A publication of Lancaster Mennonite Conference, a conference of Mennonite Church USA
Number 4 July - August 2014

This year Lancaster Mennonite Conference selected Jeremiah 29:4-14 as a focus Dwelling in the Word text for the year. As we dwell in this text in staff and board meetings, I have grown in my conviction that God has a specific word for LMC in this text. In verse 7, God's people are instructed to "seek the peace and prosperity of the city" in which they found themselves. As exiles in a place far from home, God's people were called to pray for and invest themselves in the well-being of their new neighbors.

So it is with the church today. In Acts 1:8, just prior to his ascension, Jesus made it abundantly clear that the mission of his followers begins at home in Jerusalem. God intends for his people to be a Kingdom presence in the local neighborhood, a presence that invites people into a relationship with Jesus.

I wonder if we have allowed the church to become an abstract construct of organizational imagination. Perhaps we have forgotten that the church is a specific people located in a specific place and called to represent the Kingdom of God in that place. A church that fails to do so is in need of renewal.

Can we recover a mindset that understands the church as a people called by God into redemptive engagement of the local culture? As we live into a missional church vision, my prayer is that congregations all across LMC will find ways to invest themselves in the spiritual and material needs of their local community. As people of Christ's peace, we will always think local first!

L. Keith Weaver is moderator of Lancaster Conference. He is a member of Blainsport Mennonite Church in Reinholds, Pa.

 



Bhutanese Nepali Church-Lancaster (BNCL)

New Danville Mennonite Church
As a little girl, I remember being in the garden on July-warm Wisconsin days with my mother and siblings. She worked bent over, plucking beans from verdant bushes and smooth pods from pea vines. Deftly she tossed them into recycled ice cream buckets. I invested my energy in finding the fattest pea pods, sliding them open like natural mini-Ziploc packages, and popping four or five plump peas into my eager mouth. They were like candy.

click to read more...
Ten years ago my wife and I were part of a small missional community that sought to reach out to our neighbors and friends. In 2004 we took invitations door-to-door to personally invite people to a block party. click to read more...
For many years, opening my own salon was a distant dream. It was something I thought about, but always dismissed by saying “it’s not the right time.” At the end of 2013, seven years into my hair career, working 40 hours a week behind the chair, loving my work and enjoying my clients, I was very content with my life. I thought about doing more, about making my career into–dare I say, a ministry? click to read more...
Barely tall enough to reach the pedals of the Allis Chalmers G, I slowly crept the tractor down the long row. Behind me, Grandpa Phares Livengood whistled softly while spraying grapevines with a hand-held wand. This special Saturday morning ritual was significant in my odyssey to manhood. I can still hear the sounds of tractor, sprayer motor, and birds in my ears. The mysterious smells of the sprays we used to battle Japanese beetles, chestnut weevils, and funguses whispered promises. The togetherness Grandpa and I shared as we mixed fungicide and insecticide to follow the every-two-week schedules for fruit and nut crops remains palpable. These sounds, smells, and sense of togetherness defined our relationship. click to read more...
To some people, Church for the Needy (CFN) may sound like a strange name for a church. It sounded strange to me the first time I heard it. But we all need our Savior Jesus, thus we are all needy. As Jesus said, we first seek his kingdom and his righteousness and all the material and physical things that we need will be given to us. click to read more...

To get the print version please contact:

Lancaster Mennonite Conference, 2160 Lincoln Hwy E., Lancaster, PA 17602

Phone: 717-293-5246

Subscriptions are $15 per year.

L. Keith Weaver
Moderator


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