iCLT News: Called to Equip

November 24, 2023
by Craig Maven
Minister of Administration and Church Relations

“11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” Ephesians 4:11-12

Virginia Mennonite Conference (VMC) has been buffeted by the departure of our Executive Conference Minister and significant theological tension over multiple issues. More turbulence is coming. The question is, what are we going to do in the midst of turbulence? The answer interim Conference Leadership Team (iCLT) offers is both easy and difficult – be the church!

The interim Conference Leadership Team is in its last year of a two-year commitment. We believe we have provided the stability needed to work at the main issues that disrupted our life together. Have we resolved those issues? Is everyone onboard? The short is no. However, we believe that it is time for Virginia Mennonite Conference to re-engage our vision to be people through whom God’s healing and hope flow to the world.

Vision     Mission

This mission statement is what we agreed Virginia Mennonite Conference as staff, councils, commissions, committees, and ministries are to do. The interim Conference Leadership Team believes we have the right mission statement. When Virginia Mennonite Conference functions at its best each congregation is supported and resourced to accomplish their mission of reaching their communities.

It’s time for Virginia Mennonite Conference to re-engage our mission. We still have our differences. and difficult conversations are in our future. The interim Conference Leadership Team is not trying to minimize or avoid these. Rather, we believe God is calling us to equip pastors for preaching, teaching, equipping, leading, counseling, healing, etc… God is calling us to resource our lay leaders who are engaged in everything from congregational leadership to direct ministry to people in need. VMC’s mission is to equip those who equip God’s people for works of service. (Ephesians 4:11-12).

We believe Virginia Mennonite Conference has a bright future with healthy congregations doing meaningful ministry to communities and to people who are longing for places to belong. We believe that God “is able to do immeasurably more than all [we] can ask or imagine” because it is God’s “power that is at work within us!” (Ephesians 3:20). Our invitation is to join us as we take up the holy work of being church together.

We as the interim Conference Leadership Team believe it is our task to restart Virginia Mennonite Conference’s equipping work. Our goal is to equip leaders to lead Virginia Mennonite Conference congregations into transformative  ministry and greater vitality. Starting in November, iCLT’s goal is to host at least one webinar for equipping churches and church leaders per month.

God is calling Virginia Mennonite Conference to plant new churches. We have Good News to share! Where does the vision for church planting come from? It comes from within churches who have leaders who create the seed bed of mission to those who are hurting. What if we partnered more closely with VMMissions to plant three new churches in the coming year?

God is calling us to bring healing and hope. Where does the vision to extend healing and hope come from? It comes from leaders in churches who believe God does heal who make healing a part of their church’s ministry. We plan to support a variety of healing and prison ministry programs emerging among our churches.

And there are so many more areas of ministry and mission! What gifts, passions, visions and dreams has God placed within you and your congregation? What needs do you see in your church and your community? Maybe that is what God is calling your church to engage. Contact iCLT with ideas at [email protected]to share where God is calling you and exploring if we can support this work.

The mission of Virginia Mennonite Conference is to equip. We as the interim Conference Leadership Team will be creating opportunities for equipping. Stay tuned for more!

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