This includes 6 breakout sessions from our Once & Future Mission event focused on the Anabaptist tradition.
The Blessed CommunityWoody Dalton – Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church
The standard New Testament worship experience was multicultural. Much of the New Testament writings were addressing issues and conflicts evoked by different cultures coming together. Today as Dr. Martin Luther King observed many years ago, the most segregated hour in North America is on Sunday morning. Drawing on Anabaptist perspectives and practices, this workshop will focus on why diversity enhances our witness for Christ and practical steps local churches can use to bring about cultural and ethnic diversity. Many congregations assume ethnic and cultural diversity is possible only in urban centers. This workshop will also challenge those assumptions.
Fighting The Right Fight: An Anabaptist Perspective On Spiritual WarfareGreg Boyd & Dennis Edwards – Woodland Hills Church
In Ephesians 6:12 we’re taught that “our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities & powers.” In this session we’ll discuss the view that the reason we tend to make enemies out of our “flesh and blood “sisters and brothers is because we aren’t engaging our REAL enemies, the principalities and powers. A thesis we will explore is that a robust understanding of spiritual warfare is vital to embracing the Anabaptist commitment to love those who consider themselves our enemies and to refrain from all violence. Practical applications of spiritual warfare to church communities will be considered.
Has Anabaptism Failed In North America?Drew Hart – Mennonite Church USA
This session will consider how the radical witness of 16th century Anabaptism has often failed to be contextualized in North America over the past 400 years. Anabaptist denominations here have a long legacy of living as affluent huddles of Swiss-German relatives. These communities have been largely silent in the midst of a violently racialized American society, even as diverse peoples have joined the Anabaptist stream. What does it mean to join in solidarity with racially oppressed groups and enter into dialogue with their theologies? When has this happened among North American Anabaptists? How could this aid the Anabaptist community in being more faithful to Jesus and more true to the spirit of the early Anabaptist movement?
Nonviolence In A War CultureJosh Crain & Brooke Strayer – Carlisle Brethren in Church
Peace and nonviolence are long-held values in the Anabaptist tradition, but we find ourselves living in a culture where these values are at odds with societal standards. Using Carlisle as a microcosm of a broader American context, the pastors of Carlisle Brethren in Christ Church discuss how they are navigating the unique challenges of leading an Anabaptist congregation in a city that places a high value on military service.
Transforming Community: Exploring The Successes And Struggles Of An Anabaptist Multi-Site ChurchTim Day & Bruxy Cavey – The Meeting House
House church vs Congregational church? Small church vs big church? Rural vs City? Timeless traditions vs innovative expressions? Relational approaches vs tech-savvy strategies? Or can we just say yes to them all? In this workshop we will explore the key lessons learned from The Meeting House as they grew from a small suburban congregation to a network of house churches that rally on Sundays in 17 locations ranging in size from 120 to 2000. We will discuss how this community seeks to live the Anabaptist vision, values, and message in their urban-suburban context and has grown through both successes and failures.
Vital Signs: Encouraging Vibrant CongregationsJonathan Shively, Stan Dueck, and Josh Brockway – Church of the Brethren
Congregational consultants abound and the publishing market is full of resources to enhance the vitality of any congregation. The problem is that many of these resources are generically conceived and do not look for specifically Anabaptist commitments or values. In the last several years the Church of the Brethren has developed a series of resources that build on our core commitments to community, Scripture, and mission to guide established and emerging congregations in forming vital communities. This workshop will introduce the Vital Ministry Journey tools and summarize what we have learned about what is life-giving in our communities.