November 22, 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)


*It all starts with a prayer…


It all starts with a prayer…

     by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister, Texas-Based

What is the first thing you do when you plant a church?

Allow me to share a quick snapshot about church planting in relation to the personal and factual questions at hand. Therefore, I will approach it from my personal experience.

The immediate response is that it all starts with prayer, a loving and caring heart and willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit. I think, for the most part, that prayer, heart and the Holy Spirit’s power will shape both the church planter and church plant’s theological identity.

Prayer is crucial for church planting ministry to reach out and serve, to receive and to give the gifts from above (John 3:27). In addition, I also share that I gather a prayer team to intercede for this ministry. And then, I develop a structure of constant communication with this group of people.

This team is in charge to “prepare the way of the Lord and to make his path straight.”

Together, we cry out to the Lord for “open doors” to connect and build relationships in the community, to join and see how God is at work and how the Spirit is moving.

A loving and caring heart, in a Christ like manner, is essential. Jesus was always moved to compassion out of genuine love for the people around him. Church planting itself is a good place to reach out to the lost and the broken-hearted, the needy and those with abundance, the religious and the unchurched, and so on (Matthew 9:35-38).

Besides all assessments, planning and strategizing, the leadership and anointing of the Holy Spirit is paramount to any method, geography, demographics, and financial component (Acts 1:8).

Among the many things that I enjoy in life, sharing about church planting is one of them. Every time that I have the opportunity, to share that I have been involved in church planting ministry, this question of “What is the first thing you do when you plant a church?” has been prompted very often. I should say that I enjoy sharing about it because I could be talking to a potential church planter or to a congregation that has been discerning how to respond to God’s activity in their community that may signal an emerging group.

On one hand, I must add that the context about sharing church planting, for the most part, is with individuals that have never been in church-planting ministry or with individuals that somehow are going through a discernment process of responding to this call.

On the other hand, I try to meet, as often as possible, with other fellow church planters to hear and learn what the Spirit is leading them to do in their respective communities. Sharing resources through these gatherings and conversations allows me to undergo my own discernment process and test their practices in my own context. This learning experience is very invigorating.

Perhaps, the intention of the initial question was more of an invitation to share if there is “a method” that warranties “success” in church planting. My answer is this, unless one prays, has a heart for it and is open and willing to follow the invitation of the Holy Spirit to join God’s mission in a giving context, no method will “guarantee any success.” After all, one needs to define “success.” Perhaps and in part, success can be defined and measure not only by the number of attendees and baptized but more importantly, by the lives that are going to be touched (witnessing) by Christ through church planting ministry.

WDC Announcements

A revised resolution on Israel/Palestine had been prepared for consideration by delegates at the 2017 Mennonite Church USA Assembly in Orlando, with an invitation for church members to offer feedback and comments about it by December 20. The resolution will be submitted to the MC USA Resolutions Committee in January 2017.  See www.mennoniteusa.org/menno-snapshots/seeking-peace-israel-palestine/ to read the resolution and find an online feedback form.  The resolution seeks to speak in a distinctively Mennonite voice, embracing a restorative justice framework by naming ways Mennonites have participated in harms, committing to concrete steps to address these wrongs and outlining ways to implement and support these initiatives.  The resolution pursues a “two-handed” approach, speaking clearly against injustice and violence and also extending a hand of understanding and relationship to all parties.

Advent at Home begins Nov. 27! Download the free guide for Advent family worship at www.anabaptistfaithformation.org.  Don’t let advertisements define Christmas; invite your children to “Come, Walk in the Light of Day” with Jesus.

The Tabor Mennonite Youth Fellowship, Newton, KS will share their annual living nativity, Night in the Barn, on December 17 and 18 from 6-8 pm The friendly goat, the large cow with her little calf, the peaceful sheep, and the baby and big donkeys that share their love of people—these are a few of the critters who will assemble in the barn of Maynard Knepp and Carol Duerksen between Goessel and Hillsboro.  The story this year will be from the perspective of a sheep that witnessed the first Christmas, and is from a new book by Kim Funk called “Christmas at the Stable.”  The come-and-go event includes Christmas carols around a bonfire, hot drinks and snacks.  Admission is free and donations to the youth group will be accepted.  Directions to Night in the Barn:  From Goessel: 3 miles north on Hwy 15, 4 miles east on 150th, ¾ north on Falcon. From Hillsboro, 4 miles south on Indigo, 3 west on 150th, ¾ north on Falcon. From McPherson, Hwy 56 to Hwy 15 south, 5 miles on Hwy 15 to 150th, 4 miles east on 150th and ¾ north on Falcon. (Follow these directions and not GPS) For more information, call 620-386-0709.

You are invited to join the First Mennonite Church (Newton, KS) choir in singing the Christmas section of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday, December 18 at 7 pm. Rehearsals will be held on Sunday afternoons, November 20-December 11 from 2 to 3:30 pm and Wednesdays, November 30-December 14 from 7:15-8 pm in the First Mennonite Church sanctuary, 429 E. 1st, Newton.  Please bring your own book or purchase one for $10 at the first rehearsal.  Questions?  Please contact Kay Schroeder at 316-283-0273 or email kays@firstmennonitenewton.org.

Camp Mennoscah at Mojo’s!  We will be having a blast at Mojo’s Coffee Bar at Bethel College on Tuesday, November 29, from 5:30-8:30pm and everyone is invited to join us.  It’s a time to reconnect with friends, hear stories, maybe sing a few songs.  Bring a friend who hasn’t been to Camp Mennoscah so we can meet them!  This event is part of Giving Tuesday.  Find more information about what Camp Mennoscah is doing for Giving Tuesday at www.campmennoscah.org!

Best Choice Labels for Camp Mennoscah!  We understand that grocery stores in Harvey County and surrounding areas are beginning to carry Best Choice items.  Collect the UPC code off Best Choice items, give them to Camp Mennoscah, and we will send them to Best Choice.  We receive a $30 check for every 1000 labels we send in.  Contact us at office@campmennoscah.org or 620-297-3290.  More information at:  http://campmennoscah.org/how-to-help/donate/

Thanks bunches! Thank you to all the many people who have contributed to Camp Mennoscah in prayers, gifts, volunteering, sending campers, wearing camp tee shirts and in so many other ways!  We are most grateful for the support you give us.  We think you’re the best and couldn’t ask for better.

Summer Youth Camp Volunteers Christmas Gathering!  On December 17 at 2:30pm-ish, anyone who has volunteered for summer youth camps at Camp Mennoscah is invited to bring their families and join us for a time of cookies, drinks, fun, and fellowship in the dining hall.  The gathering is for all years of camps.  There will be an all-ages white elephant gift exchange for those interested.  Bring a tasty treat to share (optional) and all your camp stories!

Mennonite Church Announcements

Join the #MennoLove fun! Participate in the Love is a Verb storytelling project by submitting a Love Your Selfie! Send us a photo of yourself practicing self-care and a brief explanation, and we will share it across the church online.  Send emails to alyssabs@mennoniteusa.org.

College Internship Opportunity with Mennonite Church USA: The Mennonite Church USA Communications team is looking for interns!  Beginning in January and culminating in July 2017 at Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando, these internships will include positions for writers, editors, photographers, social media and graphic design.  Internships will be paid and prioritize students of color.  Interested students should contact janiebk@mennoniteusa.org for more information.

The Mennonite Women USA Housewarmer Project continues to donate quilted wall hangings to Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) to give to the homeowner when their home is completed and a dedication takes place. MDS is hard at work rebuilding after flooding in West Virginia, Detroit, Michigan, Lafayette, Louisiana, a typhoon in Saipan, and will soon begin rebuilding after wildfires in California. We are getting very low on quilted wall hangings. If quilting is your gift, please consider sharing. See the link for more information – https://mennonitewomenusa.org/housewarmer/

Prairie View Lunch & Learn – January 17, 12-1:15 pm, 1901 E 1st St, Newton.  Come learn about “Warning Signs of Post-Holiday Stress” and enjoy lunch (free will donations accepted).  Hear about the chaplaincy ministry, other resources, and take a tour of the campus.

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