Sunday morning, April 30, Sherry and I worshiped with Rev. Ryan Budde and the congregation at Jonesboro Westview Wesleyan Church. Before the service, I was invited to join the worship team for prayer. In the service I brought greetings from our district team and read the scripture passage leading us into worship. Pastor Ryan has a strong pastoral team including Rev. Mark Deisler who led us in music.
Rev. Budde was in the sixth week of a new series that he is preaching from Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. This has been an exciting year at Westview with 19 baptisms. Pray with them for continued growth and impact as they rebound from the past few years.
Since I wasn’t preaching at Westview, I had time to drop in at Fairmount Wesleyan Church for worship with Pastor Jeff Luedtke and his team at their 9:30 service. Fairmount Wesleyan does a special missions emphasis on the 5th Sundays and it was good to hear more about their local, national and global vision to reach people for Christ.
Sunday afternoon, Michael Wood and I joined a gathering of members and friends at Tipton Ash Street Wesleyan Church as we celebrated the ministry of Rev. Logan and Nancy Westrick. Pastor Logan is retiring due to health limitations but has served the church faithfully for over 31 years. Rev. Amanda Blair, DBA member, and Rev. Johnnie Blair, who lead the Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church, have served in the same town for the past decade. It was heartwarming to see the mutual love and respect between these pastors of a different generation. Rev. and Mrs. Westrick are moving to be closer to family near Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sunday evening, I joined Rev. Matthew Trexler and the team at The River in Marion for their local church conference. God has been blessing The River in unusual ways. Attendance is up 36% over the previous year and they broke 2000 in attendance for the first time on Easter. They recorded 231 professions of faith and had the privilege of baptizing 39 new believers. Pastor Matthew and the team would agree that the greatest factor in the explosive growth they’ve experienced would be their deepened commitment to prayer and fasting.
Last week began for me in Nashville, TN, on Monday with a roundtable of Wesleyan district superintendents. While several could not join us this time due to scheduling conflicts, the group that gathered shared in energizing conversations about how we can more effectively serve our local churches. It was fun to hear how God is on the move across our denomination when we stay focused on making disciples and multiplying churches.
Tuesday and Wednesday, I was in Birmingham at Church of the Highlands to attend my first ARC (Association of Related Churches) Conference. I’ve previously attended the GROW conference and appreciated the focus it gives to church systems and growth. This conference focuses on the heart of the leaders and fueling the vision of the ARC multiplication movement. Some of you will know the story of two churches invested in two more church plants 22 years ago. Since then, ARC has planted 1077 churches. Combined, those churches have now invested $71 million in church planting. The average church plant that launched with ARC last year had 427 people in attendance on their first Sunday. Yes, I took lots of notes!
Friday morning, I had the privilege of hosting our retired pastors and their spouses for our spring fellowship gathering at Wesleyan HQ in Fishers. In addition to an informative and inspiring presentation from Dr. Bud Bence on the 180-year history of the Wesleyans in Indiana, we were also honored by a special visit from Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent. Dr. Howard Castle led us as we lifted Dr. Schmidt and our General Board in prayer for their meetings this week.
Rev. C. K. Chitty, who is leading the charge for seniors ministry in the Crossroads District, brought an update from their luncheon last Saturday in Indianapolis. Plans are in the works for more gatherings this coming year. I love connecting with these senior saints who continue to serve the Kingdom in a variety of ways, especially with their fervent prayers.
Saturday morning, I joined Rev. Grace Lopez at Carmel Amistad where she was hosting the FLAMA class on the Old Testament led by Rev. Ingrid Martinez. We had another strong registration with students joining from Warsaw and Richmond. The next FLAMA class is Christian Education (C-23) scheduled for July with Rev. Ileana Flores teaching.
What a blessing to share stories of changed lives as God is blessing around the Crossroads District. Pastor Marc and Heather Ulrich lead ReThink Church, one of our newer congregations, in Merrillville. They’ve been seeing a new wave of growth this spring and celebrated two more baptisms this past Sunday!
The River Church has taken on the responsibility of developing a campus in Chesterton where we had a building but the church needed to be relaunched. Campus pastor Andy Hammonds has been encouraged by recent growth from 47 last year to averaging 65 this year with 109 present on Easter Sunday. The River Church team in Chesterton celebrated two more baptisms yesterday!
Rev. Noah Farmer and his team at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church are rejoicing as they celebrated another six baptisms yesterday. Praise God for lives being #MadeNew!
Dr. Joe Harmon has been doing a terrific job leading the turnaround at New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church. While he’s making plans to retire eventually, he’s still enjoying ministry and had the privilege of baptizing five new believers yesterday morning!
Pastors Johnnie and Amanda Blair continue to celebrate how God is on the move at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church. Yesterday was another high point as they five more new believers!
You may already know that Rev. Angela Spangler has resigned her role as Executive Director at Fairmount Camp and has joined the ministry staff at Hope Rising Church in Huntington. Rev. Jeff Luetdke is chair of the board for Fairmount Camp and would welcome applications or referrals as the board seeks their next leader for this key role. Here’s the link for more information and how to apply: https://secure.wesleyan.org/job/frame/8989
The FY2023 conference year concluded on April 30. Pastors have access to their online LCSR (local church statistical report). While the fiscal year closed on April 30, USF (United Stewardship Fund) contributions for that period can be received and credited until May 10.
The Annual Service Report (ASR) required for continued appointment as a minister in the Crossroads District is now available online. Many have already completed their reports and you can finish yours today in about 15 minutes. Here’s the link:
Please remember that only the Local Church Conference can elect delegates to district conference and it is prudent to elect at least 1 alternate delegate for each one allotted.
For friends and family of the ordination candidates who want to join us for the celebration of ordination, please note that seating will begin at 10:15 and the service will begin promptly at 10:30.
Keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Please join us in praying for a fresh move of God among our next generation of Wesleyan leaders who will be gathering in Cincinnati this December. There will be helpful seminars and workshops for pastors and parents so make please every effort to attend!