WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
January 30, 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:
*Reflections on Evangelism
Reflections on Evangelism
by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister
What do you think of when you hear the word “evangelism?” The WDC Resource Commission is sponsoring a “Year of Evangelism” in 2018, and already there is a wide variety of response across WDC. Here are just a few samples of the kinds of comments and questions that I have been hearing from people in our conference:
– How do we define evangelism? What are the biblical and theological foundations for evangelism?
– I’m so glad that WDC is focusing on evangelism! I’m looking forward to learning better ways to share the good news of Jesus with my neighbors and friends.
– Why use the word “evangelism?” Why not use other words such as “proclamation,” “witness,” and “sharing faith” instead of “evangelism?”
– Evangelism is at the heart of Christian faith. The church would not exist if it were not for evangelism.
– Members of my congregation are turned off by the “e-word” because of its association with coercion, proselytization, colonialism and shallow definitions of salvation. It’s not right to force our beliefs or way of life on other people.
– Is evangelism just about saving souls from going to hell? Or does it have something to do with wholistic Anabaptist values such as discipleship, community, justice and peacemaking?
– In the current atmosphere of religious and political polarization, will the word “evangelism” be misunderstood because of its association with the term “evangelical?”
– I’m not ready to share my faith with others or invite people to church. I’m not even sure what I believe myself, or why a visitor would want to visit our congregation. And, I’m a little embarrassed at what they might see if they did!
– What is the difference (or similarity) between evangelism and other related concepts such as mission, church planting, church growth and congregational vitality?
– I have negative associations with evangelism, but am open to learning more.
– I wonder how the various ethnic, cultural and demographic groups in WDC might view evangelism differently?
– I’d love to see my congregation focus more on sharing the good news of Jesus, rather than be preoccupied with trivialities or self-preservation.
And that is just a sample…! You may have a different response. As we engage these important questions and concerns, we challenge ourselves to grow in faith, witness and spiritual maturity. The vision for WDC’s Year of Evangelism is to:
– Grow in willingness and capacity to share the gospel, which is the good news of God’s kingdom breaking into the world through Jesus (Matthew 4;23, Mark 16:15,20; Luke 4:18)
– Equip members with practical tools for sharing the gospel
– Reclaim an authentic Anabaptist-Mennonite vocabulary and practice of evangelism
– Renew our reliance on prayer as the energizing power for evangelism.
If you attended the recent Year of Evangelism kick-off event you may have already begun considering how to implement these practices in your congregation. You can also go to http://mennowdc.org/year-of-evangelism/ to listen to the keynote presentations from that event, where the speakers encouraged us to consider wholistic approaches to evangelism, rooted in authentic relationships and discipleship, humbly and joyfully joining God’s work in the world. The WDC website also lists upcoming activities that are part of the Year of Evangelism. Whatever your hopes, fears, questions or concerns, I invite you to join the conversation!
Feb 4 – Give thanks for the energy and participation of members from congregations across WDC at the recent kick-off event for WDC’s Year of Evangelism.
Feb 11 – Pray for WDC’s Gifts Discernment Committee as they begin to consider nominees to fill leadership roles on WDC’s Executive Board and commissions next year.
Feb 18 – Pray for WDC’s Stewardship Commission as they meet this week and give oversight to the financial resources and property of the conference.
Feb 25 – Pray for WDC’s Immigration Task Force, and congregations in WDC discerning a faithful response to immigration concerns.
Feb 20 – WDC Stewardship Commission meeting; WDC Gifts Discernment committee meeting
March 9 – WDC Ministerial Leadership Commission meeting
March 10 – WDC Executive Board meeting
March 15 – WDC Women in Mission/SCC Women’s Spring Supper
March 18-19 – Faith, Hope, and the Mission of Rural and Small Town Churches, (WDC Year of Evangelism event), the Mennonite Churches of Beatrice, NE
April 2 – WDC Resource Commission meeting
April 10 – WDC Church Planting Commission meeting
April 13-14 – MCC Relief Sale (Kansas)
April 28 – Healthy Boundaries 101 training, Dallas, TX
July 27-28 – WDC Annual Assembly, Tabor Mennonite Church, Newton KS and Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge KS
July 29 – Annual Assembly Sunday worship option, Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel KS
- Listen to presentations given by Heidi Roland Unruh and Marvin Lorenzana at the WDC Year of Evangelism Kickoff: Anabaptist Witness event held January 19-20 at: http://mennowdc.org/year-of-evangelism/. Presentation links are also on Facebook. Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook – look for: Western District Conference (Mennonite Church USA).
- On March 18-19, the Mennonite churches of Beatrice, NE will host “Faith, Hope, and the Mission of Rural and Small Town Churches”, a WDC Year of Evangelism event. Brad Roth, pastor at West Zion, Moundridge, KS and author of God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Churchwill be the speaker. Detailed information can be found at: http://mennowdc.org/year-of-evangelism/.
- The 2018 WDC Annual Assembly will be held July 27-28. Resolutions must be submitted a minimum of 120 days prior to the Annual Assembly, which is March 29. Send resolutions to: WDC Executive Board, PO Box 306, North Newton KS 67117.
- Chase away the winter chill with a concert by 2017 Kansas State Finger Picking Champion Jim Krause and a silent auction to benefit Peace Mennonite Church’s building project. February 10, 7-10 pm at the Cider Gallery (810 Pennsylvania), Lawrence, KS. Free event. Donations welcome.
- Roseann Penner Kaufman, director of music ministries at Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City (and organ instructor at Bethel College from 2002-12), will give a recital at Bethel Sunday, Feb. 11, at 4 pm in the Administration Building chapel. “Moved by the Spirit” will include works by Pietro Yon, Johann Praetorius, Frank Bridge, Gardner Read and J.S. Bach. Mitch Kaufman, trombone, will join her for the Read. All are invited.
Camp Mennoscah announcements
- Recruiting for AMAZING young adults for summer staff! Camp Mennoscah is looking for awesome young adults to be part of our summer staff family. We will be at Goshen College on Feb. 9 and Hesston, Tabor, Bethel, and McPherson Colleges on Feb. 12-15 respectively. Summer staff applications are available online at campmennoscah.org/application. Pizza gatherings will be held at Goshen on Feb. 8 at 5pm in the Connector and at Papa John’s in Newton on Feb. 14 at 6:15pm-ish. Please let us know you’re coming at 620-297-3290!
- Camp Mennoscah’s annual Youth Volunteer Weekend for grades 7-12 is March 16-17. This over-the-top, laid-back, faith-filled and service-doused retreat should not be missed! We will stay in the Retreat Center due to renovations at the Main Camp kitchen. There will be music, worship, counselors, and projects for all. Register online at campmennoscah.orgor contact us at 620-297-3290 for assistance. We’ll see you there! (Poster attached.)
- It’s Beyond Belief that our summer youth camps are already looming in the future! Register your campers online today at campmennoscah.org! Our summer theme is “Beyond Belief! The Universe of God” and we’ll be learning how God’s endless love launches amazing adventures. Register online at campmennoscah.org! Need more information? Call us at 620-297-3290–we’re so ready for camp that we’re bouncing in our boots!
- Spring Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats are here! Register online at campmennoscah.orgfor a delightfully long weekend of project time, sharing new ideas, devotions, and fun people. Two weekends are offered, Feb. 23-25 and March 2-4. Join us for a cozy weekend of craftiness and coffee or walk the campgrounds for some time in creation! Call 620-297-3290 with questions. We’ll see you and your stunning projects soon!
- Hymn Sing and Dessert Auction for “Creation, Craftiness, and Cooling Off”! Camp Mennoscah invites everyone to join us from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, February 25,at Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston. We’ll sing our favorite hymns, bid on delectable desserts, and hear about how, with your help, camp provides afternoon activities for campers to stay cool, be crafty, and learn about God’s creation. Funds raised will go toward the Camp Mennoscah general fund. Come and join us! (Poster attached.)
Mennonite church announcements
1. Everyone is invited to join the board and staff of Mennonite Central Committee Central States for our annual meeting on Friday, February 23 at 10:30am at the MCC Center (121 E. 30th, North Newton, KS 67117).
- The Mennonite, Inc. welcomes your original submissions and contributions for our April 2018 print magazine issue and corresponding online content focusing on Technology. Submissions are due by February 17 to Editor@TheMennonite.org. You can read a full description of the April 2018 theme here: https://themennonite.org/april-2018-technology/
- What can one person do to stand against “the troubles of this world?” The challenges are monumental: economic injustice, gender inequity, race relations, water and land conflicts. Hesston College’s 2018 Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series (AVDS) will explore these questions and their answers with the theme “Before the unthinkable happens: Confronting our role in injustice,” Feb. 23-25 on the Hesston College campus. See more information and register at hesston.edu/avds. $100/person, $75/each for two or more. (A video previewing the AVDS conference weekend can be found at hesston.edu/avds. You are welcome to share this video during your Sunday worship time or in whatever ways you see fit.)
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117