Tag Archives: mennonite usa

On My Return to Vocational Ministry

Hello blog readers!

I’m still here. I’ve been sick over the last week, and the last two weeks I just haven’t been able to find time to write. I intend to pick back up with the blog series this week. Thank you for your patience.

In the meantime, I thought it was best to put together a video about my journey over the last 14 years—out of vocational ministry and back again.

You had questions, so I’m responding.

As I announced a couple months ago, I have been called to pastor an Anabaptist congregation in the New River Valley of Virginia. We now know that we will be moving after Christmas. My official start date is January 1st, and my first Sunday at Christiansburg Mennonite Fellowship is January 5th.

The following video is 25 minutes in length. Feel free to ask further questions if you’ve got them. Please follow the rules of the blog. Thanks!

Other Related Posts:

D.D. Flowers, 2013.


Greg Boyd on Anabaptist Mega-Churches

Yesterday over at ReKnew.org, Greg Boyd responded to a common objection. Can you have an Anabaptist mega-church?

Some may claim that a church can espouse an “Anabaptist” theology (or partially), but if they are large enough to be considered a “mega” church they can’t really be an Anabaptist congregation.

I’ve heard this skepticism before. In fact, I have personally discussed this objection with Greg, since Woodland Hills Church has evolved into an Anabaptist congregation, and because I entered the Mennonite USA back in June of this year to pastor an Anabaptist church in Virginia.

Here’s an excerpt of what Greg had to say in his post:

Ironically, those who argue mega-churches can’t be Anabaptist churches are assuming, in the process of raising this objection, a non-Anabaptist definition of church as a weekend gathering. If the leadership of Woodland Hills thought that our “mega” weekend gathering was “the church,” the objection would indeed be valid. But we don’t think this, precisely because this would be a very non-Anabaptist position to assume!

I was encouraged to read Greg’s response because it reflects my own thoughts, and my personal experience as well.

After leaving vocational ministry within the SBC in 2006, and meeting in “organic” house churches for five years, I became very critical of organized churches, especially mega-churches. And for good reason. Mega churches have a tendency to base their success on attendance in their corporate gatherings, and have little to no concern for real community.

Meeting in homes for several years, deconstructing and reconstructing my understanding of the church, was necessary for me to see the benefits of face-to-face community, as well as the larger “mega” gatherings.

It was during that time that I was becoming an Anabaptist. And I deeply resonated with this concern that Anabaptists have for community and keeping it simple. Historically, they’ve done it better than most.

Anabaptist theology and practice rightfully recognizes that face-to-face community is essential in being the Body of Christ in any given location. So, there is a legitimate concern that community might be lost if a church grows beyond a certain point. Some would say it will be lost.

But is this necessarily so?

Again, listen to Greg’s response:

What Woodland Hills Church (as well as and the Meeting House in Toronto and other mega-Anabaptist Churches that may be out there) demonstrates is that we don’t have to chose between embracing the church as community, on the one hand, and holding a large weekend gathering, on the other. There’s nothing intrinsically anti-kingdom about large gatherings. After all, large crowds flocked to Jesus, and the early Christians in Jerusalem met in large groups in “Solomon’s porch” (Acts 5:16-19). The key, however, is to always remind people that the primary expression of church is not the large group, but the smaller communities that come together in houses to share life, study the word, worship and minister together.

I’ve discovered that it is possible to grow in number (corporately) and maintain real community. With it will come challenges, but they’re opportunities to build the Kingdom. We should embrace them.

It may be that the maturity level of some believers has them seeing a weekend “mega” gathering as church. They are just passive receivers of sermons. I think you’re always going to have people who think that way. I’ve even seen them in house churches. They just come, sit, and leave.

So it’s like this. If the leadership and core members hold fast to promoting and practicing sincere relationships in face-to-face community, the church will stay the course of vibrant Kingdom community and outreach.

I appreciate Greg helping us to see the way forward.

Are you a part of an Anabaptist church? How has your church responded to the idea of growing into a large congregation as you reach your community? Do you believe it’s possible to grow numerically and maintain a deep level of community? Please, share your thoughts.

D.D. Flowers, 2013.

Read Greg’s entire post here at ReKnew.org.


Big Announcement!

Hello blog readers and subscribers!

I told you in a recent blog update that I’ve been seeking to pastor an Anabaptist congregation since I joined the Mennonite USA back in June. I also told you that I was going to preach “in view of a call” over Labor Day Weekend. I’m happy that I can now share the good news with you.

I’m the new lead pastor of Christiansburg Mennonite Fellowship!

CMF is a Mennonite church in the New River Valley region of Virginia. The church is situated between two university towns (Radford & Blacksburg), surrounded by mountains, and filled with awesome people.

We are hoping to be able to move to Virginia next month, and so we would really appreciate your prayers as we work out all the details for a major transition. We can’t wait to make the big move and begin another chapter of life and ministry. We’re very excited about the road ahead.

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Thank you for your prayers and support. From David, Lanna, and Kainan.

D.D. Flowers, 2013.


Blog News & Update 8/30/13

Hello blog readers and subscribers!

You have probably noticed that I haven’t posted much this Summer. I have received emails and messages from some of you through social networking inquiring about my silence. I wanted to tell you what’s been going on and what you can expect here at the blog for this upcoming Fall.

As most of you know, things speed up in the home (traveling, vacations, etc.), and slow down online during the Summer. After blogging for several years, I’ve noticed that blog traffic comes to a crawl during this season.

I honestly don’t want to work so hard when the majority of readers are outside in the sun. So, I’ve tried to join you… though going outside in the Texas heat isn’t advised. I would be fine living in Antarctica.

And there’s the matter of me being a “closet” introvert. I need times of retreat to think, mediate, pray, rest, etc. I suppose it’s my way (or the Holy Spirit’s way) to sift through the mail, so to speak. Gotta get rid of the junk!

It helps me gain fresh perspective on life and ministry for the future.

There’s also been a deterrent from writing this Summer. As my regular readers know, I found myself unemployed from my teaching job at the end of May. This left me without my personal laptop. (For the time being, I’ve been using my wife’s laptop when it’s available.) Needless to say, but I’m going to say it, I’ve had to learn to live without it. Ugh!

All of this happened just as I was seeking to plant a church in the near future. When no doors opened for teaching jobs or church planting, it caused me to consider pastoring an already established church.

So, here’s what I can tell you right now. Back in June I officially entered into the Mennonite USA. In case you haven’t been trekking with me, I’ve shared my journey into Anabaptism here, here, and here.

I’ve been working with the denomination to find a good fit for a pastorate. In July I met with a church that for the moment must remain anonymous. We had a great meeting together. Very exciting!

My family will be visiting with this church over Labor Day weekend. I’ll be preaching and engaging in some Q&A and fellowship. I plan to let you know the outcome later next week. In the meantime, your prayers are greatly appreciated.  Pray for me, my family, and the church. Thanks!

Please stay tuned. Regular blogging will resume shortly. I can already feel the creativity bubbling up and the writing springs about to burst.

Blessings,

David


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