The first half of this week’s team update is a guest post by Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo, one of our Circuit Riders in the Crossroads District.
CIRCUIT RIDER REPORT
As a Crossroads District Circuit Rider, I have discovered the following regarding our District churches.
Crossroads District Churches are…
…Clinging to the promises of God
COVID hit the overall population of churches hard. Many of the churches I have visited have shared how the pandemic has affected their attendance. However, I have not sensed a defeated attitude in any of these churches. They are clinging onto the promises of God, recognizing that He is still seated upon the Throne of Glory, even during challenging times.
I like what Pastor Mike Hewitt shared with me, “We are not defeated because we are clinging onto the promises of God.”
…Celebrating the goodness of God
The style of worship in the churches I visit may differ from one to another, but the focus of worship is on God. From the singing of hymns at Tipton Ash Street, to the use of the traditional instruments of piano and organ at Indianapolis Central, to the blended worship style at Bluffton Sonlight, to singing songs in Spanish at Indianapolis Monte de Sion, to the more contemporary style at Richmond LifeSpring, I have been escorted each time to the Throne of God. I have left our District churches feeling connected with God in deep and meaningful ways.
...Contextualizing the message of God
Many of our churches are effectively contextualizing the Gospel message to reach the communities where God has “planted” them. In my class, Ministry in Context, I tell my students that the Truth of God must always remain the same, but the way we share that Truth needs to be creative, as well as make sense to those we are attempting to reach. I shared with Dr. Mark Gorveatte after visiting LaOtto Cultivate, “I loved seeing the Truth being adhered to…and the willingness to be creative in the way that Truth is being shared. The LaOtto Cultivate congregation is willing to try new ways to reach those who are unchurched.”
I can share that this is so true with many of our churches – Avon 317, Westfield One Church, Marion Brookhaven, and Muncie Rising Hope, just to list a few.
…Calling on the help of God
There seems to be a renewed passion for prayer. Many of the churches I have visited participated in the 21 days of prayer. My heart has been blessed seeing the number of churches represented at the monthly District Prayer Gatherings. Some of the churches have gone beyond just praying, to praying and fasting for revival.
At Richmond Lifespring I was invited to be a part of the prayer time before worship services began. It was not a short period of prayer, but a ‘season’ of praying that took place. At Winchester Union Street, after the worship service the congregation went outside the four walls of the church building and spent time praying to God to help them have a greater impact in their community. Other churches have prayer teams praying through the sanctuary and classrooms before anything officially happens on Sunday morning, asking God to bless the discipleship hour and worship service.
My heart seemed to soar to the “heavenlies” when Pastor Theo Griffin shared about how, through prayer, God provided for Brown’s Chapel in a miraculous way, Pastors have testified about how God has been touching hearts in their communities because of prayer.
One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Coleman who wrote, “You can have revival without singing or even preaching… but never without prayer”.
…Concerned about those who do not have a relationship with God
From smaller size congregations to larger size congregations, there is a concern to reach those who do not have a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. One pastor shared how he has cried for the 3 million Hoosiers who do not yet know Christ.
Many of our district churches are living out the words of John Wesley, “You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go not only to those that need you, but to those that need you most. It is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that society; but to save as many souls as you can; to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance”.
…Committed to communicating about the holiness of God
A few weeks ago the conference, Celebration of Holiness, took place at College Wesleyan in Marion. That night I was doing a spiritual warfare seminar at Indianapolis Southview. Pastor Nathan Richardson, who had attended the conference, told me that the sessions caused him to be reenergized to keep preaching the message of heart purity. While I was visiting at Lafayette Evergreen, Pastor Joe Parks shared how he prays for children, youth and adults to respond to God’s message of holiness.
Last Sunday I visited Muncie Rising Hope. When I got home I wrote these words of reflection:
“I go hoping to be a blessing to the churches I am visiting...I leave being the one who has been blessed!”
I am so thankful for the privilege of being able to serve, along with Dr. Dave Smith and Rev. Mark Atkinson, as one of the Crossroads District Circuit Riders.
Rev. Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo+
Dr Jon Kulaga’s Inauguration as IWU’s 10th President
Assisting with the prayer and anointing of Dr. Kulaga and First Lady, Lena were former IWU presidents, Dr. Henry Smith and Dr. David Wright as Dr. Jim "Umfundisi" Lo, IWU Campus Intercessor, led the prayer and anointing.
Fall Retired Minister's Gathering
Calling all retired ministers and spouses! Make plans now to join us for the Fall Retired Minister's Gathering being held on Thursday, November 17, 2022 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at College Wesleyan Church (200 E 38th St, Marion, IN 46953). Please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 765-674-8593.
2022 Crossroads Christmas Gatherings
It's the most wonderful time of the year! All lead and assistant pastors (and their spouses) are invited to attend a Crossroads District Christmas gathering. There are 6 locations and dates from which to choose, and all gatherings will begin at 6:30pm. Please pick the one location that is most convenient for you. Dr. Mark Gorveatte and the district team are looking forward to this time of fellowship and celebration as we prepare to lead others through the Advent season. Dinner is provided. Please RSVP by November 12, 2022:
GrowLeader Regional Conference 2023
We are pleased to announce that we have a limited number of tickets available for lead and solo pastors to attend the upcoming GrowLeader Regional Conference presented by Church of the Highlands in Indianapolis on March 7th, 2023. Any lead or solo pastor who registers one or more lay leaders for the conference will receive a free registration to attend as well.
Due to the limited supply, only one free ticket will be provided for each lead or solo pastor, regardless of the number of tickets purchased for lay leaders. You may register your lay leaders at www.growleader.com/regionals, and then submit the following form to claim your free ticket: https://crossroadsdistrict.churchcenter.com/people/forms/455626