Leadership Clinics (2016)

Leadership Clinics are day-long workshops that focus on topics related to leadership within the church.  Leadership Clinics are normally held the Monday of Pastors Week. While many Leadership Clinic participants also choose to attend Pastors Week, it is possible to register and attend one of these events without attending Pastors Week.

Journey of Discovery: Bible Study with the Mind and Heart

Presenters: Mary Schertz, Professor of New Testament, AMBS
Rachel Miller Jacobs, Assistant Professor of Congregational Formation, AMBS

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Old Testament scholar Ellen Davis has written that “reading the Bible confessionally means recognizing it as a word that is indispensable if we are to view the world realistically and hopefully.” What is it about our modern hungers that drive us to the ever-expanding miles of self-help books at Barnes and Noble or that drive us to mega churches in droves? We are convinced that it is worth our effort to explore the possibility that our modern hungers might be satisfied by something as simple and sane as Bible study. If so, how do we get started? How do we keep going? Where does this all end?

Pastoral theologian Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns introduced us to the word “orthopathy.” Orthodoxy is right thinking, she said. Catholics are really good at that. Orthopraxy is right acting, she went on, and you Mennonites are really good at that. But Pentecostals, she reflected, are good at orthopathy—or right feeling, orienting our passions to the passions of God. Orthopathy, she contended, is necessary to hold orthodoxy and orthopraxy together—and you really need us, she said. She was right. 

Reading the Bible confessionally involves all three. We test our theology; we test our thinking with the Bible—orthodoxy. We test our ethics; we test our actions with the Bible—orthopraxy.  But reading the Bible confessionally not only means coming to the Word to help us think and act biblically. We are convinced that reading the Bible confessionally also means coming to the Word to re-orient our feelings and our passions to the feelings and passions of God. That seems to be a missing piece in our experience of teaching the Bible in the church, a crucial element in what Robert Tannehill describes as Bible study that “molds the character of the community over the long haul.”

Mary Schertz is Professor of New Testament at AMBS.

Rachel Miller Jacobs is Assistant Professor of Congregational Formation at AMBS.



Maybe Noah Had it Right After All: Disaster Preparedness as a Ministry Essential

Presenters: Kevin King, Executive Director, Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS)
Ross Penner, Director of Canadian Operations, MDS.

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If the church is God’s agent in the world, and if the world encounters a serious jolt, how then should the church respond?  What is its ministry opportunity, and community responsibility?  Learn how to prepare you and your congregation for a disaster before the “flood waters” arise. Through story and practical exercises, participants will learn and be inspired by:
• Stories of God’s grace shining through the church, in the midst of the storm
• Biblical narratives and theological rationale for emergency preparedness
• Partner, partner, partner – what it takes to be effective
• What have you got in your pockets?
• Who is MDS and how it extends and strengthens your ministry
• Learning to be aware of the Needs and Opportunities in a disaster
• Restoring dignity to lives destroyed by disaster – why simple things matter
• Share your experiences/learn from others who have experienced disaster in your congregation
• Three things to do when you get back home to your congregation.

Kevin King is Executive Director of Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS).

Ross Penner is Director of Canadian Operations for MDS.



Ecclesia as Apostolic Movement: A Look at Innovative Church Planting Practices

Presenters: Mauricio Chenlo, Denominational Minister, Mennonite Mission Network and MC USA 

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In the last few years, new forms of doing church have emerged within the Mennonite Church context. Much has been said about post-modern and missional agenda. Hundreds of books and church planting networks have popped up.

In this clinic we will draw on learnings inspired by Alan Hirsch, Michael Frost and Tim Catchim at a recent Exponential conference. We will notice the lack of attention typically given in Mennonite settings to the apostolic missionary strategy of the New Testament, particularly Ephesians 4:11-13. How is it that so many ignore the apostolic, prophetic and evangelistic gifts that lead the list? Leadership development in much of Western Christendom has too often been reduced to the functions mentioned last: shepherd and teacher.

At the core of what we do from our humble ministry in church planting at Mennonite Church USA is the recovery of the apostolic function in the church. “Apostolic” here is used in its strict, New Testament sense of “Being Sent.” We seek to avoid any connotation related to the term “Apostle” as used by the power-driven structures in many church settings around the world. In this seminar we want to re-visit some of the Scripture that speaks directly to this matter. By “Dwelling in the Word” we will try to immerse ourselves in the Spirit of Being Sent. We will also look at specific and imaginative ways in which new missional communities are emerging in our large Church. Particular attention will be given to the basic systems of call and reproduction that need to be in place to ignite passion and imagination for church planting initiatives. We will also hear from two leaders who are working as bi-vocational planters and breaking ground in new forms of ministry. Join us during this time of mutual learning and faithful imagination!

Mauricio Chenlo is denominational minister of church planting for Mennonite Church USA.



Trauma Healing & Ministry: Companions for the Journey

Presenters: Rebecca Slough, Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Worship and the Arts, AMBS
Patricia Plude, Minister of Worship Arts, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco


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In this interactive session, we will explore ways of ministering to people healing from the effects of trauma (including sexual abuse). We will learn and practice:
• how to establish graced, safe space
• how to sensitively witness, accompany or guide incremental movement toward healing
• how to attend to the challenging emotional energies elicited by trauma
• how to adapt the church's traditional rituals to sensitively address issues in the recovery process
• how to craft or improvise ritual responses appropriate for lament, confession, release and hope
Through the work itself, we will create a graced, safe space for ourselves, which will invite intimacy and an opportunity to experience healing companionship as a pathway toward learning how to offer it to others.




Rebecca Slough is Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Worship and the Arts at AMBS.

Patricia Plude is Minister of Worship Arts at First Mennonite Church of San Francisco.


Gathering for New Pastors

(Sunday 6 pm to Monday 4 pm)

Presenters: Nancy Kauffmann, Denominational Minister, Mennonite Church USA
Karen Martens Zimmerly, Executive Minister, Formation and Leadership, Mennonite Church Canada

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Pastors in their first years of ministry face many questions: How do my personal ministry gifts fit into and align with my new context? How do I navigate the unspoken and spoken expectations? What rhythms and practices will best provide me with the resilience needed to minister through these anxious times? In this Clinic pastors in their first three or four years of ministry will talk with each other and with leaders from Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA about the challenges and gifts of early ministry.

Nancy Kauffmann, DMin, is Denominational Minister of Mennonite Church USA following 19 years in pastoral ministry and 9 years as a conference minister. Through the Leadership Development Office, Nancy oversees the pastor calling system for the Church which serves both persons seeking a pastoral position, as well as conference ministers who work with congregational search committees in their conference.  The Leadership Development office also develops resources to support pastors, congregations and conferences.  She lives in Goshen.

Karen Martens Zimmerly is Executive Minister, Formation and Leadership, for Mennonite Church Canada. She comes to her position with 21 years of pastoral ministry in two congregations and area church involvements. Karen welcomes opportunities to preach, teach and engage in conversation about calling and equipping leaders, healthy pastor/ congregational relationships and becoming multicultural congregations in order to be Christ's church in today's world. Karen lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband Terry.




Registration is closed. 


  • $65 before early registration deadline
  • $55 each for three or more from one congregation before early registration deadline
  • $75 after early registration deadline
  • Additional student discounts are available on the online registration form

Meals (non-refundable)

AMBS lunch $8.00.
Please pre-register.

Continuing Education Units

Attending a clinic will earn 0.4 CEU


Before the early registration deadline, cancellations will be refunded, less $25. After this date, cancellations will be granted credit, less $25, toward a future day-long workshop within one year. Refund credits must be requested within 24 hours of the event.

Contact us

Email: Churchleadership@ ambs.edu 
or call: 574.296.6269 or 800.964.2627