Thursday, December 20, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 12-20-07


Park Community Church has become Hales Corners Wesleyan. The name change was proposed and approved this fall. Hales Corners is a suburb in the greater Milwaukee area. Pastor Don and Andrea Towle have been working there over four years. Last winter Paul Myers, a ministerial student from West Allis, began assisting Don. Then, this past fall, Gary McCammon joined the team. I had the privilege of speaking in their service and worshipping with the congregation. There are four new people working together to build a worship band/team – a lead singer, two guitars and a drummer. This was their second Sunday together. I commend them and the leaders for the dream and hard work to move the ball up the field in their ministry. Reenie and I had a great lunch with Don and Andrea, Paul and Beth and Gary and Carole.

Congratulations Emma Ann Butler

We congratulate Emma Ann. She just met her parents – Jason and Alya Butler. Jason is the church planting pastor of Transformation City in north Milwaukee. She arrived to greet her new parents at 10:30 AM this past Sunday, December 16. Both her and mama are doing great! Emma was 9 lbs 7 oz and almost 22 inches long. She was born at their home with a midwife and her assistant. We’re happy for Jason, Alya, and big brother Luke.

“The Getaway” (formerly known as Ministers and Mates)

Pastors, a reminder that the registrations are due December 28 for The Getaway. If you need the information or registration form, just go to the website www.wisconsindistrict.org and click on the M&M picture at the top of the home page. It’s going to be a great couple of days together. Dr. Dave Holdren will be our speaker for this year. We’ve built in extra connection times again this year. If you are needing help with child care or covering the cost, please call the district office and we’ll work with you on it.

Nicaragua January Pastors’ Training Scholarships Needed!!!

The annual Nicaragua Pastor’s training seminar in January is coming soon and we still need scholarships for this event again this year. Please encourage your church or individuals to sponsor a pastor or key lay leader. The cost is $300 per student. Please send your donations by January 7th to the partnership treasurer: Irene Tripp, E 15912 State Hwy. 33, P.O. Box 388, Hillsboro, WI 54634. Thank you for your investment in helping build the leadership in Nicaragua. Note: Every dollar goes to a Nicaraguan pastor or lay leader for their training. All team members provide for their own support.

Connections

Over the past several days I’ve had the privilege of having dialogues with Pastors Juan, Daniel, Peter, Mark, Ben, Loretta, Heath, Jeremy, Tim, Don and Paul. I also had a great meeting with the Hayward’s board for our annual dialogue.

Pastor Juan and France Morillo and their family have been in Wisconsin a few short weeks. At our dialogue last week he told me that they had their first house church meeting and there were 19 people, 12 new people in addition to their family and a couple from Daniel Munoz’ church, who is helping them get started. Their new church name is “Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana Casa de Restauracion Para Todas las Naciones”. In English, that is “Christian Wesleyan Church, Restoration House for all the Nations”.

I was also privileged to be present with Jason Butler, Transformation City church planter, and about 70 other supporters for the meeting with the Wauwatosa City Council to get authorization for their church to meet in a local theater on Sundays. Through a series of discussions, the meeting Tuesday night and a follow up meeting in January, things are looking much more positive to allow them to meet at the Rosebud Cinema. The owner is very open to their presence and has filed a petition to allow meetings in the building on Sunday mornings.

Prayer

Keep praying for Sand Lake and Janesville as they are searching for their next pastor and leader. Remember Gary Maness and Richard Concklin as they serve as interim pastors.

Remember to pray for the SetApart07 Youth Convention coming up the end of this month. Pray for the thousands of youth and adult sponsors as they raise the final money, as they travel and that God would call hundreds of missionaries to North America and other countries. Pray for our own Wisconsin teens and adults as they prepare and travel to the convention over the holidays. Pray that hundreds would make life-changing commitments to complete surrender to live by the will and moral standards of God.

Pray for the churches and the outreach events during Advent. Pray that people whose hearts are open during this time of year will hear the real message of Christmas – God’s love expressed through His Son, Jesus.

Continue to pray for Transformation City Church and Jason as they work with the city to remove the barriers that would allow them to meet freely and as they begin this new church.

Pray for Pastor Juan Morillo and France as they begin to establish a new congregation in south Milwaukee.

May you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Calendar
December 23……………………... Drop in visit

December 27-31…………………. SetApart 07

December 27-January 2………….Vacation

December 26-January 1………….Office Closed

January 6………………………….. Hillsboro visit

January 8………………………….. Dialogues

Safe Harbor Board

Janaury 9……………………………Dialogues

High Point Leadership

January 10……………………………….Dialogues

Janaury 13……………………………….Pardeeville visit

January 14-21……………………………Nicaragua

Pastor’s Training Trip

January 24……………………………….Dialogues

Janaury 26……………………………….DBA

January 27-29…………………………..The Getaway

(for all Wisconsin pastors and spouses)

Dan Bickel

Wisconsin District Superintendent

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 12-11-07


Superior was a superior place to be for several reasons. It was definitely colder than about any other place around last weekend (par for the course for them). It has a church named Darrow Rd. that is extremely generous and supportive of missions, Nicaragua and church planting. It has a great pastoral team in Mark Holmes and Chris Javner at that church. Darrow Rd. mothered a church on the north side of Superior and continues to bless the new congregation there. The congregation continues to find ways to expand the kingdom both locally, in Wisconsin and globally. It was a good Sunday in Advent with Pastor Mark and Jenny and Pastor Chris and Kathy and their families. Pastor Mark and Jenny are grandparents. Their son Amos and his wife had a baby girl – Gabriela – born just a little over a week ago. Congratulations to the Holmes family! After church I had the privilege of sharing a meal with both families together and we had a great time. Pastor Mark is originally from Pennsylvania and Chris Javner’s son Christopher is a die-hard New England fan, so we had Steeler/Patriot “talk” flying around during lunch.

Nicaragua January Pastors’ Training Scholarships Needed!!!

The annual Nicaragua Pastor’s training seminar in January is coming soon and we need scholarships for this event again this year. Please encourage your church or individuals to sponsor a pastor or key lay leader. The cost is $300 per student. Please send your donations by January 7th to the partnership treasurer: Irene Tripp, E 15912 State Hwy. 33, P.O. Box 388, Hillsboro, WI 54634. Thank you for your investment in helping build the leadership in Nicaragua. Note: Every dollar goes to a Nicaraguan pastor or lay leader for their training. All team members provide for their own support.

Connections

In recent days I’ve had the privilege of having dialogues with Pastors Gerry, Stevan, Scott, Jason, and Doug. I also has the privilege of meeting with Karen Scheel, a Christian counselor, who is looking at entering the process for ordination in the Wesleyan Church. Last week we also had a good Nicaragua Partnership meeting. A great team is assembled for the pastors’ training in January and another excellent medical team is preparing for the February trip to Nicaragua. The south central LDJ also met last week, led by Matt Ohime from Eau Claire. Some really good stuff continues to happen through the pastors’ small groups that meet throughout the state on a regular basis.

Prayer

Keep praying for Sand Lake and Janesville as they are searching for their next pastor and leader. Remember Gary Maness and Richard Concklin as they serve as interim pastors.

Remember to pray for the SetApart07 Youth Convention coming up the end of this month. Pray for the thousands of youth and adult sponsors as they raise the final money, as they travel and that God would call hundreds of missionaries to North America and other countries. Pray for our own Wisconsin teens and adults as they prepare and travel to the convention over the holidays. Pray that hundreds would make life-changing commitments to complete surrender to live by the will and moral standards of God.

Pray for the churches and the outreach events during Advent. Pray that people whose hearts are open during this time of year will hear the real message of Christmas – God’s love expressed through His Son, Jesus.

December 11……………………... Dialogues

December 13……………………... Hayward Bd & Dialogues

December 14……………………….Dialogues

December 16……………………... Hales Corners

December 18……………………... Dialogues

December 23……………………... Drop in visit

December 27-31…………………. SetApart 07

December 27-January 2………….Vacation

Friday, December 7, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 12-07-07


This was a week of two firsts!

Last Sunday was the first time I was not able to make it to the local church destination in over six years. The roads were icy and hazardous and it was not advisable to travel in the central part of the state because of the combination of snow, sleet, and ice on the roadways. So, Baker Street got a reprieve and Reenie and I dug out enough to make it to Lakeshore. As many of you know, Lakeshore, since its beginning, has set up church somewhere. This Sunday morning the truck was stuck, so they did “unplugged” church. Pastor David Treloar is doing a series of messages through Advent, looking at Christmas through the eyes of different people in the story. This week’s was through the eyes of a man, particularly Joseph’s. The message ended up at “grace”. Joseph showed an incredible amount of grace to Mary by accepting her and sharing the shame the community must have had for a woman who was pregnant and not married. It was also an unexpected opportunity to connect with a man and his family who are looking at joining the Wesleyan church and pursuing the call to ministry. They are looking to join Lakeshore and become part of the team.

The second “first” was on Wednesday. Richard Concklin and I were headed to Eau Claire early to meet with the Nicaragua Partnership committee at 10 AM. We got there around 11:15 AM. Again, in the more than six years and almost 300,000 miles, this is the first time I have encountered a significant traffic issue that delayed me from arriving significantly late to a meeting.

I feel so fortunate in so many ways to have had the opportunity to work with wonderful pastors and churches, people who are passionate and committed to the cause. I feel so blessed to have had the protection and care of the Lord in the travels. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity of traveling to many different places and work with colleagues all over the United States and Canada in helping to build the kingdom. I am so blessed to have a wife that understands and blesses me with her supportive attitude and spirit every day. I am so blessed to have a team of leaders in Wisconsin who care about what we’re trying to do and are joining in the work.

Nicaragua Scholarships Needed!!!

The annual Nicaragua Pastor’s training seminar in January is coming soon and we need scholarships for this event again this year. Please encourage your church or individuals to sponsor a pastor or key lay leader. The cost is $300 per student. Please send your donations by January 7th to the partnership treasurer: Irene Tripp, E 15912 State Hwy. 33, P.O. Box 388, Hillsboro, WI 54634. Thank you for your investment in helping build the leadership in Nicaragua.

Prayer

Praise – Shelley Berry, wife of District Superintendent Dan Berry, who has been in a coma for almost three months now, is beginning to show very positive signs of response and cognitive thinking. They are very encouraged that she is beginning to wake up.

Continue to pray for Sand Lake and Janesville as they are searching for their next pastor and leader. Remember Gary Maness and Richard Concklin as they serve as interim pastors.

Remember to pray for the SetApart07 Youth Convention coming up the end of this month. Pray for the thousands of youth and adult sponsors as they raise the final money, as they travel and that God would call hundreds of missionaries to North America and other countries. Pray that hundreds would make life-changing commitments to complete surrender to live by the will and moral standards of God.

Pray for the churches and the outreach events during Advent. Pray that people whose hearts are open during this time of year will hear the real message of Christmas – God’s love expressed through His Son, Jesus.

Calender

December 9……………………... Darrow Rd visit

December 11……………………... Dialogues

December 13……………………... Hayward Bd and dialogues

December 14..........................Dialogues

December 16……………………... Hales Corners

December 18……………………... Dialogues

December 23……………………... Drop in visit

December 27-31…………………. SetApart 07

December 27-January 2..........Vacation

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 11-27-07



One is on top of the hill and one is in the valley. The one in the valley is called Valley Wesleyan. Works for me! The one on top of the hill is called Burr Wesleyan, named after what the local population call that area - Burr Ridge. They are both pastored by Alan Tripp. Alan and Irene have served these two churches faithfully for over 25 years now. It was a delight to speak to and worship with both of these congregations last Sunday. The Valley church was originally birthed as a predecessor body to the United Methodist church many years ago, but then joined the Wesleyan church and became a part of the only two-charge circuit in the Wisconsin district. Burr has been in continuous existence for over 150 years and is experiencing a resurgence of fruitful ministry. When I met with the Burr’s board last week I discovered that their missions conference was exclusively focused on the mission field of Wisconsin. Ben and Ingrid Kidder were their ‘missionary’ speakers and they heard the passion and vision for reaching the people that need Christ right here in our state. Burr and Valley may broken some new and exciting ground by seeing Wisconsin and the US as it needs to be seen – a mission field. And, by the way, they went over $2,000 beyond their faith-promise goal. Congratulations to Burr and Valley for reading the missional code and responding to the need for reaching the lost in their local communities, around the world and in the mission field that is Wisconsin.

Pray

· Pray for the two churches – Sand Lake and Janesville – that are searching for a pastor. Pray for interim pastors Gary Maness and Richard Concklin and the boards as they carry on ministry and continue the search for the next leader.

· Pray for all of our developing churches, including church plants in the past 5 years – Safe Harbor in Superior, Northern Lakes in Cumberland, The River in Minong, Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana in Milwaukee, Transformation City in North Milwaukee, Iglesia Segundo (2nd church) being started in south Milwaukee). Jason, Kevin, Ben, Daniel, Jason and Morillo need our prayers to continue to develop these new congregations.

· Continue to pray for Nicaragua. We are asking for resources to continue the pastoral and lay leadership development. We are also praying for the right location and the resources to purchase property and build a district ministry center. Pray for Mike and Amy Knox and Jim and Julie Eckhardt as they lead the work there in Nicaragua along with District Superintendent Enrique Montenegro.

· Continue to pray for Dan and Shelley Berry. Dan is the South Coastal District Superintendent. They were in a serious accident about ten weeks ago and Shelley is still in a coma. She is beginning to show signs of response but still has not awakened from her coma.

· Pray for effective outreach and ministry for the local churches during this Advent season.

Connections

Last week was Thanksgiving. We had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with Reenie’s side of the family in Indiana. By the end of the day I definitely had my fill of turkey, bread and butter pickles, great grandma’s persimmon pudding, football games, ping pong, Rook, and even the kitchen sink. Wednesday night the kitchen faucet broke and that is not a good thing the night before Thanksgiving. All I can say is that it confirmed to me that I was not called to be a plumber! But, we got it fixed. I also was privileged to do my annual dialogue with Kevin O’Connor and the Northern Lakes board.

Key Dates to Note


Pastors, here are three key dates to make sure you have on your schedule:

· January 27-29 The Getaway (The used-to-be Ministers and Mates retreat) – two days of renewal for healthy leaders

· March 6 Focus Day – a day for pastors to meet with Phil Stevenson for renewing the dream and passion for being missional churches and a missional district

· June 26-27 District Conference – two days of celebrating the progress of fulfilling the vision of building the kingdom and dreaming together for the future

Calendar

November 28.................. Evangelism and Church

Growth Meeting

December 2………………Baker St. visit

December 4……………. Dialogues

Southwest LDJ Dinner

December 5……………. Nicaragua Partnership meeting

December 6……………... LDJ

Pardeeville Board

December 9……………………... Darrow Rd visit

December 11……………………... Dialogues

December 13……………………... Hayward Bd

December 16……………………... Hales Corners

December 18……………………... Dialogues

December 23……………………... Drop in visit

December 27-31…………………. SetApart 07

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 11-20-07


Eric and Miriam and their five children came from Cincinnati, Ohio to a small community in north central Wisconsin just off of Interstate 39 to pastor the Hancock Wesleyan church. Miriam helped lead the worship and one of the boys helped with the video projector. In Wisconsin this is not only the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It is also opening weekend of the nine day gun hunting season for deer, which is also a big deal in the Badger state. In spite of that, there was a good group. Following the service I discovered two tables loaded with boxes of food that were made available to anyone who was there that Sunday. Some people picked up a sack and took it home and others gathered food to give out to others in the community. One of the men of the church has taken this on as a ministry to the congregation and the community. This has been one of the strategies they have used to “give a cup of cold water” to people in need. Hancock is also the congregation that received a donation of a funeral home in town and decided to donate to a Hispanic church group that was starting a ministry there in town. After the service Reenie and I had a great time sharing a meal with the Hambrocks.

Connections

The past couple of days we’ve had the privilege of having Chris and Mary Conrad in our home. Chris came to town to make a visit to Transformation City in Milwaukee and connect with Pastor Jason and Alya. They also took the opportunity to connect with some friends in Madison. Chris and Mary and their two daughters hosted an open house in our home Sunday afternoon so we also had a chance to visit with some Lakeshore folks.

Earlier in the weekend Dave and LaVerne Tippey, friends from Indiana came for a visit. Dave and I grew up in Junior Bible Camp and Youth camp in Indiana and he was the best man in my wedding. LaVerne was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over two years ago and she is moving into the advanced stages of the disease. It was a special visit with good friends. Reenie and I continue to monitor the progress of Dan and Shelley Berry, District Superintendent of the South Coastal District of the Wesleyan church. Dan and Shelley were in a serious accident about 10 weeks ago, seriously injuring both of them. Dan is recovering from his injuries, but Shelley has been in a coma since the accident. These and other events in the lives of our special friends have made Reenie and I remember again how fragile life is and how precious our relationships are with family and friends.

I pray that this will be a wonderful week as you take some time to reflect and remember how thankful we all must be for the love and grace of God in our lives.

Calendar
November 25....... Burr/Valley Visit
November 26....... Northern Lakes LBA Dialogue
November 28....... Evangelism and Church Growth Meeting
December 2………………...Baker St. visit
December 4……………. Dialogues
Southwest LDJ Dinner
December 5……………. Nicaragua Partnership meeting
December 6……………... LDJ
Pardeeville Board
December 9……………………... Darrow Rd visit
December 11……………………... Dialogues
December 13……………………... Hayward Bd
December 16……………………... Hales Corners
December 18……………………... Dialogues
December 23……………………... Drop in visit
December 27-31…………………. SetApart 07

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 11-14-07

So, what’s an O’Connor doing on the frontier of northern Wisconsin? For the past five years, planting a church. Kevin and Carol came to Rice Lake Red Cedar, then led the planting of a daughter church in Cumberland. They began meeting in a community center for a few weeks, then moved to a school building until they were able to purchase a store front property right on the main drag of downtown Cumberland. Since purchasing the property they have continued to build and improve the property for worship, nursery, offices and children’s meeting spaces. When they moved into the school, their ministry enlarged. When they moved into the store front property, their ministry enlarged. When they added a Saturday night service, their ministry enlarged. Reenie and I had a wonderful weekend with Kevin and Carol, their leadership and their congregation. The church is doing well and they are still praying for the opportunity of planting further west when the time is right.

Set Apart 07
Note: Early registration deadline for the convention is November 19. Pastors, any of you who are planning to send youth to Set Apart 07, please let Chopper Brown, our District Youth Director, know.

Transformation City
We appreciate your prayers for Pastor Jason and the TC church. The church was applying for an amendment to the zoning law that would allow them to meet in the cinema in their target area. Jason report that the case was denied, meaning they will need to find another location. Here’s what Jason writes: “By no means is our future tied to this decision and we are confident that God will open new doors and bring about a new situation where we can continue to grow as a church and impact the city around us. What is going on is very exciting, it is God breathed and God centered, and we will not allow this situation to steal our joy or our energy. Amen.”

The Getaway
The Ministers and Mates retreat is now The Getaway. Dr. Dave Holdren will be with us for this three day, two night event January 27-29, 2008. It’s a great team time for the Wisconsin leaders. We’re planning for a wonderful time together and praying for God’s powerful presence.

Connections
The past few days I’ve had the privilege of connecting with a new staff LDJ in north central Wisconsin, Gary Maness (new Sand Lake interim pastor), a birthday celebration for Lisa Treloar, Jeff Hoch (staff pastor at Sand Lake), Pastor Alan and Irene Tripp, and the Janesville, Beulah and West Allis boards.

Calendar:

November 16-17............ District Extension Class
(Mukwonago)
November 10-11............ Northern Lakes Visit
November 12.................. West Allis LBA Dialogue
November 18.................. Hancock Visit
November 19.................. Burr LBA Dialogue
November 25.................. Burr/Valley Visit
November 26.................. Northern Lakes LBA Dialogue
November 28.................. Evangelism and Church Growth Meeting
December 2………………Baker St. visit
December 4……………. Dialogues
December 5……………. Nicaragua Partnership meeting
December 6……………... LDJ
Pardeeville Board
December 9……………………... Darrow Rd visit
December 11……………………... Dialogues
December 13……………………... Hayward Bd
December 16……………………... Hales Corners
December 18……………………... Dialogues
December 23……………………... Drop in visit
December 27-31…………………. SetApart 07

Dan Bickel
Wisconsin District Superintendent

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 11-7-07

Pastor Ben Kidder and the River Church was the destination last weekend. Ben and Ingrid Kidder have been working with this congregation for about a year and they have been consistently reaching new people. They have gone to two services with the second service just crawling with children. They have done a great job decorating the facility for fall. They’ve completed some upgrades for the children’s ministry area and nursery in the basement and they look really nice. Being already at 80% -90% capacity in one of their services and lacking in children’s space, they are in the thick of praying and working on what to do with the future for facilities. Please pray with us about decisions that need to be made about the facilities. They have a vision for reaching people and do not want to tie themselves down financially so it would take their focus away from ministry. Reenie and I had the privilege of spending some time with Ben and Ingrid. They have a heart for Minong and the extended surrounding area. They are already starting to think about other areas to expand to for a Bible study and future ministry. The River – A Wesleyan Church is a daughter church to Hayward.

Spiritual Formation Tour hits Wisconsin
Last Saturday and Sunday the Spiritual Formation department hit the south and north of Wisconsin on two full days of teaching and leadership development. There were over 200 pastors and local church leaders that received encouragement and teaching in adult, youth and children spiritual formation from Jim Dunn, Scott Simmons and Colleen Derr. I want to especially thank Pastor Jerome Bragg of the Crosspoint Nazarene church in Madison and Pastor Ron Gormong and staff of the Spooner Wesleyan church for being wonderful hosts for the event.
Extension Class to be offered in Mukwonago
The years’ second District Extension class will be offered on two weekends – November 9-10 and November 16-17. Pastor Gerry Krupp is the instructor and the class is “Introduction to the New Testament”, one of the basic core courses for ordination. To sign up for the course and for information, contact the instructor. Rev. Gerry Krupp: pastorgerry@oswesleyan.org, 262/363-8025 (office).

Set Apart 07
Pastors, any of you who are planning to send youth the Set Apart convention, please contact our District Youth Director, Chopper Brown, to let him know. Also, please note that the early registration deadline for the convention has been moved to November 19.

Connections
I had a great time getting to know Jim Dunn, Scott Simmons and Colleen Derr this weekend. It was also a wonderful opportunity to see and connect with a number of pastors and lay people from around the district. I also had a great time with Pastor Josh Hilty and his leadership team and Pastor Milt Van Natta and his board this past week. Tuesday Reenie and I caught up with new staff pastor at Our Saviors, Stevan and Jessica Sheets and their daughter Ella. It’s great to have this new family here in Wisconsin.

Calendar
November 8.................... North Central Staff LDJ
November 8.................... Beulah LBA Dialogue
November 9-10, 16-17... District Extension Class
(Mukwonago)
November 10-11............ Northern Lakes Visit
November 12.................. West Allis LBA Dialogue
November 18.................. Hancock Visit
November 19.................. Burr LBA Dialogue
November 22-23............ Thanksgiving
District Office Closed
November 25.................. Burr/Valley Visit
November 26.................. Northern Lakes LBA Dialogue

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 10-31-07

The Wesleyan Church is trying to move in on Milwaukee. For the past several years there have been four churches in the Milwaukee area. Then three years ago, Iglesia Christiana Wesleyana, Casa de Dios was birthed out of the four Milwaukee area churches. This year two more churches will begin – one in north Milwaukee and another in the southeast area. Last Sunday morning I was privileged to sit in a movie theatre in an overstuffed loveseat. I think that is the most comfortable seating Reenie and I have ever been in for church. Jason and Alya, who have begun having preview services there, are starting Transformation City church. Jason preached a good message then led worship, along with three others. It was a good hour. They are still developing their core team as they make connections with people in the community. A special prayer request we would like you to remember is about their place of worship. They have permission to use the theatre through Christmas, but the city fathers are trying to make their presence a zoning issue to try and keep them from continuing to meet there. There is a hearing on November 12. Please pray that there would be an open door, literally, for them to continue to meet at the Rosebud. It is an excellent location. The owner is very favorable to their presence. It is well known in the community.

Morillo Family and Iglesia Segundo
Monday we were back in Milwaukee to meet the Guzman family, who just arrived in Milwaukee this past weekend to begin planting another church in the southeast area of Milwaukee. Daniel Munoz’ church is the mother church and Daniel and the congregation have worked very hard to prepare the way for their arrival. Morillo is from Venezuela. His wife France (pronounced Francie) is From Colombia. They have three children – Zabdiel, Daniel and Lina. Morillo just received his Pastoral Theology degree in July and is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church. Morillo is also the executive director of Jibacam, the Latin American missions agency. We welcome Morillo and his family to Wisconsin, where they will see snow for the first time. The family has moved into their home. They are still in need of some household furnishings. Please pray for these items and respond by calling Daniel Munoz to see what is still needed. His numbers are: 414/931-4639 (home) or 414/324-7093.

Connections
Last week I met with the Ballinger Fund trustees and we will be recommending some significant changes to the DBA and conference next year. We also had a good DBA meeting last Saturday. In addition to taking care of good and interesting business, we discussed George Bullard’s work entitled “Real Congregations Serve Congregations” and the emerging church movement. Pastor David Treloar’s dad continues to make good progress from his surgery for cancer this past week. Continue to pray for the Treloar family. Finally, Reenie and I had the privilege of spending a couple of days with her folks here in Middleton. We had a great time.

Spiritual Formation Training for Teachers/Leaders

WHAT: Exciting time of motivation and training for effective spiritual formation

WHO: Dr. Jim Dunn (Adult), Rev. Colleen Derr (Children) and Rev. Scott Simmons (youth) from
the Spiritual Formation Department in Indy will be leading

WHEN: November 3, Saturday (southwest and southeast regions) 10 AM – 3 PM (Light lunch included)
November 4, Sunday (north region) 3 PM – 7 PM (Light supper included)

WHERE: November 3—CrossPoint Nazarene Church, Madison
November 4—Spooner Wesleyan Church

FOR: Pastors, Directors, Teachers, Small Group leaders, of children, youth, and adults.

Calendar Information
November 1.................... Parkway LBA Dialogue
November 3-4................ Spiritual Formation Tour
November 3-4................ The River (Minong) visit
November 5.................... Baker St. LBA Dialogue
November 6.................... Eastman LBA Dialogue
November 6.................... Meeting with Stevan and Jessica Sheets
November 8.................... North Central Staff LDJ
November 8.................... Beulah LBA Dialogue
November 9-10, 16-17... District Extension Class
(Mukwonago)
November 10-11............ Northern Lakes Visit
November 12.................. West Allis LBA Dialogue
November 18.................. Hancock Visit
November 19.................. Burr LBA Dialogue
November 25.................. Burr/Valley Visit
November 26.................. Northern Lakes LBA Dialogue
November 28.................. Evangelism and Church Growth Meeting

Friday, October 26, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 10-26-07

It was a really good day worshipping with the Spooner congregation and getting to spend a little time Pastor Ron and Karen and Pastor Chopper and Andrea. Chopper is doing a great job leading the student ministries and assisting Ron. Ron has faithfully led and developing a healthy, reproducing church in northern Wisconsin. Over a year ago when Hayward mothered The River church, Pastor Ron and the leadership at Spooner graciously gave permission for people from Spooner to assist. As a result, there have been a number of people who have jumped in to this new developing congregation in Minong. Spooner has taken the lead in Nicaragua with their strong financial support for Mike and Amy Knox, missionaries to that country. Thanks, Spooner, for being an example in building the kingdom and helping fulfill the vision here in Wisconsin of developing healthy, reproducing church here and around the world.

DBMD
We spend two plus days processing those preparing for ministry here in Wisconsin. We plan to recommend several for ordination next year. There are number of new students and staff that we had the privilege of meeting and getting to know better. It is always exciting to see how God continues to call out those who He needs to gift to lead His kingdom work.

Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana
I caught up with Daniel Munoz last week. Here are a couple of highlights. Did you know that the pastors’ wives of all the Milwaukee churches get together once a month, too? The pastors are in an LDJ and meet monthly, too. Did you know that a little over three years ago there were 4 Wesleyan churches in the Milwaukee area and by sometime this year there will be 7? Iglesia was the first new one. Transformation city is the 2nd new one. And in another week Morillo will arrive to begin laying the groundwork for the 3rd new one. Also, last Sunday Daniel dedicated a child and 8 family members, unchurched, showed up, began asking questions and are interested in coming back. Next Sunday Daniel and his congregation will go to Hales Corners Wesleyan at 11 AM and baptize 4 more people, using Our Savior’s portable baptistry. How’s that for camaraderie and cooperation?

Spiritual Formation Training for Teachers/Leaders

WHAT: Exciting time of motivation and training for effective spiritual formation

WHO: Dr. Jim Dunn (Adult), Rev. Colleen Derr (Children) and Rev. Scott Simmons (youth) from the Spiritual Formation Department in Indy will be leading

WHEN: November 3, Saturday (southwest and southeast regions)
November 4, Sunday (north region)

WHERE: November 3—CrossPoint Nazarene Church, Madison
November 4—Spooner Wesleyan Church

FOR: Pastors, Directors, Teachers, Small Group leaders, of children, youth, and adults.


Calendar

October 25 Ballinger Fund

October 27 DBA

October 28 Drop in visit (Transformation City)

November 1 Parkway LBA Dialogue

November 3-4 Spiritual Formation Tour

November 3-4 The River (Minong) visit
November 5 Baker St. LBA Dialogue
November 6 Eastman LBA Dialogue
November 8 North Central Staff LDJ
November 8 Beulah LBA Dialogue

November 10-11 Northern Lakes Visit
November 9-10, 16-17 District Extension Class (Mukwonago)

November 12 West Allis LBA Dialogue
November 19 Burr LBA Dialogue
November 25 Burr/Valley Visit
November 26 Northern Lakes LBA Dialogue

Friday, October 19, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 10-18-07

Last week Reenie and I spent some time on the road and in North Dakota with our new grandson and his parents, Brent and Laura. I had the privilege of dedicating Jackson to the Lord in one of the morning services at New Hope where Brent is the Family Life Pastor. Pastor Steve Norby preached a good message on the gifts of the Spirit. We had a good time catching up, visiting and getting some work done, too. We feel absolutely blessed because the Lord has gifted us with two wonderful sons, a wonderful daughter in law, a grandson, and another wonderful soon-to-be daughter-in-law.

Morillo
We have just confirmed that Morillo, along with his wife and three children, will be arriving by the first of November to begin another church plant in Milwaukee. He will initially be working alongside Daniel Munoz at Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana, then launching in a second strategic area.

Transformation City
Jason and the team have begun to hold preview services in a downtown theatre in North Milwaukee. They’ve had new people every week and some people who are seriously interested in joining the leadership team. The Lord has answered prayer to allow them to remain at the theatre through December. The city paper has highlighted the church’s beginning and also run an article on Alya, highlighting her Russian roots and cooking. Keep up by visiting http://www.transformationcity.org/.

Connections
Last week I spent a couple of days in Bartlesville, OK for the annual GS/DS meeting. It was a good day with new ideas and resources bubbling out all over. I also spent some time with Jesse Van Horn, a ministerial student from Darrow Road. Jesse is in his final year at OWU. By the way, there’s a great place to find ribs in town – Dink’s Pit Bar-B-Que!



Spiritual Formation Training for Teachers/Leaders

WHAT: Exciting time of motivation and training for effective spiritual formation

WHO: Dr. Jim Dunn (Adult), Rev. Colleen Derr (Children) and Rev. Scott Simmons (youth) from
the Spiritual Formation Department in Indy will be leading

WHEN: November 3, Saturday (southwest and southeast regions)
November 4, Sunday (north region)

WHERE: November 3—CrossPoint Nazarene Church, Madison
November 4—Spooner Wesleyan Church

FOR: Pastors, Directors, Teachers, Small Group leaders, of children, youth, and adults.

Calendar

October 21 Spooner
October 22-23 DBMD
October 25 Ballinger Fund
October 27 DBA
October 28 Drop in visit
November 1 Parkway LBA Dialogue
November 3-4 Spiritual Formation Tour
November 3-4 The River (Minong) visit
November 5 Baker St. LBA Dialogue
November 6 Eastman LBA Dialogue
November 8 North Central Staff LDJ
November 9-10, 16-17 District Extension Class (Mukwonago)
November 10-11 Northern Lakes Visit
November 12 West Allis LBA Dialogue
November 18 Hancock Visit
November 19 Burr LBA Dialogue
November 25 Burr/Valley Visit
November 26 Northern Lakes LBA Dialogueovember 8 Beulah LBA Dialogue


Leading a great team—Your Servant, Dan Bickel, Wisconsin District Superintendent

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sand Lake is experiencing good grief these days. Pastor Jim and Terri Maness had their farewell a week ago on their final Sunday at the church they’ve led for 15 years. Last Sunday I spoke at the church and met with their board. The congregation is sad to see them go. But what is encouraging is that the church that was running in the 50’s then is a much stronger and healthy congregation of 275 today. Please pray for the church and leadership as they search for the right leader for the next season of ministry in the Coulee region.

Indiana Wesleyan University
God continues to bless IWU. I just returned from the fall Trustee board meeting. There are many new developments in the fulfillment of the mission of IWU.
· This is the first year with a guaranteed 50% tuition scholarship for all Wesleyan pastors and missionaries’ children
· A special scholarship for all Wesleyan students was initiated from a newly established Wesleyan scholarship fund
· Enrollment on the Marion campus surpassed 3,000 students
· A new three story class room building was completed and dedicated.
· New student housing units were completed this summer.
· A new indoor sports arena and tennis courts were completed this summer/fall
· A new Master of Divinity program is being studied and developed
· Michael Moffitt, a former wide receiver with the Green Bay Packers (yeah, Wisconsin!), is a new vice-president at IWU
· A new, much needed chapel is being planned

Connections
In addition to having a chance to connect with my grandson for short time, we also had the privilege of connecting with Russell and Vonnie Buck, former District Superintendent of the Wisconsin district. Russell and Vonnie are on their way to Florida where the weather is warmer and the golfing is a lot more fun in January than it is in Wisconsin.

Spiritual Formation Training for Teachers/Leaders

WHAT: Exciting time of motivation and training for effective spiritual formation

WHO: Dr. Jim Dunn (Adult), Rev. Colleen Derr (Children) and Rev. Scott Simmons (youth) from
the Spiritual Formation Department in Indy will be leading

WHEN: November 3, Saturday (southwest and southeast regions)
November 4, Sunday (north region)

WHERE: November 3—CrossPoint Nazarene Church, Madison
November 4—Spooner Wesleyan Church

FOR: Pastors, Directors, Teachers, Small Group leaders, of children, youth, and adults.

Calendar

October 7 Sand Lake
October 9-10 OWU Visit, GS/DS Meeting
October 11-16 Vacation
October 21 Spooner
October 22-23 DBMD
October 25 Ballinger Fund
October 27 DBA
October 28 Drop in visit

November 3-4 Spiritual Formation Tour Event
The River (Minong) Visit

Leading a great team—Your Servant, Dan Bickel, Wisconsin District Superintendent

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 10-03-07

Good things are happening at Safe Harbor in Superior! Pastor Jason continues to do a good job in helping form this young, developing church. Begun six years ago as a daughter to Darrow Rd., their dream is to impact north Superior with the gospel. The finance and attendance numbers are climbing. A week ago they baptized five more people in Lake Superior (brr!). They’ve put on an addition with a restroom, ramp and back entry. They’ve put on a new roof and have raised the money for a complete, new exterior. In the past two weeks they’ve also raised the money to scholarship a student in Nicaragua. Jason and Patty have four children, with number five on the way. People’s lives continue to be transformed through this ministry.

Transformation City
Another Pastor Jason and his team had their first low-key preview service last Sunday in north Milwaukee. In addition to their launch team, there were 5 new adults with four children and it went very well. Jason and Alya Butler have been working in the area for about three months to establish a new congregation there. They are working through some opposition with zoning issues from the city fathers. Pray for them about this issue and as they work to reach people for Christ in the city.

Connections
This weekend I also had the opportunity to catch up with Alex Finseth (a licensed ministerial student) in Eau Claire, Jeff and Heather Semple (new staff pastors at Red Cedar), Todd and Kris Arneson (assistant at Red Cedar) and Damian Gonzalez (student intern at Red Cedar). I was also privileged to stop in to hear Pastor Craig Cooper preach and worship with Red Cedar on Saturday evening.

Nicaragua Scholarship Sponsors Needed
We’re about halfway in providing 20 scholarships to help a student (minister or lay) to be educated for one year. $336 pays for one student to take at least three classes for one year. Missionaries Mike Knox and Jim Eckhardt are developing and teaching the classes. We will provide you with a picture and a short bio on the student so that you can also pray for him/her while you support the student.

Spiritual Formation Training for Teachers/Leaders

WHAT: Exciting time of motivation and training for effective spiritual formation

WHO: Dr. Jim Dunn (Adult), Rev. Colleen Derr (Children) and Rev. Scott Simmons (youth) from the Spiritual Formation Department in Indy will be leading

WHEN: November 3, Saturday (southwest and southeast regions)
November 4, Sunday (north region)

WHERE: November 3—CrossPoint Nazarene Church, Madison
November 4—Spooner Wesleyan Church

FOR: Pastors, Directors, Teachers, Small Group leaders, of children, youth, and adults.

Calendar
October 4-5 IWU Board

October 21 Spooner Visit
October 6 Iglesia de Esperanza (Rice Lake)

October 22-23 DBMD
October 7 Sand Lake

October 25 Ballinger Fund
October 9-10 OWU Visit, GS/DS Meeting

October 27 DBA
October 11-16 Vacation

October 28 Drop in visit

November 3-4 Spiritual Formation Training
The River (Minong) visit

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 9-20-07

For the 13th time, a medical team, consisting of Wisconsinites and Nicaraguans, brought people the gospel, medication and health education in Nicaragua. 3,000 people were assisted in 6 days of clinics. Four people accepted Christ and some people began to resume attendance at the local churches. $1,000 in medication was also purchased by the team to go to victims of Hurricane Felix on the east coast of Nicaragua. Nicaraguan church members helped at each clinic by helping to organize, packaging medicine, entertaining children and preparing a noon meal for the staff. Julie Eckhardt and Amy Knox are working on ways to administer continued health care and education, including seminars, clinics, and one on one education.

How can you help? Collect eyeglasses, small toys, adult and children's toothbrushes, and donate funds for Bibles, Bible Story Cards, and medicine. Also, you can join a team. Dates for 2008 medical teams are February 13-21 & September 10-18. Team application information can be accessed at: www.ecwesleyan.net

Spiritual Formation Training for Teachers/Leaders

WHAT: Exciting time of motivation and training for effective spiritual formation

WHO: Dr. Jim Dunn (Adult), Rev. Colleen Derr (Children) and Rev. Scott Simmons (youth) from the Spiritual Formation Department in Indy will be leading

WHEN: November 3, Saturday (southwest and southeast regions) 10 AM – 3 PM (Light lunch included)
November 4, Sunday (north region) 3 PM – 7 PM (Light supper included)

WHERE: November 3—CrossPoint Nazarene Church, Madison
November 4—Spooner Wesleyan Church

FOR: Pastors, Directors, Teachers, Small Group leaders, of children, youth, and adults.

Calendar

September 23 Drop in visit
September 25-27 District Flame Extension Class
September 26 Nicaragua Partnership Committee
September 30 Safe Harbor visit

October 7 Sand Lake
October 9-10 OWU Visit, GS/DS Meeting
October 12-17 Vacation
October 21 Spooner
October 23 DBMD
October 27 DBA
October 28 Drop in visit

Leading a great team—Your Servant, Dan Bickel, Wisconsin District Superintendent

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 9-11-07

IN THE LAND OF WOOD

Pastor Mary Coolidge continues to make progress since losing her husband Skip this summer. After a few weeks of healing time she is back leading the congregation again. After a positive time of worship, the congregation ate together, then we met as a leadership team to talk about church health issues. It was a good afternoon. The board now has some good direction for future conversations and action. Also, during the meeting they informed me that they plan to sponsor one student’s training in Nicaragua. Thanks, Woodland! I know that Mary would appreciate your continued prayers for her and the congregation.

Nicaragua Scholarship Sponsors Needed

We need 20 individual churches or people to sponsor a student (minister or lay) to be educated for one year. $336 pays for one student to take at least three classes for one year. Missionaries Mike Knox and Jim Eckhardt are developing and teaching the classes. We will provide you with a picture and a short bio on the student so that you can also pray for him/her while you support the student.

Spiritual Formation Training for Teachers/Leaders

WHAT: Exciting time of motivation and training for effective spiritual formation

WHO: Dr. Jim Dunn (Adult), Rev. Colleen Derr (Children) and Rev. Scott Simmons (youth) from
the Spiritual Formation Department in Indy will be leading

WHEN: November 3, Saturday (southwest and southeast regions)
November 4, Sunday (north region)

WHERE: November 3—CrossPoint Nazarene Church, Madison
November 4—Spooner Wesleyan Church

FOR: Pastors, Directors, Teachers, Small Group leaders, of children, youth, and adults.

Calendar

September 5-13 Nicaragua Medical Team trip October 7 Sand Lake
September 16 Washington, MI October 9-10 OWU Visit, GS/DS Meeting
September 23 Drop in visit October 12-17 Vacation
September 25-27 District Flame Extension Class October 21 Spooner
September 26 Nicaragua Partnership Committee October 23 DBMD
September 30 Safe Harbor visit October 27 DBA
October 28 Drop in visit


Leading a great team—Your Servant, Dan Bickel, Wisconsin District Superintendent

Team Wisconsin Update 9-7-07

MEET THE PARENTS

Reenie and I spent Labor Day weekend driving around North and South Carolina with our son Brice and his fiancĂ©e Brittany. We had the privilege of meeting Brittany’s family—parents, grandparents, and siblings. We also got some work done on the home Brice is renting and knocked out some details on the wedding plans for next March. Brice is giving leadership to, and working for, a landscaping company in Greenville. Brittany is working in an office position at Southern Wesleyan University. We worshipped at ALIVE, a new, contemporary worship service started by First Wesleyan in Central, SC. Pastor Tom Harding and the team led in a meaningful time of worship.

Nicaragua

Please pray for those affected by Hurricane Felix in Nicaragua. The hurricane came ashore in Nicaragua territory near the town of Puerto Cabezas on the east coast as a Category 5 storm this morning. There are reports of significant damage.

This fall’s Medical Team is now in Nicaragua ministering in several cities, and will return September 13. Please pray for them.

We are still in need of individual churches or people to sponsor a student (minister or lay) to be educated for one year. $336 is all it takes for one student to take at least three classes for one year.

Spiritual Formation Leaders Training

WHAT: Exciting time of training and motivation for effective spiritual formation

WHO: Dr. Jim Dunn and others from Spiritual Formation Department in Indy

WHEN: November 3, Saturday (southwest and southeast regions)
November 4, Sunday (north region)

WHERE: November 3—CrossPoint Nazarene Church, Madison
November 4—Spooner Wesleyan Church

FOR: Pastors, Directors, Teachers, and Leaders of children, youth, and adults.

Calendar

September 5-13..... Nicaragua Medical Team trip
September 9........... Woodland visit
September 16......... Washington, MI
September 22......... Building Committee - Baraboo
September 23......... Drop in visit
September 25-27... District Flame Extension Class
September 26......... Nicaragua Partnership
September 30......... Safe Harbor visit

October 7................. Sand Lake visit
October 9-10........... OWU Visit, GS/DS Meetings
October 12-17......... Vacation
October 21............... Spooner visit
October 23............... DBDM
October 27............... DBA
October 28............... Drop in visit

Leading a great team—Your Servant, Dan Bickel, Wisconsin District Superintendent

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 8/28/07

The Janesville leadership team met again on Sunday following the worship service to talk about vision and work on the characteristics and strengths of the next pastor. Reenie and I were there to lead the worship service and preach. We also had a chance to tour the parsonage. The congregation is doing well in the transition. Pastor Richard Concklin is stepping in to give part-time interim leadership to the congregation as they search for their new pastor. Richard and Jan have done an excellent job serving in short-term interim roles in several churches in Wisconsin.

Monday evening I met the second time with the Sand Lake board, working with them as they transition. They have also received the announcement that Pastor Jeff Bond is planning to leave Sand Lake and go on staff with Jim Maness later this fall. Jeff and Lori Bond began attending the Sand Lake church, started participating in the worship, felt a call to ministry, went on staff at the church, completed his ministerial education, and was ordained this summer. He and Lori will be missed by the congregation and the rest of the Wisconsin team. We wish them the very best in this new ministry venture.

Continue to pray for Nicaragua as the leadership searches for the right property to establish a district ministry center in Managua. As the work grows, the dream is to have a district office, a training center, a local church, a medical center and a micro-business facility. The plan is to purchase a piece of property, then have construction teams work alongside the Nicaraguans in building the facilities.

We are also asking individual churches or people to sponsor a student (minister or lay) to be educated for one year. $336 pays for one student to take at least three classes for one year. Missionaries Mike Knox and Jim Eckhardt are developing and teaching the classes. Our goal is 20 scholarships.

Mark your calendar for November 3 or 4 for an exciting and encouraging day of training and motivation for effective spiritual formation in our local churches. Dr. Jim Dunn and the other spiritual formation department heads will be in Wisconsin on these two days. It is for pastors, adult, youth and children spiritual formation directors and teachers – whether Sunday School, small group, or other leaders. The southwest and southeast regions of the state will meet on Saturday, November 3 in Madison at the Crosspoint Nazarene church. The north region will meet on Sunday November 4 afternoon/early evening at the Spooner Wesleyan church.

Dates for your Information

September 1-4 South Carolina
September 5-13 Nicaragua Medical Team trip
September 9 Woodland visit
September 16 Washington, MI
September 23 Drop in visit
September 25-27 District Flame Extension Class (Intro. to OT)
September 26 Nicaragua Partnership Committee
September 30 Safe Harbor visit

October 7 Sand Lake visit
October 9-10 OWU Visit, GS/DS Meetings
October 12-17 Vacation
October 21 Spooner visit
October 23 DBDM
October 27 DBA
October 28 Drop in visit

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update

Pastor Josh Hilty and Jamie are doing a great job leading Baraboo through a refocusing process. In addition to ministering to the people of the existing congregation, they are working hard to connect with new and younger people in the community. There are some new people connecting with Christ and the church and being discipled by the Hiltys. They have done a significant amount of work developing a plan for upgrading the facilities – new furniture, lights, etc. After a wonderful lunch prepared by Jamie, we went over the prices and plans. A couple of weeks ago a team of adults and teens came from Brookhaven Wesleyan to help with a VBS and help with painting. They did a great job and were a huge encouragement to the congregation and the Hiltys.

News and Notes

Please pray especially for the people in the southwestern part of Wisconsin. Some places received six to seven inches of rain. In addition to roads and bridges damaged, there has been significant crop damage, resulting in loss of income for a lot of farmers. Wesleyan churches and the people in this part of the state are doing well, except for more than a few basements.

Continue to pray for Nicaragua as the leadership searches for the right property to establish a district ministry center. As the work grows, it is becoming a necessity to have a district office, a training center, and a central place for the district to call home. The property could also house a central church in Managua. We are asking for the funds to help with the purchase. The plan is to purchase a piece of property, then have construction teams work alongside the Nicaraguans in building the facilities.

We are also asking individual churches or people to sponsor a student (minister or lay) to be educated for one year. $336 pays for one student to take at least three classes for one year. Missionaries Mike Knox and Jim Eckhardt are developing and teaching the classes. Our goal is 20 scholarships.

Mark your calendar for November 3 or 4 for an exciting and encouraging day of training and motivation for effective spiritual formation in our local churches. Dr. Jim Dunn and the other spiritual formation department heads will be in Wisconsin on these two days. It is for pastors, adult, youth and children spiritual formation directors and teachers – whether Sunday School, small group, or other leaders. The southwest and southeast regions of the state will meet on Saturday, November 3 in Madison at the Crosspoint Nazarene church. The north region will meet on Sunday November 4 afternoon/early evening at the Spooner Wesleyan church.

Dates for your Information

August 26 Janesville visit/meet with Board
August 27 Sand Lake Board

September 1-4 South Carolina
September 5-13 Nicaragua Medical Team trip
September 9 Woodland visit
September 16 Washington, MI
September 25-27 District Flame Extension Class (Intro. to OT)
September 26 Nicaragua Partnership Committee
September 30 Safe Harbor visit

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update

Sunday morning I found myself, along with Reenie, in Mukwonago, a beautiful bedroom community southwest of Milwaukee. It was their annual outdoor service and picnic. New assistant Pastor Stevan Sheets preached a good message challenging us to “stand out” as believers. Stevan, Jessica and their daughter just moved from northern Indiana about a month ago to lead the student ministries. Steven also has the distinction of being a roommate of our son Brent at IWU and one of the five ‘compadres’. It was a great day, even though the strong storms blew the tent (and it wasn’t a little one) down the night before. Pastor Gerry and Wenda Krupp, along with Pastor Stevan and the leadership team are excited about the future and working hard to make it happen.

Saturday evening Reenie and I had dinner with Jason and Alya Butler at their home and caught up on the good things that are happening with the preliminary work for a new church plant in north Milwaukee – Transformation City Church. Check out their new website at http://www.transformationcity.org/. Perhaps you would like to get involved by becoming a member of the launch team, pray for them, or give to the ministry. It was an excellent Russian (Alya is from Russia) meal and an encouraging visit.

The Leadership Summit at Willow was an excellent time of training and encouragement on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There were 15 that attended the one in Chicago and others that attended other satellite sites. Among the speakers were Colin Powell, former president Jimmy Carter, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina and British Filmmaker Richard Curtis. John Ortberg, author and pastor from California, hit a home run when he talked about the leader’s great fear – the temptation to give into a substitute or ‘shadow’ mission that will sidetrack the main mission that God has called us to. Each year we give Eagle awards at district conference and this year it was a scholarship to attend the leadership summit.

News and Notes

Pastor Jim Maness has announced his resignation from Sand Lake this past week to his board and congregation. He and Teri and family will be moving to Michigan to take a pastorate there. The move will take place the first of October. Please pray for the Maness family and the congregation during this time of transition. The Manesses have been there for 15 years and were only the 3rd pastor in the church’s 25 years.

Please continue to pray for Bessie Winterberg, Pastor Dwayne Winterberg’s mother. She still has many health complications.

Dates for your Information

August 19 Parkway visit
August 26 Janesville visit

September 1-4 South Carolina
September 5-13 Nicaragua Medical Team trip
September 9 Woodland visit
September 16 Washington, MI
September 25-27 District Flame Extension Class (Intro. to OT)
September 26 Nicaragua Partnership Committee
September 30 Safe Harbor visit

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 8/7/07

Saturday afternoon was spent with Pastor Daniel Munoz and his congregation, Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana, in Milwaukee. The children, coming off of their VBS week, performed. Two Christian clowns from Puerto Rico led the music and program. Framaris and her staff did an outstanding job with the children. They went every morning for 4 hours, doing crafts, Bible stories, singing, even feeding the children breakfast and lunch. At the service, attended by about 75, we also presented the Eagle award to Pastor Daniel for their growth of 67% this past year. I also had the privilege of officially organizing the church – the first Wesleyan Hispanic congregation in Wisconsin. Afterwards, Reenie and I visited the Munoz’ home and met with the leadership team. Daniel is taking his adult members through the same FLAMA courses that pastors preparing for ministry are taking. Also, there are three developing Hispanic ministries now in Wisconsin – in Rice Lake, Minong and Wisconsin Rapids.

Sunday morning Reenie and I were privileged to worship with Pastor Ron Gormong and the Spooner Wesleyan Church. The worship and the message were great. Pastor Ron is preaching through the book of Ephesians. His messages are always excellent, Biblical and call people to a point of decision. The congregation was challenged from Ephesians 5 to live a life that is characterized by thanksgiving and gratitude, purity and love as opposed to lust, greed, and vulgar, foolish and coarse conversation. Pastor Chopper Brown also did a wonderful job as he led us in celebrating the Lord’s Supper in the service – always a meaningful and beautiful experience.

Later in the morning we were also able to worship with Pastor Ben Kidder and The River congregation in Minong. Again, the worship and the message were great. Pastor Ben preached a strong message from Matthew that is to be a defining part of the ministry passion and philosophy of this new and developing church. The River will be defined by its compassion and acts of service to its community and world. This growing congregation was called to get off the bench and get in the game by serving the poor, visiting the sick, and helping the needy along with serving in the nursery and helping in the church. They now have two services on Sunday morning and are developing a plan for future facilities as they are already running out of space where they are.

Sunday afternoon we had the opportunity to be with Pastor Mark Wilson and the Hayward congregation for lunch and their baptismal service at a local lake. It was thrilling to see all six of the pastoral staff – pastors Mark, Ben, Heath, Loretta, Jeremy and Tim – standing in the water for about an hour baptizing 49 people. There were children, youth, young adults, entire families, a lady in her 70’s, a man in his 60’s, and one four generation family (great-grandma, grandma, mom and daughter) that shared their testimonies and gave witness to their new life in Christ. A baptismal service is like the culmination of a process. You prepare the soil, plant the seed, water it, weed, wait and watch God work. Baptism is like harvesting those new ears of corn, putting a little butter and salt on them, and sinking your teeth into them - sweet and satisfying to your spirit.

Later that afternoon we then met with Pastor LeRoy Drake and the leaders of Gull Lake to deal with closure issues for the congregation. I cannot say enough about how gracious and wonderful they have been in this process of closing the church, from the attitude they’ve exhibited to the desire to bless church planting and the kingdom with everything the Lord has blessed them with.

News and Notes

Thank you for praying for Bessie Winterberg, Pastor Dwayne Winterberg’s mother. She came through the surgery well. She has had a lot of infection in her knee for an extended time. She will need additional surgery in the near future.

Please pray for Merea and Jerome Bragg this week. Merea is my administrative assistant. Their sister in law died of cancer over the weekend and the funeral is today (Tuesday). She leaves a young family behind.

Dates for your Information

August 9-11 Willow Creek Leadership Summit
August 11 Jason/Alya – Transformation City
August 12 Our Savior’s, Mukwonago visit
August 19 Parkway visit
August 26 Janesville visit

September 1-4 South Carolina
September 5-13 Nicaragua Medical Team trip
September 9 Woodland visit
September 16 Washington, MI
September 25-27 District Flame Extension Class (Intro. to OT)
September 26 Nicaragua Partnership Committee
September 30 Safe Harbor visit

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update

Pastor LeRoy and Dorene Drake were honored this week as he steps down from active pastoral ministry. Thursday night about 50 specially invited guests – family, friends, fellow pastors – gathered to honor and celebrate his 43 years of ministry, all of them in the Wisconsin district. Sunday morning was a bitter sweet service as, once again, Pastor LeRoy and his wife, Dorene Drake, were honored. It was a beautiful service, even with everyone realizing that it would be the final one as the Gull Lake Wesleyan church. The entire Drake family was present, leading the worship service and doing a variety of musical selections. I was privileged to share the message and commissioned the members of the congregation to go out and serve Christ wherever He leads them. Appropriately, Pastor Drake led the congregation in celebrating communion as the final act of worship.

What is really cool is that Gull Lake’s offering on their 90th anniversary celebration was designated to go for church planting. The property will be sold, with the proceeds to go to church planting. And all of their equipment and furnishings that can be used will be distributed to any of the six newest congregations that have been started in the past few years. We celebrate with Pastor Drake and the Gull Lake congregation the ministry they had over the past 90 years, but also the way they will continue to impact the ministry of the Wesleyan church for years to come through the distribution of their people and resources into the mission field here in Wisconsin.

News and Notes

Senior High Camp is on! Pray for them this week that God will do what He wants to do in the lives of our senior high youth. And don’t forget to pray for Chopper Brown and his team.

Nicaragua Partnership has added two major projects this year, in addition to the other ongoing ministries. The first one is to find a property and building a district ministry center and central Wesleyan church. The second one is to provide funding for leadership training for the pastors and leaders in the churches. TEE is Theological Education by Extension. TEE is being produced and taught by missionaries Mike Knox and Jim Eckhardt. The cost per student per year is only $336 (which includes all expenses for 3-4 classes). Our goal this year is to have 25 student scholarships. 25 individuals or local churches, or combinations of local churches would cover the needs for this year. Our first donation was given by Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana, our newest and most under-resourced church in the district. Hats off to Daniel Munoz and their congregation. To make contributions, make the check to “Wisconsin District Nicaragua Partnership” and send to Irene Tripp.

World Hope has added the Friends of the King School in Tipitapa to their child sponsorship program. This is a brand new school that has started out of the Tipitapa church – Amigitos Del Rey. A delegation from World Hope was there last spring and distributed school packs to students at several schools in Nicaragua, including the ones that are affiliated with the Wesleyan church. They are accepting 25 sponsorship applications through their Hope for Children project. Please pray that these children will find sponsors quickly. You can go to the World Hope website http://www.worldhope.org/ for information on how to sponsor a child. If you are interested, you need to put a comment in the comment section that you want a child from Nicaragua -05 project or Tipitapa. You will be sent a child’s bio and photo along with a welcome booklet that explains the HFC program in detail.

Please pray especially for Bessie Winterberg, Pastor Dwayne Winterberg’s mother, as she faces a difficult surgery on Wednesday. Bessie is a member of the Beulah Wesleyan church.

Dates for your Information

July 30-Aug. 4 Senior High Camp
August 4 Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana visit
August 5 The River, Spooner, Hayward visit
Meet with Gull Lake leaders
August 9-11 Willow Creek Leadership Summit
August 11 Jason/Alya – Transformation City
August 12 Our Savior’s, Mukwonago visit
August 19 Parkway visit

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update

Dennis and Sela Jones moved from Eastern New York a few weeks ago and are settling into a very nicely remodeled home at the Beulah Wesleyan church. The congregation, who has been without a pastor for several months, took the opportunity to do some significant upgrades to the home beside the church – new bathroom on the main level, new hall and laundry room, and an all new kitchen. A special thanks goes to Chuck Davis, vice chair, and the board, for their leadership and hard work in maintaining the ministry during the time of transition. I had the privilege of installing Pastor Dennis on Sunday, then Reenie and I enjoyed the tour of the home and dinner with them. Pastor Dennis and the congregation are excited about the future!

News and Notes

Youth Camp starts next Monday. For registration information, go to the website http://www.wisconsindistrict.org/. They’re anticipating a great week at SkyLodge camp in Montello, WI. Chopper Brown and his team have done great preparing. God has plans for each of the teens’ lives. Pray that every one of them will hear from God and many will experience life change.

The fall Medical Team to Nicaragua is near the end of the recruiting time for team members. The dates are September 5-13, 2007. Information can be accessed at the Eau Claire Wesleyan church's web site: http://www.ecwesleyan.net/. Contact Hannah Peterson for further information at kentandhannah1@hotmail.com or call 715-878-4961. Applications should be sent to Hannah Peterson as soon as possible. Both medical and non-medical people are needed. People can contribute used eyeglasses and new toothbrushes.

World Hope has added the Friends of the King School in Tipitapa to their child sponsorship program. This is a brand new school that has started out of the Tipitapa church – Amigitos Del Rey. A delegation from World Hope was there last spring and distributed school packs to students at several schools in Nicaragua, including the ones that are affiliated with the Wesleyan church. They are accepting 25 sponsorship applications through their Hope for Children project. Please pray that these children will find sponsors quickly. You can go to the World Hope website http://www.worldhope.org/ for information on how to sponsor a child. If you are interested, you need to put a comment in the comment section that you want a child from Nicaragua -05 project or Tipitapa. You will be sent a child’s bio and photo along with a welcome booklet that explains the HFC program in detail.

Jeff Anderson, pastor of the Janesville church, has resigned and will be leaving to take an administrative position with his Alma Mater, Vennard College in Iowa. Jeff and Betsy and their family have been at Janesville for eight years, steadily growing and refocusing the church every year. Their last Sunday will be August 12. We wish them the very best as they prepare for a new chapter in their lives. Remember to pray for the Janesville church as they prepare for this transition.

Dates for your Information

July 29 Gull Lake – LeRoy Drake Retirement Sunday

July 30-Aug. 4 Senior High Camp
August 4 Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana visit
August 9-11 Willow Creek Leadership Summit
August 11 Jason/Alya – Transformation City
August 12 Our Savior’s, Mukwonago visit

Leading a great team.

Your Servant,

Dan Bickel
Wisconsin District Superintendent

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 7/17/07

Pastor Alan and Irene Tripp started ministry at the Burr and Valley churches before our second son was even born. Last weekend the two churches honored them for 25 years of faithful ministry. Alan and Irene’s entire family was there. The people had planned all of the events and services for the day, leaving the Tripps with nothing to do but show up and smile a lot. Following the two services, a dinner was served at the Valley church. Then, it was back up the hill for cake and a reception in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day. Two congregations really appreciate their pastor. And two people, Pastor Alan and Irene Tripp, really love their congregations. Congratulations to Pastor Alan and Irene on good, faithful and fruitful ministry. And congratulations to the Burr and Valley churches for being the kind of good, healthy congregations that make it possible for a pastor to survive and thrive in a long term ministry!

News and Notes

Speaking of celebrations, the Hayward Wesleyan church had a special celebration for Pastor Ben and Lois Drown, in honor of their 50 years of ministry in the Wesleyan church. After having served congregations as the lead pastor in Wisconsin, Pastor Ben “sort of retired” and moved to Hayward to serve on staff. Not knowing the meaning of ‘slow down’, he jumped in and has done pastoral care there ever since. Congratulations to Ben and Lois. We celebrate, along with them, the faithfulness and the way they have served the Lord and His church.

At the end of this month, Les and Linda Burch will be leaving for Colorado to take a pastorate there. Les has been working through the ministerial preparation courses and has almost completed the work. They have been members of the Sand Lake Wesleyan church, serving as lay people there while preparing for ministry. We wish them well. Pray for them in their move and as they start their ministry there.

Jesse and Krissy Hamble are leaving Red Cedar the end of the summer. Jesse grew up in northern Wisconsin, worked in Rice Lake and eventually came on staff as the Pastor of Celebration Arts. After giving really good leadership on staff, they feel called to full-time music ministry on the road. Pray for them as they transition out of the local church and go on the road.

Please pray for Paul and Beth Myers and both of their families. Paul is assistant pastor at Hales Corners Wesleyan. Last Wednesday Beth’s grandmother fell, hit her head, and died later on that evening. Sunday night Paul’s grandmother died at the hospice she was at. The disease she had caused her body to quit producing blood platelets. She passed away in her sleep.

Nicaragua Youth Ministry Team – Great Story!

A couple of weeks ago we had a great team of teenagers come to Nicaragua to do a series of vacation Bible schools in area churches. Included in each VBS was a station in which the children received a new pair of shoes. One of the churches really used the event to leverage its own outreach to unchurched kids in the community. Here’s the story from missionary Mike Knox:

At the end of the week there were some shoes leftover. In the past we've given them to other churches or schools. But this year we decided to try something different. One of our pastoral couples, Alfonso and Connie, have a "pulperia"--a little store--in their home. Connie used to sell clothes on the street but when her manager asked her to move to a route in a more dangerous part of the city, she decided to open the pulperia instead. They have done well, and have been making monthly payments on a refrigerator that they bought from the mission for their business. The money from the sale of the fridge goes back to the national church to be made available for other micro-loans. So this year, looking for another way to maximize the benefits of the shoes, the youth team agreed to give the leftovers to Connie to sell in her little store, but with the understanding that one half of all the profits would go back to the national church to augment the micro-loan fund.

Mike Knox dropped in to visit Connie and Alfonso a few days later, and Connie told him this great story: Three years ago she had a dream that someone gave her a boat-load of shoes to sell. She shared the dream with her family and a couple of friends and it became something of a running refrain between her and one friend that when they would run into one another on occasion, she would say, "I'm still waiting for my shoes!" Connie told Mike that she had just recently run into this friend and she had told him, as usual, "I'm still waiting for my shoes!" So when Mike delivered about 100 pairs of shoes to her a few days later, it was a surprise but not totally unexpected. The Lord had given her a vision three years earlier that one day He would provide her with a bunch of shoes to sell.

God is at work in Nicaragua, as He is all over the world. Thanks to many, many of you for your prayers and gifts to help establish a new Wesleyan district in Central America.

Dates for your Information

July 22 Beulah – Dennis Jones Installation
July 29 Gull Lake – LeRoy Drake Retirement Sunday

July 30-Aug. 4 Senior High Camp
August 4 Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana visit
August 9-11 Willow Creek Leadership Summit
August 11 Jason/Alya – Transformation City
August 12 Our Savior’s, Mukwonago visit

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 7/11/2007

Saturday evening and Sunday at the end of June were beautiful days of celebration for 90 years of ministry for the Gull Lake church. Saturday evening was highlighted by a pig (and we’re talking the whole thing) roast and a concert. Sunday morning featured a lot of music and the sharing of memories by congregants and former pastors Rev. Russell Buck and John Heavilin. Rev. O.S. Warner and a layman, Frank Hotchkiss, opened and pioneered the work at Gull Lake in 1917. For a number of years the church was on a circuit with the Chitimo church, located east of Minong. Now, after 90 years of faithful service, they have come to realize that times have changed, the community has changed, and the demographics have changed. 19 different pastors have served the church alongside many faithful lay people. The past 15 have been under Rev. LeRoy Drake’s leadership. It is with some sadness that they have come to the end of this chapter, but it is also a celebration of the lives that have been changed over the years and the anticipation of investing the talents and resources of the people and the facilities to assist and plant other congregations in the future.

Nothin’

That’s how much work I did for the district for a whole week. Lots. That’s how much time I spent with family. Brent and Laura and our first grandson Jackson came for a few days, so I got to do the ‘grandpa’ thing. It was wonderful! Brice and his girlfriend Brittany came for about four days. On Friday he asked her to marry him and she said “yes”, so we are going to have a new daughter-in-law sometime next spring. That was wonderful! Then, last weekend we had the Bickel reunion – mom and dad, six kids and their families. You can imagine the zoo that was. Well, maybe you can’t. Anyway, that was wonderful, too.

News and Notes


Please continue to pray for Mary Coolidge as she deals with the loss of her husband and colleague in ministry, Skip. She is taking a short respite from ministry. Jack Martiny, assistant at Mt. Pisgah, will be ministering to the Woodland congregation during this time.

The fall Medical Team to Nicaragua is now recruiting for team members. The dates are September 5-13, 2007. Information can be accessed at the Eau Claire Wesleyan church's web site: http://www.ecwesleyan.net/. Contact Hannah Peterson for further information at kentandhannah1@hotmail.com or call 715-878-4961. Applications should be sent to Hannah Peterson as soon as possible. Both medical and non-medical people are needed. People can contribute used eyeglasses and new toothbrushes.

Dates for your Information

July 8 Vacation
July 15 Burr/Valley
July 22 Beulah – Dennis Jones Installation
July 29 Gull Lake – LeRoy Drake Retirement Sunday

July 30-Aug. 4 Senior High Camp
August 4 Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana visit
August 9-11 Willow Creek Leadership Summit
August 11 Jason/Alya – Transformation City
August 12 Our Savior’s, Mukwonago visit

Leading a great team.

Your Servant,

Dan Bickel
Wisconsin District Superintendent

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Team Wisconsin Update 6/27/2007

I had a good day with Pastor Bob Streeter and the Pisgah congregation and leadership team. Following a good worship hour we headed for the fellowship hall, shared lunch and had a good conversation about the “12 church health profile factors”, identifying the top and bottom three – the strength areas and the growth areas. Pastor Bob has continued to lead the church in numerical, financial, and spiritual growth. They continue to see new people coming to the church and coming to Christ. In about a month they are planning to start a Saturday night service with a whole different style and approach to the service. Their desire is to try to reach more and different people through this new ministry. They have also brought on a part-time person to assist in the ministry. Jack and Jeanie Martiny, Bob’s father and mother in law, have moved to the area to help with the work.

Sunday afternoon I had the privilege of visiting Dorothy Clark in her apartment and presented her with the 50 years of service award as an ordained minister in Wisconsin. Dorothy was unable to make it to District conference where the awards were given. Dorothy has pastored in this district and is now a member of the Mt. Pisgah Wesleyan Church. She has just recently found out that she has pancreatic cancer and it has spread to the lungs. Please add Dorothy to your prayer list during this time.

News and Notes

Middle School Camp is happening this week at Riverside Camp. I paid a visit to this first ever middle school camp. They have over 110 campers with about 30 staff. These numbers have already maxed out the facilities. The speaker did a great job speaking and the teens are having a great time. Jeremy Mavis and the workers have done a wonderful job in preparing and pulling this week off for the group. Pray for the staff to survive the week and for God to impact these young, impressionable hearts with the gospel.

The Youth Nicaraguan Missions team is also happening this week, until Friday, June 29. Thanks for your prayers as they wrap up their trip, ministering to, and alongside the Nicaraguans to help make a difference for the Lord and the Wesleyan church there in Nicaragua.

The fall Medical Team to Nicaragua is now recruiting for team members. The dates are September 5-13, 2007. Information can be accessed at the Eau Claire Wesleyan church's web site: http://www.ecwesleyan.net/. Contact Hannah Peterson for further information at http://us.f592.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=kentandhannah1@hotmail.com or call 715-878-4961. Applications should be sent to Hannah Peterson as soon as possible. Both medical and non-medical people are needed. People can contribute used eyeglasses and new toothbrushes.

The 2007 Annual District Conference is history. Here are some snapshot highlights:
· Church planting offering of $1,775
· One of 300 award to Rice Lake Red Cedar for Hispanic church ministry launch (This is their 2nd one in 8 years)
· Commissioning and announcement of two more church plants to be launched this year – Jason Butler and Transformation City, and a 2nd Hispanic in Milwaukee.
· Two great messages and rallies with Mick Veach
· Celebration of LeRoy Drake’s retirement and 43 years of ministry in Wisconsin
· 50 years of service awards to Dorothy Clark, David Crail, John Clarke, John Heavilin, Ben Drown and Russell Buck
· Eagle Awards to Daniel Munoz and Iglesia Wesleyana (67% increase), Kevin O’Connor and Northern Lakes (30% increase) and Milt Van Natta and Baker Street (13% increase)
· The ordination of six people – Chris Atkins, Jeff Bond, Heath Davis, Chris Javner, Daniel Munoz, and Milt Van Natta. This may be the first time we’ve ever ordained six at one district conference.

Thank you to Pastor Jim Maness, Jeff Bond and the entire staff and congregation of Sand Lake for a great job in hosting the event!

Dates for your Information

June 21-29 Nicaragua Youth Ministry Team
June 24-29 Middle School Camp
June 30-July 1 Gull Lake 90th Anniversary Celebration Weekend

July 8 Vacation
July 15 Burr/Valley
July 22 Beulah – Dennis Jones Installation
July 29 Gull Lake – LeRoy Drake Retirement Sunday

July 30-Aug. 4 Senior High Camp
August 9-11 Willow Creek Leadership Summit