU as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of FUSION! I was able to drop in for part of Saturday’s event and there’s nothing like hearing 1000 teenagers lift their voices in worship. Charlie has done an amazing job of developing and empowering the student leadership that pulls off this event each year. This year’s team included 140 IWU student volunteers. Special thanks also to our Crossroads District youth leaders who made it a priority to bring their high school students. Don’t forget that the “Never2Young” event is coming up on May 6 and 7.
I love hearing how God is working across our district family. Here are some examples from this past week:
“Mark, I just want to share what the Lord is doing here in Delphi. We started out in January running a steady 32 in attendance. However, God is on the move and is raising our Lazarus. We have been increasing every Sunday, with new people arriving every week. We have more new people than we have older attendees. Today, we had 68 in attendance, with three families watching on Facebook live. This is merely the result of God showing us grace in answering prayer and fulfilling His promise. It would not surprise me that we will have 100-150 in attendance on Easter. The Lord alone gets all the glory.” – Pastor Dan Fisher, Delphi Wesleyan Church
Pastor Rick Fletcher checked in from Fort Wayne Lifeway reporting an “upswing in attendance and new folks coming to Lifeway–and getting involved. 90 K-6th graders on Wed. nights. Youth attendance is up. God is moving here and we are grateful…three (new) couples are in discipleship, volunteering and reporting to us that they have never before heard about the work of the Holy Spirit and transformation. Being made new!”
Pastor Mike Colaw reported that Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church had 32 new friends attending membership classes last month including their first membership class that was totally in Spanish. “I can’t believe how God is blessing….It’s crazy!”
Let’s praise God for the powerful ways that He is working in our churches and let’s keep praying. Join us this Sunday evening, 6:00 p.m., April 10, at The River Church in Marion for our monthly Crossroads District prayer gathering. We will be focusing this hour of prayer on seeking God’s anointing for the evangelistic opportunities in our Easter weekend services.
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. There is still time to register your youth and children's ministry leaders to be part of this helpful gathering on April 21-22 in Muncie, Indiana at Union Chapel Church. Zach Coffin and his team are committed to making this a profitable time of renewal and resourcing. Look here for more info: Fuel