LANCASTER, Pa. — Many individuals, small groups, and congregations desire to engage in mission, but do not know how to discern a way forward. Others are already engaged in mission, but do not know where to find the resources needed to increase their effectiveness. Initiated by a conversation about planting new churches, a network called Missional Pathways was developed to help churches think through new ways of engaging in mission.
The collaborative network began in January 2016 and now includes leadership from Eastern Mennonite Missions, Franklin Mennonite Conference, and Lancaster Mennonite Conference.
Missional Pathways has a vision of seeing all church members become active in creating and multiplying disciples within their communities. In the past, mission work was often characterized as being “from the West to the rest,” whereas today’s growing trend is for mission work to be “from anywhere to everywhere.” Due to this changing reality, denominations, mission agencies, and churches across North America have begun to reimagine what mission looks like.
The primary goal of Missional Pathways is to serve as a hub of missional networking and resourcing, making local and global connections for churches. The network desires to encourage churches to engage in mission, connect people with missional passions to those with proven expertise, and inspire everyone to dream of new ways of reaching people with the gospel. Missional Pathways connects individuals, groups, and churches with coaches, experts, and other resource persons who can help point them in an appropriate direction.
Michael Clancy reflects on his experiences with Missional Pathways: “Being unsure of what to do or where to go with a call to be an urban missionary in the city of Lebanon (Pa.), I was directed to Missional Pathways. They connected me with the people who could assist me in answering my calling.”
Those looking to get involved in Missional Pathways are encouraged to first talk with their pastor about what a new missional initiative might look like for their church. Missional Pathways wants to encourage and equip missional work in the local church without replacing the critical role pastors and leaders play in the mission discernment process. As an individual or a congregation begins to develop a new missional idea, they are encouraged to apply to Missional Pathways. After the application process has been completed, a facilitator will connect with each individual or group to begin assessing needs, building a plan, and connecting with appropriate resources for each missional vision.