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.
2015 Leadership Clinics
Monday, January 26, 2015 9:00a.m-3:00p.m.
Early registration deadline is January 7.
Understanding Anabaptist Approaches to Scripture: What's Different and Why?
Presenter: Loren Johns, Professor of New Testament, AMBS
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In the 16th century, Anabaptists approached Scripture in ways that were both similar to and different from their fellow Catholics and other Protestants. This clinic will seek to understand those similarities and differences in light of today. Which of those approaches might we whole-heartedly embrace today, and which of these might we want to nuance or largely repudiate? What historical and theological developments in the centuries since the 16th have influenced today’s Mennonites more profoundly than did the Reformation? And why is it that some Mennonites today hardly know what to do with the Bible? Along the way we will be learning what wisdom we can gain from both our Anabaptist forebears and from cross-cultural Bible study today.
Loren Johns is professor of New Testament at AMBS.
The Word Wore Red: A.K.A The Bible Doesn’t Have to be Boring
Presenter: Meghan Good, Pastor, Albany (Oregon) Mennonite Church
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Let’s face it: this is not an easy time to teach Scripture. Eighty percent of U.S. families didn’t read a single book last year. We are busy, distracted, and—thank you, YouTube—have incredibly short attention spans. The Bible is carried on the same devices that also contain Facebook, Pinterest, Netflix, email, and ESPN. Pastors and Sunday School teachers young and old, with many levels of experience and from vastly different contexts, are all asking the same question—How on earth do you get 21st century people interested in a set of ancient scrolls written thousands of years and a half-world away?
In this clinic, we will look at where the rubber hits the road in contemporary Bible instruction. Exploring the various settings where God’s Word is typically encountered—preaching, teaching, Sunday School, small groups, personal study—we will offer practical suggestions for capturing interest and eliciting deeper biblical engagement. We’ll learn from each other what works (and what doesn’t) in communicating the Bible to contemporary audiences and practice together imaginatively unfolding biblical texts in ways that release their power for change. Experienced pastors and new congregational leaders alike may benefit from stirring the creative sparks and re-imagining the Word that Lives—even in times like ours.
Meghan Good has served as pastor of Albany Mennonite Church since 2009. She is a frequent preacher and lecturer at churches and universities across the country. Her blog Mud Pie God (mudpiegod.com) offers short devotional reflections and feature articles exploring the nature of biblical interpretation. And although she has been accused of many things, being boring is not generally one of them.
Participation, Power and Process: Why Polity Matters
Presenters: Janeen Bertsche Johnson, Campus Pastor, AMBS
Willard Metzger, Executive Director, Mennonite Church Canada
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Not many Mennonites in the pews know what "polity" means. However, more and more church members and leaders are interested in how the church is structured and who has the authority to make decisions, especially at the area church/conference and national church levels. In many of the important issues and decisions the Church faces today, polity matters!
This workshop will give participants a basic introduction to what polity is and different ways it can be expressed. We will examine five purposes of the "Church beyond the congregation," and how different people have different expectations of church action based on which functions of the area and national church they see as most important. We will then discuss how decisions are made in Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA, and will particularly focus on the "Being a Faithful Church" process of MC Canada.
In the afternoon, we will look at how membership issues and polity are connected, and explore some of the challenges the church has faced when congregations and conferences don't approach questions of LGBTQ membership, marriage, and ministry in the same way. We will close the day by looking toward the future, in particular asking how polity and the mission of the church are related.
The Lord's Supper Liturgy: Creating a Safe Place for Abuse Survivors and the Wider Church
Presenters: Hilary Scarsella, PhD student, Vanderbilt Divinity School, where her work focuses on ways that theology and congregational practices can be strengthened by learning from survivors of violent trauma.
Eleanor Kreider, consultant and practicioner in worship and mission.
David B. Miller, Associate Professor of Missional Leadership Development, AMBS
Rhoda Shenk Keener, Co-Director of Mennonite Women USA
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While difficult to talk about, sexual assault and abuse are particular forms of violence that affect many in our congregations and communities. About one-third of those in the average congregation will be sexually abused in their lifetimes. As a primary place of community and formation, the congregation plays a significant role in the degree to which children and adults are vulnerable to being abused as well as the degree to which victims of abuse are able to find safety and move toward healing. Celebrating the Lord's Supper has the power to offer sustenance and strength. Many survivors of sexualized violence, however, identify participation in the Lord's Supper as an experience which increased their vulnerability to harm, perpetuated cycles of abuse in their lives, and intensified the trauma of the violence they suffered. In this clinic we will talk about why this is the case, and we will participate together in forms of the Lord's Supper crafted to both refrain from perpetuating harm and make the hope and strength offered in the bread and cup available to survivors of abuse as well as the broader community. Participants will be invited to offer feedback and contribute to the ongoing work of incorporating awareness of abuse into our congregations' practices and communal lives.
Early registration deadline January 7.
- $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
AMBS lunch $8.00.
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.
Email the Church Leadership Center
574.296.6269 or 800.964.2627