A retreat in Dallas, TX, July 13-15, gathered WDC Church Planting Commission members, church planters, other leaders and guests seeking to proclaim the kingdom of God by planting missional communities of peace. The theme Missional Communities of Peace emphasized the proclamation of God’s kingdom, cultural challenges, practices and geography. The retreat provided biblical foundations and theological identity, and invited church planters to healthy rhythms of life and spiritual practice – crucial components for proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ as emerging communities of faith sharing God’s shalom in the community. Retreat goals were to explore and learn about calling, equipping and commissioning; build and foster relationships among WDC church planters; explore new ways to collaborate and network across WDC and share church-planting experiences and strengthen existing relationships.
We started Friday evening with worship, biblical reflections and fellowship. Participants met each other while enjoying pastries hosted by Iglesia Menonita Monte Horeb. On Saturday morning were workshops on Church Planting 101 and Missional Communities of Peace. After lunch we had conversation about best practices for church planting, challenges, dreams and failures. It was a time to listen and learn how to support each other. The retreat concluded with communion led by Church Planting Commission members Lee Suderman and Tonya Ramer Wenger. On Sunday morning commission members visited various WDC Dallas churches. After worship, we enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by Iglesia Menonita Comunidad de Esperanza.
The Church Planting Commission encourages WDC congregations to be alert to God’s activity in their locations that may signal an emerging group, and to understand that creating new congregations is an essential and natural activity of every healthy church.