Church Planting (General Conference Mennonite Church, 1977)
Christ has called us to be His partners in building His church here on earth. We affirm that the answer to life is found in Jesus Christ. There is no other foundation upon which a church can be built (1 Corinthians 3:11). As a Mennonite people we are grateful for our heritage which is deeply rooted in Scriptures. We are convinced that we have something and Someone very valuable to share with the world. It is our hope that some day persons in every community in North America will have the option to affiliate with an Anabaptist-Mennonite type fellowship.
Church planting is essential if we are to make disciples of all peoples. God has already used us. Forty-five new General Conference churches were established between 1950 and 1970. These churches now have a combined total of more than five thousand members. Much creativity and faithfulness to Christ's call has been accomplished through them.
New possibilities for church planting are again before us. The mobility of people, the resulting loneliness and disorientation, as well as the opportunities which present themselves, call for our attention. Approximately eight thousand of our young people have moved to the cities of North America. Many have shown a new interest in establishing additional Mennonite fellowships and congregations. Forty new groups have begun meeting since 1970. Fifteen of these have already become members of a regional conference.
Therefore, Be It Resolved that we encourage the local congregations of the General Conference Mennonite Church, the district and provincial conferences, the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, and the Commission on Home Ministries to increase their efforts and priorities in church planting. We believe that God may bless a new emphasis on church planting with fifteen new member congregations in the next triennium and fifty new congregations by 1986. Some of these may be primarily of Chinese, Spanish, or other ethnic backgrounds.
Faithfulness to a new call from God in the work of church planting will require much planning, prayer, hard work, and financial support. We believe that this call will mean:
- That each congregation will need to consider what church planting might mean for it. Some, especially those with memberships of 300 or more, will be able to plant daughter congregations. Others will be able to commission some of their non-resident members to give leadership to a new Mennonite fellowship. Still others might establish a special relationship with a distant fellowship or give substantially to a new church planting project.
- That, since the responsibility for church planting is primarily a regional conference matter, CHM discuss with each regional conference the securing of adequate staff to work with its mission committee and congregations in planting new churches.
- That the Commission on Home Ministries serve as a coordina tor for church planting work and as a channel for assisting requesting mission committees of our smaller district conferen ces in their church planting efforts. This may mean increasing the CHM Church Planting Fund to fifty thousand or more dollars per year. In relationship to CHM, the Congregational Resources Board and provincial mission committees are doing a parallel work in Canada.
"Go to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples; baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you . . . and lo, I am with you always" (Matthew 28:19, 20, Today's English Version). [Resolution] sponsored by the Commission on Home Ministries.
General Conference Mennonite Church. Minutes: General Conference Mennonite Church, forty-first session, July 28-August 3, 1977. Newton, Kan. : The Conference, 1977: 6, 12-13.
See also Church Planting
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MLA style: General Conference Mennonite Church. "Church Planting (General Conference Mennonite Church, 1977)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1977. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C493.html.
APA style: General Conference Mennonite Church. (1977). Church Planting (General Conference Mennonite Church, 1977). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/C493.html.