Sunday, November 19, I had the joy of welcoming Rev. Ervin Webster (as an ordained minister in transfer) and the vibrant congregation of St. Stephen Church (a developing church) as our newest congregation. Pastor Webster and his team have been worshiping in the former Warren Park building for 5 years and voted this fall to join the Crossroads District of The Wesleyan Church.
They will assume responsibility for the property and continue the partnership with a Hispanic congregation that rents out the fellowship hall. St. Stephen Church is not a large congregation yet but they are working together to give out 100 Thanksgiving meals to needy families in their neighborhood. As you have opportunity, please welcome Rev. Ervin and Karen Webster and their congregation to the Crossroads team!
Sunday evening, I was invited to conduct the pastoral installation service for Pastor Lee Miller at Muncie Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church. Dr. Dale Wheeler, who had been serving as Pastor on Loan from the Greater Ohio District, resigned midyear and the LBA recommended and the congregation called Lee, who had been serving as their assistant pastor. Please welcome Pastor Lee and Jennifer Miller as they step into this new role.
Last week began with a meeting at HQ as part of a study group considering the pilot projects being developed for regional partnerships or expanded district mergers. We heard from Dr. Karl Eastlack, who is leading the Northeast Regional conversation (a merger between Penn-Jersey and Northeast District, along with other partnership possibilities), Rev. Wes Smith (DS of the Northwest District) who is leading the regional partnership conversation with Mountain Plains District and Pacific-Southwest, and Rev. Chris Conrad (DS of West Michigan) who is leading the conversation with six districts that are moving toward a merger that would create the Great Lakes Region.
Dr. David Drury did a great job facilitating this productive working meeting as the study group considered pros and cons along with potential unintended consequences. Everyone agrees that the only compelling reason for any such restructuring is if it can help us more effectively fulfill the Great Commission. The question everyone is working on is what model might best “unleash” Apostolic Multipliers to lead the way for denominational renewal.
The Executive Committee of the General Board met on Monday evening and the full board joined us on Tuesday morning for a full agenda. In addition to the variety of statistical and financial reports that the board reviews, we enjoyed substantive conversations on regional realignment, USF study committee findings, and the new model of Sending Church : Sending Church Connection (a clarification of parameters for churches that plant or launch campuses in other districts than their own).
A highlight of our time together was the concert of prayer on Tuesday evening led by Dr. Emily Vermilya, Jordan Brown Rife, and Rev. Matthew LeRoy. The evening concluded with stations for anointing and prayer led by our own pastors Rev. Barry Dixon and Rev. Neftali Lopez. The board meeting concluded on Wednesday with everyone expressing gratitude for the many ways that God is at work in our denomination. If you’ve not already viewed Dr. Schmidt’s Thanksgiving greetings, you can access it here: https://www.wesleyan.org/wayne-schmidt-gives-thanks
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Pastor Jordan Gardner in Westfield as Paradox Church completed a loan agreement with WIF that will enable them to complete renovations. It was great to back with pastors on Thursday for coaching conversations. I met with Pastor Brian Scramlin (Wabash New Journey) and Pastor Aaron Lee (LaOtto Wesleyan) in Marion, and then met with Pastor Steve Martin at Six Points Wesleyan in Sheridan. I was encouraged by the progress reports from their ministries. Pastor Steve was able to take me on a walk-thru of their newly-remodeled children’s ministry area (one of the prescriptions from their Maximizing Impact team). It’s easy for first time guests to discover that children are a high priority at Six Points.
Thursday evening, I met with the LBA at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church. They continue receiving resumes but have been blessed by the long-term supply preaching of Pastor Bob VanCise. Dr. Bob Hallett has also filled in for the past few weeks. Vice Chair Doug Shuck is serving the church well through this transition.
Friday morning, I drove to Kentucky Mountain Bible College where I was privileged to hear Dr. Mark Eckart, my friend and colleague, present at the ReCharge ministerial. It was my first visit to the historic campus. I enjoyed getting to meet the President Phil Speas and talking with students about church planting possibilities in Indiana.
God is at work in so many exciting ways across our district team. I was encouraged to hear from Pastor Dale Munsell about the ways that God is moving in their congregation at Albion Cornerstone. Attendance is also on the upswing with 82 at yesterday’s worship service (up from last years average of 43).
The River Church in Marion celebrated baptisms yesterday and Pastor Matthew Trexler had the privilege of baptizing his son, Levi. They also received a tremendous report on their capital campaign challenge with more than $700,000 pledged to date.
Many of our Crossroads District churches participate in Operation Christmas Child. Yesterday, Pastor Mark Atkinson and the team at Gas City Eastview prayer over the 1863 shoe boxes that their congregation had prepared to bless needy children around the world in the name of Jesus Christ. Thank you to each of our churches that give generously to express the love of God in such practical ways.
Please continue to remember Lloyd Moore, Joe Allen and Brad LeRoy in your prayers! Brad’s third surgery in this recent treatment process is scheduled for today.
We are delighted to welcome home all of our children and Sherry’s parents for this year’s Thanksgiving Day. We join you in praying that everyone enjoys safe travel and many meaningful moments with your loved ones this Thanksgiving!
Your servant in Christ,