By Jacob Dodson
Pastor, Wooster Mennonite Church

Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA exists to nurture healthy congregations in worship, faith and witness. One of the best ways for the Conference to fulfill this purpose is by engaging in a Year of Mission in 2016-17. During this year the Conference will encourage members of local congregations to do mission in their own context and promote greater missional engagement and identity in local congregations.

Jesus provides the best framework for mission. He balanced the upward relationship with His Father, the inward relationship with His disciples, and the outward relationship with the lost and broken world. (See Luke 6:12-19.)

A Year of Mission will provide opportunities for congregations to dive into mission in their Sunday worship through banners, visuals, stories, and prayers (upward), discipleship, sermons, classes, and small groups (inward), and outreach events and evangelistic/service/social ministry opportunities (outward).

The question needs to be asked: “What is mission?” Scripture provides many descriptions of mission such as being sent (John 20:21-22), making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20a), bearing witness (Acts 1:8), pursuing reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19-20a), and transforming brokenness (Luke 4:17b-21).  Confession of Faith in Mennonite Perspective reminds us: “The mission of the church involves both word and deed, evangelism and service, proclaiming Christ’s message and demonstrating, by the life of the church, the nature of the new creation in Christ” (Article 10, comment 2).

To kick off the Year of Mission there will be a training event immediately before Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) in March with Lance Ford and Brad Brisco of the Forge Network titled “Becoming Missional: Re-learning How to Be Sent.” There also will be a presentation on the Year of Mission at one of the workshops during ACA. A Year of Mission information packet is also currently in development with the intent of distributing it to Ohio Conference congregations and ministries.

Please consider embarking on this missional journey with Ohio Conference colleagues and partners. Attending the Becoming Missional seminar and Year of Mission workshop at ACA is a good first step. Please also lift up in prayer this year’s missional vision for Ohio Conference. It is exciting to imagine how we can encourage and support one another in answering God’s call to go and minister to a hurting world.


Year of Mission Kickoff Events

Training Event: “Becoming Missional: Relearning How to Be Sent”

Location: Central Mennonite Church, 21703 State Route 2, Archbold, Ohio

Dates: Thursday, March 10,  5:30 p.m.–8 p.m. and Friday, March 11, 8:30 a.m.– noon

Presenters: Brad Brisco and Lance Ford of Forge Ministries

Cost: $20 per person for those attending Annual Conference Assembly and $40 for all others

Additional information: See to learn more or to register online.

Annual Conference Assembly Workshop: “Fully Engaged: Mission in a Mennonite Perspective”

Location: Central Mennonite Church, 21703 State Route 2, Archbold, Ohio

Date: Saturday, March 12, 10:45-11:45 a.m.

Presenters: Jason Rissler, church planter; Kevin Kanagy, co-pastor of Friendship Mennonite Church; and Jacob Dodson, pastor of Wooster Mennonite Church

Registration: ACA participants may pick this as one of their two workshop choices when registering