Yesterday morning, I worshiped with Rev. Johnnie Blair and the team at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church. Rev. Jason Tash (pastor at Columbia City New Hope) and Rev. Chris Williams (Assistant DS) led the Tipton Trinity leadership through a strategic planning weekend (based on the StratOp process created by Tom Paterson) in partnership with Mark Meyer of the UnStuck Group. This planning process builds on the work that Tipton Trinity did 18 months ago in their Maximizing Impact consultation with Rev. Paul James. There is a remarkable sense of momentum at Tipton Trinity as Pastor Johnnie and Amanda Blair lead the team in focused ministry. Worship attendance is averaging 15% ahead of last year and baptisms have doubled. They are praying and planning toward reaching 500 in average attendance by May 2020.
(We are already scheduling Maximizing Impact and UnStuck consultations for next conference. Please contact our office immediately if your church wants to take advantage of these resources designed to help your church thrive in Great Commission ministry.)
I checked in on the Trinity team on Saturday afternoon and then joined them again on Sunday. After the first service at Trinity and before the afternoon planning session, I slipped over to Tipton Ash Street and was able to bring birthday greetings to Pastor Logan Westrick. Rumor has it that he’s older than 39 years of age but that’s what the sign said so we’ll go with that!
On Monday, February 13, I was with Pastor Rick Mathews at Southview Wesleyan Church for a follow-up meeting with the Burmese Chin congregation that has expressed an interest in partnership with The Wesleyan Church. Their leaders had excellent questions and our discussion concluded with their expression of willingness to move forward in joining our team. Pray as we work with them in taking steps toward becoming part of the Crossroads team by our 2017 District Conference (June 23-24) at College Wesleyan Church in Marion.
Tuesday morning, I dropped in to visit with Pastor Paul & Patty Trent to hear the latest report from their doctor. They were encouraged by the news they had received of Paul’s response to the current treatment regimen. I also met with Doug Shuck, LBA vicechair at Chesterfield Parkview, over lunch. He was enthusiastic in his appreciation for the ministry that Rev. Bob VanCise is providing to the church.
Tuesday evening, I attended Bible Study at The Sanctuary Church and then met after the service with Pastor George Martin to discuss next steps in their affiliate church relationship. Pastor George and Toyin Martin are having a wonderful ministry at this church that they planted 15 years ago. Sanctuary Church is planning a joyous celebration for their 15th Anniversary on the weekend of April 7-9.
Wednesday and Thursday, I traveled with a team from our district to participate in the Unleashed event hosted by Dr. Wayne Schmidt (General Superintendent) and Dr. Kevin Myers (pastor of 12Stone Church) at the Maxwell Leadership Center in Atlanta. Mike Colaw, Jon Wiest, Rob Tippey, Tom Cochran, John & Danielle Freed, and I traveled by van (which brought back a few youth ministry memories).
Dr. Schmidt called together about 100 multiplication leaders in our denomination to ask whether or not it is possible that a denomination like ours might once again become a movement. If so, how might that happen and what would it require of us who lead. The most impactful hour of this event was the corporate prayer time led by Pastor Kevin. If it’s possible, it will only be because of the favor of God so we set our hearts to seek His face. Pray for the ongoing conversations that have been scheduled.
I was back in the Fishers office on Friday and met with Russ Gunsalus and Scott Rhyno about a project they are working on to launch district-wide golf events to raise funds for clergy care initiatives. Crossroads may be one of the first districts to host such an event so we’ll keep you posted as dates and details become available.
Friday night, I had the joy of connecting with our Region 1 youth leaders who hosted more than 600 teenagers for an all-nighter event in Fort Wayne. I brought greetings to the students and prayed with them that God would raise up workers for the harvest here in Indiana. No, I didn’t stay through the night but I do want to thank those who did. Special appreciation goes to Lane Sander and his amazing team of youth leaders who made this evening both fun and meaningful for our students. God is on the move in this next generation. Pray for Jordan DeMerchant and the Region 2 youth leaders hosting the All-Nighter coming up this weekend in Indianapolis!
These are exciting days to be serving together in this corner of God’s Harvest field!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent