Pastors and Leaders | Deep Faith 2022

Formed in the Wilderness, Leading in Hope

Monday, Feb. 21 – Thursday, Feb. 24

A joint conference of AMBS and Mennonite Church USA’s Office of Faith Formation.

For many pastors and faith formation leaders, these days are a swirl of confusion and exhaustion. Even as schools and workplaces seem to be getting back into the swing of things, it’s hard to know what we can expect or hope for from our congregations.

What does the church need to be in this time? What is the Spirit’s call to us as we seek to be faithful leaders?

Fortunately, this is not the first time God’s people and their leaders have found themselves in a kind of wilderness. As we know, the Hebrew people wandered quite literally in the desert for many years. And the church, from its beginnings in the New Testament until now, in many places over many years, has faced times of great upheaval and struggle brought on by disease, war, discrimination, persecution, economic inequality, and technological change. Somehow, in the midst of peril, God’s work and God’s people have not only survived, but thrived. And if their testimonies are to be believed, their lives and leadership have often been shaped by surprising hope.

What can we learn from leaders who were formed in the “wilderness” for the struggles we face today? During this conference we will draw insight from the late Alan Kreider’s book, The Patient Ferment of the Early Church: The Improbable Rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire, as we seek guidance and inspiration for the challenges of our time. Each day, Eleanor Kreider, Alan’s wife and partner in ministry and scholarship, will offer reflections on readings from Alan’s book, followed by responses from two current church leaders. Also, each day, Tom Yoder Neufeld, a close friend of Alan and Eleanor, will lead Bible studies that draw on stories of leading in hope through difficult times. Through responses, sermons, and workshops, we will learn from today’s leaders what it means to lead the church with hope today.

Take heart! God is with us and will show us the way. Come join us as we hear stories of God’s faithfulness in the Bible, the early church, and today!

Schedule

Monday evening

7:00 p.m. Worship service with sermon (Sibonokuhle Ncube)

Tuesday

8:30 a.m. Gathering time
8:45–9:45 Worship with Bible study (Tom Yoder Neufeld)
9:45–10:30 Break
10:30–11:30 Workshops
11:30–1:30 Lunch
1:30–2:30 Workshops
2:30–3:00 Break
3:00–4:00 Teaching Session 1: “What is the Good of Patience?” Focus: The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, Chapter 2: “The Good of Patience” (Eleanor Kreider and friends)
4:00 Dismiss

Wednesday

8:30 a.m. Gathering time
8:45–9:45 Worship with Bible study (Tom Yoder Neufeld)
9:45–10:30 Break
10:30–11:30 Workshops
11:30–1:30 Lunch
1:30–2:30 Workshops
2:30–3:00 Break
3:00–4:00 Teaching Session 2: “Christians are made, not born;” Focus: The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, Chapter 6: “Catechesis and Baptism” (Eleanor Kreider and friends)
4:00 Dismiss

Thursday

8:30 a.m. Gathering time
8:45–9:45 Worship with Bible study (Tom Yoder Neufeld)
9:45–10:30 Break
10:30–11:30 Teaching Session 3: “Wise Doves: A Peacemaking Church Formed by Worship;” Focus: The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, Chapter 5, “Communities as Cultures of Patience,” Chapter 7, “Worship,” and Chapter 8, “’Wise Doves’ in the Didascalia apostolorum” (Eleanor Kreider and friends)
11:30–11:45 Break
11:45–12:30 Worship with sermon
12:30 Dismiss

Submit a Workshop Proposal!

We’d love for conference participants to hear your story of being formed in the wilderness and leading with hope. What resources, tools or practices have strengthened your faith and leadership in wilderness times? What resources, tools or practices have been helpful to your congregation? Please consider submitting a workshop proposal on this theme. Your story can be an encouragement to your peers in ministry!

We welcome proposals that equip pastors to lead in hope or are specific to faith formation ministries, such as youth, children and intergenerational ministry, Christian education for all ages, and spiritual practices. Workshop proposals are due December 1.

Recordings of last year's Pastors and Leaders

Video recordings of the plenary sessions can be found below. Learn more about this and other past events.

Recorded components include:

The conference will be held in person, with livestreaming and Zoom connections also available for those at a distance.

Plus daylong Leadership Clinics on Monday, Feb. 21

Registration cost and discounts

Registration before the Jan. 15, 2022 early registration deadline is $195 USD for in person or online. Registration by the Feb. 14 final registration deadline is $245 USD.

Ask about scholarships! (More info on discounts and scholarships coming soon.)