East Petersburg Mennonite Church (EPMC) lead pastor Jeff McClain and Keith Blank, who is bishop of the Landisville-Manor District of LMC: A Fellowship of Anabaptist Churches, have attended Exponential Conference in Orlando for the past two years. The conference is a gathering of people involved in multiplying and planting churches, as well as missional thinkers. In a conference that was largely non-Mennonite, it was unique to encounter another Mennonite.
"It was there, in a Forge America workshop, that we first encountered (Howard and Cathy) Wagler. Instantly, we found commonality in vision together for church revitalization, missional church transformation, and leadership development," McClain recalled. "We also learned Howard Wagler was a Mennonite pastor whom God had used to take a small, struggling, traditional church community and transform it into a growing multisite church community."
McClain and Blank discovered that in addition to serving at Journey Mennonite Church in Kansas, the Waglers had partnered with Forge America and other organizations to launch a leadership coaching and development cohort initiative. The Waglers created Revive, a ministry that provides a learning cohort and coaching for churches, pastors, and leaders who are pursuing revitalization through missional church transformation and leadership development. Thus, McClain and Blank began to dream together about what it would mean to hear the Waglers' story and experience their resourcing in Lancaster.
"Howard and Cathy have developed a tremendous opportunity for leaders to connect with other leaders, to develop their gifts, and to find the resources for both individual and communal transformation to build a sustainable and joy-filled ministry for the present and the future," McClain commented.
The result of the discussion and dreaming is Revive Initiative, a one-day event that will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, at EPMC, 6279 Main St., East Petersburg. The format of the day will include teaching, first-hand stories, and more. Throughout the day, attendees will be guided in discovering the Bible as God's story of mission, the Church as a community shaped by God's mission, and discipleship as a complete surrender to God and His mission in the world.
"Howard has a passion to see churches rediscover God's mission in their backyards, and he has experience," McClain remarked.
"We are really hoping to see church members, teams, and leaders take part in this conversation and conference. We believe the Holy Spirit longs to revitalize our local church communities," Blank added.
There is no cost to attend the July 7 event, and lunch will be provided. Registration is required by following the link at http://www.reviveinitiative.com, and reservations will be closed on Saturday, June 30.
For more information about Revive Initiative, readers may visit the event website or contact McClain by calling EPMC at 717-569-9931.