Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Duane and JoEllen Seitz at Silver Lake Wesleyan Church for their Friend Day. Pastor Duane received and accepted a new 4-year call to serve this rural congregation. When some people might be relaxing and enjoying their retirement years, Rev. Seitz has been leading this turnaround project with vision and sacrifice. Last year, Pastor Duane personally knocked on the doors of every one of the 364 homes in town to offer to pray for them. This year, Pastor Duane is starting out on a second round of door-to-door visitation to share the plan of salvation. Following the service, we shared in the fellowship meal and then I led a brief meeting with the LBA. Another praise point was the generous $365 offering Silver Lake gave at Christmas to participate in our Bangladesh partnership.
Last Monday, Seth Bye led a Young Leaders Listening Tour at The Branch Coffee Shop in Fairmount to learn how our Crossroads District can better serve pastors and staff members who are starting out in their ministry journey. Chris Williams was assisting Seth and I was able to sit in on part of their meeting. The future is bright with leaders like these joining the team.
Tuesday morning began with our office staff meeting at The Abbey Coffee in Marion before I headed out to Muncie to meet with Rev. Paul Walden (Muncie 18th Street Wesleyan) for our annual conversation. I was also able to connect with Pastor Mike Hewitt while in Muncie and rejoiced with him over the Ball State student that he led to Christ on Monday evening. My last meeting of the day was in Avon at Nehemiah Church for a meeting with Pastor Ben Thomas and his leadership team.
Wednesday morning, I met with Pastor Steve DeNeff (College Wesleyan Church) for our annual coaching conversation before heading over to the World Changers Convocation honoring Ernie Johnson, Jr., at Indiana Wesleyan University. Over lunch, Pastor Tony Bye (Brookhaven Wesleyan Church) connected for our annual coaching conversation. Wednesday afternoon, Calebb Proehl and I met over coffee. Calebb (yes, it is spelled with “bb”) is our newest team member who is transferring to us from the Nazarene Church to lead the student ministries at The River Church. My last meeting of the day was a coaching conversation with Pastor Steve Colter (Chapel Pike Wesleyan).
Thursday was a long but productive day. I drove to Cypress Wesleyan Church in Columbus, Ohio for the next installment in the ELEVATE leadership development initiative that we’re sharing in the Heartland Region. Pastor Ken Murphy and his team were gracious hosts for the event and Ken shared powerful lessons for church leaders.
Following the ELEVATE sessions, I spent another 3 hours with the other district superintendents in our Heartland Region before heading home. Plans are coming together for next year’s Heartland Regional Gathering in Pigeon Forge. Please mark your calendar for March 10-12, 2020 and plan to join us!
Friday morning, I met with Pastor Duane Seitz in Marion for our annual coaching conversation. Friday afternoon, Assistant DS Chris Williams and I met for our weekly check in before a busy weekend that had Chris and Matthew Trexler leading a StratOp refresher for the team at Fountain City Wesleyan Church.
Friday evening, Sherry and I had the special privilege of welcoming Rev. Michele Henry, our Crossroads District Children’s Minister Director and a wonderful group of 14 children’s ministry leaders from across our district. I appreciated this opportunity to hear what they’re learning as they’re ministering to the next generation and the families of our churches. It was a blessing to be able to say “thank you” to these leaders and to share in worship and prayer together.
Saturday, I was in South Bend to meet with Rev. Terry and Lennaire Vaughn, our church planters who are preparing to launch The Bridge Urban Church. They’ve been diligently looking for options for space in which to launch this exciting new ministry. After knocking on many doors, they were excited to show me the space that God has opened up for them at the Century Center convention hall. The space is great and the lease was very reasonable.
They were able to meet there this weekend with their team. The launch is being planned with a special kickoff in partnership with Pastor Troy Evans and the artistic team from The Edge for a “Love Your City” event in May. Pray that God will continue to grant them favor for this disciple-making ministry focused on youth in the city center.
I left South Bend in time to stop in Elkhart to connect with Pastor Guerrero and the team at Cielos Abiertos Wesleyan Church. They were hosting their first youth group connection at their home. I enjoyed meeting these students and telling them about the ministry training and camping opportunities that our district offers. Pastor Guerrero is also working with a home Bible study group in South Bend that may become the base camp for another Hispanic church plant. Praise God for these steps of progress!
Rev. Joe Jackson received a unanimous call to become the next pastor at Anderson United Wesleyan Church, succeeding Rev. Clifton Ashlock who will be retiring this summer. We’re looking forward to welcoming the Jackson family back to the Crossroads District.
Our sympathies and prayers are extended to the family of Dr. Byron Tippey, grandfather of Pastor Rob Tippey. Dr. Tippey was an exemplary lay leader in our Crossroads District serving on boards in his local church, the district and the general church level. From 1963 to 1987, Dr. Tippey was a valued faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University. A funeral notice was sent to our district team and the full obituary may be found online: Dr. Byron Tippey obituary
Pray for the 50+ leaders from our Crossroads District who will be attending the Exponential Conference in Orlando. More than 400 Wesleyan leaders are registered for this premiere event focused on church multiplication.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts!
Your servant in Christ,