A Church Alive


 

It is widely recognized that energy for organized religious activity is waning. People are seeking sources outside of the church to direct their energy and interest as well as looking for answers and community in new places. This reality impacts churches across the US, regardless of denomination.  The North American church is faced with what seems to be a new faith landscape and is therefore impacted by a changing culture with new needs.

Though we face a numerically declining faith community in the US, the future of God’s reign here on earth is not bleak! We see growth globally, fresh and vibrant vision in many local communities, and a Church that is alive and adapting to new challenges. 

Communities of faith must continue to adapt its means and methods to remain fresh and vibrant.  The New Testament directive of being counter cultural witnesses to “light in darkness” has not changed and remains a relevant vision for Christ’s disciples today.

Between 1905 and 2000, eventual and current ACC congregations were involved in planting at least 50 churches from North Carolina to Massachusetts. This era, particularly the 1940s-1980s, was a time of enormous motivation to have a Mennonite presence in the region’s rural and urban communities. Rural churches were often started by congregations with families willing to relocate.  Urban church plants tended to follow the clustering of Mennonite professionals. God’s Spirit was clearly on the move through that phase of our history and produced vibrant congregations — many that thrive today. However, the dynamics that motivated this movement are not as prevalent today; church planting, at least on much of the east coast, has not been a priority in recent years. Other methods of meeting present needs seem to have come and gone, each with its good fruit and perfect time, from the widespread sending of missionaries abroad to the apparent usefulness of church bulletins.

Today, congregations are finding new and different ways of living out their vision and mission. Congregations experiencing the cyclical nature of decline and revitalization have found new and inventive ways of adapting how they extend God’s love and welcome members into their faith community.

Conestoga Mennonite Church

CMC recently affirmed a core vision for existing “to benefit others” through which leaders evaluate each of the congregation’s ministries. This way of evaluation is paired with a change to their constitution.  Anyone with a vision for a new ministry, as well as the integrity to lead it, receives an automatic blessing and partnership from the congregation to pursue the proposed vision.

Violet Beam, member at Conestoga, prepares for the Twin Valley Food Pantry’s monthly food distribution night.

Reflecting on these changes, Pastor Bob Petersheim notes that “The above foci led to several dynamic ministries that has made CMC known in the community.  CMC is seen as a place deeply invested in meeting relevant needs such as our food pantry that feeds on average 140 households a month; a no-cost counseling center that brings persons through the doors that would not open a church door for any other reason — let alone a Mennonite church door; a network of safe houses that has rescued woman and children out of domestic violence, etc.”

Forest Hills Mennonite Church

At FHMC, leaders have been intentional about creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere for those without a “cradle Mennonite” pedigree. Pastor Jon Carlson notes his own lack of a “clean, lifelong Menno connection.” Even though he embraces Mennonite faith and identity for himself, he does not hide the fact that he had not heard the term “Mennonite” until age 14.  “By being there and being transparent about my lack of deep ethnic Menno heritage, I think I’m helping to create a space that says “being Mennonite does not require being ethnically Mennonite.” 

Becky Degan, pastor of worship and faith formation at Forest Hills, is another non-ethnic Mennonite. She leads worship for a congregation that still has a deep appreciation for Mennonite Hymnody along with various other genres and styles. Making space for the spectrum of worship preferences has taken work. “I think one of the most important ways we have navigated this as we’ve welcomed more families with preferences outside the ‘Menno hymns’ tradition is through conversation and relationship,” said Degan. A recent Sunday School elective series focused on inviting individuals to choose a song for the group to sing and then to share why it was important to them. “To hear someone share why a song or genre is important to them – to put a name and face to a song – went a long way in helping people to accept and participate more fully in different kinds of music during worship. Also, giving people a voice to express why Mennonite hymns (or contemporary music) are important to them helped them feel heard and valued.”

Blossom Hill Mennonite Church

Sharing God’s love by pursuing change in our world is a central aspect of the outward ministry of BHMC.  “Our work against injustice is based on the greatest commandment of loving God, self, neighbor and even our enemies,” says Michelle Dula, lead pastor at Blossom Hill. “It is this kind of love that Jesus emulated as he reached out to people on the margins.  The basis for what we do always has to be love.”

Imelda (right) with pastor Tina Schlabach of Shalom Mennonite in Tuscon, who learned Imelda’s story when she visited her in the detention center. This is Imelda after her release.

Recently, Blossom Hill shared this love through collaborating with a few other Mennonite communities around the country to raise an almost $12,500 bail fee to help release a Nicaraguan woman from a detention center so she can work on her asylum case.

There are many issues that remain for the Church to address including a fractured denomination and a decline in numbers in many congregations. Some aspects of how we “do church” will need to die or be remolded.  The good news, however, is that Christ promises that his body will do more than survive. We live in an era of (constant) change and must continue to adapt the “how” of loving our world, meeting its needs in dynamic ways, and making disciples. ACC congregations, each with its own unique identity and vision, continue to embrace and bring about the upside down Kingdom.  

233 thoughts on “A Church Alive

  1. Pingback: 80 mg viagra

  2. Pingback: cheapest sildenafil india

  3. Pingback: comprar viagra online mexico

  4. Pingback: buy levitra near me australia

  5. Pingback: buy viagra boots us

  6. Pingback: buy viagra cost after insurance

  7. replica designer shoes

    Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring
    on other sites? I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share some
    stories/information. I know my viewers would value your work.

    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  8. Japanese scissors

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative
    and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.

    The issue is something which too few men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy I found this in my hunt for something regarding this.

  9. Los Angeles vascular veins center

    Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent.
    I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it.

    You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it wise.
    I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really
    a great web site.

  10. reborn dolls shop

    I used to be suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m now not positive whether this submit is written by
    way of him as nobody else recognize such exact about my trouble.
    You are wonderful! Thank you!

  11. thue may chu

    Thanks , I’ve recently been searching for information approximately
    this subject for a long time and yours is the best I’ve
    came upon so far. But, what concerning the bottom line?
    Are you positive in regards to the source?

  12. bit.ly

    Greate post. Keep posting such kind of information on your page.
    Im really impressed by your site.
    Hi there, You have done a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it
    and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they will be
    benefited from this website. 0mniartist asmr

  13. Cream of tartar to quit smoking snopes

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or
    copyright violation? My website has a lot of unique content
    I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is
    popping it up all over the internet without my agreement.

    Do you know any solutions to help protect against content from being ripped off?

    I’d definitely appreciate it.

  14. Lorna

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll
    try to get the hang of it!

  15. 0mniartist

    Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your blog
    on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I
    get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell
    phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, wonderful site!
    0mniartist asmr

  16. asmr https://0mniartist.tumblr.com

    Someone essentially assist to make significantly articles I might state.
    This is the very first time I frequented your website page
    and to this point? I amazed with the analysis you made to create
    this actual submit incredible. Wonderful process! 0mniartist asmr

  17. asmr https://0mniartist.tumblr.com

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am having issues with your RSS.
    I don’t know the reason why I can’t join it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS issues?
    Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond?
    Thanx!! asmr 0mniartist

  18. Facebook Sued

    Very good site you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any message boards that cover
    the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a part of
    group where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable individuals that share
    the same interest. If you have any suggestions,
    please let me know. Thanks a lot!

  19. Twyla

    Thanks for any other informative website. The place else could I am
    getting that kind of information written in such a perfect means?
    I’ve a project that I am just now operating on, and I’ve been at the look out
    for such info.

  20. Pingback: cymbalta sore breasts

  21. Pingback: duloxetine 60mg prices

  22. Pingback: natural alternative to keflex

  23. Pingback: cephalexin generic

  24. Pingback: celecoxib medication

  25. Pingback: celebrex side effects in men

  26. Pingback: zithromax

  27. Pingback: amoxicillin suspension

  28. Pingback: cheap amoxicillin 500mg

  29. Pingback: generic viagra 50mg price

  30. Pingback: online sildenafil india

  31. Pingback: viagra online 200mg

  32. Pingback: sildenafil otc uk

  33. Pingback: over counter viagra walgreens

  34. Pingback: buying sildenafil in mexico

  35. Pingback: coupons for sildenafil

  36. Pingback: buy generic cialis without prescription

  37. articlescad.com

    Everything typed made a lot of sense. However, what about this?
    what if you added a little content? I mean, I don’t wish to tell you how
    to run your blog, however what if you added something to possibly get
    folk’s attention? I mean A Church Alive | Atlantic Coast
    Conference is a little boring. You ought to look at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create post titles to
    grab viewers to click. You might add a related video or a related pic or two to grab readers interested about everything’ve got to say.
    In my opinion, it would make your posts a little livelier.

  38. Pingback: cheaper substitutes for viagra

  39. Pingback: sams generic viagra

  40. Pingback: cialis order online

  41. Pingback: side effects cialis

  42. Pingback: who makes viagra

  43. Pingback: nizagara vs viagra

  44. Pingback: teva sildenafil citrate 100mg

  45. Pingback: gave my brother viagra

  46. Daniella

    Amazing things here. I am very glad to look your article.

    Thanks so much and I am having a look ahead to touch you.

    Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  47. www.tripline.net

    I feel this is one of the most vital information for me.
    And i’m happy studying your article. However should remark
    on some normal issues, The site taste is wonderful, the articles is in reality nice
    : D. Excellent process, cheers

  48. Elvin

    My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find
    almost all of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content for you?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write with regards to here.
    Again, awesome web log!

  49. Samsung 55 inch tv

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I’m quite certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff
    right here! Best of luck for the next!

  50. Milan

    I just like the valuable information you supply to your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I am fairly sure I will be told many new stuff proper here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  51. Consuelo Lail

    It’s in reality a great and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you
    simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this.

    Thank you for sharing.

  52. grill gloves

    We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your web site provided us with useful info to work on.
    You’ve performed an impressive process and our whole
    group shall be thankful to you.

  53. Shela

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be
    actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad
    for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang
    of it!

  54. Sherrell Reed

    I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as
    with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great
    blog like this one nowadays.

  55. Pingback: viagra pills 100 mg

  56. Pingback: emtpartsstore viagra

  57. Pingback: viagra torture

  58. Pingback: viagra online cheap

  59. Pingback: free cialis samples

  60. Pingback: discount viagra

  61. Pingback: buy viagra online usa

  62. Pingback: how to use cialis

  63. Pingback: brother sister viagra

  64. NY accident attorney

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very useful information specifically the last part 🙂 I care
    for such information much. I was seeking this certain info for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  65. Pingback: where to buy viagra

  66. technology advancement group

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so
    much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the
    message home a bit, but other than that, this is great
    blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  67. Pingback: can women take viagra

  68. Pingback: viagra boots

  69. Pingback: viagra 100 mg price

  70. Pingback: generic for viagra

  71. Pingback: viagra effects

  72. Pingback: online cialis

  73. Pingback: what does viagra do

  74. Edward Williams

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the
    future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if
    I could I want to suggest you few interesting things
    or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read more things about it!

  75. Luz Weers

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s
    time to be happy. I have learn this post and if I could I want to counsel you few fascinating issues or advice.
    Perhaps you can write subsequent articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read more things approximately it!

  76. James Harper

    Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and
    coverage! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

  77. Dorothy Dodd

    I just could not leave your website before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the usual
    info an individual supply for your visitors? Is gonna be back ceaselessly to check out
    new posts

  78. George Pace

    Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective.
    A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appearance.
    I must say you have done a superb job with this.
    Also, the blog loads super fast for me on Safari. Excellent
    Blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.