WDC’s four commissions provide leadership and resources to carry out the priorities and ministries of the conference. Each issue of the Garden in 2019 features a glimpse of one commission’s work.
The WDC Church Planting Commission encourages churches to be alert to God’s activity in their locations that may signal an emerging congregation. Creating new congregations is an essential and natural activity of a healthy church. Church planting, revitalization and church growth are interconnected, not separate programs.
Rather than just seek the best church planting methods in the religious market, we should first seek God and search Scripture as our natural “GPS” for church planting. Good resources and methodology are important, but need to be contextualized according to God’s plan and will for each congregation and community.
The Church Planting Commission is developing guidelines encompassing three components: calling, equipping and commissioning, taking into account the role of church planters, the emerging church plant, and the involvement of Church Planting Commission of WDC. Church Planting Commission is assisted by the Sister Church Task Force to lead and resource church planting initiatives and foster relationships with emerging Anabaptist/Mennonite groups. Also, they help emerging groups and their leaders connect with the congregations, resources, staff, and structures of WDC.
Currently, WDC has two active church planting ministries: Iglesia Cristiana Menonita Aposento Alto in Wichita, KS and Iglesia Palabra Viva in Liberal, KS. They emphasize God’s mission and activity across the street., and interact with their community through distribution of school kits, invitations to church celebration events and friendly conversations. As a result, both congregations seem to be vibrant, growing in numbers and learning to serve their neighbors.
I have monthly one-on-one meetings with church planters to discuss prayers, joys, challenges and visioning, as well as concerns and tools needed for young emerging church ministries. We also meet electronically with other WDC Hispanic pastors and leaders for equipping and sharing around church planting, revitalization and church growth. We seek wisdom from denominational resources and other groups aligned with Anabaptist theological identity.
The Church Planting Commission invites us to dream together, to be alert to God’s activity, plant new churches and to continue proclaiming that the kingdom of God is near. Thank you for your prayers, support and for your financial gifts to nurture church planting in WDC.
—Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister