Leaders unlock secrets of successful urban churchesBy Andrew Clouse For Mennonite Mission Network and Mennonite Church USA
ELKHART, Ind. — At an Urban Leaders Summit in November 2010, Stanley W. Green, Mennonite Mission Network executive director, said the summit — the first of its kind for Mennonite Church USA — was critical for shaping the future of Anabaptist urban ministry in the United States.
Since then, Anabaptist ministers in urban settings and representatives from MMN and MC USA have met twice — once in July 2011 in Pittsburgh during the denomination’s biennial convention, and again in March for a consultation in San Antonio — to create a strategy to help urban congregations find their niche in their cities.
The next step in this process will be to hold seminars for urban leaders during the next MC USA convention, in July 2013 Phoenix. Glen Guyton, director of finance and convention planning for MC USA, and a key player in bringing urban congregations together for the consultations, said these seminars will be a springboard for launching trainings for urban leaders across the country.
Ingredients of success
At the March 2012 consultation, leaders from urban churches came together to discuss the challenges they face and the strengths they bring. The leaders listed the following as best practices for urban congregations. Successful urban churches:
Know their identity;
Have a vision;
Have a missional spirituality;
Focus on discipleship (Christian formation for new believers) and understand the relationship between evangelism and social connections;
Develop and relate to a diverse Christian community;
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