It's easy to feel isolated right now. We're confined, physically distanced from others, and doing our best to stay safe. When a church family is separated like this, how can pastors and leaders inspire congregations to engage big topics such as systemic racism or creation care?
We know it's tough. That's why Mennonite Mission Network provides resources to help pastors and leaders. From webinars on healing the trauma caused by systemic racism, to live guest speakers for your virtual congregation, and weekly engagement on social media platforms — Mission Network has you covered.
Trauma and healing resources for our uncertain times
Ann Jacobs, church relations representative for Mission Network, recently partnered with Melody M. Pannell, founder and executive director of Embodied Equity Leadership Institute, for a series of webinars on trauma healing and stewardship. The series created space for church leaders to process the traumas they have experienced.
"Melody led the group through pathways of healing as we familiarized ourselves with shared stories of detrimental trauma from past journeys," Jacobs wrote. She said that the participating leaders expressed their appreciation for the leadership care resources Mission Network made available. Jacobs and Pannell were happy that leaders expressed interest and shared their stories.
Jacobs said that the message she wants the church to hear during this time is that the we must continue to trust God, even if it's impossible to see God's plan. "God acknowledges … our cry even when we can't see — we are yet to trust God. We need to extend care and passion to all." More trauma healing webinars are planned.
Finding hope during crisis
Mission Network's Hope Series is available to everyone. Shortly after COVID-19 swept across the United States, forcing Mission Network staff to work from home, the church relations team realized people needed hope amidst all the fear and change. To meet this need, they began brainstorming.
Their ideas culminated in a series of Bible studies, scripture readings, and prayer held on Facebook Live. This series has continued since the early days of the pandemic to the present— each episode filled with hope and encouragement from God's word.
The series has expanded with "Hope Around the World," a check-in each Thursday with Mission Network's international partners. Engagement directors give brief messages of hope from their respective locations. A video of the director interviewing an international partner accompany these livestreams. The directors speak to the partners about what they're doing during the pandemic to continue their ministries.
You can tune in on Mondays at 1 p.m. ET on Mission Network's Facebook for the Hope Series, and on Thursday at the same time for Hope Around the World. For our full livestreaming schedule and other engaging opportunities, check out our Facebook banner.
Join us online throughout your week for a simple word of hope.
November is mission month!
Two plagues have erupted in 2020 — COVID-19 and the systemic injustice of racism. The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others have exposed the United States' ugly history of terrorizing Black people to maintain the power and privilege of White people.
Racism harms the body of Christ and God's reconciling mission. But God has made a way to receive forgiveness — the repentance that leads to life! Mission Network's November mission month materials invite MC USA to witness across the church to God's plan for reconciliation.
Learn from the wisdom in these materials and request a speaker for mission month!
Bring us to your congregation, no matter your need
Speaking of requesting a speaker, another way for your congregation to connect with Mission Network is through speaking engagements. Invite our pastoral staff to share wisdom with your church family. We've made it even easier than it ever was before.
Simply visit our speaker request page and choose what kind of engagement and themes you would like to focus around. Our staff have a plethora of wisdom and spiritual guidance that we want to share with you!
Whether you need a Sunday school lesson, a sermon, or a short pre-sermon "moment in mission," our staff have what you're looking for.
"Staff at Mission Network not only speak about the importance of mission work, but can do so much more toward sharing and teaching the gospel," said Sandy Miller, senior executive for resourcing and mobilization at Mission Network. "We care about our workers, our constituents, and what our constituents care about. Listening is a key part of resourcing."
These difficult times call for new ways of reaching out and responding to each other. Mission Network is committed to providing the church the virtual resources needed to help weather this storm. "We are learning together how to be effective in virtual ways," Miller said.