Sunday morning, October 8, Rev. Greg Holmes and the congregation at Sonlight Fellowship in South Bend welcomed me. Meeting Daisy, Pastor Greg’s 7-week-old granddaughter, was a highlight of the visit. Pastor Holmes has served this congregation for the past 20 years and the congregation had a special recognition for him last Sunday. While there have been ups and downs, the church family is united and has welcomed some new attenders in recent months. After the morning service, I enjoyed sharing lunch with Pastor Greg and Cheryl Holmes.
Sunday afternoon, I was blessed to drop in and bring greetings at The Bridge Urban Church, now meeting in Mishawaka. Pastor Terry and Lennaire Vaughn are doing amazing work in leading this new congregation to reach out to their community. The Bridge is focused on making fully committed disciples. I’m grateful for the impact that they are having.
Sunday evening, I was able to join Rev. Jerome Bell and the team at Autumn Hills Church, near Pendleton, for their worship service. The church meets on Sundays at 5:30 with music, preaching, Bible discussion at tables, and the sharing together in a fellowship meal. They continue to connect with new families through their monthly Art Camp outreach. I’m grateful for Pastor Jerome and Lanita’s heart to lead this new church in reaching this growing community.
Last Monday, I was in Marion to meet with staff meeting and then closed out the day meeting with Dr. Jim Lo as he led a “prayer walking” training and first experience for Rev. Jerry Alexander’s team who are working to relaunch Living Hope Church in Anderson. Dr. Lo has been prayer-walking this downtown community for the past few months and it was encouraging to see early signs of spiritual progress.
Some of you may know, but in addition to teaching at Indiana Wesleyan University and serving as the campus intercessor, Dr. Lo has been teaching spiritual warfare and prayer seminars for our Crossroads District churches. Indiana Wesleyan University is having a special chapel service on October 13 to recognize Dr. Lo’s significant impact on the university and through his wider ministry in global missions and local church ministry. This honor is well-deserved and I hope some of you will be able to attend this special World Changers Homecoming Chapel service on Friday, October 13, at 10:05a.
Tuesday morning, I met for breakfast with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent. It’s always a blessing to spend time with Dr. Schmidt. We’ve worked together in various capacities since I was first elected as his district superintendent in 2000. It was a privilege to have him as my assistant DS for seven of those 10 years in Michigan and now to have him as my GS. He carries a heavy burden and counts on our prayers!
Tuesday afternoon, I was in Indianapolis to meet with Rev. Ervin and Karen Webster. They lead the ministry of St. Stephen’s Church in Warren Park. In addition to our conversation about a potential new daycare ministry, we also celebrated Pastor Ervin’s 70th Birthday!
I finished up the day with a trip to Bryant. Pastor Paul and Angelyn welcomed me for supper and then I met with the LBA at Bryant Wesleyan Church for their extended call review. The LBA celebrated Pastor Paul’s 20 years of faithful ministry to their congregation and voted to unanimously affirm Pastor Paul’s extended call.
Wednesday was an office day and then I traveled to Detroit that evening. On Thursday morning, I worked with Pastor Nathan Kingsbury and the team at Stoney Church using the CliftonStrengths resources that we are offering to our district churches. Thursday afternoon, I was in Fort Wayne to connect with Pastor Mike Henry for prayer and an update on the ministry at Level 13 Church. My last stop of the day was with Pastor David Dignal and the team at Edgerton Wesleyan Church. This is another healthy rural church that is faithfully making disciples. The LBA voted unanimously to affirm Rev. Dignal’s extended call.
Friday morning, our team hosted the Crossroads District Retired Pastors and Spouses for a fall fellowship at College Wesleyan Church. We enjoyed hearing some great stories, singing together, enjoying delicious snacks, and praying together. We heard inspiring presentations from Rev. Mark Atkinson and Rev. Matthew Trexler. This is a great group and I’m looking forward to connecting with them again for our spring gathering, April 12.
Our district office staff met again on Friday afternoon in preparation for my time away on sabbatical (October 15-November 30). Sherry and I had the privilege of hosting another Friday fellowship for lead pastors and their spouses on Friday evening. It is always encouraging to see how God is building these connections and a stronger district team.
Saturday morning, I joined Pastor Jon Noggle and the leadership team at Elwood Central Wesleyan Church for a vision discerning workshop. We were blessed to have Rev. Mark Atkinson join us to share the revitalization story of Gas City Eastview. we completed our first vision draft with action steps after lunch. Pastor Mark will be assisting me with follow-up coaching as Central Wesleyan begins implementing their action plan for revitalization.
My last stop on Saturday afternoon was in Carmel at Iglesia Amistad Wesleyana where Dr. Norman Wilson was teaching the FLAMA course on intercultural ministry. It was good to connect with Dr. Wilson and our students. Rev. Grace Lopez does a wonderful job coordinating these classes and assisting our Spanish-speaking ministerial students.
Pastor Noah Farmer and team at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church had the joy of celebrating an unexpected baptism. This one wasn’t on their schedule but they were delighted to welcome another new member into God’s family. Praise the Lord!
Congratulations to Rev. Seth and Kassidy Bye on the safe arrival of Sonora Rose! Mother and baby are both home and doing well. Pastor Seth is doing all he can to grow the congregation of 317 Church in Avon and Sonora is the most recent wonderful addition to their congregation. Rev. Tony & Amy Bye (Brookhaven Wesleyan Church) are very proud grandparents!
Please save the date and begin making plans to join us for the 2024 Heartland Gathering in Pigeon Forge, TN, on April 2-5, 2024. The DBA has approved one $300 scholarship for each church to help cover the majority of the registration cost. More information and registration is coming soon.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent