Saturday, June 24th, 356 lay and ministerial delegates registered their attendance at our 175th annual conference of Wesleyans ministering in Indiana, the 7th annual conference of the merged Crossroads District. What a joy to gather as God’s people on mission with Him.
I shared this scripture passage from 2nd Samuel 5:24 “As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you...” We hear the sound of His marching in the tops of the poplar trees and see God going out before us in many ways.
An event like this doesn’t happen without a dedicated team of volunteers. Rev. Dr. Chris Williams, our Assistant DS, assembled a terrific team. We were blessed by the staff members at Madison Park Church of God who went the second and third mile to host our gathering. Daybreak Lapel provided golf carts to assist people to their parked cars. Volunteers from Anderson North and Anderson United welcomed attenders and helped us register.
We worshiped in song led by Nancy Pike and the powerful ministry team from LifeSpring Church. We received the Lord’s Supper together under the guidance of our four circuit riders, Rev. Mark Atkinson, Dr. Jim Lo, Rev. Neftali Lopez, and Dr. David Smith.
We were blessed by the anointed preaching of Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, our retired General Superintendent, who performed the ordination of 11 new Wesleyan ministers. The ordination council led by Rev. Carla Working, chair of the DBMD, also affirmed the ordination of three ministers transferring into The Wesleyan Church.
We did the expected by electing officers and receiving annual reports, but we also enjoyed refreshing fellowship around tables over lunch and respectfully debated resolutions.
We celebrated 8% growth in worship attendance (from 10,492 to 11,339) and the fact that 60% of our churches (64 of our 105) reported increases in their worship attendance. Some of that growth was dramatic. For example, attendance at ReThink Church in Merrillville grew by 60% last year (from 50 to 80). Rising Hope in Muncie and Hillside in Marion both reported 50% growth in their weekend worship services. LifeSpring Church, our oldest congregation (planted in 1843) grew by 131 (17%) and The River Church, one of our younger churches (planted in 2007) grew by 204 (28%).
Last year, we recorded 1148 professions of faith. That’s up from 851 in the previous year, an increase of 35%. Together, we baptized 620 people last conference year. That’s up 27% from the previous year (488) and the highest number of baptisms since 2016.
Larger and smaller churches, newer and older churches, rural and city churches, can all testify that God is on the move! Praise God for lives being transformed by the power of the Gospel!
Sadly, thirty of our churches reported no baptisms last year and 17 of our churches reported not a single new believer won to Christ in the past 12 months. May God never allow us to grow comfortable with empty altars and dry baptistries.
Your faithful USF contributions made it possible for the DBA to announce three positive initiatives:
The DBA recommended and the conference approved a change in our standing rules to reduce our combined USF assessment rate from 10% to 9% with the directive that each church use that 1% to create their own Church Multiplication Fund.
That 1% fund will be maintained by each local church. Your board will determine which DBA-approved church plants you want to help fund. You’ll decide whether to invest in a new campus. If your church chooses to invest in DBA-approved projects, that investment will be matched by dollars from our Great Commission Fund. For each of the next five years, we are budgeting $200,000 from that fund for matching grants. With 3 million people unreached in Indiana, we need every Crossroads District church to be passionately engaged in church multiplication.
Here are two resources to share with your team:
1. Dr. Bud Bence captured our Wesleyan history in Indiana in this video that you can use on a Sunday morning or in membership classes:
2. The full conference handbook with annual reports and statistics is available for download by clicking below:
Special thanks to Michael Wood and Kalina Carlson, our district office team, who invested countless hours and energy into making our time together such a positive experience. I can‘t wait for next year’s Crossroads District Conference, June 29, in Marion.
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. - We have one more iPad giveaway sponsored by Marv Miller and our friends at American Church Group, our Brotherhood Mutual agency. We have spun the wheel one more time and congratulations goes to newly ordained Rev. Nicholas Reynolds!