ELKHART, Indiana (Mennonite Mission Network) -- The Sent Network is a new resource from Mennonite Mission Network to explore, equip and send church-planting leaders where the Spirit leads. The resource's goal is to assess and educate aspiring church planters and give them information and tools to create new communities of faith in the United States.
This online resource will allow potential church planters to work through modules on their own, with an instructor, and with a group of other learners, called a cohort. Each module will include about six hours of work, including time working on their own and time spent videoconferencing with their cohort. The modules will each cover material from the different levels indicated in the resource's tag line: explore, equip and serve. Each module will help church planters create and develop a practical plan to start an Anabaptist faith community.
The Sent Network grows out of what Mauricio Chenlo, minister for church planting at Mission Network, has learned working with new church planters the past 10 years, and what he has heard at the Sent conference, an annual conference where church planters and leaders gather to create and seed new communities of faith. The conference started in 2016. Sandy Miller, director for Church Relations at Mission Network, said, "Sent continues to be a Peace Church conference for church planters and anyone else interested in seeding the kingdom presence in every context of America."
She described how diverse the conference is, with leaders coming from many different ages, racial, cultural, educational, professional and theological backgrounds. "The diverse leaders gather for worship, inspiration, resourcing, networking, and empowerment to birth and nurture missional peace communities that express and live out the Anabaptist vision," Miller said.
At this year's Sent conference, held at Beloved Community Mennonite Church in Denver on Apr. 26-28, the participants discussed Romans 10, which poses questions directly related to the work of a church planter.
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"
–Romans 10:14-15 [NIV]
These questions and ideals were discussed again at MennoCon19 in July. Chenlo said, "MennoCon showed the new realities of a smaller denomination with many individuals, churches and conferences desiring to regain a sense of call and energy to be the beautiful feet who bring good news." Chenlo led three workshops about church planting at MennoCon19. In addition, one of the two offerings received at MennoCon19 was in support of new church plants.
Registration for the Sent Network has begun. If you want to learn how to develop leaders and church planters in your congregation, registration is simple: Follow this link, give us your contact information at the bottom of the page, and we'll send you registration information.
Don't wait! Register now or invite others to become a part of the Sent Network. Registration ends Aug. 19. Don't miss your chance to be the beautiful feet who bring good news and become a part of the growing culture of church planting in the Mennonite Church.