Both / And, November 7, 2017

     by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)

I am a person who seeks both/and connections.  Years ago as a Bethel College student, besides music, my extra-curriculars included both Peace Club and the Praise and Worship group, desiring both action and contemplation as part of my faith in Jesus.  I claim a dual vocation, believing God has called me to be a minister and mediator.  Now, as I’ve been part of a planning team for the upcoming Year of Evangelism, I’m pleased that this both/and vision continues.

At our January 19-20, 2018 Year of Evangelism kick-off event, “Anabaptist Witness,” we will have both urban and rural perspectives on evangelism.  We will offer workshops on testimony, discipleship and church planting (though probably not one that focuses on all of those themes at once).  We will have both male and female perspectives with keynote speakers, Heidi Roland Unruh and Marvin Lorenzana, leading our reflection.  We will celebrate worship with elements of ancient church practice wed with bluegrass music—both old and new ways to praise God.  We look forward to practicing how to proclaim our faith in word and deed together.  After all, this is Anabaptist witness we’re talking about.

The other unique element of this kick-off weekend is what we’re calling “Creative Strategizing Jam!”  It’s a chance for your Outreach team to meet with a coach and another congregation’s team together. I hope you will encourage your church’s Outreach or Mission or Peace group or whatever you call it to participate (and all other interested people).  The missional coach will give suggestions as your team talks about its struggles and vision and things you’ve already tried regarding evangelism.  The other team listening in will get to hear your ideas, as well as offer their own suggestions.  It’s a both/and bonus for each team being in both a listening and a presenting role, with a coach strengthening the whole process.

Many of us are both tentative and eager as we imagine what it might mean to share with others what God has done in our lives, and that’s okay, too.  I trust that God will meet us where we are at and strengthen us in our Anabaptist witness to the living Lord.

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