WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
January 17, 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)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Rediscovering public places
Rediscovering public places! (Luke 10:1-12)
by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
To lay a clear foundation for Missional Church, is to affirm that the Father sent Jesus, the Son sent the Holy Spirit and this Triune God has sent the Church.
Brisco in Missional Essentials asserts that “Isolation is a word that describes the kind of lives many people are living today.” It seems to be that our society does not enjoy spending time with one another. Somehow, we have managed to become socially impaired by choice and sometimes we tend to forget that God has created us to be social beings, to stay in and build relationships!
The challenge is to abandon isolation and to rediscover public places in which social life happens. What I mean is this: We should risk our private comfort zone by engaging in normal conversations with “real people.” It seems like we, individually and sometimes collectively, want to be protected from our neighbors. We should engage and build social life beyond the walls of churches and houses with other people whether they are similar or different from us.
While reading the book When God Speaks Through You by Craig A. Satterlee, I noticed in the foreword that John D. Witvliet asserts that “As living organisms, congregations are by definition in a constant change. Whether the changes are in membership, pastoral leadership, lay leadership, the needs of the community, or the broader culture, a crucial mark of healthy congregations is their ability to deal creatively and positively with change.”
As God’s sent people, we need to be attentive to our surroundings to see God at work and to faithfully hear what God is saying, not only to us, but to our neighbors. We are also confronted to hang out in the places where Jesus hangs out!
My point is this: Even if we refuse to hang out in places where Jesus hangs out, he will create opportunities for that to happen! God has been at work in our rural and urban settings long before us and he has kindly invited us to be part of His mission. Because God is in mission, the church has a missional work to do.
The biblical text of Luke 10:1-12 conveys a message of commissioning and sending. Jesus sent his disciples forth and gave them power to preach, heal and cast out demons. They were to go as they were, without a change of clothing or a second pair of shoes. Nor were they to take money or food; rather they had to trust God to care for them. In this way, they will learn that God takes care of his emissaries and supplies their needs.
In today’s language, this equals to something like this: Church, go and hang out with people in ordinary places, places where community life happens and be God’s witness there!
The church needs to go to people’s houses and in turn these households will come to church. We need to go where the kingdom is already at hand.
On the other hand, the sending of the seventy disciples indicates the growing numbers of those who followed Jesus. In other words, it indicates the presence and practice of missional approach. The Missional Church approach understands that we are sent people, we all are missionaries, we as church and as individuals are to join God’s mission in our local neighborhoods.
This is the type of message that Luke wants to convey in chapter 10. Jesus’ instruction is to go everywhere: like our community, local schools, colleges, neighborhood, market places, laundromats and so on. The idea is to see and hear what God is already doing and join!
As we see and hear what the Spirit is doing, we will discover opportunities to join God’s mission.
It is amid daily life and simple conversations that we will discover that Jesus is already hanging out with our neighbors, coworkers, friends and family.
- Leadership Lunches! WDC and SCC Pastors, come join us at the WDC offices from 12-1:30 on January 19 for our first “Leadership Lunch”. Bring your own lunch and plan to enter into a conversation about how Kansas Leadership Center competencies interact with scripture, Anabaptist theology and practice, and our own areas of ministry. This month, we will focus on the competency “Take the temperature”, which is part of “Diagnosing the Situation”. All pastors are welcome even if you haven’t attended a KLC training. We hope that this will encourage and empower us to exercise more leadership for the common good in our churches and communities. If you have questions, please contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn (firstname.lastname@example.org), Rachel Siemens (email@example.com) or Phil Schmidt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- What’s So Funny About Money? Sunday, February 19, 7 pm at the McPherson (KS) Opera House – Why is it hard to talk about finances? How do our finances mesh with our faith? Is the banjo really necessary for the show? The public is invited to this Ted and Company show. Cost? By donation to benefit the WDC Matching Fund, assisting pastors with financial challenges. Sponsored by Everence. Invite your friends!
- Camp Mennoscah is a great place to spend your summer! And you, trusty college-age folks, are exactly who we are looking for. We need lifeguards, office assistants, music leaders, crafts leaders, naturalists, and grounds/maintenance folks for our summer staff. It’s a hootin’ good time with campers, worship, um…exciting chores, and great food. More information at campmennoscah.org/application
- It’s a “Whale” of a Good Time! Camp Mennoscah is having a Hymn Sing & Dessert Auction as a fundraiser for the new playground structure (previously called the “whale”) on Feb. 26 at 4pm at Eden Mennonite Church. A variety of desserts will be open for bidding as a silent auction. We’ll sing some hymns, take a break for bidding, and then repeat! Don’t miss out on this chance for some sweet singing! **see attached poster
- Youth Volunteer Weekend! This weekend of service, worship, and fun is almost only 2 months away. Youth in grades 7-12 are invited to head out to Camp Mennoscah on March 10-11, 2017, to get away from everything. We have counselors to help with activities. Online registration and more information at campmennoscah.org or contact us at 620-297-3290. Scholarships available. **see attached poster
- Scrapbook and Crafts Retreats for the Spring! Camp Mennoscah offers two retreats in the spring for crafters and croppers, March 3-5 and March 17-19. Register online at campmennoscah.org–we can’t wait to see you!
Mennonite Church Announcements
- Coming this summer: MennoTalks! A new feature for the Mennonite Church USA Convention 2017, the talks will feature 20 slides for 20 seconds each in a fast-paced presentation on topics such as “Celebrating Women,” “Race, Religion and Justice” and “Global and Local Peacemaking”. Come to Orlando July 4-7 to experience this and much more. For additional information visit: http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/mennotalks/.
- January 22 is when World Fellowship Day is celebrated. It falls annually on the Sunday that is the closest to January 21. It marks the date in 1525 when the first Anabaptist baptisms took place in Zurich, Switzerland. Give thanks for all those around the world who boldly seek to follow Jesus Christ.
- Hesston College will host its annual Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series conference, Feb. 17-19, and discuss dealing with trauma with the theme When the Unthinkable Happens. Following the weekend conference on Feb. 20, a bonus event STAR-Lite training will be held, co-sponsored by Hesston College and Mennonite Central Committee Central States, to learn strategies for trauma awareness and resilience. Register and see a full weekend schedule online at hesston.edu/avds.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620