COVID-19 has changed our daily lives in many ways, but even so, God is still at work in the world.

And despite the challenges of living through a pandemic, the Ohio Conference Missional Resource Team is encouraging people to keep participating in God’s mission. “We still want to be a missional people,” said Missional Resource Team member Jacob Dodson, the pastor of Wooster Mennonite Church.

The Missional Resource Team is encouraging Ohio Conference congregations to participate in the Missional Discipleship Initiative (MDI). During this past year, nine Ohio Conference congregations took part in this program. The next MDI training cycle starts Sept. 1, and interested groups can sign up at

What is the Missional Discipleship Initiative (MDI)?

MDI is an initiative launched by Marvin Lorenzana and Mennonite Mission Network to help local congregations engage intentional relational disciple-making and leadership development. MDI provides coaching and tools that have proven to be effective and highly transferrable. One of these tools is a virtual Learning Circle or Huddle and the other is Missional Discipleship Groups.

Virtual Learning Circle
(MDI Cohort)

  • Online coaching for a group of three to five leaders (usually pastors) for a period of nine months.
  • Meet twice a month with the purpose of learning missional church theory and practice.
  • The MDI coach monitors, encourages, and further equips the implementing leaders.

Missional Discipleship Groups (MDGs)

  • Meet once a week to learn how to walk together as disciples of Jesus
  • Provide the context in which discipleship takes place in an intentional and relational way
  • Focus on accountability, Scripture reading, and prayer
  • Call participants to pray for others and engage in mission in their own context

Five Key Questions

Below are five key questions that are used in missional discipleship group meetings each week.

  • Where have you seen God at work this week?
  • What did you hear God say to you this week during your prayer time?
  • What have you learned from the assigned Scripture reading this week?
  • How have you shared the love of Jesus with others this week?
  • Where have you fallen short this week?

Expectations for Participants in MDGs

  • Meet once a week (for 8-12 months)
  • Show vulnerability
  • Make sure discipleship is taking place
  • Ensure and protect confidentiality
  • Facilitators participate in a monthly resourcing meeting

Expectations for Pastors Participating in MDI

  • Meet twice a month online for a virtual huddle with your cohort of pastors (for nine months)
  • Organize monthly meeting with facilitators of MDGs in your church
  • Participate weekly in an MDG

How to Participate

If you have any questions or may be interested in participating in MDI, please contact Jacob Dodson at The next MDI cycle begins Sept. 1. To sign up, visit

Note: For more information about Missional Discipleship Groups, see these articles:

The Ohio Conference Cast podcast also includes several episodes about Missional Discipleship Groups. You can find podcasts on the Ohio Conference website at