This presentation was shared at our Town Meeting at Neffsville Mennonite Church on February 12, 2012. This began our discussion 3 month discussion and discernment process leading up to our May Vision meeting.
Mennonite Church USA:Purposeful Plan – An Introduction Neffsville Mennonite Church Town Meeting February 12, 2012
Goal of Purposeful PlanTo move more deliberately toward fulfillment of our missional purpose as a church.
Basis for Purposeful Plan: Six QuestionsPart I: Missional Vision 1. Who is God calling us to become as a people? 2. Where is God calling us to go? 3. What are the signposts to show we are on God’s chosen path for us?Part II: Purposeful Plan 1. Where are we now on this journey? 2. What circumstances might cause us to make adjustments along the way? 3. What are the next steps on the path?
Part I: Missional Vision1. Who is God calling us to become as a people? Mennonite Church USA Vision Statement:God calls us to be followers of Jesus Christ and, by thepower of the Holy Spirit, to grow as communities ofgrace, joy and peace so that God’s healing and hope flowthrough us to the world.
Part I: Missional Vision2. Where is God calling us to go? Seven Priorities Christian Formation Christian Community Holistic Christian Witness Stewardship Leadership Development Undoing Racism and Advancing Intercultural Transformation Church-to-Church Relationships
Part I: Missional Vision3. What are the signposts to show we are on God’s chosen path for us? (Three of twelve are below) The church reads the Bible together with the presence of the Holy Spirit to learn God’s good and gracious intent for all creation, the way of salvation, and the indentity and purpose of life together. Welcoming the stranger into the midst of the community plays a central role. The church makes an observable impact that contributes to the transformation of life, society, and human relationships.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan4. Where are we now on this journey? Positive Developments We know of 96 new churches being planted in the last five years. Racial and ethnic groups are experiencing numerical growth. Many of our young people are expressing their Anabaptist convictions by joining new expressions of the church in house fellowships and discipleship movements.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan ConcernsDrop in numbers from 120,381 members and 1,063congregations in 2001 to 104,687 members and 872congregations in 2011.Demographics that show we are aging as adenomination.Increased political tension in our church due toalignment with political parties.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan5. What circumstances might cause us to make adjustment along the way? Fear of outsiders, and terrorists in particular – creating a challenging environment for racial and ethnic groups that are growing Social and economic inequities between rich and poor Dramatic natural disasters in the last decade Changes are in our nation’s attitudes toward same sex attraction Changes in information technology
Part II: The Purposeful Plan6. What are the next steps on the path? Alternate routes Common vision or divisive issues Abundance or scarcity High expectation or low expectation of members Soft or hard geographic boundaries Resources or regulation
Part II: The Purposeful Plan Polarities to manageStrong servant leadership and church managementEmpowering leaders and professional clergyCulturally relevant and rooted in our heritageCreating the new and preserving what is good of theold
Part II: The Purposeful Plan Outcomes and Goals1. Christian Formation 1. Outcome: To increase our capacity as a community of faith to use the scriptures as a faithful guide for daily living. 2. Sample goal: Designate a “Year of the Bible,” providing resources to enable every congregation to increase its biblical awareness and faithfulness.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan2. Christian Community 1. Outcome: The church makes visible the reign of God by reflecting the gracious presence of God in all of its corporate gatherings. 2. Sample goal: Facilitate mediated conversations between people from different theological perspectives to practice and demonstrate faithful agreeing and disagreeing in love.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan3. Holistic Witness(includes areas of peace and justice, evangelism andchurch planting, and health services or ministries) 1. Outcome: The church witnesses to the wholeness of God’s salvation made possible through the gospel of Jesus Christ via an interwoven fabric of activities. 2. Sample goal: Nurture the practice of testimony in congregations, area conferences, denominational meetings and committees.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan3. Holistic Witness 3. Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) goals: Denominational staff dedicated to planting peace churches (shared staff between Executive Board and MMN work closely with area conferences and their congregations to assist church planters and teams. Through MC USA and MMN communication staff share stories of creative church planting through news service stories at least six times a year. Pilot two Mennonite Voluntary Service projects in communities of color to expand diversity in our short-term programs.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan4. Stewardship 1. Outcome: As God’s stewards, we will reflect God’s abundance through our generosity in achieving missional goals across all parts of the church. 2. Sample goal: Develop a Congregational Resource Manual to assist congregations in developing narrative budgets that reflect missional priorities and provide guidance on stewardship best practices in the congregations.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan5. Leadership Development 1. Outcome: Church members with leadership gifts are called, trained and nurtured in Anabaptist theology and practice, and work together in various teams so that both credentialed and lay leaders can be empowered to fulfill the church’s missional vocation. 2. Sample goal: Champion a “Culture of Call” in our congregations.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan6. Undoing Racism and Advancing Intercultural Transformation 1. Outcome: To overcome antipathy and alienation among different cultural groups through a dismantling of individual and systemic racism in our church, making the way for people from every racial and ethnic group to have just and equitable access to church resources, positions, and information as manifestations of the one new humanity we have in Christ. 2. Sample goal: Translate and contextualize core documents of Christian belief and faith into the language of worship for every people group in Mennonite Church USA.
Part II: The Purposeful Plan7. Church-to-Church Relationships 1. Outcome: To give and receive gifts within the body of Christ as a witness to the unity to which God calls us as we pursue God’s mission in the world. We will nurture relationships with others in the Anabaptist family, both in the U.S. and globally, and with the broader body of Christ. 2. Sample goal: Participate with brothers and sisters in the broader Mennonite family of churches in the planning for and hosting of Mennonite World Conference Assembly in Pennsylvania in 2015.
ConclusionWe intend to review the elements of this plan at eachbiennial session, so that we can celebrate milestonesand make appropriate adjustments along the way.