The deadline to submit has been extended to Feb 10.
Christian Formation exists to transform us as youth, adults and communities of Mennonite Church USA into Christ-shaped vessels to serve both church and world. Seminars are typically 60 minutes in length and cover a variety of categories. MennoCon23 convention planners invite you to suggest topics and speakers for seminars that will draw us in and that have potential to further the transformation process in ourselves and our communities.
We are looking for seminars (in English or Spanish) that:
- Equip youth and adults to follow Jesus, making small and costly decisions in daily life that reflect The Way.
- Equip youth and adults to witness to God’s peace as individuals and communities, both in the church and in the world.
- Invite youth and adults to experience transformation through the Holy Spirit, which deepens faith, hope, love and service.
We expect that all seminars at MennoCon23:
- Align with the vision of Mennonite Church USA and the Journey Forward Renewed Commitments.
- Are interactive learning experiences that introduce practical tools, skills, habits or frameworks that participants can take home and put into practice.
- Appeal to multiple constituencies within Mennonite Church USA.
- Are led by people with expertise in the topic.
Please draw from the following categories as you help us envision Christian formation at MennoCon23:
Bible study seminars provide guidance on Bible study tools and methods, such as inductive or lectio divina; reflections on the assumptions, world view and interpretive lenses that we bring to the biblical text; or the role of Bible study in personal or congregational life and growth.
Seminars on discernment encourage participants to consider the ways we seek spiritual guidance and understanding. They may address questions, such as: how do we learn to pay attention — as individuals, congregations or as a denomination, to what God’s Spirit is communicating to us? What tools might we employ as we try to discern future direction? What are the components of a good decision-making process? Where should decision-making authority lie?
Seminars on leadership may address this broad topic in many ways. As the church, how might we nurture leadership qualities and practices that best reflect the spirit of Jesus? What are current opportunities and challenges in congregational leadership? How do we handle abusive or inappropriate leadership? What is the roadmap to leadership in an MC USA congregation? What are some specific skills that congregations need right now to face current challenges?
Seminars on outreach explore creative ideas for congregations and individuals who want to share the love of Christ with neighbors near and far. They ask questions, such as: How could Jesus’s involvement in his world, known to us through the Gospels, shape our ways of reaching out today? Can we identify best practices and examples to follow for postcolonial outreach and mission?
Parenting and family
These seminars look at what many may refer to as our first spiritual discipline — belonging to a family and tending those relationships. How do we learn to see what God is doing in our family? What are best practices in tending relationships, whether parent-child or within a marriage? How might those of us in traditional marriages and families be helped to better understand non-traditional families and committed relationships?
Peace and justice
Presenters for this category examine the tools, resources and organizations that might be helpful to individuals and congregations seeking to engage locally, nationally or internationally in efforts toward peace and justice. They may look at the experiences and resources we can share around topics such as antiracism, peacemaking, care of the environment, LGBTQIA+ justice/inclusion, wealth distribution, access to healthcare and more.
Spiritual transformation seminars explore the spiritual practices and experiences that help open us as individuals to God’s presence and action. They ask, how might God’s Spirit be moving us to increase our love in tangible ways? What needs to be surrendered in the spirit of Philippians 2 for us to become vessels of love?
Presentations on stewardship challenge participants to seek an appropriate response to God’s generosity, by asking questions, such as: How do we live responsibly in a wealthy nation? Is simple living spiritually necessary? How does Jesus speak into my life (or not) when I’m dealing with stock market fluctuations, investments or retirement savings? Am I allowed to use the words ‘faithfulness’ and ‘financial management’ in the same sentence?
Seminars on worship and worship planning explore the inner attitudes, dispositions and outward activities in worship that best bring self and others into God’s presence. They may look at how activities, such as worship leading, singing, prayer, baptism, communion and/or preaching contribute to hearing God speak and sensing God move.
For questions about seminars, email Rod Hollinger-Janzen here.