July 17, 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)


*How are we experiencing chuch growth?


How are we experiencing church growth?

     by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)

There are all kinds of expectations and assumptions for how ministry should be observed in an established congregation. Church plant initiatives are not immune to those expectations and assumptions. Numerical growth is one of them.

Let me set the stage right. I agree that both numerical and spiritual growth are important for the established and emerging church and yet, we need to be mindful that there are countless people’s lives that are being touched by the ministry of the church who might never attend or become members of our congregations.

There are at least three common ways or practices in church growth:

There is the biological growth. This happens when families within the church have babies who consequently grow up in the church.

There is the transfer of membership growth. This takes place when committed believers decide to seek membership in another established congregation.  In some instances, after a discerning process, some of these individuals might decide that instead of joining an established church, it would be best for them to take part in an emerging congregation.

And there is growth through evangelism and reaching out practices. This evangelism occurs when the faithful Body of Christ – individually and collectively – shares their personal Jesus-story and their discipleship journey. This sharing of the gospel is to invite others to enter, live and share the kingdom of God. The driving force is the continuum of God’s redemptive work.

In other words, it is an invitation for individuals to begin their Christian faith journey and Christian formation. This formation must include calling, equipping, and commissioning.

Therefore; evangelism, discipleship and mission cannot and must not be separated from each other. In fact, it should be part of the church’s DNA.

But the question remains: How are we experiencing church growth?

I argue that in part the answer lies in the challenge and in the invitation to join God’s redemptive work, starting in our local communities. To be local missionaries, that is.

The challenge in front of us is “to be alert to God’s activity in our locations that may signal an emerging group.”  The invitation is for “congregations -and individuals- to understand that creating new congregations is an essential and natural activity of every healthy church.”

Furthermore, when established congregations take part in church planting initiatives, they tend to experience revitalization and they get inspired to advance the gospel message in their communities in whatever way the Spirit leads them to.

¿Cómo se da el crecimiento de la iglesia?
 Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)

Hay todo tipo de expectativas y suposiciones sobre cómo se debe llevar a cabo el ministerio en una congregación establecida. Las iglesias emergentes no son inmunes a esas expectativas y suposiciones. El crecimiento numérico es uno de ellos.

Permítame preparar el escenario bien. Estoy de acuerdo en que el crecimiento numérico y espiritual son importantes para la iglesia establecida y para la emergente y, sin embargo, debemos estar conscientes de que las vidas de incontables personas están siendo tocadas por el ministerio de la iglesia y que quizás nunca asistirán ni se harán miembros de nuestras congregaciones.

Por lo menos tres formas o prácticas comunes en el crecimiento de la iglesia:

Está el crecimiento biológico. Esto sucede cuando las familias de la iglesia tienen bebés y estos consecuentemente crecen en la iglesia.

Está el crecimiento por transferencia de la membresía. Esto ocurre mayormente cuando los creyentes comprometidos deciden buscar membresía en otra congregación establecida.

En ciertos casos, después de un proceso de discernimiento, algunos de estos individuos deciden que, en vez de unirse a una iglesia establecida, les sería mejor participar con una congregación emergente.

Y hay crecimiento a través de evangelismo y alcance. Este evangelismo ocurre cuando el fiel Cuerpo de Cristo -individual y colectivamente- comparte la historia de su conversión personal y de su andar con Jesús. Compartir el evangelio es invitar a otros a entrar, vivir y compartir el reino de Dios. La fuerza impulsora es la continuación de la obra redentora de Dios.

En otras palabras, es una invitación para que los individuos comiencen su peregrinaje en la fe y formación cristiana. Esta formación debe incluir el llamado, el equipamiento y ser enviados.

Por lo tanto; el evangelismo, el discipulado y la misión no pueden ni deben separarse el uno del otro. De hecho, debería ser parte del ADN de la iglesia.

Pero la pregunta sigue siendo: ¿Cómo ese da el crecimiento de la iglesia?

Mi argumento es que parte de la respuesta está en el desafío y en la invitación a unirse a la obra redentora de Dios quien ya está obrando en nuestros barrios. En otras palabras, a ser misioneros locales.

El desafío frente a nosotros es “estar alertas a la actividad de Dios en nuestras ubicaciones a lo que puede ser una señal de un grupo emergente”. La invitación es para que las “congregaciones -y los individuos- comprendan que la creación de nuevas congregaciones es una actividad esencial y natural de cada iglesia saludable “.

Además, cuando las congregaciones establecidas participan en iniciativas de plantación de iglesias, tienden a experimentar revitalización y se inspiran para que el mensaje del Evangelio avance en sus comunidades y hacerlo conforme el Espíritu del Señor les guíe.

WDC announcements

  1. WDC is still accepting last-minute registrations through today for the WDC Annual Assembly next weekend July 27-28.  REGISTER TODAYat https://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2018annualAssembly – to be included in the mealcount!
  1. Year of Evangelism Challenge:  How would you describe the good news in 28.19 seconds?  Why 28.19 seconds?  That’s also the biblical reference for the “Great Commission”:  “Go into the world and preach the gospel…” (Matthew 28.19).  To accept this challenge, go to Facebook page, “Gospel2819.” and post your video. Resource Commission and the Year of Evangelism Planning Team will also offer the opportunity for you to record your “Gospel 2819” video at this year’s Annual Assembly.
  1.  The March 13, 2018 issue of Sprouts announced that Anita Kehr had resigned as moderator of Western District Conference (WDC), noting that this was in conjunction with a misconduct complaint that had been filed against her. This announcement was shared in accord with a denominational policy that notifications of such complaints should occur within the same sphere as a leader’s role, and Anita Kehr had been serving as an elected officer of WDC. I emphasize that the charges of misconduct against Pastor Kehr did not allege any sexual misconduct on her part; rather, the complaint arose out of her handling of the arrest of a lay congregant at First Mennonite Church (Newton, KS) for sexual assault of a minor. The policies of the denomination and WDC have been followed through the complaint process, leading to a judgment by the Ministerial Leadership Commission (MLC) to charge Pastor Kehr with misconduct in three of the four allegations in the complaint. As a sanction, the MLC has deemed Pastor Kehr’s credentials may remain active as she completes the recommendations of an outside consulting group known as “GRACE.”  WDC will continue offering counsel and oversight; the MLC will review Pastor Kehr’s progress and credentials in January of 2019, at which point—if she has completed all of the requirements set forth by the MLC—this matter will be closed. I offer much appreciation to all who have participated in this process; furthermore, I request prayers for everyone who has been impacted by it in a multitude of ways.        –Ray Reimer, Moderator, Western District Conference
  1. The next Leadership Lunch will be on July 26 from 12-1:30 pm at the WDC office.  The topic is:  “Create a trustworthy process (Energize Others)”.  All are welcome to attend this conversation on Kansas Leadership Center concepts, even if you haven’t attended a KLC training.  Bring your own lunch.  (To join this meting by Zoom video conference: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/251773375, Or iPhone one-tap: US: +16699006833,,251773375#  or +16468769923, 251773375#, Or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 669 900 6833  or +1 646 876 9923, Meeting ID: 251 773 375
  1. Churches:  Please print, display and email the attached Women & Girls Retreat information & forms to women in your congregations.  Also please include the following announcement in upcoming bulletins.  Thank you!) Be Brave, Be Bold, Be You!  Women & Girls Retreat 2018 – The schedule and registration forms for the 2018 Women & Girls Retreat, September 7-9 at Camp Mennoscah, are now available (insert where they are available at your church).  Rachel Ringenberg Miller, pastor of Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton, will be the featured speaker.  Many interesting and fun seminars are planned, along with plenty of time to relax and connect with nature and friends.  This retreat is open to all women and girls grade 3 and older.  Registration forms are due August 27.
  1. Peace Mennonite Church, 615 Lincoln, Lawrence, KS 66044, invites you to join us on Sunday, August 12, from 2-4 pm for an open house as we celebrate the completion of a years-long process of praying, planning, designing and expanding our building. There will be a short dedication ceremony at 3 pm, tours of the building, historic photos, lovely classical music by Rebecca Bell and Greg Allen, and refreshments. Guests will also notice the floor labyrinth in the new sanctuary! For more information, contact peacemennonite@gmail.com.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. We have a lot to celebrate this summer at Camp Mennoscah!  On August 12 at 6:30 pm, we’ll gather together at Hesston Mennonite Church to celebrate a summer of friends and faith with our annual Camp Sing.  There will be joyous singing followed by popcorn and generic pop–a camp standard!  Add Camp Sing to your calendar and we’ll see you there!
  1. Young Adult Retreat at Camp Mennoscah, August 3-5!  All young adults (18 years old and older) are invited to spend a few days at Camp Mennoscah, doing favorite camp activities and luxuriating in nature and the camp community.  Register online at campmennoscah.organd pick your own level of scholarship!   It’s a grand time for all!

WDC Sprouts announcement guidelines:  Announcements pertain to Western District Conference (WDC) ministries and churches, institutions with which WDC has formal relationships, and Mennonite Church USA agencies and ministries.  

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