Ministering to CEOs and those living in poverty
Pastors Day to focus on serving people with various socioeconomic backgroundsby Anna Yoder and Mennonite Church USA staff
How does one minister to CEOs, to those who live in poverty and to everyone in between? Working with people from various socioeconomic backgrounds will be the focus of this year’s Pastors Day, an event hosted by Mennonite Church USA in conjunction with the 2011 convention in Pittsburgh. The gathering will be held Monday, July 4, with the theme “Leading Communities of Healing and Hope.”
“It’s great to gather with peers from all over the country and hear what ministry is like for them,” says Jayne Byler, pastor of First Mennonite Church in Sugarcreek, Ohio.
Byler participated in Pastors Day at the Columbus 2009 convention and plans on attending this year’s event as well.
“It’s good to know that the role of pastor is valued in the Mennonite church today and that time and resources are being given to make sure our pastors are nurtured and empowered to keep serving,” she says.
Terry Shue, director of leadership development for Mennonite Church USA, says that during the seminar, participants will hear stories of how their peers are being challenged, especially as the denomination strives to be more missionally minded.
The keynote speakers will be Mary Thiessen Nation, affiliate professor at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va., and John Stahl-Wert, author, president/CEO of the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation and a former pastor.
Both Thiessen Nation, who spent 18 years ministering in a violent Los Angeles neighborhood, and Stahl-Wert, an author known for his leadership development work in Pittsburgh, will discuss their ministries in different socioeconomic contexts.
“This is the first time that we’ll have had two speakers at Pastors Day,” says Shue. “I am especially looking forward to hearing them cast a vision of the multicultural, missional church that God has called us to be.” The first Pastors Day was held at San José 2007.
Following the keynote addresses, Shue will lead table group discussions in which participants will have the opportunity to learn about one another’s ministries in a smaller group setting.
“It is my highest hope that those at the various table groups can form relationships with people they don’t know,” says Shue, “and that they can come away inspired and informed with an undergirded spirit of creativity and risk-taking.
“This is not about telling pastors what they should do,” Shue says. “We want to inspire them through hearing each other’s stories so that they can ignite the creativity of people in their congregations across the nation. We want to explore what God is already up to and what God might be calling us to do.”
Rosie Epp, pastor of Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church in Sioux Fall, S.D., says that the timing of Pastors Day allows her “to get some continuing education in without taking extra time from my schedule.”
“It’s also a good time to connect and reconnect with other pastors, some of whom I only see at these events,” she says. “I appreciate the planners bringing in good speakers and addressing current topics.”
This year, music will be provided by singer/songwriter Brad Yoder, who has been nominated multiple times as “best acoustic/solo artist” by the Pittsburgh City Paper. Yoder will lead the group in a time of worship as well as a concert over lunch.
Also during lunch, Larry Miller, Everence president, and Beryl Jantzi, stewardship education director of Everence—the stewardship agency of Mennonite Church USA—will give a brief presentation. Everence is helping sponsor the event.
“We are grateful for the generous support of Everence, who has made it possible for us to hold the event at a much reduced cost for the pastors,” says Shue.
All pastors are invited to join in the conversations at Pastors Day. The cost to participate is $35, which includes lunch and a snack. Pastors’ spouses also are encouraged to attend.
For more information, see online: http://www.mennoniteusa.org/Convention/
Pittsburgh 2011, the Mennonite Church USA biennial convention, will be held July 4-9 in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. The convention’s theme, “Bridges to (the) Cross,” is inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:16-20 and by the many bridges that span the City of Three Rivers.
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