WDC Sprouts, July 21, 2020

WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE

SPROUTS

July 21, 2020

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)

We invite your continuing support for WDC! Contributions may be made HERE.

IN THIS ISSUE:

*Seeds of God’s Word

*Announcements

Seeds of God’s Word

by Heidi Regier Kreider, WDC Conference Minister

The WDC Church Planting Commission has been having conversations about what church plants and established congregations can learn from each other.  CPC member Tim Amor wrote in the April 21, 2020, issue of Sprouts about the experience of “what was once called Beatrice Mennonite Church” in their journey to re-plant their congregation; and he wonders how we might use the the tools of church planting to bring creativity and newness to established congregations. (see https://mennowdc.org/wdc-sprouts-april-21-2020/)  In today’s article I want to return to this theme, with some additional reflections.

Recently I preached at two WDC congregations on Jesus’ parable of the sower, the seed, and the soils (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23).  What if we consider this parable in relation to congregational vitality and witness?  Seen through the lens of this parable, the church is soil in which the message of God’s Kingdom must be planted and harvested, over and over again.  Jesus’ parable challenges our prevailing tendency, which is to simply store up seed once it is harvested. For example, we tend to use the markers of an established church as measurements for a church plant’s success:  This includes factors such as having a written constitution, a governance structure, financial protocols, a membership list, and a meeting place.   Now, to be clear, I value these elements as important for congregational health because they support effective leadership, shared understanding, transparency,  accountability, stability and organizational memory.   I will continue to encourage church plants to establish these kinds of organizational structures to strengthen their viability.   At the same time, such structures may be more like silos which we use to contain and preserve the seed of God’s Kingdom – rather than the seed itself.  If we want to keep planting the seed, we also need to continue practicing the elements that are natural to church plants:  Discerning a vision for the future, assessing the context in which the church exists (our local neighborhood and demographics, the opportunities and needs around us), developing an intentional plan to invite new members and disciple new believers, identifying gifts for leadership and ministry, equipping the “saints” for ministry, and nurturing relationships with the wider church as the body of Christ.

Being part of WDC provides both church plants and established congregations the resources and opportunities we need to grow in all these ways, as we share our insights, questions, needs and resources together.  Every congregation – whether newly planted or deeply rooted – is called to be the soil where the seed of God’s message is scattered again and again, producing new growth, new seeds and new harvest opportunities.

As we anticipate the upcoming WDC Annual Assembly on August 1-2, I invite you to participate in this gathering to hear how God’s word is growing among us, and to encourage and challenge one another to growing faithfulness, justice and hope.

Semillas de la Palabra de Dios

-de Heidi Regier Kreider

La Comisión de Plantación de Iglesias de la WDC ha tenido conversaciones sobre lo que las iglesias plantadas y las congregaciones establecidas pueden aprender unas de otras. El miembro de la Comisión Tim Amor escribió en la edición de Sprouts del 21 de abril de 2020 sobre la experiencia de “lo que una vez se llamó la Iglesia Menonita Beatrice” en su viaje para volver a plantar su congregación; y se pregunta cómo podríamos usar las herramientas de plantación de iglesias para traer creatividad y novedad a las congregaciones establecidas. (ver https://mennowdc.org/wdc-sprouts-april-21-2020/) En el artículo de hoy quiero volver a este tema, con algunas reflexiones adicionales.

Recientemente prediqué en dos congregaciones de la WDC sobre la parábola de Jesús del sembrador, la semilla y los suelos (Mateo 13: 1-9, 18-23). ¿Qué pasa si consideramos esta parábola en relación con la vitalidad congregacional y el testigo? Visto a través de la lente de esta parábola, la iglesia es tierra en la que el mensaje del Reino de Dios debe ser plantado y cosechado, una y otra vez. La parábola de Jesús reta nuestra tendencia predominante, que es simplemente almacenar la semilla una vez que se cosecha. Por ejemplo, tendemos a usar las guías de una iglesia establecida como medidas para el éxito de una iglesia: esto incluye factores como tener una constitución escrita, una estructura de gobierno, protocolos financieros, una lista de miembros y un lugar de reunión. Ahora bien, para ser claros, valoro estos elementos como importantes para la salud congregacional porque apoyan el liderazgo efectivo, la comprensión compartida, la transparencia, la responsabilidad, la estabilidad y la memoria organizacional. Continuaré alentando a las iglesias para que establezcan este tipo de estructuras organizativas para fortalecer su viabilidad. Al mismo tiempo, tales estructuras pueden parecerse más a los silos que usamos para contener y preservar la semilla del Reino de Dios, en lugar de la semilla misma. Si queremos seguir plantando la semilla, también debemos seguir practicando los elementos que son naturales para las iglesias: discernir una visión para el futuro, evaluar el contexto en el que existe la iglesia (nuestro vecindario local y la demografía, las oportunidades y las necesidades a nuestro alrededor), desarrollando un plan intencional para invitar a nuevos miembros y discipular a creyentes nuevos, identificando dones para el liderazgo y el ministerio, equipando a los “santos” para el ministerio y fomentando relaciones con la iglesia en general como el cuerpo de Cristo.

Ser parte de la WDC proporciona a las iglesias plantadas y a las congregaciones establecidas los recursos y oportunidades que necesitamos para crecer en todas estas formas, ya que compartimos nuestras ideas, preguntas, necesidades y recursos juntos. Cada congregación, ya sea recién plantada o profundamente enraizada, está llamada a ser el suelo donde la semilla del mensaje de Dios se difunde una y otra vez, produciendo crecimiento nuevo, semillas nuevas y nuevas oportunidades de cosecha.

Mientras anticipamos la próxima Asamblea Anual de WDC del 1 al 2 de agosto, los invito a que participen en esta reunión para escuchar cómo la palabra de Dios está creciendo entre nosotros, y para alentarse y desafiarse mutuamente para aumentar la fidelidad, la justicia y la esperanza.

WDC announcements

  1. Living in Exile WDC Assembly Scriptures:  Please read and pray over Jeremiah 29:4 and following and 1 Peter 2:11-12, our Assembly scriptures.  Ponder what God might be telling us about how to live out the good news in times of trial, injustice, and fear.  There will be chances to talk together during live webinars and during the 3:30 pm Zoom conversation with Danny Carroll R on August 1.  https://mennowdc.org/2020-wdc-annual-assembly/
  1. WDC Assembly Video Snapshots:  Have you gone to WDC Assembly 2020 on YouTube yet?  There are some great stories about WDC churches and the ministries of our various commissions, stories of following Jesus today.  You’ll learn things and be inspired.   https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6aO7e884ZT5d9gHzyrfAucccOFYYd_M5
  1. Attention, church offices– for the WDC Assembly 2020, please submit your church membership number (as of January 1, 2020) and your delegate names ASAP at:  https://mennowdc.org/online-delegate-list-form/.    Even if your church will not have delegates, WDC needs to know your membership number for our records.  Please take a moment to send this information now – thanks!
  1. Save the date for WDC Fall Reference Council:   All members of WDC Executive Board, the four Commissions, Gifts Discernment Committee and staff are invited to WDC Reference Council scheduled for Saturday, September 26, 2020. (The format – electronic and/or in-person will be determined closer to the date).  This will be a time for introductions, orientation and review of WDC’s work, and collaboration to implement WDC’s mission and ministry together.  Watch for more information in the future!
  1. Looking forward to the Women and Girls Retreat at Camp Mennoscah? The Annual Spring Supper? Help make these events possible by joining the Western District Women in Mission Executive Council! There are nine open positions including: vice president, secretary, treasurer, one position on the Women and Girls Retreat Committee, two positions on the Communications Team, and three positions on the Nominating Committee. A wide variety of openings means we have a place for you and your unique talents and interests. You can help ensure the future of WDWM programming by volunteering for one of these positions.  If you are interested in supporting the mission of WDWM by filling one of these roles, please email westerndistrictwomen@gmail.com.

Camp Mennoscah announcements

  1. You are welcome to visit!  Camp Mennoscah is open to families, individuals, and groups for days and overnights.  The number of groups on campgrounds is limited and each family/group will have their own bathroom.  Canoes are available for use; paddles and lifejackets are checked out and disinfected after use.  Contact us at office@campmennoscah.orgor 620-297-3290.  Spend some time at the river, on the trails, or simply enjoying this sacred space!
  1. Camp in a Box from Camp Mennoscah–The vast majority of Camp in the Boxes and tee shirts have been distributed.  If you have not received yours (and we have not been in touch), please contact Camp Mennoscah at office@campmennoscah.orgor 620-297-3290.  We’ll get it figured out!
  1. The annual Camp Sing scheduled for August 8 has also been cancelled.  Staff will continue to brainstorm options for events that can be done safely!

Mennonite church announcements

  1. Check out these Everence webinars that are available:

(English):  https://www.everence.com/everence-events/national-advisors-and-representatives/recorded-webinars-past 

(Spanish):  www.everence.com/everence-articles/core-markets/national-advisors-and-representatives/webinars/20200528-presentacion-sobre-bienestar-financiero

  1. The Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum, Goessel, KS, will have a benefit Bierock Carry-out Meal. Saturday, August 1, 11 am to 1 pm (while supplies last). The meal is a free-will donation or $10 suggested donation. New Year’s Cookies will also be available by the half dozen and dozen. Suggested donations: $5 and $10, respectively. Look for the arrows to direct traffic past the museum’s Prep School, 200 N. Poplar, Goessel. No reservation needed.
  1. Mennonite Church USA has put together a collection of laments, written by pastors, leaders, lay people and students, on the recent and persistent violence of racism. You are invited to pray and lament along with them: http://mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/lament-violence-of-racism/

    4.  Menno Snapshots:  In “Reflections on protesting and faith,” two members of Pasadena Mennonite Church – a Guatemalan mestizo immigrant and a white university professor – discuss the cost of following Christ. Read more: http://mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/reflections-protesting-and-faith/

    5.   Menno Snapshots:  Tobin Miller Shearer, co-founder of the Damascus Road Anti-Racism Process, stresses the importance of working together in racially integrated settings in his blog, “The discipline and practice of white caucusing.” http://mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/white-caucusing/

  1. Join the growing culture of discipleship in the church! Save your spot in the next Missional Discipleship Initiative cohort. Visit MennoniteMission.net/MDI and sign up for the next MDI cycle, starting Sept. 1!

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

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