Sunday morning, September 20, I had the joy of worshiping with Pastor Rick Matthews and the team at Southview Wesleyan Church. Pastor Rick and Mary were first appointed to serve at Southview back in 1983. They have done a great job helping their congregation navigate through the challenges of Covid-19. Southview is gathering about 50% of their congregation for in-person worship.
The members have been faithful in their local church stewardship and in support of their missions partnerships. Southview Wesleyan is also the gracious host for Shalom Church, a Wesleyan congregation comprised of Chin refugees from Myanmar. After the service, I was blessed to enjoy Sister Mary’s home cooking with their family.
Sunday afternoon, I brought greetings and preached the afternoon message for Shalom Church. Benjamin Tuimuk is appointed to serve this congregation as lay supply pastor. Most of their members immigrated from Myanmar (formerly Burma) in the face of extreme political persecution. There are significant communities of refugees in both Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. Trinity Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis also has a Burmese congregation as part of their ministry in the Garfield Park neighborhood. We are blessed to partner with these brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sunday evening, Dr. Steve Bray and Campus Pastor Ryan VanMatre led in a dedication service for their new south campus in what was formerly the St. John’s Lutheran Church. Former senior pastor David Anderson was part of the story as this historic facility (112 years old) was gifted from an aging Lutheran congregation to become the home for the thriving south campus of LifeSpring (formerly Fountain City Wesleyan Church) in the heart of Richmond. David Snow, the mayor of Richmond, brought greetings and Dr. Steve Bray preached a challenging message from Nehemiah. Pray that God will continue to bless this step of faith to create a hub of hope in the inner city.
On Monday, I flew to Florida to represent the General Board on the Board of Directors meeting at Wesleyan Village, Inc. The board includes Rod Benson and Martha Blackburn from our Crossroads District family. Dr. Don Maness serves as Chair and Executive Director. The village has seen lots of improvements under his leadership. If you’ve never visited, Dr. Maness and his team are wonderful hosts and would welcome you to experience the wonderful fellowship of this Wesleyan retirement community.
Wednesday morning, I was back on the road for coaching conversations. I was glad to be able to connect with Rev. Rick Fletcher (Lifeway Wesleyan Church) and Pastor Kyle Horton (Three Rivers Church) in Fort Wayne. Wednesday evening, I met with Rev. Matthew Trexler, our Region 1 Assistant DS and vice-chair of the DBA, in preparation for our district board meeting.
Thursday, our Crossroads District Board of Administration met at The Branch in Fairmount. Pastor Jeff Luedtke and his team always do a great job hosting events in their second floor conference room. Rev. Craig Thurmon brought the devotional and we enjoyed good discussions and clear decisions on a variety of district concerns. Some of the discussions are weighty but we have a great group of leaders who enjoy working together to keep our district focused on Great Commission priorities.
One of the highlights of our DBA meetings is hearing from our church planters. Pastor John Hannan sent a very positive report via video from the CrossRoads Church in Union City as they prepare for their grand opening on Sunday morning, September 27. We were also blessed to have Rev. Aldean Pablo join us in person to share highlights from the SEND Church project in Roanoke. You may recall that they baptized 10 believers just lat month. God has opened an unusual door for collaboration with an existing campus. Pray that God will continue to grant wisdom and favor as they press forward to make disciples in Roanoke and southwest Fort Wayne.
Friday morning, Seth Bye and I were in Noblesville to look at a property for possible consideration as a future church campus. It was good to reconnect with Jacob Thurston on Friday afternoon in Marion to hear more about his work with the Kern Project at IWU. Jake was previously on staff at Ransom Church in South Dakota. He is available to speak to youth groups about ministry education at IWU or for supply preaching. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday evening, Sherry and I had the joy of being with pastoral couples from our Region 3 North Zone at the New Carlisle Wesleyan Church. Pastor Don and Karen Bayne were our gracious hosts. The food was good, the fellowship was better, and the prayer time was the best. Thank you to each couple who was able to make time to invest in each other and in building a stronger team!
Saturday morning, I was able to drop in at Lancaster Wesleyan Church to share a devotional with their team as they gathered for Day 2 of their Vision Defining Retreat. Dr. Robert Hallett is serving as the interim pastor this year. He is doing a terrific job of leveraging his extensive consulting experience in helping this congregation create a clear pathway forward into their next chapter of ministry.
We in the district always love to receive and pass along baptism reports. Dr. Oliver Dongell and the team at Plymouth Wesleyan Church send pictures and the good news that 6 people were baptized in their church on September 13. Praise the Lord for changed lives!
Pastor Matthew Trexler and the team at The River Church celebrated two more baptisms on Sunday morning, September 20. Praise the Lord for lives #madenew
Pastors, staff, and district ministry leaders are called to a Prayer Summit this Sunday evening, 6 p.m., at The River Church in Marion. Dr. Jim Lo and a team have prepared a focused prayer gathering for us. We are leading in unusual times. We need fresh anointing to lead our congregations in this time of intense spiritual warfare. I would be grateful if you would make this prayer time a priority in your calendar.
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent