December 5, 2017 

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) 

*Evangelizing about coffee or Jesus?!

Evangelizing about coffee or Jesus?!
     by Kathy Neufeld Dunn, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Kansas-Based)

A couple of months ago, I broke my French Press coffeemaker. It was made of glass, so it was bound to happen.  I found the perfect replacement!  So this does not become free advertising for the maker of this one-cup-at-a-time marvelous coffee creator, let me just say I would be happy to have a conversation with anyone who’s in the same boat without adequate caffeinated drink equipment.

Apparently I’ve been initiating lots of coffeemaker conversations, because at a recent lunch that my colleague Heidi and I attended, the topic of coffee came up and I mentioned that I had a new coffeemaker that I loved.  Heidi smiled and said, “Kathy’s going to evangelize about coffee.”

Evangelize about coffee?!   Well, yes, I do like my new coffeemaker and I am happy to share what I like about it, but evangelize?!  This got me to thinking about evangelism.  What would be my “elevator pitch” about Jesus if someone were to ask me?  If I knew I had less than a minute to answer someone’s faith question, what would I say?  I have always worried that I didn’t have a simple way to summarize the good news of Jesus for a spiritual seeker, but maybe I do, after all.

Often enough when someone I don’t know well learns that I am a Mennonite minister, the person asks what makes Mennonites different from other Christians.  When I’m asked that, I have my 30-second response ready:

Mennonites believe Jesus calls us to reconciling love—whether that reconciliation happens between us and God, or us and other people we find hard to love, or even us and the earth.  God made creation good, after all, so we should treat the earth with care.  We believe reconciliation is central to Jesus’ good news.  He always seemed to be welcoming people who were on the margins of society back into the circle of belonging, giving them another chance.  He welcomed prostitutes, tax collectors, soldiers, kids, and people like us into his circle that he called the kingdom of God.  Jesus’ kingdom is all about peace, love, and the hard work of reconciliation, and that’s what I try to be about, too, as a Mennonite follower of Jesus.

I think I can tweak this just a bit and have a fairly simple, but authentically Anabaptist-Mennonite response to the question, “Why are you a Christian and who is this Jesus person anyway?”

Do you want to take up the challenge?  How would you answer that question?  Like me, do you want to practice answering it with brothers and sisters cheering you on?  The Year of Evangelism will give us all chances, if we dare to take them, to articulate our faith in Christ in simple welcoming, winsome ways.  Yes, that’s evangelism.  And frankly, I’d rather evangelize about Jesus than about coffee.

WDC Announcements

  1. Churches helping churches plan how to be missional in your own communities along with the counsel of a missional coach.  It’s the Creative Stratetgizing Jam at Year of Evangelism Kick Off:  Anabaptist Witness, January 19-20, 2018.  Learn more and register at:  https://mennowdc.org/year-of-evangelism/

    2.  Looking for a unique gift idea? Give a book to the WDC Resource Library in honor of your loved one this Christmas!  A book given in their name can enrich the faith of individuals all over the conference. The library’s wishlist can be found at Faith & Life Bookstore in Newton or on their website at www.faithandlifebookstore.net  (when ordering online, make “store pick up” to avoid paying shipping).

  1. The December/January/February issue of WDC Garden has been mailed to churches and is also available online at:  https://mennowdc.org/wdc-garden-december-2017-january-february-2018/.
  1. Brass Christmas: Come join us at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church on Sunday, December 10 at 6:30 pm for an evening filled with Christmas music! The evening will feature the McPherson Brass Choir under the direction of Jerry Toews along with the Elbiata Singers from Goessel High School under the direction of Andrew Voth. A freewill offering will be received to support the ministries of the Goessel Ministerial Alliance. We hope to see you there!  ~Goessel Ministerial Alliance

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. Camp Mennoscah Volunteer Christmas Gathering!  Everyone who has volunteered at Camp Mennoscah over the years and their families are invited to join us December 16 at 2:30pm-ish for cookies, conversations, and controlled craziness.  There will be games (if you want) and a white elephant gift exchange (if you want).  Bring whatever lost item you find in the back of your closet.  Come and go as you please!  Call 620-297-3290 or email olivia.bartel@campmennoscah.org with questions.
  1. We’re looking for you, summer staffers!  Camp Mennoscah has started the “round-up” process for the 2018 summer staff.  Find the information online at campmennoscah.org/application/and then fill out the application!  Our summer staff are dedicated to giving campers, staff, and guests a great, God-filled experience at Camp Mennoscah.  Contact Olivia at 620-297-3290 with questions.
  1. Oh no!  We discovered that the Camp Mennoscah donor list in our recent newsletter is incomplete!  We’re rather embarrassed to have missed these wonderful folks to thank.  An updated donor list is online at http://campmennoscah.org/current-donor-list/ Please let us know if you are a missing person by emailing office@campmennoscah.org or calling us at 620-297-3290.  Thank you to all our donors for the great experiences you help create at Camp Mennoscah!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. The board of The Mennonite, Inc. is accepting applications for the position of Executive Director. The Executive Director functions as chief executive officer for The Mennonite, Inc. The Executive Director brings broad vision to The Mennonite as a content delivery system for MC USA constituents and beyond, helping the organization to develop programs and services appropriate for the digital age. The Executive Director is responsible for publishing and administration, management of staff, and maintaining denominational relationships. The Mennonite is a multimedia and print publication and organization connected to Mennonite Church USA. To read the full description and to apply, visit: https://themennonite.org/mennonite-inc-seeks-next-executive-director/.
  1. Here we are at the very beginning of the Advent season and as you and your congregation prepare for the birth of Jesus, we ask you to share these print resources with your congregation. MCC is in need of thousands of relief kits to help people around our world who have been displaced due to violence, natural and man-made disasters. Please print the attached poster to post on bulletin boards in your church.  MCC also has bulletin inserts/mailbox inserts available to draw people’s attention to alternative gift giving options. Please print these for your congregation: https://mcc.org/media/resources/7567Thank you for your support of MCC and for putting forth the effort and resources it takes to share these print resources with your congregation!
  2. It’s not too late to start Advent family worship.  Just go to www.anabaptistfaithformation.organd download “Yes!  Let It Be!” a free guide for family worship from December 3 to January 6.

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