Sunday morning, June 9, Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church with Pastor Johnnie and Pastor Amanda Blair. They were celebrating Friend Day as part of their 20/20 Vision series. Pastor Johnnie preached from John 4 and cast vision for a church that exists to bridge the gap between our loving God and broken people.
Speaking of Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well, Rev. Blair reminded us that “Jesus went out of His way to connect with people that everyone else went out of their way to avoid.” This is an exciting season of ministry as Tipton Trinity has adopted Kokomo Trinity for a revitalization project that expands their potential impact. Last year, Tipton Trinity reported 40 professions of faith, celebrated 16 baptisms and averaged 248. Pray for God’s continued direction and blessing as they reach into Kokomo.
Last Monday’s meeting concluded with Dr. Bob Hallett, CEO of TLC Stewardship Ministries. Bob and his wife are members of our Hartford City Wesleyan Church since relocating there from New Castle. Bob has tremendous experience in capital campaigns and church stewardship ministries. We’ll be working with Dr. Hallett this fall to offer a seminar on October 7 (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) for pastors and LBA members on the topic of “Resourcing God’s Vision.” Follow-up coaching and consultations will be available as we work to help disciples and congregations fully realize the Kingdom impact of their stewardship. Bob will be at our Crossroads District Conference with a free resource for pastors and lay leaders who will plan to join us for this seminar.
Monday’s meetings included a Nominating Committee follow-up, connecting with a prospective church planter, and dropping in on Angela Spangler and some of her dedicated staff members at Fairmount Camp.
This week, Fairmount Camp hosts the Junior High youth. I’m grateful for the way that Angela and her team graciously host a great group of youth pastors from across the Crossroads District for summer ministries. While at the camp, I had the opportunity to connect with some of the students and ministry leaders who were onsite preparing for this week’s event. Please remember all of our youth camps in your prayers!
Tuesday morning began with our CD (Crossroads District) staff meeting at Abbey Coffee and then I hit the road for New Castle. Rev. Eric George (pastor of New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church) and I met for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Eric is just in his first year leading the congregation and joining our team. It was good to hear how God is at work in the church and their outreach to the community.
Tuesday afternoon, I met with Rev. Tom Cochran and learned more about his ministry with Destiny Rescue, a nonprofit that rescues children from human trafficking. Tom and Sarah will be relocating to Florida to spearhead Destiny Rescue’s southeastern US awareness and fundraising. We’re grateful for the contribution that the Cochran’s made as part of our Crossroads District team planting New Journey Church in Wabash, serving in Chesterton, and leading our church planter assessment center.
Rev. Brian Williams (Swayzee Sims Wesleyan Church) and I met for our annual coaching conversation over supper in Marion. Pastor Brian has faithfully served the congregation since 1987. It was encouraging to hear that he had shared the plan of salvation with two men in the past year who both prayed to receive Jesus as Lord. Brian is another of our valued bi-vocational pastors who balances the challenges of full-time ministry in the marketplace with his calling to serve the local church.
Tuesday evening, I was able to participate in Rev. Dan LeRoy’s presentation “Rediscovering Our Holiness Heritage” at Wesley Seminary. Dr. Derr and her team did a wonderful job of hosting the full house for this event.
This wonderful gathering included a cross-section of academics, pastors, and lay leaders. Dan’s presentation on holiness was compelling and convicting. If you were unable to attend, Wesley Seminary has graciously provided this link to the video: Dan LeRoy’s presentation
Wednesday morning, I was back on the road meeting with Rev. Logan Westrick, one of our young-at-heart pastors, who leads the Ash Street Wesleyan Church in Tipton. Pastor Logan has a warm heart and a quick wit so you can understand why I enjoy meeting with him. In addition to other projects around the church, Pastor Logan and his team recently installed this new light to welcome their guests. He was also excited to report that they had a baptism scheduled for this week.
I met with Rev. Darrel Herring for lunch near his home in Westfield. Rev. Herring is on loan to our denomination from the Bible Methodists and has served under annual appointment as our supply pastor at Indianapolis Central Wesleyan since 2002. It was good to glean from his insights into the changing Fountain Square downtown Indy neighborhood where this church is located.
Wednesday afternoon, I met with Community Pastor Joe Deckard who leads the Pendleton campus of Waterline Church. Pendleton was rocked by last week’s tornado but is on a rapid path to recovery. Pastor Joe has been able to lead their volunteer team in connecting and serving families displaced by the storm damage. The church is also making progress averaging 80 or more in recent weeks.
Thursday morning, I joined Rev. Chris Williams and our District Conference planning team for a Zoom meeting while I was on the road to Indy for a coaching conversation with Rev. Rick Matthews. Pastor Rick has been leading our Southview Wesleyan Church since his first appointment in 1983. This weekend, Pastor Rick and his team hosted their first Camp-In. More than 20 families from the congregation brought their RVs, campers and tents to enjoy a weekend together on the church grounds.
Thursday afternoon, I had the privilege of connecting with Rev. Nathan and Jenny Richardson as they are prayerfully considering ministry opportunities in the Crossroads District. They are just concluding an effective time of ministry in Iowa and we’d be delighted to have them join our team.
Pastor Lee Miller (Muncie Memorial Wesleyan Church) and I met for our annual coaching conversation over supper in Muncie that evening. Pastor Lee is another of our Wesley Seminary students. One of his recent initiatives has been providing a leadership development session after the Sunday morning worship services.
They’ve also started prayer walks and ice cream socials to connect with their neighborhood. Two young adult men in the neighborhood, who first connected with the church through an ice cream social, have now begun meeting regularly with Pastor Lee for discipleship and are on track to be baptized this summer. This past conference year, Muncie Memorial averaged 52 in worship with 10 professions of faith and 5 baptisms.
Friday morning, Rev. Chris Williams and I met for our weekly check-in at Abbey Coffee. Dr. David Smith and Roxene Lo joined us at 10 a.m. for follow-up on recent DBMD interviews. Our DBMD interview teams work with an average of 100 students each year.
Friday afternoon, I left for Grand Rapids, Michigan to spend the day on Saturday with Rev. John Gorveatte, pastor at The Center Church, and his leadership team in a planning retreat. John is our oldest son and he serves as a teaching/campus pastor in the Zero Collective with Pastor Brian Blum and the team at Frontline Church. Nothing gives parents more joy than to see their children walking with Jesus!
Are you ready? We’re counting the days until we gather at Indiana Wesleyan University on Friday evening, June 21, for our Crossroads District Ordination Service with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, preaching a challenging message to our candidates. Saturday morning, we gather at the Philippe Performing Arts Center for our Crossroads District Conference. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and everyone will be in their seats and ready to roll by 9. We have a full agenda, including memorial and delegate elections for the important General Conference 2020. If you’re not able to be with us, please lift these gatherings in prayer!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent