Just prior to Annual Conference Assembly, the Ohio Conference held the Gathered and Sent Missional Conference at Bluffton University March 8-9. One hundred eight people from across the Conference participated in this event.
During four sessions, speakers Meghan Good and Marvin Lorenzana challenged common assumptions about evangelism and discipleship. Meghan Good, the teaching pastor at Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, Arizona, focused on evangelism, and Marvin Lorenzana, the discipleship initiatives director for Mennonite Mission Network, focused on discipleship.
Meghan Good asked participants to consider questions such as, “How is this [activity of our church] helping us fulfill our mission as ambassadors of reconciliation to God? How is it getting in the way?”
Marvin Lorenzana said, “Discipleship is all about training (disciplining) our spiritual ears to hear God’s voice.” He defined missional discipleship as the type of discipleship that multiplies (i.e., disciples who make disciples who make disciples).
In addition to presentations by the speakers, the conference included panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions with the speakers, and a chance for everyone attending to participate in a simulation of a missional discipleship group. These groups, which meet for about an hour weekly, usually include three people and focus on accountability, scripture and prayer. The groups had five key questions to guide their discussions.
Each missional conference participant received a copy of the book Reunion: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners by Bruxy Cavey and a copy of Growing the Church in the Rural Neighborhood by Brad Roth, a booklet in Mennonite Mission Network’s Missio Dei series.