The meteorologist nailed this weather forecast! Many of our communities received their largest snowfall of the year overnight on Saturday. Chicagoland recorded their heaviest snowfall in 5 years. Following the example of John Wesley, who once walked his horse through a snow storm to keep his next preaching appointment, our local church leaders responded quickly to keep the message moving forward.
My appointment with Pastor Aldean Pablo at our SEND Church in Fort Wayne was rescheduled so I was able to join Pastor Tony Bye and the team at Brookhaven Wesleyan for worship in the earliest of the three services they offer.
Most of our churches have already added an online worship option through the pandemic so they easily managed a simple snow day. Pastor Kyle Horton’s team at Fort Wayne Three Rivers Church planned to video their worship service before the snowfall and then creatively decided to welcome everyone to an “in person” experience on Saturday evening. Pastor Terry Vaughn, planting The Bridge Urban Church in South Bend, was able to report three new decisions for Christ in the Zoom breakout room following their online service.
Other churches were able to mobilize their snow removal teams and have the doors open on Sunday morning as scheduled. It is a blessing when, like Gas City Southside Wesleyan’s Rev. Brent Miller, our pastor has the biggest truck and a new snowplow.
On Tuesday, I met with Rev. Theo Griffin, senior pastor at Greenfield Brown’s Chapel, as they prepare for the pastor call renewal. It was encouraging to hear how God has been at work this past year even with all of the challenges their church has faced. It was also good to reconnect with Assistant Pastor Ben Wade who was a student at Kingswood University while I served there.
After joining the staff meeting at Hartford City Wesleyan on Tuesday afternoon, I joined Rev. Jason Tash at Level 13 in Fort Wayne. Jason is working with the leadership team for follow-up on their StratOp planning retreat. I am also grateful for Rev. Jeff Brady who is providing helpful interim ministry for Level 13 as they prepare for their pastoral search. Please join them in praying for God’s direction!
Wednesday morning, I met with Rev. Dan VanCise, pastor of Marion’s 8th Street Wesleyan Church, for our annual coaching conversation. We met at the 9th Street Diner to catch up on their ministry and celebrate the two people who have recently come to faith. Pastor Dan is another of our faithful bi-vocational ministers.
Later in the morning, I met with Rev. Michael Colaw, Rev. Matthew Trexler, and Rev. Chris Williams, our three assistant district superintendents, for our monthly ZOOM check-in. We are blessed that these effective pastors serve our three regions by generously investing their time in leadership development and church multiplication.
Wednesday afternoon, Angela Spangler, Executive Director of Fairmount Camp, and I met for coffee and an interview as part of her final requirements for her Master of Divinity degree at Wesley Seminary. Angela has done a terrific job leading Fairmount through a challenging year. She also wanted to let our pastors know that she is available for pulpit supply. Following my meeting with Angela, I was also glad to connect with Rev. Bill Barlow, one of our district’s retired ministers. We’d not had a chance to sit down together since the funeral for Melody, his beloved wide. It was good to catch up and share in prayer.
Thursday morning, I met with Dr. Bob Hallett who has been serving as our interim pastor at Lancaster Wesleyan Church. Dr. Bob has a great heart to serve churches and will be available to assist other churches with capital campaigns or interim ministry. Lancaster Wesleyan has called Trevor O’Dell to be their new pastor. Trevor and Allison will begin their ministry in March after serving as residents with Rev. Mike Hewitt and the Rising Hope Church team in Muncie. Pray for the O’Dell’s as they begin their first lead pastor appointment. We’re excited to see what God has in store for Lancaster Wesleyan Church.
Thursday morning, I met with Dr. Morris Jones, pastor of Lebanon Wesleyan Church, in his office for our annual coaching conversation. Morris faithfully serves as a bi-vocational pastor for Lebanon Wesleyan while working full-time with IUPUI.
Thursday evening, I met with Rev. Jeremy Armiger and the leadership team at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church in preparation for their upcoming pastoral vote. It was good to see Mrs. Roxene Lo again, this time in her new capacity as Local Church Secretary on the LBA.
Our district office staff meeting has moved to Fridays and it was good to catch up with Seth Bye, Carla Working and Michael (Woody) Wood. I’m blessed with a great team!
Saturday morning, I dropped in on the final gathering for the combined “21 Days of Prayer” led by Brookhaven’s Pastor Tony Bye, Lakeview Wesleyan’s Pastor Chris Williams, and The River Church’s Pastor Matthew Trexler. This was the first time that three of our churches have linked arms for this special prayer emphasis. What a great way to launch into the new year!
The Rest Well initiative is now officially opened to all ordained or licensed ministers, lead pastors and staff pastors, appointed to local church service in the Crossroads District. Over 40 lead pastors have taken steps to participate in this opportunity. We are excited about this practical way to bless our pastors. You are running hard in ministry but, to sustain long-term effectiveness, you also need to rest well.
We are making available a $475 grant towards a retreat of two nights or more. Learning resources and planning tools are provided to make this time as profitable as possible. When you complete your retreat, the Thrive Initiative has a $500 matching grant available with a second set of learning resources.
If your church also elects to participate in this initiative (i.e. paying down ministerial student loans, topping up retirement, fitness equipment), additional matching funds up to $500 are available. For the first month, this opportunity is only available to the first 100 solo or senior pastors that sign up. This opportunity will be made available to assistant pastors starting February 2, 2021.
For more details, please follow this link:
Attention all Crossroads District youth and children’s ministry leaders! Our District Youth President, Jessica Folz, is inviting you to join her for FUEL, the annual Wesleyan training event for these key ministry leaders. This year’s event will be hosted at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion. This is a FREE event being held on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 9:00a-12:30p. Invite your volunteers, team members and children’s ministry people! For more information or to register, please follow the link below so they can know how many to expect.
Free resources: ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) Tax Guides: These books, originally prepared by Dan Busby (former General Treasurer of The Wesleyan Church), are now available as a free download. ECFA also provides helpful videos for the topics covered in these downloads. (You will be asked to register for a free account.)
Nonprofit and Church link: https://www.ecfa.org/TaxBooks/ChurchNPGuide.aspx
Minister Tax Guide: https://www.ecfa.org/TaxBooks/MinistersGuide.aspx
Video Page: https://www.ecfa.org/TaxBooks/Videos.aspx
Our prayers and sympathies are extended to Mrs. Lenita Bell, wife of church planter Jerome Bell (Pendleton Autumn Hills Church), and to her extended family upon the death of her father, Mr. Robert E. Wolfe who passed away on January 25 in Columbus, Ohio. Pastor Jerome Bell assisted in the funeral on Friday in Logan, Ohio.
Our prayers and sympathies are extended to Mrs. Joyce Dixon, who serves on staff with her husband, Rev. Barry Dixon, at Indianapolis Calvary Family Church, and to her extended family upon the death of her mother, Mrs. Myrtle Woolridge who passed away last week. Rev. Barry Dixon will assist in her funeral this weekend in Chicago.
Let’s keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent