By Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)
WDC Resource Commission has declared 2018 the Year of Evangelism! There will be large-group workshops and smaller initiatives throughout the year. Goals for these events are:
- Encourage congregations to grow in willingness and capacity to share the good news of God’s kingdom breaking into the world through Jesus.
- Equip congregations and individuals 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 force for evangelism.
From Canadian pastor-author Bruxy Cavey to James Krabill (Mennonite Mission Network) to the late missiologist Alan Kreider to our own WDC missional author and pastor, Brad Roth, diverse Anabaptist voices have been writing and talking about realigning mission and peace. They ask, how do we link good news and good works together today in a way that’s authentically Anabaptist?
Alan Kreider told a story in his article, “Tongue Screws and Testimony,” in MissioDei, about a Mennonite seminarian’s reticence to talk about her faith. “I know that how we live is important,” she said, “but I think talking’s important, too. Last year I…went to Fort Benning, to the School of the Americas, to protest the way the U.S. Army was training Latin American soldiers to suppress political opposition. Before we left home, the leader carefully prepared us. He gave us a list of questions that people would likely ask us. So we worked together to prepare good answers and then we tried them out on each other…It was really helpful. But, we’ve never done anything like this about Christianity.”
Year of Evangelism will offer chances for you to practice your testimony—sharing your authentic story of God’s work in your life–with some brothers and sisters who will be cheering you on.
The Year of Evangelism Kick-Off will be January 19-20 at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, Goessel, KS. A unique feature will be the Creative Strategizing Jam. What can we learn from each other as we “jam” together? Two Outreach teams from two separate congregations will meet at a time with a gifted missional coach. One team and the coach will listen in and offer counsel to the other group as they exchange missional ideas, then teams will trade roles: churches supporting churches, or jamming, as they share their unique missional visions for their contexts.
At the Kick Off, worshippers will engage in ancient spiritual practices to the tune of upbeat bluegrass music.
There are other events still in the planning stage—seeing our rural contexts through missional eyes, and reaching out to our neighbors in urban neighborhoods. A storytelling and testimony event will be in the fall of 2018.
Please check out details for the January 19-20 Kick Off event HERE. You’ll find a schedule for the first two-day event, a poster, information about speakers and seminars, and a registration form. Stay tuned for more Year of Evangelism events throughout the coming year. It’s about Anabaptist witness to the good news of Jesus. Let’s get talking—to each other and our neighbors!