This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

A surprising future?

The shape of God’s church of the future may surprise us. Can we agree that decision-making from only a few, top-down, is not satisfactory? Nor has decision-making from the bottom up been as effective as we hoped. Might we try decision-making from the inside out? The congregation, led by its ministers and overseer, would go through a process of discernment, passing its recommendation on to conference leaders. Most all situations dealing with sexuality have their own shape and expression. The church should deal with each individually. The conference may have the option for the final decision if questions arise, leaving openness for all congregations and conferences to make final decisions for their situations. This would free Mennonite Church USA to promote congregational life, evangelism and mission, building the Anabaptist family into a Spirit-directed, Word-inspired part of Christ’s total family. Our Confession of Faith should guide all our congregations and conferences. This allows district conferences to make decisions as they understand God’s will for them. If another conference moves in a different direction, one should not withdraw from the church. One might find the same concern in another group. Why splinter the family of Christ? God is able to deal with all differing choices. Trust him. If a sincere body of faith makes a mistake, God’s mercy is present. Christ is building his church according to his plan. Let us all seek to move with the Holy Spirit. The results may differ from our expectations.

A. Don Augsburger
Harrisonburg, Va.

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