The compelling vision recommendation that will be presented in July to the 2020 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren has been released. Following is a statement from the Compelling Vision Team:
“Jesus in the Neighborhood”
The Compelling Vision Team has released the compelling vision:
“Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.”
It is accompanied by an interpretive document that unpacks the scripture and theology behind each significant word or phrase in the vision. The full interpretive document can be found at www.brethren.org/compellingvision .
The compelling vision conversation was launched at Annual Conference in 2018 with the question: What compels you to follow Jesus? And from there, the questions asked, analysis and interpretation of the data, and even the articulation of the vision itself, has reflected a commitment to the guiding statement, first articulated by the Compelling Vision Working Group and later affirmed by the Compelling Vision Process Team:
“Confessing Jesus Christ as Teacher, Redeemer, and Lord, we desire to serve Him by proclaiming, professing, and walking in His way together bringing His peace to our broken world. Join us in reclaiming a new passion for Christ and helping set a course for our future as the Church of the Brethren serving Him in our communities and in the world!”
Not only has the process–and the resulting vision–been centered in Jesus Christ, but it has also been rooted in scripture, and dependent on the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.
A word about next steps. . . . In keeping with the timeline set forth at the beginning of the process, the compelling vision will be brought to Annual Conference 2020 for affirmation by the delegate body. Discernment of the compelling vision emerged from the work of the whole church through significant conversations that took place at Annual Conference 2018 and 2019, in districts, and with various constituency groups. For this reason, the Annual Conference officers have determined that the process for affirming the compelling vision must be one of creative, prayerful engagement through continued conversation, rather than a process of motions and amendments. Therefore, at the 2020 Annual Conference we will strive for consensus under the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we move toward affirmation of the compelling vision that God is calling the Church of the Brethren to carry out together.
A vision statement is not intended to be a statement of belief, nor is it intended to address any particular issue, nor is it intended to reflect specific plans for a particular project. Rather it is a statement about how we are called to embody our beliefs as the people of God, it is about inspiring and shaping our ministry and mission as the body of Christ in these times.
In preparation for engagement in the process that will continue to unfold at Annual Conference, we encourage people across the church to read the full interpretive document, study the scripture passages that undergird the interpretive document, and reflect on the following questions:
— How does the compelling vision reflect the soul of your congregation? How does it reflect the soul of the Church of the Brethren?
— How do you see this vision being lived out in your own neighborhood?
— What may you need to let go of?
— What are the issues facing your community that could be healed/addressed by the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ?
— How may we work at calling and equipping innovative, adaptable, and fearless disciples to live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ?
— What are the creative ways your congregation, your district, or the denomination as a whole, may embody this vision?