Sunday morning, October 28, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Rich and Cynthia VanVuren at Shiloh Wesleyan Church. Shiloh is a vibrant, multi-generational church on a country crossroad in the middle of cornfields near Plymouth.
But don’t let anyone tell you that rural churches can’t thrive. Pastor Rich challenges the church to impact their neighbors and to have a heart for the world. They averaged 147 in worship last year with 10 professions of faith and 12 baptisms. November is their month for global missions emphasis and Rev. Luis Martinez will be their keynote speaker. Assistant Pastor Levi Lehman leads the growing youth ministry and they also have an exciting children’s ministry. After the service, I enjoyed connecting with the members of the Local Board of Administration.
Last Monday, I joined several of our district pastors to support Rev. Ron Herring at the funeral of his beloved wife and ministry partner, Mrs. Sarah Herring. Rev. Tim McClellan, Marion Lakeview Church, conducted the service and brought an encouraging message of hope. Please keep Pastor Ron in your prayers.
Tuesday morning, I met with our staff at Abbey Coffee before heading to Carmel for an afternoon coaching conversation with Pastor Darrell Herring, pastor of our Indianapolis Central Wesleyan Church. The last meeting of the day was with Rev. Jonathan Lewis, DS of North Carolina East, (via ZOOM) who had some questions about the Heartland pilot project that we are part of with Indiana South, Greater Ohio, and Kentucky-Tennessee.
Wednesday was invested in coaching conversations with Rev. Paul VanCise (Bryant Wesleyan), Rev. Clifton Ashlock (Anderson United Wesleyan), and Pastor Benjamin Tlungloei (Shalom Church – Burmese in Indianapolis). These coaching conversations are helpful to keep me connected with the joys and challenges our pastors encounter in the wide variety of contexts that make up our district family.
I participated in two different ZOOM meetings with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, on Thursday before joining Pastor Matthew Trexler, Assistant DS, for lunch and a walkthrough of their recently completed facility. This is an exciting development for River Church and the good news is that it was completed on budget and ahead of schedule.
My last meeting on Thursday was a coaching conversation with Pastor Randy Yaryan (Winchester Wesleyan) over supper in Muncie. Pastor Randy was on his way to conduct the funeral for a relative in Pennsylvania who received Christ as a result of Randy’s sermon at family funeral this past year. Never miss an opportunity to share the Gospel!
Friday morning, Dr. Wright was preaching at IWU’s chapel service and presented the theme for this year “Christ’s Ambassadors” from 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. He challenged the students with the vision that IWU could become an embassy of God’s Kingdom, or “a little bit of Heaven dropped into the cornfields of Indiana.” He reminded students that an embassy of the Kingdom is a place of transformation (2 Cor. 5:17), a place of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19) and a place of delegation (2 Cor. 5:20) “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…” Please keep Dr. Wright, our faculty, staff and students in your prayers as they live this out!
Friday evening, Sherry and I were delighted to host our first Thornapple fellowship for youth pastors. DYP Lane Sander helped coordinate this gathering and we’ll be having more opportunities to connect in the spring as we take time to express our appreciation for these leaders who invest deeply in the next generation. Friday night was also a happening time for our students in Fort Wayne and Richmond. Pastor Andy Jellison and his team at Fort Wayne Lifeway Church hosted several area youth groups for their annual FallNighter and Pastor Jacob Gibson welcomed Rev. Zach Coffin for Ignition2018!
I’m at New Life Network in La Plata, Maryland for meetings through Wednesday afternoon but will be back in time for our Region 3 Fall Gathering in Plymouth on Thursday morning and our Indy Zone Fellowship at Thornapple on Friday evening.
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,