Creating strong church planters is the backbone of leadership development within the Mennonite Church. Mennonite Mission Network has been working toward this goal through the annual Sent conference. According to Sandy Miller, director for Church Relations at Mission Network, the Sent conference "was conceived as a space within the Mennonite Church USA denomination for church planters and spiritual entrepreneurs with a clear Anabaptist and peace commitment to plant and seed new churches and communities of faith."
This year's Sent conference was 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? 15 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]
Linda Oyer, recently retired from three decades of Mission Network ministry in France, responded to this verse in her teaching at the conference:
- Belief in the good news of Christ is the foundation of all that church planters do.
- Communication must be the vehicle of that belief.
- There is an urgency to engage the message of the good news with the people of the world — people from all contexts. This is the mission that church planters follow.
In order to better facilitate the development of church-planting leaders, Mission Network is launching the Sent Network.
The Sent Network is a resourcing curriculum launched to recruit, equip and prepare church planters for their task. The network will launch at the end of August and is set up in three phases — Explore, Equip and Send.
Some content from the Sent Network will be available online to groups of potential church planters. Other parts will be more conducive to the style of weekend learning retreats. The content of the Sent Network will adapt and grow over time to better educate church planters.
Mission Network is offering opportunities to learn about the Sent Network at Mennonite Convention 2019. Join Mauricio Chenlo, minister for church planting at Mission Network, for any of the three seminars he is leading:
- Plantadores de Iglesias de Paz
- En este seminario tendremos la oportunidad de repasar las caracteristicas los plantadores de Iglesias de Paz con una clara identidad anabautista.
- 7/3/2019, 4-5 p.m., Room 2104A
- Ready, Set, Go - Churches Planting Churches
- What is a peace church plant and how is God calling you to be a church planter?Church planter discernment tools will be used in this session to help you discern.
- 7/4/2019, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Room 2504B
- Sent Network
- An introduction to the Sent Network online resource: Explore, Equip, Send
- 7/3/2019, 9-10 a.m., Room 2505
"We want to share our passion, experience, and wisdom and to learn with others as we walk together, responding to God's call," Chenlo said. "We hope to … [inspire] a shared vision for creating Anabaptist communities of faith across the street and around the world."
Come by any Sent session or the Mission Network booth at Convention to learn more about church planting and leadership development in the church.