Participating in the Sent conference again was a very pleasant reunion. The experience allowed me to learn more, especially with the panelists presenting this year. One of the panelists, Leonard Dow, spoke about different seasons in life and how these seasons can be hard, challenging, uncertain or positive. No matter which season we are in, we must stay aware to stay in tune with others and God.
Dow also mentioned that we have to have rhythm with each other, on both congregational and personal levels, to be able to be in union. Another panelist, Suzy Brugger Kanode, mentioned how churches are growing in multicultural ways, referring to what is written in Revelation 5:9: God will be worshiped by every tribe, language, people, and nation.
Personally, Sent helped me learn, because it is divided into modules that each focus on one subject. The program prioritizes education, without ignoring the theological, missional and Anabaptist roots of church planting. One section talks about contextualization, which helps the participant describe and discern the things around them, which helping them contextualize their church-planting experience.
Another incredible thing about Sent is that it is not only about reading and discussion, but participants also are assigned a coach. Sharon Norton, Mission Network's co-administrator for Africa and Europe, was my coach. She helped and guided me while I walked along my church-planting journey.
The Sent program helped me confirm my identity as an Anabaptist Mennonite. So it is a privilege to be on staff at Mennonite Mission Network is special, especially because it is,, an agency rooted in the Anabaptists-Mennonite community of faith. It is a privilege and a great responsibility to carry a legacy that has been carefully woven by people who have responded to and fell in love with God's call to mission.
For me, being part of the staff also allows me to be part of an organization that displays an identity of a history of peace, community and love towards others. Those are gifts, values and a heritage that we, as an agency, have inherited from people who worked so hard before us. This means belonging to a group of people who love God and wants to serve the global church and the community.
Mission Network is designed to walk with churches, especially here, in the United States. Everyone at Mission Network is full of gifts and experience, which, for me, can serve as a tool to encourage us to carry on the responsibility that comes with being part of this agency. It makes me remember what Jesus told his disciples in John 4:38 (NLT): "I sent you to harvest where you didn't plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest." This is both comforting and challenging, and now, we must work hard to pass on this legacy to future generations of Anabaptist Christians. I pray for guidance for myself, to serve well with Mission Network. In the end, we all need other people, and I hope to be a good co-worker around whom everyone feels safe and supported.