That 14 people out of 38 who registered showed up for the “Partnering with God’s healing and hope” seminar may have indicated some wearying of Assembly 2016 participants. But those who came paid close attention to the presentation and asked good questions about what a mission partnership with a Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker or ministry means.
Presenters Daniel Horne and Jason Martin shared a roundup of all 30 current workers in ministries and pre-emptively addressed the most common questions: What is a partnership and how does it work?
Forming relationships with global initiatives makes communication a key factor. The presenters cited prayer and encouragement, financial support, Skype interactions with the entire congregation, and visits through learning tours as conventional ways congregations enrich their mission partnerships.
“And don’t underestimate the church bulletin board,” said Horne, noting examples of beautifully done displays he has seen in come congregations that draw significant attention to mission partners.
New ways of connecting with overseas partners are always being imagined, too. In Saskatchewan, some churches are thinking about a choir tour to China. In Botswana, Witness workers Nathan and Taryn Dirks imagine sending two young pastors from Gaborone to churches in Canada to explore congregational leadership in a Canadian context.
Josh Wallace, pastor of Warman Mennonite Church, cited the benefits of a partnership in helping his congregation to see beyond their doors. “It’s brought a lot of life to our congregation,” he said. “It reminds us that the work of God is so much bigger.”
Rudy Franz asked about the impact of the Future Directions Task Force work on congregational partnerships. Perhaps there are two or three congregations that could join together in partnering globally, he wondered, asking, “Could invitations to global ministry that arrive in the office be shared with the entire body across Canada?”
That is the goal, responded Horne. It can happen under the current structure as well, but the hope is that joint partnership among multiple congregations with an international ministry will become more intentionally communicated. Awareness about who is seeking what is critical, he said.
More about seminars at Assembly 2016:
Making a case for community
‘Young adults don’t need the church’
The future lies in the past
A vision for the MHC Archives and Gallery
The place of a ‘confession’ in church life
Laments and hopes for MC Canada
Exploring tough subjects and intense spaces
Good news sometimes comes in small packages
Seeing dystopian heroines as prophets