Practical resources for pastors as they navigate the particularities of regathering the people of God. 

From worship patterns to fostering connection, offering faith formation classes to doing community engagement, COVID-19 upended much of what we knew as church life. The load for pastors has been crushing. How do we help pastors avoid burnout? How do we confront the increased polarization in our congregations? 

In August, September, and October, MennoMedia is releasing a monthly “What Now?” toolkit addressing pressing topics faced by congregations and pastors. 

Six new resources will be available each month to nurture community and support the mission and ministry of congregations across North America in this unique time. 

September Resources


The Next Normal?

Norm Dyck

Ideas for fostering vision and renewed connection

Grow in Faith & Grown Faith Bingo

The Shine Team

Regathering children and youth

Community and Connection

Rev. Jimmy Rushton

Tips for fostering reconnection 

Leading Amid Polarization

David Brubaker
with Sarah Bixler

Practical tools for leading through polarization 

Beyond Hallmark

Rev. Amy S. Zimbelman

Ways to honor Pastor Appreciation Month (October)

Marking Life Together

Joanna Harader

A rituals guide to help churches mark significant transitions in people’s lives

BONUS:
Defusing Polarized Thinking

Jayne Seminare Docherty
and Sarah Bixler

Tips for diffusing polarized thinking

September Contributors


Rev. Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, Kansas. She posts worship resources and other writings on her blog, SpaciousFaith.com.

Rev. Sarah Ann Bixler, PhD, is assistant professor of formation and practical theology and associate dean at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is oversight leader of the teaching cluster of ordained ministers in Virginia Mennonite Conference and attends Park View Mennonite Church.

Jayne Seminare Docherty is the executive director of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. Her research and teaching have focused on working with worldview conflicts and processes for changing complex systems that have gotten mired in conflict. 

Jimmy Rushton is the lead pastor and one of the teaching pastors at The Meeting House, a multisite church in Ontario, Canada. He is married to Heidi and they have two daughters—Kaitlyn and Ella (and two dogs, Rolo and Cocoa!). He is a reluctant coffee snob, is an avid golfer, loves music, and is a bit of a Bible nerd.

Norm Dyck is employed as the mission minister for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, charged with oversight of denominational church planting efforts, which has been largely focused on newcomers and immigrants; challenging the established church to reclaim its mission heart; and engaging global mission partners. Norm and his wife, Rose, live in Listowel, Ontario, with their four sons.

Rev. Amy Zimbelman is the conference minister of Mountain States Mennonite Conference, serving 17 churches in Colorado and New Mexico. A graduate of Duke Divinity, she co-pastored a Mennonite church for three years. She’s spent much of her adult life being fascinated by other cultures and working for justice both through Mennonite Central Committee and in refugee resettlement for about a decade. She’s married to her best friend, Matt, and together they parent their two young sons.

David Brubaker serves as dean of the School of Social Sciences and Professions at Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia. He has 34 years of experience in workplace mediation and organizational consulting. David has worked in a dozen international settings in countries on six continents—including Angola, Myanmar, and Northern Ireland. He is the author of several books, most recently When the Center Does Not Hold: Leading in an Age of Polarization (Fortress Press, 2019).


Hear from featured artist, Ebony H. Flag

Jesus
by Ebony H. Flag


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We’ll deliver the monthly resources, downloadable PDFs, a mini-series of -ing podcast, and more straight to your email every month. We are also excited to be sharing the powerful artwork of Ebony H. Flag. Each month’s newsletter will feature a piece of Flag’s artwork along with a short video reflection from the artist. Plus there will be a drawing for a print of her piece entitled “Griefs Healing.” Sign up today to get these practical monthly helps delivered straight to your inbox!


Community Engagement

Practical counsel for evaluating and engaging missional opportunities

Faith Formation

Tips and methods for adapting and applying Christian educational materials for the current context

Connection

Tools for facilitating connection and reconnection within the congregation

Navigating Polarization

Strategies for conversation and reconciliation 

Sustaining Leaders

Helpful ideas and encouragement for pastoral leaders to nurture ongoing health and renewal

Worship

Resources to shape and guide gathered worship experiences



August Resources


Seize the Day: Missional Opportunities Post-Covid

Nelson Okanya

Considerations for shaping new mission initiatives

A Time to Mend

The Shine Team

Ideas for connecting and reconnecting in children’s discipleship gatherings

Cultivating Awareness as We Come Back Together

Laura Funk

Tips for fostering reconnection 

Polarization, Conspiracy Thinking, and Attitude Crystallization

Cheree Hammond,
with biblical and theological content by Sarah Bixler

Tools for transforming beliefs and attitudes that lead to harmful behaviors

Strategies for Pastoral Resilience

Sarah Ann Bixler and
Hyancinth Stevens

Strategies and suggestions for nurturing well-being and preventing burnout

Profound Disorientation to Radical Reorientation

April Yamasaki with
Derek Suderman

A three-part worship series focused on the movement of the Psalms through orientation, disorientation, and re-orientation

August Contributors


Rev. Sarah Ann Bixler, PhD, is assistant professor of formation and practical theology and associate dean at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is oversight leader of the teaching cluster of ordained ministers in Virginia Mennonite Conference and attends Park View Mennonite Church.

Laura Funk is the newly ordained spiritual director in residence this year at MC Manitoba. She is the author of People and Places of Sacred Interior Spaces and is a member of Hope Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Learn more about Laura and her ministry at ButterflyJourneys.ca.

Cheree Hammond, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Mental Health Counseling program at EMU. She specializes is counseling theories, psychopathology, & mindfulness and psychotherapy, and works and teaches from a contemplative psychotherapy perspective.

Nelson Okanya serves as global missions president at the Center for Serving Leadership.Born in Migori, Kenya, he completed university and graduate school training at Daystar University and Eastern Mennonite Seminary and is completing a doctorate in intercultural studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. Passionately committed to cross-cultural engagement, building transformative global partnerships, and developing leaders, Nelson has pastored a multicultural congregation and served as president of Eastern Mennonite Missions.

Rev. Hyacinth Stevens, MPA, has served the church as a pastor, teacher, mentor, and program developer. She is a member of the New York City District Oversight Team. She works for MCC East Coast as the New York program director. A hallmark for Hyacinth is a commitment to the ministry of reconciliation with an emphasis on intercultural bridge-building.

Derek Suderman is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies at Conrad Grebel and the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada). He is the author of “Psalms” in the Fortress Commentary on the Bible: Old Testament and Apocrypha (Fortress, 2014) and an upcoming Psalms commentary [DS1] entitled “Praying the Hope of the Poor” in God, Mammon, and the Hope of the Poor in the First Testament: A Preacher’s Companion (Cascade). Suderman attends Stirling Mennonite Church with his wife Rebecca and two teenage daughters, Zoe and Eden.

April Yamasaki is a writer and pastor, currently resident author with a liturgical worship community, and a frequent guest speaker in churches and other settings. Her books include Four Gifts: Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength, Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal, Christ Is for Us: A Lenten Study, and On the Way with Jesus: Sermons for Lent and Easter. Visit her website for more information and a free copy of her ebook, How to Pray When Prayer Seems Impossible, aprilyamasaki.com