A Vision for Mennonite Church USA
What is the Purposeful Plan?
The Purposeful Plan is one part a strategic organizational plan, one part a road map for the future work of Mennonite Church USA, and one part a document that outlines our dreams and vision for God’s mission breaking forth across the church. In 2011, through prayer and discernment, the Executive Board sensed that God was calling Mennonite Church USA to move more deliberately toward fulfillment of our missional purpose as a church. Since then, we have pursued this purpose through prayerful planning that involves all parts of the church—congregations, area conferences, constituent groups, and churchwide agencies.
The Purposeful Plan is a living document. This means that it gets updated each biennium (every two years) with new goals and refreshed language.
Who is involved in the Purposeful Plan?
We believe that God is calling all parts of Mennonite Church USA to be a missional people. Our shared Vision Statement declares that God calls us to be followers of Jesus Christ and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to grow as communities of grace, joy and peace so that God’s healing and hope flow through us to the world. In response to God’s call, we are joining in God’s activity in the world, in order to develop and nurture missional Mennonite congregations of many cultures.
How was the Purposeful Plan developed?
As Mennonite-Anabaptists, we believe that congregations are the primary expression of God’s work in the world. In 2011, delegates from across the church affirmed the Purposeful Plan as the vision that will guide our whole church over the course of the next 10 years.
What’s a quick summary of the Purposeful Plan?
In short, the Purposeful Plan contains some work that frames our vision, and sets the stage for the work that Executive Board Staff, Mennonite Church USA agencies, area conferences and congregations will do together. Our work is guided by seven churchwide priorities, that were also affirmed by delegates at the 2011 convention in Pittsburgh.
The Seven Priorities
- Christian Formation
This first and highest priority commits us to fashion and mold our lives after that of Jesus Christ. As the sent One of God, Jesus sends us into the world. As missional communities, our congregations, area conferences, and agencies will ensure that people are invited to make a commitment to Christ, discipled in the way of Christ, taught to engage with the scriptures, helped to develop Christian identity from an Anabaptist/Mennonite perspective, and given the capacity to cultivate their vocational calling.
(Matthew 28:18‐20, Romans 8:28‐30, Colossians 1:28‐29, 2 Timothy 1:5; Articles 17 and 18, Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective)
- Christian Community
As a sign and foretaste of God’s coming Kingdom, our church communities serve as a vital part of our witness in the world. As communities in God’s mission, we will strengthen the organic nature of the body of Christ and enhance our witness through worshipping together, extending hospitality, practicing scriptural discernment, cultivating Christcentered unity and learning to agree and disagree in love.
(1 Corinthians 12:12‐14, Colossians 3:12‐17, Philippians 3:7; Articles 14 and 16, Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective)
- Holistic Christian Witness
The church exists for the task of bearing witness to the coming of Christ’s kingdom in the world. As missional communities we will share the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed, reproduce ourselves in new communities of faith and reflect the reign of God by striving for peace and justice.
(Matthew 12:15‐21, Luke 4:18‐21, John 20:21‐22; Articles 10 and 22, Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective)
In his words and practices, Jesus modeled an understanding that God is the Lord of all life. Thus, we are called to be stewards of the resources that God has generously entrusted to us for the sake of God’s purposes in the world. As missional communities we will assist every participant in our congregations to cultivate a healthy whole‐life stewardship, to care for creation, to practice mutual aid and to be generous in ways which reflect the generosity of God.
(Psalm 24:1‐2, Proverbs 22:6‐7, Luke 19:1‐10, 2 Corinthians 8:5‐7, 13‐15; 9:6‐15; Article 21, Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective)
- Leadership Development
The church calls forth leaders as prompted by God to inspire the congregation for its evangelizing mission in the world and to ensure that every member/ participant in the faith community is empowered, equipped and supported for their unique vocation in witness. As missional communities we will develop leaders at all levels of the church, helping every member to reach their God‐given potential as they follow Christ’s call.
(Exodus 18:13‐23, Ephesians 4:7‐16; Article 15, Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective)
- Undoing Racism and Advancing Intercultural Transformation
Racism, antipathy and alienation between different cultural groups stand in the way of Christ’s kingdom of love, justice and peace. As missional communities we will seek to dismantle individual and systemic racism in our church, develop intercultural competence, heal racial divisions, and value all the gifts of God’s diverse people. We envision people of many nations, tribes, people and languages as participants in the kingdom of God.
(Acts 10, Galatians 3:25‐29, Ephesians 2:15, Revelation 7:9; Article 9, Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective)
- Church-to-Church Relationships
The unity of Christ’s church is hindered when any particular communion remains disengaged and isolated from others who belong to the same Body of Christ. In a world of global economic disparity and vast cultural differences, our unity in the church bears witness to an alternate reality where we feel each other’s pain and rejoice when others rejoice. As missional communities we will learn and grow through interaction with other Christian fellowships. We will cultivate a particularly close relationship with Mennonite Church Canada, since we share a common confession of faith, a common ministerial polity, and many joint ministry ventures.
(Ephesians 4:4‐6, Revelation 5:9‐10; Article 9, Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective)
Want to learn more about the seven priorities? Download a study guide today!
How can I get involved?
We are praying for God’s grace and help to carry out the vision, the purpose and the plan. We encourage each congregation, area conference, or church agency to—
- Work through the document section by section
- Study the missional traits and signposts of the faithful church laid out in the Purposeful Plan
- Embrace the seven priorities, adapting goals that are suitable to your own context
- Wrestle with the polarities that reflect faithful church life
- Share with others what you are learning