January 6, 2015

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)


*Marlene Bogard Resignation
*Pick My Brain

Staff Transition for Marlene Bogard: 
“I have loved my job for almost 25 years, but it is time for a transition.  I have accepted the position of Executive Director of Mennonite Women and have resigned my position at WDC effective Feb. 28.  This new job will enable us to move to Oregon to be closer to our sons, grandson and daughter-in-law, which has been a dream for several years.  I will forever be grateful for the hundreds of friendships I have made with the wonderful folks of WDC.  You have shaped my faith, mentored me, challenged me, startled me, laughed with me and provided me with dozens opportunities to grow as a leader.    You, my friends, truly are salt and light in today’s world.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve Christ alongside you.”
–Marlene Bogard

Pick My Brain – Resources for Faith Exploration and Catechism

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Every year, after Christmas, there is a season when many pastors become seekers.  And sometimes they even appear desperate!  Here is what they ask me:

“What’s the best you have on teaching Anabaptist history to youth?  How can I help new believers learn about the Confession of Faith?  Got anything new on Mennonite theology?  Isn’t there a DVD about….?”

You see, even though they are thrilled that youth have signed up for a Catechism or Faith Exploration class, sometimes even pastors need a helping hand in figuring out what might work the best.

As a result, I have compiled a somewhat massive list of books, DVD’s curriculum, websites, stories and suggestions for multiple approaches to learning on this very subject:  Resources for Catechism and Faith Exploration is attached to this email.  It is meant to be mostly comprehensive and fairly overwhelming.  It also represents why each year pastors turn into seekers…there is no one-size-fits-all perfect resource. In addition to specific resources, here are few of the best practices I have observed:

  1. Involve the parents.  They continue to be the most influential persons in the lives of youth with regards to faith formation . Communicate big picture / process kind of things as well as what specifically you are discussing with the youth.  Some of the assignments for the youth should include gathering information / stories from their parents on their own faith journeys.
  2. Focus on the student’s learning, not on your teaching.  Every youth has a preferred way they like to learn, and it may include art, music, meditation, conversation, field trips, research and reading.  Spice it up!
  3. Include Spiritual Practices each time you gather.  Don’t just talk about prayer, do it.  Help them feel comfortable with praying in a variety of ways…aloud, written prayers, silence, lectio divina, more.  The Resource Library had GREAT stuff on youth and prayer, youth and spiritual practices.
  4. Invite a Conversation Partner or Mentor to accompany youth during this time.  Provide specific prompts for regular conversation. Make sure there is trust and safety in this relationship.
  5. Help the youth to realize that Baptism is a symbol, a milestone, not a ticket.  (I will just let you ponder that one….).

Remember to look at the Resources for Catechism and Faith Exploration, attached to this email.

WDC Announcements

1.  Massive Book Sale, now underway at the WDC offices, 2517 N. Main Street, N. Newton, KS.  Most items are 50 cents! Choose from theology, ministry, children’s books!

2.  CALL NOW!  Pastor’s Lunch Table Talk Conversation with Elsie Rempel, Christian Formation Consultant with Mennonite Church Canada, on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 12:30 pm at Bethel College Mennonite Church Fellowship Hall, North Newton, KS.  Bring your own lunch, drinks provided.  Elsie has just completed a booklet:  “Come Lord Jesus, be our Host,” which provides reflections and tools  to guide your conversations as you navigate the waters of change that many of us experience as we gather around the theology and practice of Communion and the Lord’s Table. Elsie says, “My hope is that it will help congregations articulate what they believe about communion and faithfully celebrate it as a tradition that helps form and celebrate faith for all ages.”  Call / email to sign up:  mbogard@mennowdc.org / 316-283-6300.

3.  Everyone is invited to a farewell service for Gilberto Flores, retiring WDC Associate Conference Minister, on January 18 at 5:00 pm at First Mennonite Church, Newton, KS.
4.  What do you care about most deeply for your church or your community? Come find out about grants available to pastors and church leaders in 2015 for leadership training and support in taking new initiatives. “Leadership for Adaptive Times,” will be held Thursday, January 29, at First Mennonite Church, Halstead. There will be a meeting for pastors from 3:30-6:00 PM with Thane Chastain, Kansas Leadership Center Coach, followed by supper at 6:00 PM. Registration is $10 and includes the meal. To register go to:  https://mennowdc.org/missional-leadership-for-adaptive-challenges-kansas-leadership-center-scholarships-launch/.  Lay leaders and WDC leaders are invited for the 7:00 PM evening meeting (registration not required for evening meeting).

5.  Know Jesus 2015, is a weekend retreat for Jr. High (6th-8th grade) students to worship together and learn more about their Anabaptist roots.  EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION DISCOUNT – January 8 – saves $10 per person. Organized by Western District and South Central Conference Youth Ministry Committee, it will be hosted by Hesston College January 31-February 1.  Distance discount available if driving 100+ miles one way.  Register and pay online at https://mennowdc.org/know-jesus-2015/.

6.  Pastors – set aside Thursday, Feb. 5 from 8:15 am – 5 pm as a day of training for Prevention of Misconduct, to be held at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, 1304 N K-15 Hwy, Goessel, KS.  All credentialed ministers of Western District Conference are required to attend this training every five years.  All ministers new to WDC in the last 12 months are also required to attend.  Presenter is Marlene Bogard, who is a certified trainer from the FaithTrust Institute.  The cost is $50 and includes all training materials, lunch, snacks.  Pastors may use their Continuing Education Grant money towards this event.  See form at:  https://mennowdc.org/grants/ .  On-line registration at https://mennowdc.org/prevention-of-clergy-misconduct-training/.  Registration deadline is Jan. 29.
Mennonite Church Announcements

1.  From Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary:  “What does renewal look like for the already committed?” asks Rachel Miller Jacobs in a post on The Circle, the new Church Leadership Center blog. “What do mature Christians look like? And how do we–ordinary, faithful, maybe-a-little-complacent Christians–get there?” Jacobs and others will lead a workshopJanuary 17 and webinar February 5 on worship planning for Lent, which in Year B focuses on a call to renewal for the faithful. Read Rachel’s reflections.

Register for the Lent Planner workshop

Register for the Lent Planning webinar

Register for Leadership Clinics

Register for Pastors Week

See all of our upcoming Church Leadership Center events!

Visit our website

2.  From MCC Central States: New Sunday School curriculum! Check it out: http://mcc.org/stories/peace-churches-veterans-new-sunday-school-curriculum

3.  MCC Sharing With Appalachian People (SWAP) is pleased to announce Church Leadership Week on March 23-28. This week has been set aside for pastors, youth leaders, ministers and others who will potentially be leading groups who have not previously been to SWAP. Participants are invited to come to Appalachia to experience a typical SWAP week and learn more about the home repair program. The fees to participate with SWAP have been waived for this event, so those attending would be responsible only for their own transportation to and from the SWAP site in Hindman, Ky. If you’re interested or would like more information, please call our SWAP office at 606.633.5065. http://mcc.org/get-involved/serve/volunteer/swap

4.  FROM AMBS-Kansas Center:
Lent Planning Webinar:  AMBS-Kansas Center will host a Lent Planning Webinar on Thursday, February 5 from 6:30 – 7:45 pm. This webinar is presented by Rachel Miller Jacobs, AMBS Assistant Professor of Congregational Formation. Pastors, worship planners, worship leaders, and musicians are invited to explore creative ideas for scripture, visual, sermons, children’s worship, and music for resources published in the Leader magazine with the theme, “Upside down and inside out.” A brief discussion will follow to provide space for participants to share ideas on how they plan to use the Lenten material in their own congregations. This webinar will be hosted at the AMBS-Kansas Center classroom at 2505 N Main in North Newton. Cost is $10 per participant. Please register by January 28 by emailing Katherine Goerzen at kccoordinator@ambs.edu

Rural Ministry Seminar: The Mission of a Rural Congregation:  AMBS-Kansas Center will host a Rural Ministry Seminar on Saturday, January 24 from 8 – noon at Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston, KS. This seminar is presented by S. Roy Kaufman and will explore the unique mission of the church in a rural context. This seminar will include lecture, case studies, discussion groups, and a catered lunch. Cost is $39 per individual and $100 per congregation (for an unlimited number) until Jan. 16. Registration costs after Jan. 16 will be an additional $10. To register, please visit www.ambs.edu/ruralministry

Two Course Offerings from AMBS-Kansas Center:  This spring AMBS-Kansas Center will offer two courses: Thinking Ethically and Managing Differences in Faith Communities. Thinking Ethically is taught by Justin Heinzekehr and examines major approaches to the moral life that draws upon Scripture, Jesus, and Christian faith and theology. Managing Differences in Faith Communities is taught by Kirsten Zerger at KIPCOR. This course examines how to transform conflict into spiritual and community renewal. For more information on either of these courses, please contact kccoordinator@ambs.edu

Western District Conference

2517 North Main, PO Box 306

North Newton KS  67117

316-283-6300; FAX:  316-283-0620

Email:  wdc@mennowdc.org

Website:  www.mennowdc.org