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November 15, 2022

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A Note from the Missional Leadership Team

Last week about 20 pastors and leaders from Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference gathered together at Amigo Centre for a time of fellowship, learning, retreat, and worship. Each year, when the time for these Pastor Gathering draw near, I start to look at my calendar and feel uncertain about how I am going to work in the time away; even the relatively compact schedule can feel like it takes effort to fit into weeks already so full of church activities and the busyness of daily life.  When I actually get to the gatherings, though, and when I reflect on them afterwards, I always find them to be so worth the effort of rearranging meetings and waiting to fold laundry.

These gatherings are a chance to be “away.” The intentional time apart from the regular routines of life and the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation can be meaningful ways to be present to God and one another in ways for which daily life doesn’t always leave space.

These gatherings provide valuable input and resources for ministry. Clayton Gladish’s presentations on Adaptive Leadership encouraged us to recognize the difference between technical problems, which take expertise and skill to solve, and adaptive problems, which require learning and curiosity to make progress.  Clayton helped equip us not only with an “Adaptive Leadership Toolbox” ourselves, but with means to share those resources in our own contexts.

These gatherings provide an opportunity to connect with other IMMC leaders. Each time I join one of these gatherings I come away with deep gratitude for the faithfulness, skill, passion, experience, kindness, and integrity of my colleagues and siblings in Christ in our conference. In thoughtful discussion as well as goofy games, it is a joy and privilege to gather as people brought together by love and call of Christ.

Finally, and most importantly, these gatherings give space to encounter God and be renewed in God’s work in the world. In worship, fellowship, and learning; the gatherings encourage us to be “Centered on Jesus, Guided by the Holy Spirit, Acting through Grace, Love, and Peace, Engaging the world God loves,” calling us to deepen our commitment to that shared vision.

If you are a pastor or leader with an opportunity to engage in Pastor Gatherings or other IMMC events in the future, I strongly encourage you to do so; I trust that you too will experience the rich blessings of those times.  Even if you are not able to do so, though, I would invite you to engage similar opportunities in your own life: to disconnect from the daily routine, to connect with fellow Christ-followers in prayer and fellowship, to learn and engage resources, and most importantly, to be renewed in the vision of living into the grace, love, power, and call of our Triune God.  May you too be blessed by Spirit of Christ alive in our conference community!

~ Naomi Yoder, Secretary, Missional Leadership Team

Celebrating

  • The gathering of some 20 pastors at Amigo Centre Nov 7-9. Pastors Gathering provided meaningful fellowship, equipping sessions on leadership, and multiple opportunities for games, hikes, and retreat.
  • Joanne finished her Iron Sharpening Iron program in executive leadership with Princeton Theological Seminary in late October.
  • Thanksgiving and God’s blessings in our lives. As we center on Jesus and engage the world God loves, we also ponder how the focus of our celebrations sometimes harms others. We invite you to consider registering for this webinar on Sunday November 20 at 4pm ET: Register Now.

Connecting

  • Joanne traveled with Steve Slagel to the Upper Peninsula to visit with pastors and leaders from the area IMMC churches.
  • Joanne and Sharon joined virtual sessions of fall Constituency Leadership Council (CLC) along with other MC USA conference leaders on October 21-22.
  • Sharon joined the MC USA conference ministers meeting on November 8; the topic was about keeping denominational records for congregations and pastors.  
  • In the month of October, Sharon connected with congregational leaders of ten congregations who are in various stages of leadership transition.

Credentialing and Leadership Development 

  • Leadership Enhancement Team (LET) is celebrating a successful Pastors Gathering at Amigo this month. They also have an officially revamped Framework for Pastoral Growth along with a Growth and Resource document. 
  • Volunteer Search Guides met with Sharon at the conference office November 15 for their annual refresher on walking with pastoral search committees. Currently there are seven search guides available to serve in this significant role of presence and support on behalf of conference.  
  • AMBS is launching the first Doctor of Ministry program in the USA that is deliberately rooted in Anabaptist theology. We are delighted to promote this by offering a $2000 grant per year, for three years, for IMMC pastors who engage in this experience-based program.    

Financial Update

From Amgio

Youth and sponsors are invited to sign up for the 2023 Winter Youth Retreats:

  • Senior High, January 13-15, speaker JE Misz
  • Junior High, February 17-19, speaker Trisha Cousino
  • For more information and registration, click here.

Employment Opportunities

  • The Center for Community Justice is looking for dedicated and empathic individuals who are passionate about helping people on their paths toward healing! Preferred candidates for the Restorative Mediation and Facilitation Practitioner role will be grounded in restorative justice values, have good communication skills, and be able to work collaboratively with a team. See their website for more information and apply by sending a cover letter and resume to recruitment@centerforcommunityjustice.org. Persons with lived experience with the criminal justice system are encouraged to apply.  Bilingual (Spanish/English) persons are especially needed.
  • Mennonite Mission Network has several employment opportunities listed on their employment page.
  • Mennonite Education Agency lists openings throughout Mennonite-affiliated schools on their employment page.
  • Explore pastoral opportunities in Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference and beyond on MC USA’s  Pastoral Openings list.

If you would like to list an opportunity here, please contact the Conference Office.

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