In the bulb – Presentation at SHMC
2. Our “healing and hope” vision statement has been broadly and energetically accepted by congregations of Mennonite Church Canada. It is a significant vision. It is important to remember it, and to ensure that all our efforts point back to it in a logical, cohesive way.
Let us read our Vision Statement together:
God calls us
to be followers of
and by the power of the Holy Spirit,
to grow as communities of
grace, joy and peace
so that God’s
healing and hope
flow through us to the world.
3. God’s Mission is our Mission. According to the Mennonite Church Canada mission statement, God calls us to “facilitate God’s mission in the world, so that all people may find healing and hope in all circumstances of life.”
4. What is God doing? What is God’s mission in the world? God reconciles. We understand God’s desire for us through his message of reconciliation. God invites the church to align its purpose and its activities with the reconciling purpose of God in “setting things right in the world.”
5. We are being re-inspired by our Anabaptist forebears of 400 years ago. We are re-focusing on God’s intended mission and purpose in the world, and aligning ourselves with God’s mission in the world. We are at an exciting time in the history of our church!
6. Like the flower bulbs and seeds that hold the energy of blooms that burst forth, we understand the heartbeat of the church to be our all encompassing mission—rooted in vision—that what we do and say flows out of the faith and energy stored within us.
There are many scriptures one could reference. 2nd Corinthians 5:18-20 is a compelling text:
7. “All this is from God, who reconciled himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
8. How do we do this in today’s world? As God creates an environment for growing things to flourish, so must we be creating an environment that allows the mission and ministry of reconciliation to flourish.
9. That environment is sometimes referred to as the missional church. It is an environment that is absorbed in nurturing personal growth and development, that is busy cross pollinating among cultures and peoples, and is germinating ideas in many places. It allows the energy stored in bulbs and seeds to burst forth with bloom!
10. To create that environment we must creatively propose ways of defining Mennonite Church Canada’s function. That function serves the vision—so that the church can thrive in places and in ways we might not have imagined before...
11. Being a truly missional church means many things. Let’s imagine the possibilities. Take into account the ministries and traditions of the past, consider ways of taking care of the program gifts we are receiving from our brothers and sisters in the USA and other parts of the world, and think about ways to organize that bring order and stewardship to our vision. Let’s imagine and discern God’s dream... together.
12. We have a vision, a strong vision, one that calls us to align ourselves with God’s purpose in the world. How do we emerge as strong congregations, strong area conferences, and a strong country-wide body; as partners in Mennonite Church Canada? How do we dream God’s dream of bringing healing and hope to a broken world?
13. We begin by painting a picture of God’s mission in the world and our place in it. We begin by seeking the word, and finding the melody that conveys the word. We begin by seeing all of our churches, all of our partners, as sharing the common tasks of forming and nurturing disciples, of witnessing to the world. We begin by imagining how this will translate into the traditions from the past and the future that has already begun.
14. There are the gifts of ministries from the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Mennonite Church. These gifts are carefully, gently, being entrusted to us, to move forward with the mission they have nurtured for over one hundred years. With dignity and respect we honor these gifts, and take ownership of them as Mennonites in Canada.
15. As we move to make these ministries our own, they will take on new faces, new directions, and even new names. But we also have an obligation—a commitment to honour and support the work of the past, while building something new for the future. The proposed changes will influence all of Mennonite Church Canada: congregations, area conferences, organizational functions, and board structures. Let us imagine and discern God’s dream… together.
16. It is our hope that Mennonite Church Canada will become more flexible, more responsive, more resourceful, more creative, more dynamic, more knowledgeable, more Spirit filled—ready to serve and be aligned with God’s mission of setting things right in the world.
17. How will this look in our congregation, on our street, in our homes? Much depends on us as individuals. Much depends on us as a congregation. And much depends on us as a country-wide church body. What will it mean for our church?
Much depends on us...
18. Will it mean becoming a more active centre for mission, facilitated by area conferences and Mennonite Church Canada?
19. Will it mean partnering with another church to work at a specific mission or ministry?
20. Will it mean individuals representing churches from across Canada forming virtual mission teams?
21. Will it mean working directly with an overseas church, or receiving an international church worker in a mutual ministry partnership?
22. Rooted in Vision, fed by God’s mission.
Aligning ourselves with God’s mission ultimately means that what we do, from leadership development, education, publishing, developing resources, developing old and new partnerships and networks, building relationships from across the street to around the world—with others and with each other—that what we do and the decisions we make, are rooted in our vision and mission.
23. Let us as Springfield Heights Mennonite Church, pray and discern the ways and means we can participate in God’s mission in the world through Mennonite Church Canada.
Let us imagine and discern God’s dream… together.
May God grant us wisdom, discernment and a strong passion as we strive to be a center for God’s Mission in the world here at Springfield Heights Mennonite Church.
Let us pray