Sunday, September 9, I had the privilege of bringing district greetings in the three Sunday services at the River Church. Pastor Matthew and Nicole Trexler stepped out in faith 11 years ago to plant this church focused on bringing Christ to the unreached in Marion. At the time, most experts told them that Marion didn’t need another church, but Pastor Matthew grew up in Marion and knew there were thousands of people in need. Today, they know that there are 12,000 people within 5 miles of their building who have no relationship with a church and the team at River Church is willing to do whatever it takes to reach them.
God has blessed their vision and sacrifice. Last year, the River Church averaged 540 in attendance with 161 professions of faith. This year. they are launching a new campus near Huntington University and prayerfully considering other open doors for expanded impact. In addition to his leadership in the local church, Rev. Trexler serves as Assistant District Superintendent and leads StratOp consultations teams in our district.
Yesterday, Pastor Michael and Kim Hewitt led Muncie Rising Hope Church through their last preview service in preparation for their launching service this coming Sunday. They’ve done a great job of building a team and connecting with the community. If you have unchurched friends or relatives in Muncie, would you be able to encourage them to attend and pass along this link: http://risinghopechurch.com/
Last week’s schedule was shortened with Labor Day on Monday. Sherry and I were glad to have some of our family visiting with us for a quiet day at home.
Tuesday, I was back on the road for coaching conversations in Fort Wayne. Pastor Aaron Lee (LaOtto Wesleyan — soon to be Cultivate Church) met in the morning. Pastor David Dignal (Edgerton Wesleyan) and I met over lunch in New Haven. Pastor Rick Fletcher (Lifeway Church) and I met in his office that afternoon. Pastor Kyle Horton (Three Rivers Church) and I met over supper at Caliente (Cuban style) in downtown Fort Wayne. It was encouraging to hear how each of these leaders is living out their commitment to making disciples in the unique context of their congregations and communities.
I made a quick run to Indy on Wednesday morning and signed loan documents for one of our churches at the WIF office. Wednesday afternoon, I met with one of our ministerial students who exploring his call to minister to the the disabled community. My last meeting of the day was with Cam Kirvan, an IWU ministerial student who is serving as supply pastor at Countryside Wesleyan Church. Cam is an ROTC student at IWU and making plans to serve in military chaplaincy.
On Thursday, Rev. Chris Williams and I welcomed Duffy Smith, former CEO of Campbell Soup and a committed Christ-follower, who has been coaching several pastors in our district through the implementation of their Maximizing Impact consultation report. Rev. Mark Atkinson graciously hosted us at Eastview Wesleyan Church. We had a productive conversation with a group of pastors who will be part of our coaching cohort as we move forward with Maximizing Impact.
On Friday, I had a coaching conversation with Rev. Mark Schnell who is serving as pastor at Albion Wesleyan Church this year while he is also teaching and completing his doctoral dissertation in homiletics (University of Toronto). Some of you may know that Mark is the son-in-law of Rev. Art O’Dell who is going through a difficult health challenge. Mark expressed appreciation for those who have been remembering Art in their prayers.
The Executive Committee of the General Board of The Wesleyan Church was convened by Zoom on Friday by General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt. Our next General Board meeting will be in November and Dr. Schmidt reviewed several items with us in preparation for that important meeting. Please keep Dr. Schmidt in your prayers as he leads our team and carries the weight of spiritual responsibility for our denomination.
I was looking forward to hearing Pastors Amanda and Johnnie Blair preaching at the Married Couples Retreat on Friday night but the heavy rains caused the retreat team to reschedule the event for October 5-7. You can still register for this marriage enrichment event here:
Saturday evening, Dr. Norman Wilson (DBA member), Rev. Alan Downing (pastor of Frankfort First Wesleyan) and I joined with Rev. Calimerio and Maria Rodriguez (Templo de Poder) who introduced us to a prospective church planter for the Lafayette Zone. Brother Omar and Sandra, his wife, were visiting from El Salvador where they have planted a church and had an effective ministry. We had a helpful conversation about the steps our district takes including the process of applying for a religious worker’s visa. Pray that God will continue to send out workers into His Harvest!
Dr. Colleen Derr, president of Wesley Seminary, extends a special invitation to the Crossroads District to join the faculty and students of Wesley Seminary for a special event featuring Dr. Richard Foster and Nathan Foster at College Wesleyan Church, September 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. Many of you have enjoyed Dr. Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity!
Dr. Richard Schenck (pastor at Noblesville Lakeview Wesleyan) is flying home today from Bangladesh but very much appreciates the prayers on his behalf as a medical emergency had resulted in hospitalization. Rev. Carol Schenck has been keeping us updated on his treatment and recovery and expressed appreciation for our prayers
This week, I’ll be at HQ on Wednesday and Thursday for meetings with leaders from the Heartland Collective. We continue to explore ways to create value through partnering with our neighbor districts in Ohio, Kentucky-Tennessee and Indiana South. I would welcome your prayers that God would grant us wisdom and a spirit of unity as we work together to close the Gospel gap in our region.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts!
Your servant in Christ,