Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Dan and Alana Van Cise at West 8th Street Wesleyan Church this morning, December 9. Dan is one of our district’s faithful bi-vocational pastors. One of the things most I appreciate about Pastor Dan’s leadership is the intentional way that he involves and mentors IWU students in the ministry at West 8th Street. IWU students helped lead worship this morning and offered the Advent candle reading. After preaching a Christmas message in the service, I met briefly with Pastor Dan and members of the LBA before Sherry and I enjoyed hosting Pastor Dan & Alana for lunch.
Sunday evening, Sherry and I joined Pastor Tim & Cynthia McClellan for the annual Lakeview Wesleyan Church Christmas Cantata. Some of you may know that Sherry works part-time with Pastor Tim’s finance team. Congratulations to Pastor Tim and the Lakeview team for working together to pull off this inspiring concert.
Last Monday was an office day. It was good to catch up on some reading, email, and phone calls. Tuesday morning, our district team met at Abbey Coffee for our weekly staff meeting. Tuesday afternoon, I had a scheduled meeting via ZOOM with GS Dr. Wayne Schmidt for an annual prayer connection. I was in the northern part of our district Tuesday evening for our annual coaching conversation with Rev. Jere Gowin, pastor of Kingsford Heights Wesleyan Church. Rev. Gowin is another of our bi-vocational pastors. It was encouraging to hear of the teenager who gave his life to Christ at the church this year. Pastor Jere is also mentoring someone who is taking steps to answer a call to ministry.
The highlight of Wednesday was an ideation session with Chris and Seth as we looked at the resources available to assist our pastors with life planning. We are working on a series of three events. The first will be for new pastors in the launching phase of ministry. The second event will be for mid-career pastors in the prime season of ministry. The third event would be for pastors who are preparing for their encore phase. Stay tuned for opportunities to help pilot these leadership development experiences in 2019.
I spent Thursday morning in my office doing sermon preparation for Sunday’s assignment and then Sherry and I hosted Rev. Steve & Beth Jones for a visit in the afternoon. Beth is my younger sister and Steve and I served together in ministry for 4+ years in North Dakota. It is always exciting to hear how God is blessing their work at LifeChange Community Church in Burnips, Michigan.
Friday morning, I attended IWU’s closing chapel of the fall semester. Dr. John Bray, IWU’s Chaplain, does a great job leading the spiritual life team. I checked in on Mrs. Roxene Lo after chapel and was glad to hear that her cataract surgery went well.
Friday afternoon, Sherry and I picked up Chris & Marietta Williams and drove to Monon for the Region 3 Christmas fellowship at The Whistle Stop. More than 30 people, pastors and spouses, joined us at this unique restaurant which features America’s largest private museum of railroad memorabilia. The food was delicious and the fellowship was terrific. Thank you to Chris and Seth for their exceptional work in putting this event together to express appreciation to our pastors.
Saturday morning, I was with Assistant DS Chris Williams in Tipton at Ash Street Wesleyan Church as he rolled out a modified Maximum Impact model for smaller churches. The team had already completed a self-study before this session. Chris worked with Pastor Logan Westrick and a committed team of leaders learning about the marks of a faithful church and core growth engines.
Then, on Sunday morning, Chris was on site for observations in the first impressions, worship experience and children’s ministry. Chris will follow-up with a report that includes observations and recommendations. If the LBA adopts the report, Chris will also be available to provide implementation coaching. If you pastor a church that averages less than 50 in worship attendance and would be interested in learning more about this consultation, please contact our office.
Saturday evening, Sherry and I were able to enjoy IWU’s Christmas Extravaganza. It was an amazing evening with 240 talented vocalists and musicians delivering an uplifting experience for a packed house. It was also a special occasion as President David Wright recognized Dr. Earle Wilson, General Superintendent Emeritus, who was present and celebrating his 84th birthday!
Many of you will know that The River Church in Marion accepted the challenge of launching a campus in Chesterton with a core team and our existing facility. They’ve been in a silent phase of training the team and planting seeds for several weeks but this past weekend was a significant step forward. The River Church in Chesterton blessed their city with a “Big Give” inspired and resourced by the team in Marion. More than 100 families were blessed with Christmas gift boxes on Saturday and, best of all, 17 people prayed to receive Christ as the Gospel was presented. Special thanks to Pastor Matthew Trexler and the Marion team for the extraordinary investment of prayer, time and energy they’ve made in preparing to launch this campus.
This coming week’s schedule includes our District Board of Administration meeting on Thursday and a Friday evening fellowship at Thornapple with Pastor Mark Atkinson’s zone members. Then, next Sunday morning, I’m looking forward to my first visit at Laketon Wesleyan Church with Pastor David & Suzanne Cox.
Thank you for all you are doing to advance the Kingdom in this Advent season!
Your servant in Christ,
ReEquip (One Day District Leadership Training Event) – April 6, 2019
Crying Out (District Prayer Retreat) – April 12-13, 2019