Are you old enough to remember the blizzard of 1978? President Carter declared a federal disaster in Indiana on January 27, 1978 and the governor activated the National Guard. It wasn’t quite this bad over the past weekend but the blowing snow and temperatures made it wise for many of our congregations to not hold worship services.
While gathering to meet in a building wasn’t an option for many, I was encouraged by the number of our churches who provided creative online options. FaceBook Live seemed to be one convenient format that several pastors used to connect with their congregation. Here’s a sample with Pastor Mark Schnell from Albion Wesleyan Church:
Sherry and I were scheduled to worship with Pastor Allen and Cheryl Laws at Warren Wesleyan Church on Sunday but Pastor Laws got word to us on Saturday evening that their service was cancelled. Sherry has been helping out with accounting at The River Church in Marion, so we fired up the AWD and made it in to Marion for an encouraging time of worship with Pastor Matthew Trexler and his team. They held one combined service yesterday and attendance was strong for that gathering.
Tuesday, January 15, began with our weekly district office staff meeting and then I met with one of young couples who are serving as resident pastors in our district. Tuesday evening, I connected with Pastor Tony Bye and the leadership team at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church as they prepare for the normally-scheduled pastoral vote. It was encouraging to hear the report of 14 baptisms at BWC so far in this conference year!
Wednesday, I was on the road for coaching conversations. The first was in Lebanon with Dr. Morris Jones, pastor of Lebanon Wesleyan Church. Dr. Jone is another of our faithful bi-vocational ministers. He serves as an academic advisor at IUPUI during the week and also serves as a member of the city council in Lebanon. He was excited to share how the church has been exploring new ways this past year to connect with their neighbors and serve their community.
Pastor Logan Patriquin and I met for his coaching conversation over lunch and then he took me on a tour of the remodeling projects at the church. Formerly known as Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan Church, the Branch is making strides to better connect with their community through an after-school mentoring program. They’ve recently welcomed Ms. Amber Bass as part-time paid staff in worship and youth. Pastor Logan has been encouraged by the way the team has come together for these projects and attendance is on the upswing.
My last coaching appointment of the day was in Logansport with Pastor Zach Szmara at The Bridge. Pastor Zach does an amazing job of juggling his responsibilities as lead pastor at The Bridge and serving as National Director for Immigrant Connection, the multi-site ministry that helps people navigate the complexities of our immigration process. The Bridge is a multicultural congregation reaching into the Hispanic community but has recently added several families from Haiti who have come to work in Logansport. These families had Wesleyan roots from the ministry on the island of La Gonave. Elyse Garverick has recently joined with Zach on the pastoral team and the influence of the church continues to expand beyond its walls to serve Logansport.
Thursday morning, I was in Marion to meet with a pastoral couple who are exploring ministry opportunities in our district before heading to Fishers. I met with Pastor John Freed and Pastor Joe Deckard for an update on their progress toward launching Waterline in Pendleton. Then, Pastor Neftali Lopez (Carmel Amistad) and I met over supper for his annual coaching conversation. I am grateful for the leadership that Pastor Lopez brings as a bi-vocational pastor serving in the U.S. Navy reserves, in restaurant management, and as a chaplain for IWU campus buildings in the Indianapolis area.
My last meeting of the day was with Pastor Tom Parsons and the LBA at Hartford City Wesleyan Church. Pastor Tom is completing 18 years of effective ministry at HCWC but has answered a call to pastor a church in Georgia. He shared that announcement with the congregation earlier this month and I am working with the LBA as they prepare to launch their pastoral search. Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant DS, also shared a presentation on the accountable leadership model of governance that was well-received.
Pastor Tom & Kara Parsons have been used of God in remarkable ways to bless HCWC. While we are going to miss them here in the Crossroads District, we pray that God will bless them in even greater measure in their new ministry assignment. Please join us in praying as the leadership team prepares to call a new pastor to lead this vital ministry.
Friday morning, I joined with Dr. Smith, our Chair, and other members of the District Board of Ministerial Development to interview ordination candidates. I’m always encouraged to hear these stories of how God is calling women and men to lead the church in these exciting days of ministry challenge and opportunity.
Friday evening, I joined Pastor Paul VanCise and his team at Bryant Wesleyan Church as Assistant DS Chris Williams led them through the first session in their StratOp planning retreat. The weather forecast resulted in the additional sessions being rescheduled. The first session focused in on learnings from their church’s journey. It was encouraging to see how God has blessed this vibrant rural ministry under Pastor Paul’s leadership.
The 2019 District All-Nighter is fast approaching! The main rally for this event is returning to Pathway Community Church (11910 Shearwater Run., Fort Wayne) at 8pm on the February 22nd (Doors open at 6:30pm and Pre-Rally starts at 7:45pm).
The night kicks off with a rally featuring giveaways, worship, message, and pizza. After the rally, students enjoy their time at Skyzone, Ultrazone/Laser X, Crazy Pinz, and the YMCA. If they love laser tag, trampolines, bowling, putt putt golf, swimming, pizza, open gym, and rock walls, this event is for your students! Plan to join several hundred other students and adults from the Crossroads District for this event! Here’s the link for more information and to register your group:
2019 Crossroads District Youth All-Nighter
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,