Sunday morning, December 2, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Brian Williams and the congregation at Sims Wesleyan Church. This is a warm and welcoming church family serving a rural community on the west side of Grant County.
Pastor Brian and Dianna Williams have pastored here since 1987. Rural ministry can be challenging but last year they averaged 42 in worship with 30 in Sunday School and 3 professions of faith. Pastor Brian has encouraged the congregation to be faithful in sharing their stories and testimonies of God’s grace with their relatives and friends. We closed the service yesterday with a commissioning prayer.
I also enjoyed meeting with the LBA after the service. It was good to be able to affirm the progress they’ve made in maintaining and updating their property. I was reminded again that it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people and rural churches can still play a key role in advancing the Kingdom!
Last Monday, I met with the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for Fairmount Camp. David Tippey has done a great job of chairing the Board for the past few years but felt the time had come to turn over the gavel to the next leader. The Executive Committee developed a strong list of potential candidates that they’ll be contacting and would invited you to join them in praying for God’s direction in this important selection process.
Tuesday morning, I met with Pastor Mark Atkinson for an update on the multi-site ministry of Eastview Wesleyan Church before heading to Indy. Assistant DS Mike Colaw has opened his monthly all-staff meetings for Region 2 pastors and their teams. Chris Williams and I were able to join in for this month’s session which featured Rev. Ian Swyers from Global Partners. Ty Combs led in the Scripture meditation, Josh Lavender led us in worship and then Ian brought a challenging talk about flourishing where we’re planted. It’s great to see new team members connecting with our long-tenured leaders.
After the meeting, I met with Pastor Scott McDermid, our next pastor at Sheridan Six Points Church, for an update on the exciting developments since he’s arrived. Six Points is strategically positioned for significant impact as Hamilton County’s population continues to grow in their direction. We’re glad that Pastor Scott and Nicole (and their sons Caleb & Isaac) are part of the Crossroads District team!
Tuesday afternoon, I participated in the monthly ZOOM call that General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt hosts for the 25 district superintendents each month. This month Dr. Schmidt provided a recap from our recent General Board meeting. Tuesday evening, I met with Pastor Dan Heylmann (Grant City Wesleyan) for our annual coaching conversation.
Wednesday morning, I met with Aaron Wilkinson at Wesley Seminary for an update on some of the ways that the seminary is developing to better serve the Church. I’m grateful for Dr. Colleen Derr and the team at Wesley Seminary who provide such a valued educational resource for our students and denomination. Keep them in your prayers!
Wednesday afternoon, I joined the other 3 district superintendents of the Heartland Region for a meeting with General Treasurer Kevin Batman, Jake Lapp and Matthew Ray. We’re making progress toward a shared services agreement that will allow us to contract with the General Treasurer’s office for accounting and financial support. Both Kevin and Jake have been local church treasurers in the Crossroads District so they bring expertise and a great heart for the lay finance/accounting volunteers who serve our congregations.
Rev. Jim Weinmann and I met later Wednesday afternoon for our annual coaching conversation. The Weinmann family are still mourning the loss of their brother and son Richard (Rick) Weinmann who passed away earlier this month. Pastor Jim conducted the funeral at Evanston Avenue Wesleyan Church on November 25.
Wednesday evening, I was able to attend Bible study at The Pour House. The study on “Fighting Temptations” was led by Pastor D’Aldo Jones, a friend and ministry colleague of one of our pastors. After the service, I appreciated the opportunity to sit with Pastor & Lisa Jones to hear their 19 year journey of church planting in the inner city.
Thursday, a group of pastors from the Heartland Region gathered from 10 until 3 at the IWU Greenwood campus for ELEVATE, a day of leadership development with Rev. Ken Murphy, pastor of Cypress Wesleyan Church in Columbus, Ohio. One of the clarifying questions that Ken asked that day is: “Am I owning the results of the behaviors/systems that I have either created or allowed?” Another one was: “Are we focused on building a great church but neglecting to build great people?”
Later Thursday afternoon, I met with a prospective church planter in Avon who connected with us through Wesley Seminary. He’s still a few years from launching but it was encouraging to hear how God is working in his life.
Thursday evening, I met with Rev. Barry Dixon, pastor of Indianapolis Calvary Family Church and member of the Crossroads DBA, for our annual coaching conversation. Rev. Dixon is a faithful pastor in a difficult context with a heart to reach the next generation. I’m grateful for his example and encouragement.
It was good to connect with Assistant DS Chris Williams on Friday morning before heading to Indianapolis for a coaching conversation with Rev. George Martin, pastor of The Sanctuary Church. The Sanctuary Church is an affiliate congregation that leases the former Eastlawn Wesleyan Church on Post Road. They have a dynamic ministry and it was good to catch up with Pastor Martin who recently returned from a Lilly sabbatical.
Each of our 3 regions in the Crossroads District handles their own logistics for gatherings like the Christmas season. This year, Region 2, led by Assistant DS Mike Colaw, gathered at Trinity Wesleyan Church for a banquet featuring special musical guests, Zion’s Joy. Pastor Mike & Leslie and the entire Trinity Church team did a terrific job in welcoming more than 100 pastors and spouses for an inspiring evening. (Special thanks to Barbara Nichter who makes magic happen behind the scenes at Trinity.) Dr. Joe and Lois Sawyer. were among our special guests that evening. What a blessing to see their joy in the Lord!
May the joy of the Lord be our strength as we make the most of every opportunity in this Advent Season!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent