WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
June 21, 2016
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:
*Go, Be a Disciple Maker!
Go, Be a Disciple Maker!
by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister (Texas-based)
As I begin to visit and engage in conversations with our Western District Conference congregations and their pastors, discipleship and missions are the two themes, among many other, that had been predominant in such discussions. Both discipleship and missions are relevant to the life of the church today and they will continue to be in the future.
Bonhoeffer in “The Cost of Discipleship” asserts that “Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” Looking at it from another perspective equals to say that Jesus’ way defines the way of his followers.
Consequently, I am reminded that confession and following defines our identity. Who Jesus is and what he does, are intimately connected to who his disciples are, and it clarifies what is expected from them.
Confessing his name equals following him on his way and going into His mission. Therefore, one cannot claim to be a follower of Christ and not be obedient to his commands and to his life transforming teachings. In addition, one is challenged, daily, to be mindful and active in his redemptive work, mission.
For example, consider the Great Commission as both an invitation and a command. It is less of a contemplative approach and more of “all hands of deck” approach. As Conference, individually and collectively, we need to be reminded that we are a generation of disciples called to make disciples in a holistic way.
To be Christ’s disciples means a new humanity. We are learners, who follow Jesus and learn from him, under the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit. We are to learn to be obedient to the will of God, though it might mean suffering and death, primarily, to our ego and personal agendas but it also means rising to a new humanity.
Friends, it is not about the Church; It is about Jesus, it about the kingdom of God. If this assertion is correct, then we are invited to reflect and think at least on two questions, what does it mean to be a new creation and what does nonconformity mean? Let us be reminded that in spite of not being of this world, we are in this world.
Hence, our missional job as Church is to provoke people to have a personal relationship with Christ and to a transformational life experience. This mysterious God, revealed in Jesus Christ, called us to be his followers and invited us to a kingdom living. We are called people to God’s mission.
Mission and discipleship cannot be set apart from each other, because a follower of Christ is challenged to be in mission at any time and in any context, part of God’s redemptive work for our local and international communities (Acts 1:8).
The church is an organism that seeks to be incarnated in the reality of its community and its people. The church is a guest in the community where the coming of the kingdom is proclaimed in both the spoken word and service.
The church becomes the people of God only when it journeys toward God and his mission.
If a church wants to hold a strong identity of being the people of God, then the church needs to consider fully engaging in its immediate community which is to say: go, be a disciple maker!
“Missional” is more than a theory elaborated from a desk, a lecture in a classroom, a table discussion of endless meetings. It is more than a service project in a marginalized area whether in an afar community that looks very different than us or abroad, and so on.
A missional community of disciples is formed by committed Christians that live out God’s mission in their hometowns and abroad; incarnating in the reality of a given community the transforming gospel of Christ.
- There will be many workshops to choose from Saturday afternoon at Western District Conference Annual Assembly, July 29-30 on Bethel College campus, North Newton, KS. Here are a small sample: Discerning local missional options, History of the relationship between Jews and Mennonites, opportunities for creative prayer, a nature walk, guided Kauffman Museum tour, learning about Safe Sanctuaries, and hearing from participants in the recent Israel-Palestine Come and See Tour. Join us for fun, fellowship, and lots of resourcing. For more information and to register, go to: mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2016annualAssembly.
- Holy and Whole: Faithful Response to Sexual Abuse in the Congregation – Pastors’ Afternoon Apart – July 29, 12 noon – 5 pm. Register by July 15 at https://mennowdc.org/pastors-afternoon-apart-july-29-2016/
- Enjoy getting to know new people? WDC is looking for people in the Newton area to host persons coming to the Annual Assembly, July 29-30. Let us know if you can be a host – call Nancy at 316-283-6300 or email email@example.com. Thanks!
- Seeking a childcare/children’s activities coordinator for WDC Annual Assembly – contact Kathy Neufeld Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org, 316-283-6300.
- We’re not full yet! Camp Mennoscah still has room for more campers at our summer youth camps. There are openings for most of our remaining camps and we’re working to make space for even more! Our theme this summer is Fearless Faith: Courage in Community. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290. We’re having a blast!
- Retreat, retreat! Young adults age 18 and older are invited to retreat to Camp Mennoscah on July 29-31 for a time of worship, fellowship (a bland word with great depth of meaning), tasty food, and all sorts of extra-fun camp stuff. Clayton Gladish will lead us in worship on Saturday. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org. There’s no better way to end your summer!
- Clear the calendar! Camp Mennoscah’s annual Camp Sing is August 7 at 6:30pm at Grace Hill Mennonite Church in Whitewater. We’ll sing camp songs and hymns and follow it up with popcorn and our “traditional” generic pop. It’s a way to celebrate an amazing summer of camps and wonderful groups!
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620