By Mike Sherrill
Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Reflections on Mennonite Mission Network's 20th anniversary


Since the day it was established 20 years ago, Mennonite Mission Network has been striving to follow Jesus' teachings and avoid approaches to mission that rely on colonial systems. It’s a God inspired core value handed to us by forebearers such as J.D. Graber, Irene and Ed Weaver, and Wilbert R. Shenk, my mentor.

When I received this torch from Stanley W. Green and began as executive director in 2020, the resilience of Mission Network staff was an important encouragement within the agency. Recognizing the strain of the pandemic, we decided to meet weekly as all-staff for fellowship, scriptural devotion and mutual support. At the first of those meetings, I shared two scripture verses: 

2 Corinthians 4:8. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair” (NIV) 

Isaiah 43:19. “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (NRSVUE). 


At that time, we could not have imagined the pandemic would continue for two years and beyond. With God’s grace, our shared creativity and commitment has enabled us to not only survive, but to thrive. It has enabled us not only to adapt, but to innovate.

Mission Network pivoted to leverage our digital capacity to maintain and expand our programs and partnership. After months of sharing, discussion, and prayer, a shared sense that structural change was needed arose across the organization. This was never criticism of the past; rather, honoring the past, acknowledging the present, and building on our legacy to include new opportunities for us to serve the needs of our constituency and partners across the street and around the world.

Through the process, Mission Network developed a well-balanced structure with the distribution of staff. The pandemic accelerated remote and hybrid hiring, which significantly broadened the applicant pool for our job openings. Now more than ever, Mission Network staff reflect our diverse denomination with employees in various parts of the country with diverse language, racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Mission Network staff worked diligently at anti-racism training, reflection and personal growth. We launched our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Team to more systematically shape Mission Network’s continual goal to be anti-racist and interculturally competent across the agency internally and externally. The DEI Team assists the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) in reviewing and refining values, language, policies, and programs with a view to incorporate our learnings into our strategy, operations, and activities.

As we drew near to the conclusion of our realignment, we engaged in a thorough strategic planning process to prepare us for 2022-2023. We began with a review of the Mission Network Global Ends Statement, People of all cultures are transformed by Jesus Christ. This has been and continues to be our “why” statement, our purpose statement. It goes further to state, Across the street and around the world, people of all cultures encounter Anabaptist expression of the whole gospel of Jesus Christ.” Partnering with conferences, congregations, and others, mission congregations and leaders are established and equipped to engage their culture and world with the whole gospel of Jesus Christ.

We revitalized our organizational culture, considered new strategies, and developed a strategic budget to fuel our work. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, perseverance, prayer, and commitment, we have completed our realignment process, and we have set sail on a journey of discovery in new open waters.

Mission Network personnel respond to invitations from, and partner with, organizations to work alongside them in service. Mission Network has been walking along side partners or doing “mission with” for the past 20 years. Collaborating in mission through partnership is the very heart of how we pursue our calling as an agency of mission. 



 

We articulate our passion for mission partnership regularly in our publications such as Missio DeiEach issue is packed with mission inspiration and insight in how we serve with mutual respect with partners – like #24, The ‘M’ Word, which features Irene Weaver. The most recent one, #31 published last year, celebrates 100 years of Mennonite ministry in Argentina. From issue #1 up to the present, each booklet is a must read for gaining insight into who we are at Mennonite Mission Network. 

As we commemorate our 20th Anniversary, honoring our roots and looking ahead, I especially recommend looking at Missio Dei #22 – Walking Together in Mission. This issue provides a helpful overview of what has been and continues to be our calling and identity as an agency partnering in God’s Kingdom-building mission.


 

 

 Related articles

 

 

Here with purpose: Sibonokuhle NcubeQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5070/Here-with-purpose-Sibonokuhle-NcubeHere with purpose: Sibonokuhle NcubeGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Privilege shapes our response to the migrant crisisMigrationhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5068/Privilege-shapes-our-response-to-the-migrant-crisisPrivilege shapes our response to the migrant crisisGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Calais
Here with purpose: Tim YoderQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5065/Here-with-purpose-Tim-YoderHere with purpose: Tim YoderGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Mennonite mission worker continues to nurture friendships with Shia Muslims in IranInterfaith discussionhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5064/Mennonite-mission-works-continues-to-nurture-friendships-with-Shia-Muslims-in-Iran-Mennonite mission worker continues to nurture friendships with Shia Muslims in IranGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Qom, Iran
Easter calls us to open the doors of our homes and our heartsEasterhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5061/Easter-calls-us-to-open-the-doors-of-our-homes-and-our-heartsEaster calls us to open the doors of our homes and our heartsGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Calais
Celebrating Holy Week in multiple cultures can deepen faithHoly Weekhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4879/Celebrating-Holy-Week-in-multiple-culturesCelebrating Holy Week in multiple cultures can deepen faithGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Redefining the future of serviceBloghttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5047/Are-service-programs-dyingRedefining the future of serviceGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Here with purpose: Henok MekoninQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5044/Here-with-purpose-Henok-MekoninHere with purpose: Henok MekoninGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
The heartbreak of the border: A call for compassion and changeBloghttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5043/A-call-for-compassion-and-changeThe heartbreak of the border: A call for compassion and changeGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Here with purpose: Karen HorsmanQ&Ahttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5039/Here-with-purpose-Karen-HorsmanHere with purpose: Karen HorsmanGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Mission partnerships help each participant to experience more of GodBenin Bible Institutehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5037/Mission-partnerships-help-each-participant-to-experience-more-of-GodMission partnerships help each participant to experience more of GodGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Cotonou
Unwavering faith in the face of persecution yields harvest of peaceFaith in Sidihttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5029/Unwavering-faith-in-the-face-of-persecution-yields-harvest-of-peaceUnwavering faith in the face of persecution yields harvest of peaceGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Sidi
United in ChristTwo-Way Missionhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5026/United-in-ChristUnited in ChristGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476Zábalo Village
Here with purpose: Michael OyerBloghttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5027/Here-with-purpose-Michael-OyerHere with purpose: Michael OyerGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476
Casa del Abuelo: Navigating crisis and compassion in La GuajiraBloghttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5023/crisis-and-compassion-in-La-GuajiraCasa del Abuelo: Navigating crisis and compassion in La GuajiraGP0|#49a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633;L0|#049a01354-0a5e-4821-ba87-b9f6ba8b7633|Blog;GTSet|#544fcc8d-5de2-49c8-9d51-afee09323476La Guajira

 

 

https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4796/Making-our-way

Mike Sherrill is executive director of Mennonite Mission Network.

 Related

 

 

Here with purpose: Sibonokuhle Ncubehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5070/Here-with-purpose-Sibonokuhle-NcubeHere with purpose: Sibonokuhle Ncube
Privilege shapes our response to the migrant crisishttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5068/Privilege-shapes-our-response-to-the-migrant-crisisPrivilege shapes our response to the migrant crisis
Here with purpose: Tim Yoderhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5065/Here-with-purpose-Tim-YoderHere with purpose: Tim Yoder
Mennonite mission worker continues to nurture friendships with Shia Muslims in Iranhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5064/Mennonite-mission-works-continues-to-nurture-friendships-with-Shia-Muslims-in-Iran-Mennonite mission worker continues to nurture friendships with Shia Muslims in Iran
Easter calls us to open the doors of our homes and our heartshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5061/Easter-calls-us-to-open-the-doors-of-our-homes-and-our-heartsEaster calls us to open the doors of our homes and our hearts
Celebrating Holy Week in multiple cultures can deepen faithhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4879/Celebrating-Holy-Week-in-multiple-culturesCelebrating Holy Week in multiple cultures can deepen faith



 

 

MC USA files new amicus brief in support of Apache-Strongholdhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/5076/MC-USA-files-new-amicus-brief-in-support-of-Apache-StrongholdMC USA files new amicus brief in support of Apache-StrongholdApache-Stronghold
Mission Network announces 2024 Anti-Racism Grant awardshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/5073/2024-Anti-Racism-Grant-awardsMission Network announces 2024 Anti-Racism Grant awards
Finding fresh hope at PSMC conferencehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/5071/Finding-fresh-hopeFinding fresh hope at PSMC conferenceChurch planting
Albuquerque Service Adventure shared a southwest blend of faith and friendship for 25 yearshttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/5072/Albuquerque-Service-Adventure-shared-faith-and-communityAlbuquerque Service Adventure shared a southwest blend of faith and friendship for 25 yearsService Adventure
Here with purpose: Sibonokuhle Ncubehttps://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5070/Here-with-purpose-Sibonokuhle-NcubeHere with purpose: Sibonokuhle NcubeQ&A
Ecuador Partnership's journey of collaboration and renewalhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/news/5067/Ecuador-Partnership-journeyEcuador Partnership's journey of collaboration and renewalInternational Service