Sunday morning, June 6, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor John Miller and the team at Way City Church in Speedway. It was also good to reconnect with Ethan Zent, recent Kingswood University graduate who just completed his initial residency with Indianapolis Trinity Church. Ethan is heading to Sioux Falls, SD for a two-year residency at Ransom Church.
Pastor John and Heather Miller stepped out in faith to plant here in their hometown back in the fall of 2019. They came back to Speedway after serving on staff at a larger church and also being part of the launch team at Waterline Church with Rev. John and Danielle Freed.
Way City Church currently leases space in a sanctuary owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. They share the building with a food bank and an immigration center. Launching a new church a few months before the pandemic was not part of their strategic plan but they flexed to hybrid church with an average of 30 “in person” and 15 engaged online each week this last conference year. Pray that God will continue to bless the Miller’s and this new Kingdom community!
Sunday evening, I dropped in on one of the three youth camps in which our district churches will be partnering this summer. In addition to Hanging Rock Camp and Never The Same Camps, a good number of our district teenagers take advantage of the camping programs offered by Fairmount Camp.
I was glad to see several of our pastoral team members serving at Fairmount Camp this week. Rev. Emily and Rev. David Hines (Brookhaven Wesleyan), Pastor Ben Capshaw (Elwood Central), Pastor Jeff Brady (Commoners Church), and Ty Combs (youth pastor at Indianapolis Trinity) were just a few of the leaders I had the chance to connect with before the evening rally. Pray that God moves powerfully in the lives of our students during these summer camps!
Last week’s schedule was abbreviated with Memorial Day on Monday, but I was able to connect with our staff on Tuesday before heading to Wisconsin for the meaningful memorial service for Rev. Dan Bickel, former DS of Wisconsin District. Pastor Dan was one of our own having been raised in Muncie, graduated from IWU and first served in pastoral ministry here in the Crossroads District. Please continue to remember Mrs. Reenie (Hoover) Bickel and the family in your prayers.
I appreciated the opportunity to connect with four of our pastors for coaching conversations this past week. Pastor Jerome Bell and I met for our coaching conversation at the Autumn Hills Church building in Pendleton on Tuesday morning. Pastor Bell is continuing to invest in launch team development and community connections projects. The Autumn Hills Church team members are excited about their next outreach event using the Art Camp concept. Pray that God will bless their ministry to neighborhood children and their families.
Dr. David Drury is completing his ninth year of service as Chief of Staff for the General Superintendent’s office while also serving as a church planter. We met in his office on Thursday morning for our annual coaching conversation. David will be transitioning into a full-time writing and consulting role this summer while he and Kathy continue to plant One MultiChurch Network. Their microchurch has a specific focus on their Muslim neighbors. This significant ministry requires longterm commitment. David also coaches a network of more than 40 microchurch leaders across the country. Pray that God will guide and provide!
Rev. Gwen Jackson and I met online on Thursday afternoon for our coaching conversation. Pastor Gwen leads another microchurch in the network with the Drurys called 3D. She and her team have also been able to build relationships with Muslims who are open to studying the Bible and learning more about Jesus. Pray that God will continue to deepen these friendships and open the door for more conversations about the hope we have in Christ.
Thursday evening, I met with potential partners for a church planting project in Hendricks County. It was a delight to connect with this team and to hear their vision for reaching friends and neighbors among the 100,000 unchurched people in their county. Pray with me that God will continue to raise up laborers for His harvest!
Friday morning, Pastor Ben Parker (Fairmount Back Creek Church) and I met for our coaching conversation. Pastor Ben just came through a recent challenging experience with Covid-19 in their congregation. Pastor Ben and Helen, his wife, along with several congregation members in their church family tested positive. Only one member was hospitalized but is now on the road to recovery. Pray for God’s continued healing and full recoveries.
Pastor Don Bayne and the team at New Carlisle Wesleyan Church found that people responded well to outdoor services last summer in the peak of the pandemic. They decided to offer this again even though their county has relaxed indoor seating restrictions. Pastor Don reported another positive response with strong attendance in person and folks also joining online. They will continue offering this outdoor worship experience through July 4.
Our greatest celebration is when people surrender their lives to Jesus Christ. We are celebrating this week with Pastor Seth Bye and the team at Nehemiah Church in Avon as they baptized their first new believer in this calendar year. Pastor Seth is leading the church through a process that will result in their relaunching this fall so this was an encouraging way to conclude the present season of ministry as they look forward to the next. Praise the Lord for lives being #MadeNew!
Pastors have already received their invitations directly via email but just a reminder about our next district-wide leadership development opportunity coming up on Monday, June 21. Assistant DS Matthew Trexler and the team at The River Church in Marion are hosting three sessions with Rev. Ken and Serena Murphy. Many of you will know Ken from his leadership at Cypress Wesleyan Church, one of the fastest growing Wesleyan churches in the USA. Ken has a huge heart for encouraging pastors and their spouses. He and Serena understand the pressures of leadership on couples and families. There is no charge for pastors and their spouses but we do need you to pre-register so we can make arrangements for the meals. Here’s the link for more information and your registration:
Your prayers make a difference. Please continue to intercede for the health concerns of Pastor Dan Clark (Monon Wesleyan), Mrs. Amy Fisher (Delphi Wesleyan), and Pastor Brad LeRoy (McCordsville Harvest Community Church).
Thank you for all you do to advance God’s Kingdom in your zip code and beyond!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent