Are you sensing that God might be calling you to embark on a new mission? Perhaps you are ready for a missional adventure. Maybe you are actively engaged in an existing venture. Wherever you and your church are in mission, Missional Pathways wants to help you.
Initiated by a conversation about planting new churches, a network called Missional Pathways was developed to help churches think through new ways of engaging in mission. This collaborative network began in January 2016 and now includes leadership from Eastern Mennonite Missions, Franklin District of Lancaster Mennonite Conference, and Lancaster Mennonite Conference.
Missional Pathways has a vision of seeing all church members become active in creating and multiplying disciples within the communities where they live, work, and play. Mission work has taken a new identity in the 21st century, leaving many churches asking the question, “How do we continue to engage the world around us?” In the past, mission work was often characterized as being “from the West to the rest,” whereas today’s growing trend is for mission work to be “from anywhere to everywhere.” Due to this changing reality, denominations, mission agencies, and churches across North America have begun to reimagine what mission looks like.
The primary goal of Missional Pathways is to serve as a hub of missional networking and resourcing, making local and global connections for churches. Practically, this includes encouraging churches to engage in mission, connecting people with missional passions to facilitators with proven expertise, and inspiring everyone to dream of new ways of reaching people with the gospel. Missional Pathways will not control missional projects or create a centralized system — rather, it seeks to be a collaborative Mennonite network that is passionate about helping all people engage in mission.
To get involved in Missional Pathways, talk with your pastor about what a new missional initiative might look like for the church. Missional Pathways wants to encourage and equip missional work in the local church without replacing the critical role pastors play in the mission process. Then, as a missional idea develops, apply to Missional Pathways. After the application process has been completed, a team of facilitators will connect with you to begin assessing needs, building a plan, and connecting with appropriate resources for each missional vision.
The Missional Pathways process is anchored in a dual call to care for the earth (Genesis 2:15) and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This call is to steward the God-given talents, skills, professions, and resources found in every church for the purpose of God’s mission. This innovative approach is designed to help local churches live out their missional goals more effectively.
While still in its infancy, Missional Pathways has already provided support for people to embrace their missional visions. Facilitators have resourced individuals who are getting involved with urban church development in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, physical therapy in Guatemala, and medical work in Sierra Leone, just to name a few examples. These stories each began with a person asking how God could use them in a new way.
The Missional Pathways process does not simply end with the successful completion of a missional project. Its hope is to multiply more leaders who can serve as future resource persons for Missional Pathways. Each local church is the center of mission; Missional Pathways wants to help you and your church find new ways to multiply God’s kingdom.
Learn more about the process and how to get involved at missionalpathways.org. To submit a request to speak to a facilitator, please contact Missional Pathways by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (717) 584-4404.
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(The article above was included in Shalom News, and was written by Micah Brickner, EMM Communications Assistant)