Tag Archives: formational

Taste of Heaven

by Aldo Siahaan, LEADership Minister and Pastor at Philadelphia Praise Center

On Super Bowl Sunday, some Philadelphia Praise Center members came to church wearing Philadelphia Eagles’ jerseys, hats, and jackets. That morning I asked “how many of you believe the Eagles will win?” It turns out that only some were certain that the Eagles would win.

That evening at 6 pm friends gathered at my house to watch Super Bowl LII. After watching a pretty tense game, we know for certain that the Eagles won! My house is located in South Philadelphia just one block from Broad Street where people gathered to celebrate the Eagles’ win. My friends and I joined in that celebration about 10:30 pm.

How extraordinary that night was! Thousands of people went out into the streets, walking towards Center City, celebrating with enthusiasm and spontaneity. What I remember is people gave each other a smile, high fives, shouted “E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles,” hugged, shared food and drink. Regardless of the color of your skin, without asking for immigration status, regardless of belief and background, all celebrated victory and joy. One friend said “Aldo, this is a bit of the taste of heaven, where there is excitement, there is unity.”

The words “taste of heaven” continue to ring in my ears. These words make me wonder whether the taste of heaven can only happen if there is a victory in a sports game like this, and involve hundreds or thousands of people shouting and cheering.

Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.” Yes, in the” taste of heaven” God must be involved. God can use any individual, family or church to present a taste of heaven for others. Whatever we do for others, to bring to their lives less sorrow, less crying, less pain, it seems that we have brought a taste of heaven to them.

Last week, I asked a few people in my cell phone contacts, “please pray for my uncle and aunt who lives in Lakewood, New Jersey who had a car accident. I will go to see them in the emergency room tonight.” The response was amazing, from a person willing to accompany me, to people praying and giving encouraging words. That, for me, is a taste of heaven too!

I am sure we have all experienced and will continue to experience a taste of heaven. May our eyes be open to it, until one day when all believers gather in heaven and we no longer have just the “taste of heaven.”  We will all together be with God in heaven. “Before the throne of God and serve him day and night,” Revelation 7:15.

I Will Build My Church

by Noel Santiago, LEADership Minister

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church (EKKLESIA), and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16: 18 (NIV).

It’s really interesting to note something specific in this passage related to the word ‘church’. Most people would think in terms of a building; some think in terms of a community of faith and some in terms of religious activities. None of these are incorrect per se, but the word that Jesus uses here is the Greek word Ekklesia which in short means ‘assembly.’

Since we understand one meaning of ‘church’ to be ‘congregation’, many would say this is just mincing words, i.e. “church, assembly, what’s the difference? We all know what we mean.” But the word church comes from a different origin: the Greek word kuriakos – ‘Belonging to the Lord’, which emerges from the word kurios – ‘Lord’. This word doesn’t even resemble the Greek “ekklesia”. It’s like confusing a Cadillac for a Jeep; you can’t! In the early centuries, believers called the place in which they met, Kuriakos Oikia, the Lord’s House. This has become the common meaning.

An Interesting connection to the Anabaptist heritage is that we called our places of gathering meeting houses, not churches. We understood that the church is the people, not the building. Could something similar to this be going on in this passage?

Jesus is not saying church in the sense of ‘the Lord’s House” Kuriakos Oikia. He is saying ekklesia. In this sense, then, ekklesia means: “a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly.” This is not just a gathering, rather it’s an assembly of the people convened at the public place of council for the purpose of deliberating.

The practice of ekklesia had been in use for about 500 years by the time of Christ. It had specific, well known connotations. Every city had a ruling assembly, an ekklesia. Ekklesia was the principal assembly of the government in Athens, Greece, open to all male citizens over the age of 18. An ekklesia was comprised of a quorum of up to 6,000 citizens. It was responsible for declaring war, military strategy, electing military generals and other officials, including chief magistrates of the city-state. It voted on decrees, treaties and law proposals. It typically met 3-4 times a month.

Here’s the key point – the ekklesia was by definition a legislative or ruling assembly.

For Jesus to say “…upon this rock I will build my ekklesia” is to invite obvious contrast with other ekklesias. Every city had a ruling assembly, an ekklesia. Jesus is announcing His restoration plan where He will diffuse His ruling power into an assembly of disciples! In essence He establishes His governing body of Heaven on the earth through you and me – His ekklesia!

When Jesus talked about “upon this rock I will build my church” he was referring to ‘ekklesia’ which means ‘ruling assembly’, not ‘Oikia’ which means household. What Jesus is saying is that I am now establishing my ekklesia – my ruling assembly if you will. I’m installing my ruling governmental assembly that will rule, be responsible and loyal to God above all others! It will stand in contrast to the rulers and principalities of this world and it’s foundational ruling characteristic and value will be based on LOVE! When we gather, we gather as the ruling body in the region! This authority and function of the assembly is fundamental to properly understanding what Jesus initiated in Mathew 16:18.

In Matthew 16 verses 15-16, “Jesus stands before them and asks, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ In a revelation from heaven, Peter says: ‘You’re the one, the anointed one from God, the Messiah. You’re the ruler of rulers; the promised king!’”

As a ruling body (ekklesia) we have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus commissioned you and me when He said in Matthew 28:18-20 (NASU), “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

What is the Holy Spirit saying right now? What invitation is God extending? How will we, His church, His assembly, respond?

Formation Through Mentorship

by Wayne Nitzsche, Interim LEADership Minister

Erik Erikson, psychologist, developed an eight stage theory of psychosocial development. You may remember it from a psych class in high school or college. The seventh of eight stages in his helpful construct is “generativity vs stagnation.”  He associates this stage with the middle years (40-65.) To engage this stage one begins to think about contributing to future generations through parenting, grandparenting, and mentoring future generations. If we do not engage this stage we stagnant and life loses a sense of purpose.

This past year I became a grandfather to William. He has brought so much joy to my life. Even though he lives with our daughter and son-in-law in Long Beach, California, Mary and I have been able to bond and stay connected thanks to modern travel, and the technological wonder of FaceTime. Our lives take on new meaning as we engage our small part in mentoring this precious child.

A central task of the church has to do with faith formation. There are, of course, many beautiful examples in the Scripture of this happening through mentor/mentees such as that of Paul and Timothy, Naomi and Ruth and others. In the 1980’s I had a hand in developing the “life-planning” process in the Mennonite Church. In part, it was a plan for matching an adult with a youth, and helping them develop a generative relationship. The program has long since died, but the need remains for adults to consider how they pass on the faith.

Reflecting back on my early years in pastoral ministry, I was blessed to have mentors who noticed gifts for ministry and encouraged me to consider seminary. While in seminary I learned so much from an experienced and wise pastor, Clare. He was gracious when I made stupid mistakes, he affirmed and challenged me, and was always ready to give new opportunities. He modeled a love for Christ and the church, and was vulnerable with his struggles. He was never stagnant but growing and generative.

Wayne Nitzsche (right) prays for Jessica Miller at her installation service, November 2016

Now I’m older than Clare was when he mentored me. I’ve had the great privilege of mentoring Jessica Miller, who began at Perkasie Mennonite (PMC) in November, 2016 as our pastoral intern, but has since become our Associate Pastor. Jessica and I have long conversations about ministry, life, theology. I see her not only as a mentee, but also as a colleague from whom I can learn. I value her youthful wisdom and welcome the integration of her ministry with her theological studies at Drew Theological School. She has been a great gift to PMC. I trust that I might model some of the same things for Jessica that Clare did for me.

When we sit down together, sometimes we are intentional in reflecting on a specific aspect of ministry, personal or professional development. Other weeks it’s more informal and might be related to preaching, worship planning or pastoral care.

Steve McCloskey and family

I’m still finding my way in another mentoring relationship with Steve McCloskey, who pastors Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship in Vermont. With the distance, we’ll perhaps need to rely more on technology to make connections. So be patient with me, Steve, as we find our way in this new relationship!

I’ve had to deal with self-doubt, wondering what, if anything, I had to offer. However as we offer ourselves and trust the Spirit, both our gifts and places where we are still being formed can be formative.

Might you, if you are like me and nearing the end of your active pastoral ministry, consider how you might mentor someone younger? Perhaps if you feel “stagnant” it might be the prompting of the Spirit to consider such a relationship. You’ll discover a joy and sense of purpose that is a gift from the Great Mentor, the God and Parent of us all. If you’d like to talk more about it, I’d be glad to share more over a cup of coffee. But bear with me, you’ll also have to indulge me as I share a picture or two of grandson William!

Celebrating God’s Gifts in the Season of Building a Budget

by Stephen Kriss, Executive Minister

To whom much is given … much is also expected.  -Jesus of Nazareth

Steve KrissOver the last few weeks we began to project the numbers for our work together at Franconia Conference: next year’s budget. This is an act of faith and commitment together in imagining our shared work for the year. Our budget also tells the stories of our priorities. It was my first time in the role of executive minister working through each of these items to allocate our resources in ways that fit our priorities, particularly in working to equip leaders around our shared values of work that is missional, intercultural and (trans)formational.

Our Conference budget has remained steady over the last few years, though with an increasing percentage contributed by individuals and received through designated funds. With changes in congregational life and demographics, our congregational contributions, though still healthy, have declined over the last decades. The Conference has continued to focus work around leadership development and less on programs; therefore, some giving changes have been appropriate and expected. Also, with the reduction of overseas mission workers, congregations have focused giving internationally in different ways.

This year some important things will emerge in our budget that tell of our changing realities. We will begin to do further collaborative staffing arrangements with Eastern District Conference and expect to provide staff for our new member congregations in California. These are both direct outcomes of the discernment at Conference Assembly this fall.  We will also set aside funds as requested by our Addressing Abuse Taskforce to be available should our Conference need to support survivors in receiving counseling if they suffer clergy abuse, or to help congregations that need assistance in providing counseling for members who suffer abuse by others in their congregation. This is an absolute priority as we seek healing and recovery related to actions of clergy misconduct and work to prevent and heal all forms of abuse in our community.

I hope, as we move forward, that we will be able to seek the Spirit further toward generosity and openness in understanding our gifts, and that in whatever way we have been gifted, we might partake fully in God’s intention for the full redemption of all creation.

As seek further generosity, we can look to the lives of Norm and Alice Rittenhouse, who at the end of November were highlighted by Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) for their generosity and sharing of resources from their life of faith and farming. This is a story that is at the heart of our history as a community, shaped by our work and hope. In working with our newest member congregations, that kind of generosity is vibrant as well. This past fall they joined with many of our existing immigrant congregations to share in assisting Houston Mennonite Church, as they reached out to work alongside immigrants in Houston following Hurricane Harvey.  This was sharing that we helped facilitate as a Conference through our global networks.  Norm said in the article for EMU, “we worked to give.”  This has been and will be what we are about in Franconia Conference.  I look forward to continuing to provoke and steward the ways that we share our gifts, knowing that all that we have been given is from God.

As we approach this season of giving, following Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, I feel deeply privileged to be a part of stewarding our gifts toward the call that God has given us as a community and individually. Thanks to your gifts shared through our Conference, from congregations, individuals and ministries, we are able to continue the good work that God has begun in us. I’m glad to talk more, any time, with congregations or leaders on how we can continue to best share our gifts for the sake of mutuality while we continue to live into God’s commission to us, to extend Christ’s peace with neighbors, enemies, friends and all of God’s children both near and far.


A Dose of Humility

By John Stoltzfus, Conference Youth Minister

Life offers many opportunities to learn humility. James Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, said, “Life is a long lesson in humility.” This can be particularly true for those in leadership, whether you are a CEO, pastor or youth sponsor. You are expected to lead by good example. One of the things I have learned as a pastor is that the good example we can provide as a leader does not necessarily mean perfection. Rather, it often means the ability to not think too highly of ourselves, to acknowledge our mistakes, and to learn from our missteps.

In June, I was invited to provide the bible lessons for the high school camp at Laurelville Mennonite Retreat Center. Part of the week included a rafting excursion on the Youghiogheny River.

I take some pride in my ability to engage in wilderness adventure experiences such as white water rafting, so I decided to join the campers in a wild ride through the rapids. It fit with part of my theme for the week in taking risks and living into the adventure of following Jesus in life.

We were split up into groups of five per raft with a designated “captain” in the back. Before the trip, our guides gave us clear instructions on how to work together as a team on our rafts and follow directions from the captain. River guides were in kayaks ahead or on the side of the river to help us navigate the rapids. We were told that it was essential to pay attention to the guides and their directions for the more dangerous rapids.

Confident in my ability to navigate the rapids, I took a turn as captain in my raft. However, as we approached one of the rapids, my ability to follow directions from the guides and give good directions to my crew evaporated. We headed straight for a rock at the point of the rapids that we were instructed to avoid. The disaster that followed still plays like slow motion in my head.

As the accompanying photos illustrate in glorious fashion, while the rest of the crew took cover in the center of the raft, I was launched headfirst into the angry rapids. To make matters worse, I managed to hit the head of one of my raft mates with my knee as I went overboard. Thankfully she had a helmet on although she did suffer a mild headache as a result.


My crew was gracious enough to pull me back into the raft after that failure. They even offered for me to captain again. I took it as an opportunity to allow the youth to take the lead for the rest of the trip. They taught me about what it means to work together as a team, showing grace in our mistakes and having the courage to take humble leadership.

On this day, on the rapids of Youghiogheny River, life offered me a healthy dose of humility. I am certain more lessons in humility will follow. I am reminded of a line from T. S. Eliot’s poem “Four Quartets” where he says “The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.”

Teenagers or Screenagers?

by Maria Hosler Byler, Associate Pastor for Youth and Family Faith Formation at Salford Mennonite Church  

On November 25th, 120 people gathered in Salford Mennonite Church’s sanctuary to view Screenagers, a film about teenagers and technology use. Some who walked in the doors were eager to be there, and some came because their parents made them – but all had stories of how technology has affected their lives, and many sensed the urgency of a conversation about screens and faith: How does my faith inform the enormous cultural shift technology has brought on? What actions will help me grow in relationship to God and my neighbor and what actions won’t?

Screenagers was produced by Delaney Ruston, a medical doctor and mother of two teenagers. She shows her own family’s struggles to have a healthy relationship with technology and interviews many other teens and parents. Included in the film is psychological and brain research, as well as information on addiction, multi-tasking, and how technology is affecting academics.

According to the film, the average kid spends around 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. This isn’t just limited to teenagers. During the film I found myself resonating with so much of the research and stories. When I open Facebook for just that one thing and I end up spending 20 minutes scrolling, it doesn’t help my self-esteem or mood. I get distracted from my work when I hear my phone ping. Even as an adult this film offered a chance to assess my own screen use and consider how to use technology in ways that are life-giving – without it taking over my life.

After we watched the film we divided into groups for discussion. The middle schoolers I talked with are aware of the pull of technology. They’re steeped in it from early in their development and it is truly shaping their lives. They reap the benefits as well as the challenges. They’re watching their parents, who are “digital immigrants,” set boundaries for their kids (and sometimes, though not as often, for themselves). And they’re finding their own way as “digital natives.”

Screens are affecting our society in so many ways. There are plenty of tools available to help families set healthy boundaries around screen time, and they’re worth the investment. And even with those, nothing can replace self-control and good communication. Today’s kids (and their caregivers) have to navigate the dangers of their age just as every other generation has, with only a dim picture of the consequences.

Screenagers has prompted many conversations in different settings in the weeks since the screening. In some ways the challenges are totally new. And in other ways, it’s the same question we’ve always faced: How will I live as a follower of Christ in this uncharted territory?

More information about Screenagers is available at www.screenagersmovie.com. There you can find a trailer to the film, view a list of upcoming screenings to find one in your area, and explore hosting a screening yourself. Salford co-hosted their screening of Screenagers with Advent Lutheran Church.

Partial Vision

By Marta Castillo, LEADership Minister

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” When faced with new situations, unexpected challenges, decision-making, or new information, my mind starts to try to make sense of it using my senses, my past experiences, and my knowledge. It is natural for us to try to problem solve and to find a space for information within our framework of understanding.

However, as followers of Jesus Christ, children of God, and saints led by the Spirit, we are called to look beyond our own understanding and to trust in the Lord and submit to God’s wisdom and way. When we look at the gospels, we see how many times Jesus says to people, “You do not understand.” As he washes the disciples’ feet, Jesus says in John 13:7, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” To Nicodemus, in John 3, Jesus answers, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?” When Jesus told parables, and talked about his upcoming death to the disciples, the ones closest to Him, did not understand. John 12:16 says, “His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.”

Richard Rohr uses the term “partial vision”, the need to recognize that we understand only in part. Our acknowledgement that we know only in part (1 Corinthians 13:12) allows us to “lean not on our own understanding,” to trust in God, and to submit our ways to God so that God can direct our paths. Our confession that we have “partial vision” humbles us and allows us to listen to others who have “partial vision” and seek God who fully sees and knows all things.

In Franconia Conference, we are facing all kinds of new situations, receiving new congregations, facing unexpected challenges, deciding about possible reconciliation, and making new kinds of decisions. I believe that we will all benefit from confessing together that we have “partial vision” and that there are numerous ways that God is working that are outside of our understanding and comprehension. I believe that we will benefit in committing and submitting together to walk in trust of the Lord, following the footsteps of Jesus, and relying heavily on the lead of the Holy Spirit.

I  Corinthians 13:12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.


God is at Work

By Aldo Siahaan, LEADership Minister and pastor at Philadelphia Praise Center

Each year Philadelphia Praise Center (PPC) holds Summer Peace Camp, a program similar to Vacation Bible School. This four-week camp led by a Mennonite Central Committee Summer Service Worker is a program that supports young people of color in developing their leadership skills through working with their local churches and communities. This year Amos Himawan was PPC’s summer service worker and he took on the challenging responsibility of assisting me in coordinating and running the Summer Peace Camp. There were two situations that happened during Peace Camp that showed me God is at work among us, if we will look to him. Thankfully, Amos was keeping God as his focus during these difficult moments at Summer Peace Camp.

Amos put so much thought into preparing a good program with various activities that the 40 children, ages 7 to 12 years old,  did not want to miss a moment. One day we took the kids to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art where they have Art Splash programs, which are drop-in creative play activities. Amos contacted the museum to ensure that he could bring a large group, and the museum instructed him to just come, there was no need to make a reservation. The morning we arrived at the window to check in for Art Splash, the museum officer noticed 40 children and said that space was limited and not all the kids could join. Amos was silent because he did not know how to explain this situation to the kids. In his silence, Amos also prayed to God for help. In the middle of his silent prayer, the same officer said that since they were there, they could not turn them away and so some of the kids could explore the museum while others took part in the Art Splash. Not only that, but as an apology the officer gave us free tickets for all the kids and their families. Wow, God is at work.

Another story of God at work took place when we brought the Summer Peace Camp kids to the pool for swimming.  There are two pools that are not far from PPC, so we chose the pool that had a good playground. That morning, the vans dropped the kids off to play at the playground as they awaited their turn to swim. As their turn quickly approached, a pool staff member came and said that we had too many kids and would not be allowed to swim. Some of the kids who heard the rejection were disappointed and began to cry and express their anger. God gave Amos wisdom to take the kids to the other pool immediately, but did not have big enough vans to take them.  After Amos made a few calls, God sent a driver with a big van to bring the kids to the pool. Indeed, God is at work.

From these two stories, through the example of our Summer Service Worker, Amos, God has taught me a basic and yet deep attitude of putting my trust in Him. One Bible verse from Philippians 2:13 comes to mind, as it says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” May we all continue to look for moments God is at work and may we continue to allow God to work in and through us.


Next Generation Ministry

On July 20th, over forty credentialed leaders from Franconia Conference and a few from the broader community including all the way from Lancaster, PA, gathered to hear about “Next Generation Ministry” from Josh Meyer, Pastor of Discipling and Preaching at Franconia Mennonite Church.  This credentialed leader’s breakfast was hosted by Perkiomenville Mennonite Church.

Credentialed leaders gathered around a breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs courtesy of chickens raised by some of the Perkiomenville youth, and began the morning by engaging in table discussion about where they serve, how they came to be in ministry, and what they have found most fulfilling and most challenging.

Josh MeyerJosh Meyer took on researching millennials in ministry as his dissertation project for his Doctor of Ministry program at Biblical Seminary. With Franconia Conference having one of the highest percentages of millennial credentialed leaders (those born after 1980 and before the mid-1990s) at 11% of all active credentialed leaders, Josh utilized Franconia Conference as his case study. His goal was to identify factors that cultivate and confirm calling among millennial leaders. The project focused on the intersection of three distinct areas: 1) millennial generation dynamics, 2) the biblical concept of calling, and 3) experience within in pastoral ministry. Overall, what leads young people in to ministry and what keeps young people in ministry.

Following the table discussion time, Josh shared a video that went viral at the end of 2016 where Simon Sienk, an author and marketing consultant, speaks about millennials in the workplace. Josh asked those present, “as you watch, keep in mind: if what he is saying is true, what impact might that have on how young people are called to an experienced ministry?”

In the video, Sienk mentions that millennials have grown up in an environment of addictive social media, instant gratification and participation medals that has led to a lack of coping mechanisms to deal with stress and a lack of knowledge on how to form deep meaningful relationships. He is quick to point out these shortcomings are no fault of the millennials themselves as it is a result of the environment. Upon graduation and being thrust into the workforce, corporate environments continue to hinder this generation from learning the skills of cooperation, and that trust forms over time in slow, steady, consistent interactions.

Josh quoted Tim Elmore (2010) as saying, “The rapid changes in American society over the past century have contributed to the diverse perspectives of the four generational cohorts represented in the workplace today.”

Therefore, if millennials are having a different experience, how does that impact young pastors?

Noted in the presentation is the fact that MCUSA as a denomination has a shortage of young leaders, with a large number of leaders at or reaching retirement age. Many young leaders seem to only last seven years. Through focus groups and interviews with an equal number of millennials and older experienced pastors within Franconia Conference, Josh compiled a chart of similarities and differences between these two groups that included looking at: what leads persons into pastoral ministry and what keeps persons engaged in pastoral ministry.

Going through the chart provided in a handout, it was noted that for both generations ministry is broadly defined and Conference Leaders played a large role in their path to ministry. A distinct difference between the generations was their view of seminary. The millennials viewing it as a place of ongoing discernment and the preceding generations attending seminary as a result of discernment. As for discerning the call, the millennials seems to have a stronger outward call (others noticing and affirming it in them) than the preceding generations who are noted as having a stronger inward call. Both generations noted that being invited to lead in their home congregations as they were growing up played a role in their discernment.

Items noted in aspects of pastoral ministry included that no matter the generation, all were surprised by the amount of administration work; not that they couldn’t or didn’t have the skills to complete it, just that the quantity was unforeseen. Millennials noted the pressure and expectations along with the “lack of freedom to lead” as unexpected aspects of their pastoral ministry. Josh explained that this “lack of freedom to lead,” was felt as millennials are often being brought in to help congregations grow and change, yet the congregation is resistant to change. Also of note, as a result of being in ministry, millennials feel less tied to denomination affiliations where preceding generations feel less tied to local church structure.

As for what keeps these generations engaged in pastoral ministry, Josh’s research notes that it is stories of transformation, the continued sense of the Holy Spirit calling, and seeing the impact of their ministry. Noted differences are that millennials report seeing a counselor/spiritual director and having a persistent commitment to Christ and the church as helping them continue to say yes to ministry. Preceding generations noted healthy church structures, being sustained by relationships, and a lack of other employment options/ need for income, among other things.

Check out the handout for more on these generations’ perspectives on things that play into contemplating leaving ministry, challenges and opportunities for the church.

The event ended with those from the preceding generations praying over the millennial leaders in their midst.

Franconia Conference is grateful to Josh for taking on this project. The Conference board and staff continue to analyze and contemplate how this information can inform calling and sustaining younger and up-and-coming leaders.

To view the slide presentation including recommendations as a result of Josh’s research click here.

Visioning for Conference-wide Youth Ministry

In a time of significant changes with youth ministry staffing and high school age youth demographics, last month Franconia Conference began a Youth Ministry Review/Visioning taskforce. The Taskforce will be working on a six month process reflecting on our Conference’s youth ministry initiatives. The members were by the Conference Board to review past and present youth ministry staffing and work at setting a vision for Conference youth ministry in the near future.

Taskforce members include Mary Keller (Zion/Eastern District representative), Jim King (Plains/Conference Board representative), Joe Hackman (Salford, facilitator), Brooke Martin (Franconia), Danilo Sanchez (Ripple/Whitehall) and Adrian Suryajaya (Philadelphia Praise Center).  The diverse team seeks to understand current and emerging needs for congregations and youth across our conference community.

“I am glad to do this work because the youth are the future of our Church (as in the whole Christian body, not just denomination),” said Adrian. “We need to cultivate and guide them to fulfill the purpose of the Church in the future.”

In a time of changing demographics and priorities, the review and visioning process gives space to appreciate what past and current work while imagining upcoming possibilities and challenges.