WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
April 17, 2018
A weekly communication for:
WDC Churches and Pastors
WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members
Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and
forwarded to congregational leaders and members.
WDC Sprouts is also available at: www.mennowdc.org (Publications)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Go and Find Them
Go and Find Them
by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
“The church came to my house, now I am attending church too.” These were the words that José shared with Oscar who owns Spin City Laundromat. This was the experience that came to mind as I continued reflecting on Luke 10, the commissioning of the seventy.
Their conversation revolved around José’s discipleship and transformation experience. He was sharing with Oscar about his new journey, the way of Jesus.
One of the driving forces for church planting, church growth and church revitalization is the understanding that the church, whether an emerging or established congregation, is a community of disciples called and sent by God to bear holistic witness to Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, to share the blessing of God’s grace and love, and to be a sign of the new creation in its own context, and to make a transformational social impact.
N.T. Wright asserts that “They (the early believers) were seen not just as a religious grouping, but one whose religion made them a subversive presence within the wider Roman society.” Consequently, the church must be present in its community in every way possible; by doing it so it might find individuals with different life experiences, who could have been receptive to hear the gospel of Christ, to enter, live and eventually share the kingdom of God with others
To walk in the way of Christ is not just to better ourselves, rather it is to seek the wellbeing of the community. It is not a selfish religious consumeristic approach. Instead, the church is called to a subversive transformational presence; it goes beyond the ecclesiastic resolution or statement stage.
Paul wrote to Timothy: “proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. (2 Timothy 4:2-5 NRSV) These words are very challenging and encouraging for me.
Therefore, I am convinced that there are many “Josés” in our communities that are thirsty to hear God’s story through our own personal experiences. In turn, those individuals might share their story of Jesus as well. We, individually or collectively, are faced with the challenge to go and find them too.
Ve y Encuéntralos
by Byron Pellecer
“La iglesia vino a mi casa, ahora yo voy a la iglesia”. Estas fueron las palabras que José compartió con Oscar, quien es propietario de la lavandería Spin City. Esta fue la experiencia que me vino a la mente mientras continuaba reflexionando sobre Lucas 10, la comisión de los setenta.
La conversación de ellos giró en torno a la experiencia de discipulado y transformación de José. Él estaba compartiendo con Oscar sobre su nueva vida como seguidor de Jesús.
Una de las fuerzas motrices para la plantación de iglesias, el crecimiento y la revitalización lo constituye la comprensión de que ya sea que la iglesia es una congregación emergente o establecida, es una comunidad de discípulos llamados y enviados por Dios para dar un testimonio integral de Jesucristo en el poder del Espíritu Santo, para compartir la bendición de la gracia y el amor de Dios, y para ser una señal de la nueva creación en su propio contexto, para lograr un impacto social transformador.
NT Wright afirma que “Ellos (los primeros creyentes) fueron vistos no solo como una agrupación religiosa, más bien su religión les hizo tener una presencia subversiva dentro de la sociedad romana en general”. En consecuencia, la iglesia debe estar presente en su comunidad en todas las maneras posibles; al hacerlo, podría encontrar personas que probablemente han estado receptivas a escuchar el evangelio de Cristo, para entrar, vivir y, finalmente, compartir el reino de Dios con los demás.
Andar en el camino de Cristo no solo es para encontrar una mejoría para nosotros mismos, sino que también incluye procurar el bienestar de la comunidad. No es un enfoque consumista religioso egoísta. Por el contrario, la iglesia está llamada a una presencia transformadora subversiva; va más allá de la etapa de una resolución o declaración eclesial.
Las palabras de Pablo a Timoteo: “Predica la Palabra; persiste en hacerlo, sea o no sea oportuno; corrige, reprende y anima con mucha paciencia, sin dejar de enseñar. Porque llegará el tiempo en que no van a tolerar la sana doctrina, sino que, llevados de sus propios deseos, se rodearán de maestros que les digan las novelerías que quieren oír. Dejarán de escuchar la verdad y se volverán a los mitos. Tú, por el contrario, sé prudente en todas las circunstancias, soporta los sufrimientos, dedícate a la evangelización; cumple con los deberes de tu ministerio.” (2 Timoteo 4: 2-5 NVI) son muy desafiantes y alentadores para mí.
Por lo tanto, estoy convencido de que hay muchos “José” en nuestras comunidades quienes están sedientos de escuchar las palabras que vienen de Dios a través de las experiencias personales. A su vez, esas personas también podrían compartir la historia de su Jesús. Nosotros, ya sea individual o colectivamente, también enfrentamos al desafío de ir y encontrarlos.
- The next Leadership Lunch is on Thursday, April 26 from 12-1:30 pm at the WDC office. The topic is: “Know the Story others Tell About You (manage self)”. All are welcome to attend this conversation on Kansas Leadership Center concepts, even if you haven’t attended a KLC training. Bring your own lunch. (To join this meting by Zoom video conference: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/942966385, Or iPhone one-tap: US: +16699006833,,942966385# or 14086380968,,942966385#, or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 408 638 0968 or +1 646 876 9923, Meeting ID: 942 966 385)
- “Mustard Seed” Grants! Want to have a community concert and invite your neighbors? Want to send neighborhood kids to Camp Mennoscah, then invite them to Wednesday night Kids Club to learn more about Jesus? Maybe you have other ideas about how to connect with neighbors and friends, but the church budget is tight. An offering was received at the WDC Year of Evangelism Kick Off in January 2018. Resource Commission matched these funds and now has some grant money to offer to Western District congregations who have great ideas for how to share the good news of Jesus in new and creative ways, but no seed money. Several grants of $250 each will be awarded. Check out the Mustard Seed grant application at http://mennowdc.org/mustard-seed-grants/. It’s quick. It’s simple, but there are a few criteria. Resource Commission would love to see and support your ideas for creative evangelism in your area! Like a mustard seed, maybe a tiny idea will sprout into something bigger than we can imagine with the Holy Spirit’s tending. So, pray, plan, and apply!
- Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, KS seeks an Interim Youth and Outreach Ministries Director June 2018-July 2019. See the job posting at: http://rainbowmennonite.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/RMC-Youth-Outreach-Ministries-Director-Ad-3-27-18.pdf
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Ends April 30! Camp Mennoscah will give the following items to the person with the highest offer: two upright freezers, the stove/griddle with 2 convection ovens, and the double-decker conventional oven. As is and you are responsible for transporting the item(s). Contact us at 620-297-3290 or firstname.lastname@example.org make an offer or get an update on the current bid. Photos of the items are on Facebook.
- New Kitchen Dedication! Camp Mennoscah will be dedicating the new kitchen on Sunday, April 22, at 2:30pm (after Men and Boys Retreat). You’ll have a chance to hear about the process, walk through the new space and see all the improvements. Join us in the dining hall for the festivities!
- Forget to register for Retirees Retreat? No worries! Call Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 to join us April 23-25 for a time to “Refresh and Renew!” We’ll see you there!
- Early Registration Discount ends May 1! Don’t miss your chance to save on your summer youth camp registration at Camp Mennoscah! Register and pay in full by May 1. Questions? Contact us at 620-297-3290 or email@example.com!
- Grab your paring knives and aprons! Camp Mennoscah has a brand new kitchen and we’re looking for kitchen helpers to test it out. We need kitchen staff for June 24-30, July 8-12, July 15-21, and July 29-Aug. 3. No great skills are needed–just a willing heart, listening ears, and a love of camp and youth. Parent discounts up to full camp fees are available. Contact us at 620-297-3290 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Free tee shirt, too!
- “Rebuilding the Whale!” Camp Mennoscah plans to start construction of the new playground, “The Whale,” by the end of April, and we’ll be looking for volunteers to come out and help! Stay tuned to your church bulletins, e-mail, and social media for the types of work we’ll be doing, dates, and times. With your help, we’ll have it ready to go for summer youth camps!
- Men and Boys Retreat is April 20-22 at Camp Mennoscah. This retreat for all ages of men and boys requires no pre-registration. Lodging options include the cabins, staff houses, tents, bringing an RV, or just sleeping under the stars, available on a first come, first served basis. The optional meals available are Saturday supper through Sunday lunch, and will cost about $6.00 apiece. Activities include fishing, canoeing, horseshoes, basketball, ping pong, walking trails, or just relaxing. Adam Voth Unruh will be our speaker on Sunday and will be sharing about “Trusting God on your faith journey.” For questions about the retreat please contact Kevin Neufeld at 316-322-5515or email@example.com.
Mennonite church announcements
- Join the upcoming Mennonite Central Committee Haiti Learning Tour from September 22 to 27. Learn from Haitian farmers, artisans, community organizers and human rights advocates about how they – with your support – are building a brighter future for their communities. Contact Jordan Penner at firstname.lastname@example.org 316-727-6837 for more information.
- Mennonite Central Committee Central States is proud to be a partner with KIPCOR for Restorative Kansas: A Vision for Justice on April 19-20 at KIPCOR in North Newton, Kansas. Register now to learn about restorative justice practices in schools, communities and workplaces. Come to learn about ways to engage in restorative justice practices and network with some of the premier restorative justice practitioners in the United States. For more information and to register go to http://kipcor.org/event/restorative-justice-conference/
- Prairie View, Inc., invites the public to a Spring Vespers musical event on Sunday, April 22, at 5 pm at Prairie View’s Chapel, 1901 E. First St., Newton. The event is a fundraiser for Prairie View’s chaplaincy and pastoral care programs. Musical group “Dunns Plus One” of McPherson will perform a variety of bluegrass, contemporary and sacred selections. Members include Rev. Kathy Neufeld Dunn, Michael Dunn, Ann Dunn and Faith Wenger. There is no charge to attend. Freewill donations will be accepted.
WDC Sprouts announcement guidelines: Announcements should pertain to Western District Conference (WDC) ministries and churches, institutions with which WDC has formal relationships, and Mennonite Church USA agencies and ministries.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117