Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wisconsin Team Update 7-17-08

Baker Street

Sunday, June 22 was a good day at Baker Street Community Church in Wisconsin Rapids. Pastor Milt and his wife, Kaye, work together as a team to serve this local church and community. Milt has given good leadership to this congregation since taking the reins. They purchased a new property on a main road and have been gradually upgrading the property to make it more attractive and more useful for their ministry. Since January, the church has gone to two services, a legacy service and a celebration praise service. I had the privilege of preaching in both of them. In the first service one gentleman led the music and in the second service there was an eight member worship team and band that led. In addition to Lonnie Selje and Andrea Tweedie who oversee the administration and children’s ministry, there are two other volunteer ministry leaders – Noel Hubler and Al Wagner. Al is a retired minister who just moved back to Wisconsin and Noel, Lonnie and Andrea are in the preparation process for ministry. Even though the church hit a couple of speed bumps this year that slowed them down, they are excited about the future and continue to have a vision to reach people for Christ, minister to people in need and expand the kingdom through church multiplication.

Welcome Back Mike & Amy!
Mike and Amy Knox have arrived back in the states from Nicaragua. Mike attended the district conference, giving greetings and a brief update on Nicaragua. We are excited to have them back and look forward to their visits to the Wisconsin churches throughout this next year. Please pray for them as they re-acclimate to the US, travel this year, and find times of spiritual and physical refreshment.

District Conference
We had a great District Conference. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, who was elected in June as the first female General Superintendent in the Wesleyan Church presided over the District Conference and preached the Ordination Service. I continually thank God for the truly great team we have here in Wisconsin, and am looking forward to a wonderful year as we focus on our vision of healthy leaders, healthy churches, new churches in Wisconsin, and new churches in the world.

Hales Corner
Don Towle, pastor of the Hales Corners Wesleyan church in the Milwaukee area, has given his resignation. He and Andrea have been there for five years, giving, sacrificing and serving to try and refocus the church. They have returned to California, where they have children and grandchildren. Please pray for them and the people of Hales Corners Wesleyan during this difficult time for them. Next month, five people from the church are going on their first missions’ trip. They are a part of the summer team traveling to Honduras.

Thank you for your continued prayers for
• Transformation City and Jason Butler as they prepare for their fall launch
• Woodland and Pastor Mary Coolidge in their transition
• Sand Lake and Northern Lakes in their search for a pastor
• Eastman and Pastor Fred Whyte in their transition
• Hales Corners and Pastor Don Towle in their transition
• Baraboo Jubilee and Pastor Josh Hilty in their transition
• Honduras Youth Missions Trip, July 14-21

Leading a great team. Your servant, Dan Bickel, Wisconsin District Superintendent.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 6-20-08


Last Sunday I had the privilege of being with the Janesville congregation to install and welcome Pastor Paul Wilczek and his family. They arrived about three weeks ago from Western New York and are excited to start leading in Janesville. Paul and Tammy have three children living at home with them. They are returning to New York this week for their daughter’s dance recital and to work on the sale of their home. Richard and Jan Concklin have been serving as an interim pastor there since the past left last fall. The congregation had an appreciation dinner last month for them and presented them with a beautiful album full of pictures, letters and memories of their time there. I have high appreciation and regard for Richard and Jan for their willingness to love and serve congregations in times of transition. Welcome, Paul and Tammy.

Activities and Events

This past week I’ve met with two other boards who are in transition. We would appreciate your prayers as they begin working through the transitional issues as leaders.

I also had the privilege of spending Monday with Pastors Juan Morillo and Jorge Valle, along with their sons, as we traveled north to the middle school camp and to meet with Enrique Montenegro in Hayward. It was a great opportunity to get to know Pastor Jorge, who is wanting to affiliate with the Wesleyan church. Pastor Juan’s two sons, Zee and Daniel, attended the middle school camp this week – their first one in the United States for them. Monday evening we were hosted by the Hayward Wesleyan church for a fiesta and a service. David and the worship band led the music and Enrique shared a little about the country and the work there in Nicaragua. It was a good connection for he and the pastors from Milwaukee. Also, on our way up north we made a quick stop and met with Pastor Todd and the leader of the Hispanic work being done in Rice Lake out of the Red Cedar church. The Red Cedar church has fixed up a house behind the church to be used for Bible studies and English as a second language classes.

Also, on Saturday, Reenie and I spend the day in Milwaukee in meetings with pastors. We met with Pastor Jason and Alya Butler from the Transformation City church, along with their new intern from Bethany and the new couple that has moved to Milwaukee to work along side of the Butlers to help plant the new church. They now have 25-30 people meeting regularly with them and they are gearing up for their ‘official’ launch this fall. Tim and Sommer Nelson have felt led for almost a year to come to Milwaukee to be part of the leadership. Tim is a graduate of Fuller and Sommer is an attorney. We also met with Pastor Don and Andrea Towle that afternoon.


Please pray for the District Conference this week – Thursday and Friday.

Please pray for the Woodland church and Mary Coolidge. Due to health issues, she is stepping out of ministry for a while.

Please pray for Eastman as they begin the search for a new pastor after the retirement of Fred Whyte.

Please continue to pray for Sand Lake and Northern Lakes as they continue their search for a pastor.

Please pray for Chopper Brown and the staff as they prepare for the Senior High Camp that starts Sunday, June 29.


June 22 Baker St.

June 25 DBA

June 26-7 Dist. Conference

June 29-July 4 High School Camp, Riverside Camp

July 7-14 Youth Nicaragua Trip

July 13 Westbrooke Visit

Casa de Restauracion Launch Sunday, 3 PM

July 14-21 Youth Honduras Trip

Dan Bickel

Wisconsin District Superintendent

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Our Saviors
Last Sunday I spent a good part of the day with Pastor Gerry Krupp and the congregation at Our Saviors. They have two services, but will combine them during the summer. Wenda Krupp is their worship leader, but, due to illness, Pastor Gerry and the team stepped in and did a good job leading the music. Neal Moss shared some words of appreciation about the pastors and Pastor Stevan and Pastor Gerry both received a check to express gratitude and appreciation from the congregation for their leadership. For dinner I had the opportunity to share a meal with Gerry and his newest staff person, Karen Scheel and her husband Dan. Karen has come on staff to do pastoral care and counseling as well as giving leadership to other areas, including the women’s ministry. Dan is a business man who also is the president of a missions organization that helps provide training to pastors and leaders in India.

Kevin O’Connor

Kevin and Carol O’Connor will be leaving for Asheville, NC after Father’s Day Sunday, June 15th. Kevin has felt directed to move there to start a new congregation. He and Carol have done a wonderful job these last 6 years to carve out a new beachhead for the kingdom in Cumberland, WI. Northern Lakes was a daughter church from Rice Lake Red Cedar, who supplied them with one of their worship teams as the group to help start the ministry. We wish Kevin and Carol the very best in their ministry as they follow the dream God has given them.

Fred Whyte

As many of you know, Fred Whyte, pastor at Eastman, had a heart attack several weeks ago. He is recovering very well, but will be retiring from full-time ministry, beginning this summer. Fred and Sandy have been at Eastman for three years and have served this congregation faithfully. Pray for them as they begin the transition to a new home and a new chapter in their lives. Also pray for the Eastman congregation as they begin a pastoral search.

Please Pray For

· Churches in transition – Sand Lake, Northern Lakes, and Eastman.

· General Conference—June 6-11. The church delegates and leaders will gather to choose leaders and make future-impacting decisions for the church at large.

· Kids Camp, which will be held next week. Pray for Jeremy Mavis, his staff and all the children that it will be a life-changing week.

· Middle School and High School Camps taking place later this month.

· District Conference—June 26-27. Pray that God will be present to encourage and inspire us to fulfill the vision He has given us to grow and expand the kingdom.


7-11 General Conference
9-13 North & South Kids Camps
15 Janesville—Paul Wilczek Installation
15-20 Middle School Camp
22 Baker Street Annual Visit
26-27 District Conference
29—July 4 Senior High Camp

7-14 Nicaragua Youth Missions Trip
14-21 Honduras Youth Missions Trip

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yes, the town is in another district and another state – North Dakota – at least 14 hours away, but that is where we were last Sunday.  We traveled there to continue building a relationship with a potential future IWU alumnus – our grandson, Jackson.  Before celebrating his first birthday party, we worked on and completed several projects around the home and enjoyed spending time with our son Brent, his wife, Laura and, of course, Jackson.  We enjoyed attending church at New Hope where Brent is the Family Life pastor.
Church Planting
The last day and a half was spent with the General Director of Evangelism and Church Growth, Phil Stevenson, and a specially appointed committee to work on strategic planning for planting churches in our district.  Craig Cooper, our district E & CG Director, worked to set up this very productive meeting.  I so appreciate his leadership in this area. We rejoiced over the new congregations the Lord has helped us to establish and the ones that are in the process right now.  Part of our dream continues to be to plant at least 20 new churches by 2020.
I recently met with Juan and Daniel where they introduced me to another potential church planting pastor from El Salvador, who has moved to Wisconsin.  Please continue to pray for our Spanish-speaking church plants.

Thank you for your continuing financial support and prayers for expanding the kingdom through new congregations.
Paul Wilczek—Paul and his family recently arrived in Janesville where Paul will be pasturing the church.
Tim Nelson—Tim and his wife have moved to Milwaukee to work with Jason and Alya Butler in the planting of Transformation City. 

We welcome you to the Wisconsin District!

We have some sad news from Nicaragua.  Pastor Reina of the Rosa de Saron (Rose of Sharon) church in Los Laureles, lost her husband, Cesar Gaitan, to a stroke.  Cesar provided for his family through farming and, in addition to their grieving his loss, this will be a blow to the family financially.  They have a daughter, son and 16-month old granddaughter.  Please pray for Pastor Reina, her family and the church.
Also, continue to remember Mike and Amy Knox as they and their three children prepare to leave Nicaragua and return to Wisconsin for this year.  They will be back in the states next month.
New Baby
We can all celebrate with Ben and Ingrid Kidder, pastor of The River Church in Minong.  They have a baby boy, Blaise Barnabas Kidder, born last Wednesday. He entered the world at a whopping 10# 11 oz. and extended the tape measure to 22 inches.  Congratulations to Ben and Ingrid.  That made for quite a memorable memorial day weekend.
Please continue to remember the special events coming in June – General Conference, District Conference, and our children, middle school and high school camps.


1 Our Savior’s Annual Visit
7-11 General Conference
9-13 North & South Kids Camps
15 Janesville—Paul Wilczek Installation
15-20 Middle School Camp
22 Baker Street Annual Visit
26 Westbrooke Annual Visit
26 Casa de Restauracion Visit
26-27 District Conference
29—July 4 Senior High Camp

7-14 Nicaragua Youth Missions Trip
14-21 Honduras Youth Missions Trip

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



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 5-14-08


It was a wonderful Mother’s Day as I had the privilege of dropping in at the home church to worship with Pastor David Treloar and the Lakeshore church family.  Pastor David preached a good message, as he always does.  He is in a series on the Home entitled “Housework.”  This week was on the Office; he spoke on finances, giving some good Biblical foundation and sharing John Wesley’s three principles on money – “Earn all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can.”  I also had the opportunity to hear Jeff Lennberg for the first time leading worship at Lakeshore.  Jeff and his family have felt led to begin ministry preparation with the Wesleyan church and to begin worshipping and working with Lakeshore.  He does a good job and it was a delight to visit with he and his family.

A special treat for us was to have our son and his family here.  Brent, Laura and Jackson stopped in on their way to Indiana where Brent is taking his last master’s class at Indiana Wesleyan University. 
Congratulations to Pastor Russell and Margaret Wooten! They have welcomed their 18th grandchild, Judah Reagan Clipner, into the world this past week. Mom and Dad (their daughter and son-in-law Kenny & Michelle), and all five brothers and sisters are doing great.  Grandma and Grandpa Wooten are pretty excited, too.
Nica News

The Knoxes and Eckhardts had a special time of retreat in Matagalpa recently.  The Knox family will be returning to the United States next month for a year of travel and connecting with churches and supporters.

The work team from Sheridan, WY was a huge blessing to the construction project at Mount Horeb.  The project is about 50% complete.  Mount Horeb is the location of one of three schools we have in Nicaragua and there is a church there as well.  Three people from the Mount Horeb church were baptized last weekend

The newly planted church at Matagalpa in northern Nicaragua has been given the use of a house to hold services.  This is a huge praise because the rainy season starts soon and they have been meeting on top of a ridge in the great outdoors.  There were over 80 people there in attendance last week.
Please pray for:

Sand Lake and Northern Lakes Churches in the pastoral search process.

General Conference and District Conference in June.

The summer camps (two Children’s, Middle School and Senior High).

Mary Coolidge, who remains in the hospital in Superior.

Debbie Hoover, Projects Director of World Hope, and wife of Chesapeake Dist. Supt.

Stan Hoover (and also Dan and Reenie’s sister-in-law) who will be having surgery on Friday.

Shelley Berry, wife of South Coastal Dist. Supt. Dan Berry as she continues to recover from the serious automobile accident. You can read of her progress and specific requests at 

14 Nicaraguan Partnership Committee
17 DBMD Meeting
18 Woodland Visit
19-25 Vacation
28 Church Planting Strategic Planning

Summer Camps & Conferences

7-11 General Conference
9-13 North & South Kids Camps
15-20 Middle School Camp 26-27 District Conference
29—July 4 Senior High Camp

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Eastman is a small town in the southwestern part of Wisconsin. The beautiful brick church sits along the main drag and is one of three churches in the town. I had the privilege of speaking on Sunday, then sharing a meal with the congregation and meeting with their LBA. Pastor Fred and Sandy were called there three years ago and have worked faithfully and hard to build the congregation. The congregation is unique in that almost all of the church is made up of those in the farming industry and almost all families home school their children. They have an active children’s, youth and young adult ministry that meets weekly. It was good to catch up with Fred and see that he is recovering very well from the heart attack he had just a short time ago. He reports that there appears to be minimal damage and he expects an almost full recovery in a few weeks. That is a remarkable thing, considering his heart stopped and he almost died twice. Thank the Lord for His touch and grace on Pastor Fred.

Year End Deadlines!

· May 10 (postmark) USF payments for the past fiscal year.

· May 15 all Annual Service Reports.

· May 31 all other reports (statistical, delegates, leaders, etc.)

Promptness in reporting is not only required; it is greatly appreciated.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

· Pastor Mary Coolidge who was rushed to the hospital to stabilize her because of problems with her medication

· Pastor Fred Whyte as he continues to heal from the heart attack.

· Northern Lakes Church and Sand Lake Church in the continuing search for a pastor.

· The upcoming General Conference in June.

· Our annual District Conference.

· Our children’s camps, middle school camp, and high school camp coming in June.


May 11 Drop-in Visit (Mother’s Day)
14 Nicaraguan Partnership Committee
17 DBMD Meeting
18 Woodland Visit
19-25 Vacation
28 Church Planting Strategic Planning

Summer Camps and Conferences

June 7-11 General Conference
9-13 North & South Kids Camps
15-20 Middle School Camp
26-27 District Conference
29—July 4 Senior High Camp

Friday, May 2, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 5-2-08

The past two weeks we connected with West Allis in southern Wisconsin & Stone Lake in northern Wisconsin. 

West Allis
West Allis has combined their two services and blended the elements and style into one.  Pastor Peter and Peggy have been at West Allis for 19 years now, having raised their two children there, and helping to raise foster children in recent years.  While Peter pastors the church, Peggy works in a local school system as a physical therapist.  A number of people have been called into vocational ministry under their leadership. 

Stone Lake
Stone Lake continues to be led by supply pastor Don Berry, now in his 9th year there.  Don and Bea Berry, who live in Rice Lake, have led the congregation in beginning a Monday evening kids’ ministry and completing a beautiful education/fellowship addition to the original church.  They just recently took in 13 members with a few more to be added soon.  I had the privilege of meeting with the leadership team there and talking about their vision for the future.

Spiritual Formation

Heath Davis, our adult spiritual formation director, along with Jeremy and Chopper, have a blogspot and I would encourage you to check it out regularly at Heath is the main writer/contributor and I’m sure you’ll find his thoughts interesting and encouraging.  There are also several links to information and resources that can be helpful in your work to help grow and mature the Christ-followers in your care.
Congratulations to the Tripps
Pastor Alan Tripp writes, “Just want you to know that we have another blessing in our family.  Sarah Beth made her debut on April 27th weighing in at 9 lbs. 3 oz. and 21 inches long.  She arrived by c-section, but mom and baby are doing good.  Ruth is enthralled with her little sister and will be more help than mom needs.  It would help if Ruth understood what the term "gentle" means.”  Sarah Beth is Alan and Irene Tripp’s granddaughter, the daughter of their son Steven and his wife Tori.  Steven has just recently become a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University.
District Board of Administration
The DBA met a couple of weeks ago and dealt mainly with missional issues such as developing churches, church planting and how to provide the financial support for a missional vision.  As we prepare for our annual conference, we are praying and planning for a wonderful time together. 
Camps and Conferences
Also, as we begin the required reporting process for the past year of ministry, and continue to look to the future, please pray for the camps and conferences:

General Conference June 7-11
North and South Kids camps June 9-13
Middle School camp June 15-20
District Conference June 26-27
Senior High camp June 29-July 4

District Calendar


4 Eastman Visit & LBA
6 Nominating Committee Meeting
11 Drop-in Visit (Mother’s Day)
14 Nicaraguan Partnership Committee
17 DBMD Meeting
18 Woodland Visit
19-25 Vacation
28 Church Planting Strategic Planning

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


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 4-16-08


It took me three years to find Valton without making a phone call ahead of time. This small town in southwestern Wisconsin, under the good leadership of Pastor Terry Woirol, continues to grow and make an impact on their community. I had the privilege of speaking in their worship service last Sunday. The sanctuary was nearly packed and it was a good time of worship with the congregation. Valton continues to oversee a significant ministry to help those in need in their community. They are very active in missions. This year they will give 10% of the church’s income to church planting in the district! Every month they have an ecumenical men’s breakfast with several churches in the area. The church has expanded and upgraded their facilities several times to create more ministry space. They are just beginning to talk about where to add or build larger worship space. Pastor Terry and Lori have been there for 14 years. They have three children – one married, one engaged and one in high school. And, they are proud grandparents, too. In the afternoon I met with the Valton LBA and had a dialogue time with Pastor Terry.

Mt. Pisgah

I met with the Mt. Pisgah LBA Sunday evening and caught up on their exciting news. Mt. Pisgah hit over 200 last Sunday with their new Saturday evening and their Sunday morning service.

End of Year Reports & Plans for New District Year

Earlier in the week I spent several hours with our wonderful district treasurer, Vernon Woods, to go over that fun stuff called “budget”. Sharon, his wife, was a wonderful hostess, as always, and fed me well! We have a wonderful and committed district treasurer, who sacrificially gives a lot of time to serve our district.

It’s hard to believe we are coming to the close of another conference year and all of the wonderful things that come along with it – like year-end reports. Pastors, district leaders and delegates will soon be receiving information about the district conference, ordination, and reports deadlines.


Continue to remember Sand Lake and Northern Lakes in the pastoral search process.

Pray for Gary Maness, interim pastor at Sand Lake. His father is very ill and he has flown to St. Louis to be with him.

Continue to pray for Erma Clarke, who lost her husband, John, recently.



19 DBA

20 West Allis Visit

25-26 Minnesota Men’s Retreat

27 Stone Lake Visit, LBA

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

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 4-9-08

Spooner & The River
Last weekend I had the privilege of dropping in on two northern churches – Spooner and The River. Pastor Ron and Pastor Chopper are giving good leadership to the Spooner Church that continues to make an impact on their community. The church continues to be a leading supporter of Mike and Amy Knox and missions. They are also a leading supporter of the new River Church in Minong, with several of their families becoming a part of this new church.

The River Church officially kicked off a year ago at Easter and they are continuing to grow by touching people throughout the county. Since starting they have gone to two services and are planning on purchasing the building they have been meeting in, with plans to upgrade and expand over the next several months. Pastor Ben is giving good leadership. Ben and Ingrid’s new baby is due in about a month..

LBA Meetings

Over the weekend I also met with three boards. Pastor Dwayne and the Eau Claire Church continues to experience growing pains in their facility and are wrestling with decisions about future expansion and the possibility of church planting. At Rice Lake High Point, I met with Pastor Channing and the leadership team to discuss their present situation and ministry future. They are in their second year of refocusing on developing church status. I also met with the Northern Lakes leadership team to talk about the transition they are facing with the resignation of Pastor Kevin O’Connor. Pastor Kevin will be going to plant a church in North Carolina. We are praying and working for the Lord’s direction for the new leader for this new, developing church.

Monday Reenie and I met with a pastoral couple to talk about ministry. I also had a lunch meeting with Craig Cooper, our district Evangelism and Church Growth Director, to go over budget and to prepare for the church planting strategic planning meeting with Phil Stevenson in May.

News and Notes

Please pray for:

· Ben and Ingrid Kidder as they prepare for the birth of their child in early May.

· Fred Whyte who had a heart attack last week, and is now home recuperating. The prognosis for a full recovery is excellent.

· The Sand Lake and Northern Lakes churches as we continue to search for the next pastor/leader.

· Erma Clarke who recently lost her husband, Rev. John Clarke, a long time pastor in the Wisconsin District.

· Our newest church planter, Juan Morillo, and his family, as they prepare to settle in Waukesha and plant our second Hispanic ministry.

· Our recent church planter Jason Butler and Transformation City as they bring on additional leaders and supporters in Milwaukee.

· God to continue to open up new places to start new congregations in Wisconsin.


April 10 Budget Meeting

13 Valton LBA, Dialogue

13 Mt. Pisgah LBA

19 DBA

20 West Allis Visit

25-26 Minnesota Men’s Retreat

27 Stone Lake Visit, LBA

Friday, March 21, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 3-18-08

High Point

I had a good day with Pastor Channing and Esther last Sunday. They are working with a developing church in Rice Lake, with a vision to turn the ministry around. There was a good spirit in the service and the facilities looked very clean and well-kept. There are some new couples who have begun to connect with the ministry there. Pray for Channing as he continues to lead this refocusing effort.

John Clarke

Remember to pray for Erma Clarke and family. A long time pastor and friend of the Wisconsin District, John Clarke, passed away last week in La Crosse. He continued to serve at the Sand Lake Church as long as he was physically able. The viewing will be Sunday evening, 6:00-8:00 p.m. and the funeral service will be Monday, March 17 at 11:00 a.m., both at the Sand Lake Wesleyan Church.

Easter Offering

We want to again encourage our churches to take an offering for church planting in the springtime, sometime around Easter. It doesn’t have to be on Easter Sunday. These monies are an important resource for the Evangelism and Church Growth Department to continue to encourage and push the church planting efforts of the denomination. The Wisconsin District, along with others, benefits from these resources, as we plant new congregations.

Nicaragua Partnership

This winter’s medical team, the 14th team to go from Wisconsin, was made up of support members Marcy Keup, Todd Keup, Carole Malinoski, Neal Moss, Cindy Terry, Katie Toraason, and RN’s Kathy Dettle, Laura Pulda, Leah Herstad Schmitz, Kim Striber, Gail Thielman, Suzie Ulmer, and Medical Dr. David Taylor. They were joined by the missionaries Eckhardts and Knoxes, Nicaraguan medical students and translators, Dr. Arauz and the local Wesleyan pastors. Dr. Bob Christie, a dentist, also worked with the team in Malacatoya. Nicaraguan church members assisted by organizing, packing medicine, entertaining children and preparing a noon meal for the workers. Six days of clinics were held and over 1,900 people were treated with health consultations that included medication and health education. Every family received a copy of the gospel of John and the children received Bible story cards. A lot of prayer takes place before, during and after the clinics. Through conversations and invitations throughout the day, people are invited to accept Jesus Christ into their lives. District Superintendent Enrique Montenegro reported that several people accepted Christ and a number of people have been invited to church. Huge kudos to everyone who helped make the trip a life-changing week for many people and for the kingdom.

Focus Tour

Last week about 30 pastors and staff participated in a wonderful day of learning and encouragement with presenters Jim Dunn and Phil Stevenson. The day consisted of pastoral and leadership spiritual formation issues along with challenges to strategically move ahead with expanding the kingdom through church multiplication. Our leaders went away with new ideas and new motivation to be proactive in caring for themselves as leaders and starting new churches. Jim Dunn and Phil Stevenson are general directors of the Spiritual Formation and Evangelism and Church Growth Departments of the Wesleyan Church.



15-16 Mt. Pisgah Visit

17-20 DS Institute, GBA

23 Easter Sunday

25—4/1 Vacation (our son’s wedding)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 3-4-08

I was privileged to be with Lead Pastor Craig Cooper, his staff and congregation this past weekend. They have three services - one on Saturday and two on Sunday. Everyone has their role and does their part well throughout the weekend. Pastor Todd Arneson oversees the missions, connections and congregational care. Pastor Jeff Semple leads worship and takes care of the creative arts. Pastor Heather Semple oversees all spiritual formation. Pastor Brandon Willis works in student ministries and also shares some of the teaching and discipleship classes. Reenie and I were privileged to connect with each of them sometime over the weekend. There is an excitement about the future. People are coming to Christ. There is a group of youth preparing to go with the Nicaragua youth missions team this summer. Pastor Craig continues to give good leadership, along with his staff, to moving Red Cedar into the future. Pray for them as they do their major outreach at Easter at the High school auditorium and as they determine their future needs for facilities and additional space.


Here are some things you can celebrate and pray about that are happening in Nicaragua:

• The medical team returned from Nicaragua last week and you’ll be hearing an update next week.

• The Nicaragua Bible Institute has begun its new year of classes. Jim Eckhardt is teaching a class on

Pastoral Ethics and Mike Knox is teaching the Introduction to the New Testament.

• The Amigos del Rey church in Tipitapa is holding services in Matagalpa. The church is averaging 70 people and there are 5 new believers.

• A work team from the New Life Wesleyan Church in Gillette, WY was in Nicaragua last month to work on the church in Malacatoya.

• Pray for our three grade schools in Mount Horeb, Las Colinas and Los Amiguitor del Rey. Together there are several hundred students.

• Pray for the new district board, elected in January, and remember District Superintendent Enrique Montenegro as he leads.

• Pray for the Mount Horeb Church and a work group from Sheridan, WY who will be building a kitchen in order to host a feeding program in the future.

Focus Tour

This Thursday, Phil Stevenson and Jim Dunn will be coming to Wisconsin and teaching on how to have spiritual, leadership, principle and outward focus. Pray with us that it will be an encouraging and challenging day.

Easter Offering

Every year around the Easter season we are encouraged and challenged to thinking missionally by giving the people in our churches opportunity to give to assist in church planting. A significant part of our vision as a district and a denomination
is to plant new congregations. The Easter offering is a significant way that we can invest in planting, training, coaching and resourcing. I encourage you to do what you can for church planting. Every pastor has received information and promotional material.


March 4 ................................................. Dialogues

5 ............... Nicaragua Partnership Meeting

6 ............................... Focus Tour (Pastors)

8 ................................... Casa de Dios LBA

9 ........................................ High Point Visit

10 ......................................... The River LBA

11 ................................................. Dialogues

12 ........................................ Lakeshore LBA

13 .................................... Darrow Road LBA

15-16 ........................................ Mt. Pisgah Visit

17-20 .................................... DS Institute, GBA

23 ......................................... Easter Sunday

25—4/1 .................. Vacation (our son’s wedding)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Team Wisconsin Updat 2-26-08

This past Sunday southwestern Wisconsin had the sun shining, there was no major snow storm and the temperature was actually close to freezing – a welcome relief from around 90 inches of snow and cold temperatures, much of which seemed to fall on the weekends. We had a good day with Pastor Dennis and Sela Jones and the Beulah Wesleyan Church. Pastor Dennis played his guitar and sang. He did a great job. I didn’t know it, but he came from a very musical family and was close to launching a musical career before the Lord steered him toward full-time ministry. Another interesting thing that many don’t know is that they also have two Great Danes – and they’re BIG! After lunch and my annual dialogue with Dennis, Reenie and I headed to Minnesota to visit with some good friends and give Reenie a chance to do some shopping before the wedding.

Transformation City

Jason Butler and the new north Milwaukee church plant had their first service back in the Rosebud Theater last Sunday. In addition to the launch team and others, they had 8 people there for the first time. They didn’t reach their numerical goal, but they were encouraged by the response and the fresh start at their new location. One of the things that has happened through the past several months of wrangling with the city fathers is that it has opened doors to communicate the vision and dream with the community and leaders. It has also served to unite and encourage the entire faith community to work together to reach the community with the gospel.


Saturday about a dozen men got helped Pastor Josh refurbish the Jubilee Wesleyan Church in Baraboo. Pastor Josh and Jamie had led the congregation in redoing a lot of the interior and exterior of the building which had fallen into disrepair and was in desperate need of upgrading. An office and nursery have been added upstairs and the entire main level is being insulated and dry-walled, with new windows, lights, and sound system. With the help of Pastor Dwayne and some men from Eau Claire, Pastor Roger Miller, a local carpenter and his son, and a couple of men from the church, the entire ceiling was insulated and sheet rocked. A local reporter even came out, took some pictures and interviewed Josh. The story was on the front page of the paper.

Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana, Casa de Restauracion

I’ve had two meetings with Pastor Juan Morillo and Pastor Daniel Munoz in the past week to discuss the exact location for this new church plant. Waukesha County has the fastest growing Hispanic population in the state of Wisconsin and will soon surpass the total in Milwaukee County and we are feeling this is where we need to move into. Please pray as we look for housing in the Waukesha area and work out a location for the new congregation to meet. They are presently meeting in one of the family’s homes on Saturdays.

Focus Tour

Pastors and staff will be coming from all over Wisconsin next Thursday, March 6 to spend a day with Phil Stevenson and Jim Dunn. The focus will be on the pastors themselves and on being missional churches and a missional district. Please pray that the Lord would speak through and empower the presenters to encourage and challenge us.



26 Red Cedar LBA

27 Dialogues


1-2 Red Cedar Visit

4 Dialogues

5 Nicaragua Partnership Meeting

6 Focus Tour (Pastors)

8 Casa de Dios LBA

9 High Point Visit

10 The River LBA

15-16 Mt. Pisgah Visit

17-20 DS Institute, GBA

23 Easter Sunday

25—4/1 Vacation (our son’s wedding)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 2-20-08

I was privileged to speak at Hayward Wesleyan Church last weekend. Hayward is in north central Wisconsin where, when you stay overnight in a hotel on the weekend there are as many snowmobiles in the parking lot as there are cars. Pastor Mark and his family were in Ohio where he was speaking in his home church, ministering to his family who just recently lost a loved one in a tragic car accident. It was a great opportunity to connect with the staff of the largest church in the Wisconsin District. Pastors Ben, Loretta, Tim, Heath and Jeremy, along with Pastor Mark, are doing a great job leading the church to continued growth. Just a little over a year ago they gave birth to a daughter church in Minong. Their baby church has grown to two services. We are working on property issues because they are already outgrowing the facilities they are renting. Interestingly, as The River church was launched, other churches have contributed people and resources – Spooner, Gull Lake, and Darrow Road. Hayward continues to make an impact in their local community, in Wisconsin, and around the world.

Dialogues & Church LBA’s

This past week I had a good meeting with the Valley and Woodland LBA’s, as well as some good dialogues with pastors. It is exciting to see light bulbs come on and churches catching a vision for what a missional vs. maintenance church looks like.

Special Prayer Items for This Week

1. Transformation City and Jason Butler

Jason and the team are preparing for their Grand Opening Sunday, February 24 at the Rosebud Theatre. Please pray that:

· People who have heard about Transformation City and are not connected to a community of faith will feel compelled to come

· People will hear the message of the Gospel both this Sunday and next

· God would remove obstacles and distractions for people to come and hear the message

· God would surround every aspect of the church

2. Nicaragua Medical Team

Please pray that these last three days would be filled with hope and promise for the hundreds of Nicaraguan who will receive medical attention as well as an opportunity to connect with Christ and the Wesleyan church in Nicaragua.

3. The River Church and Ben Kidder

Please pray that God would give wisdom and direction to this new congregation and the DBA as we work on property and space issues. We need to purchase something, upgrade and expand facilities for the short term, then plan for future property acquisition.


February 20 Dialogues

21 Our Saviors’ LBA

23 Baraboo Jubilee Construction

24 Beulah visit, Dialogue

26 Red Cedar LBA

27 Dialogues

Friday, February 15, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 2-15-08

Last Sunday I was privileged to be at Lakeshore, the church that was restarted about 8 years ago in the Madison area.  Since the original restart in Middleton, the congregation has moved to the southern part of the Madison area.  They are now meeting in Chavez Elementary school and have purchased another home in a growing neighborhood for Pastor David Treloar and his family.  It was another cold and winter storm morning – par for the course here in southern Wisconsin this year.  We had a great time worshipping with the congregation. This has been a year of transition for the Treloars.  After moving to a new home, David’s father and mother came to live in Madison because of the discovery of his Dad’s cancer.  David and Lisa have helped them through the surgery and subsequent therapy.  Reenie and I had the opportunity to share a meal with the family on Saturday evening to catch up with their journey.  Pray especially for them as their LBA meets this weekend to work on vision and strategy for their future.
Sunday evening I went from an extreme winter in Wisconsin to an extremely nice winter in Florida.  The Indiana Wesleyan University Board met for three days to dream, plan and prepare for the future we feel God has for IWU.  The President and cabinet worked together to help develop some strategic initiatives and plans to help the institution fulfill its mission to the Wesleyan Church and impact the world for Christ.  We feel extremely blessed by the Lord for the way He is using this institution to raise up young men and women who are truly becoming world-changers. 
The Nicaragua medical team is there his week, distributing hundreds of pounds of medicine and assisting several thousand patients.  Please pray for this team’s strength and wisdom, that people would see Christ and want to enter into a relationship with Him, and that positive connections would be made with the Wesleyan pastors and churches.  The Wesleyan church in Nicaragua continues to grow.  In the past two years there have been 5 new congregations and preaching points established.  There are now 3 Christian schools.  Mike and Amy Knox and the Eckhardts are giving good leadership to the work there.


February 13-21 Nicaragua Medical Team Trip
17 Hayward visit
18 Dialogue, Woodland LBA
19 Hales Corners LBA
20 Dialogues
21 Our Saviors’ LBA
23 Baraboo Jubilee Construction
24 Beulah visit, Dialogue
26 Red Cedar LBA
27 Dialogues

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 2-8-08

Over There
Thank you for praying for the Pastor’s training trip this year in Nicaragua. This was our 8th trip to invest in leadership training for the pastors and leaders in the local churches and schools there. A great team included Richard & Jan Concklin, Mark Holmes, Brandon Willis and Cindy Terry from Wisconsin and Jim Eckhardt and Mike Knox from the field. We had the opportunity to travel to Matagalpa and see the area where one of the four new churches is being planted. We also toured the school that World Hope and Hillside Wesleyan church have established and built.

There are presently 14 churches and preaching points, along with 3 schools operating in Nicaragua. The Tipitapa church and district are preparing to begin churches in three different areas, along with another school, this next year. We are still working on and praying for the right land and facility to house the district ministry center for office and training.

Please remember to pray especially for the medical ministry team that is heading to Nicaragua February 13-21. We are fulfilling the command of Jesus to minister to those who are sick through these medical teams. We are also beginning to see some fruit through changed lives as a result of this faithful service.

Over Here

The Wisconsin pastors and spouses got together for the annual “Getaway”. It was a wonderful time for everyone and David Holdren, the presenter, did a great job speaking truth into all of our lives. We left refreshed and excited to jump back into ministry.

Eau Claire was my destination last weekend. Pastor Dwayne and his staff – Matt, Chris, and Kathy – continue to give good leadership to the ministry there. It is always a delight for me to stop in where I pastored for 10 years. I saw a lot of friends and new faces. Eau Claire has played a significant role in missions, particularly in Nicaragua. Kent and Hannah Peterson lead two of our ministry teams each year to Nicaragua and there are many people that have gone as team members or assisted in packing meds for the medical team outreach. Thanks, Eau Claire, for your investment in the kingdom both locally and around the world.


February 7 Spooner LBA

9 Janesville LBA

10 Lakeshore visit

10-13 IWU Board Retreat

13-21 Nicaragua Medical Team Trip

16 Hales Corner LBA

17 Hayward visit

18, 20 Dialogues, Woodland LBA

21 Our Saviors’ LBA

24 Beulah visit

26 Red Cedar LBA

27 Dialogues

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 1-9-08

Hillsboro, along with about every other church in southwestern Wisconsin, got majorly snowed out on Christmas Sunday, December 23. So, they did their special Christmas musical presentation on January 6. They did a great job. They even let me preach. It was a very good day with Pastor Roger and Cathy Miller, Pastor Russell and Margaret Wooten and the congregation. I also had the privilege of meeting with their board on Saturday evening. Pastor Miller has been at Hillsboro for 18 years now and has given good leadership to the congregation. About 5 years ago the local high school principal, a board member, started a new ministry to the community. The Wesleyan church was the primary sponsor. They began to serve a free community dinner at Christmas. The first years were held at the church, but it has grown from 100 to 450 and they are now using the local high school. Churches and businesses have gotten involved, donating turkeys and other food. Kudos to Pastor Miller and the congregation.

Thank you

I want to say a big thank you to all of the individuals and local churches that have given to provide scholarships for the annual Pastor’s Training week in Nicaragua. Also, scholarships for the ongoing Theological Education of pastors and leaders continues to come in. One special thanks this year goes to one of our newest church plants, Northern Lakes, who is providing money for four students. What is really cool is that a Hispanic church that meets at Northern Lakes donated $300 to help provide education to pastors in Nicaragua. Thanks Kevin O’Connor and congregations.


As you know, you’ve not received this for a couple of weeks. The Bickels spent several days together over the holidays, both in Indiana and Wisconsin. Two special people are becoming part of us. Brittany Wilson, Brice’s fiancĂ©e, was able to spend Christmas in Wisconsin. She got to experience over two feet of snow on the ground and 0 degree weather. Brice and Brittany will be married the end of March. Jackson Daniel arrived on the scene in June to our son Brent and Laura. We had a wonderful time with everyone. One special moment was having a five generation picture with little Jackson Daniel, father Brent, grandma Reenie, great grandpa Edwin Hoover, and great-great grandma Juanita Hoover.


We would appreciate your continuing prayers for the search teams of Janesville and Sand Lake churches, vice-chairs Phil and Rudy, and interim pastors Gary and Richard.

Pray for the pastoral training team that will be teaching in Nicaragua next week, January 14-21. Team members include team leader Mark Holmes, Richard and Jan Concklin, Brandon Willis, Dan Bickel and translator Cindy Terry. This team will join with missionaries Mike and Amy Knox, Jim and Julie Eckhardt and Nicaraguan Superintendent Enrique Montenegro.


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)