Compelling Vision Process

Where there is no vision, the people perish (Prov. 29:18a KJV)


The Church of the Brethren stands at a crossroads. Recent decades have been defined by paralyzing conflict. In response to the ongoing conflict, at the 2017 Annual Conference, the delegate body affirmed a report from the Leadership Team and the Council of District Executives regarding “The Authority of Annual Conference and Districts regarding the Accountability of Ministers, Congregations, and Districts.” That report concluded with this assertion: “To stay on the journey together, it is also crucial that the church discern the compelling vision that this body of Christ is called to pursue.”

Denominational and district leadership have worked together to call two teams—the Compelling Vision Working Group and the Compelling Vision Process Team—to work collaboratively to guide the denomination through a process of conversation and discernment in an effort to arrive at a compelling vision rooted in our shared commitment to live as Christ’s disciples. It is an invitation to place our trust in God’s Spirit and engage in a visioning process to discern what God is calling us to do together with the fervent hope that our commitment to one another and to serving our God as the body of Christ might be renewed through this shared journey and a sense of shared mission. For as Eugene Peterson says in his paraphrase of Proverbs 29:18: “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what (God) reveals, they are most blessed.”

Conversations began at Annual Conference this summer, will continue in districts and with various constituency groups through the fall and winter, and culminate at Annual Conference in 2019. We are committed to engaging as many people as possible in the process, providing opportunities for individuals to give voice to their passions and concerns, listen to one another, and work together to identify common threads and themes that might point to a shared and compelling vision.

As we embark on this journey together, it is our prayer that: our relationships with one another will be strengthened and deepened, transcending points of disagreement; we will be able to celebrate the ongoing presence and activity of God’s Spirit at work among us; we will be open to what God is calling us to do together as Christ’s disciples; the vision ultimately articulated will lay claim to our hearts and our minds, our imaginations and our spirits, shaping our identity and inspiring our ministry at the congregational level, the district level, and the denominational level; and we will wholeheartedly embrace the challenge set before us by that vision, affirming contextual creativity as we actively seek to embody that vision.

We hope you will join us on this journey, engaging in the conversations as they occur. Please feel free to reach out to anyone on the Working Group or the Process Team at any time with questions, comments, and concerns.

Photo by Glenn Riegel

Compelling Vision Process Team

Michaela Alphonse of Miami, Fla.
Kevin Daggett of Bridgewater, Va.
Rhonda Pittman Gingrich of Minneapolis, Minn., Chair
Brian Messler of Lititz, Pa.
Alan Stucky of Wichita, Kan.
Kay Weaver of Strasburg, Pa.
Samuel Sarpiya, 2018 Annual Conference Moderator
Donita Keister, 2019 Annual Conference Moderator
Paul Mundey, Annual Conference Moderator-Elect
Chris Douglas, Annual Conference Director

Compelling Vision Working Group

David Steele, General Secretary
Samuel Sarpiya, 2018 Annual Conference Moderator
Donita Keister, 2019 Annual Conference Moderator
Paul Mundey, Annual Conference Moderator-Elect
Chris Douglas, Annual Conference Director
Colleen Michael, District Executive, Pacific Northwest District
John Janzi, District Executive, Shenandoah District