This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Shane Claiborne at Hesston for Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series

Photo: Shane Claiborne speaks on Friday Feb. 19 at Hesston (Kan.) Mennonite Church during the opening session for the Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series. Photo by Carly Unruh. 

“We limit ourselves when we are driven more by fear than love.”

Shane Claiborne, nationally known speaker and author and founder of The Simple Way community in Philadelphia, closed out a full weekend on Sunday Feb. 21 at Hesston (Kan.) Mennonite Church with these words about fearless love in a fearful world.

The Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series was held Feb. 19-21 at Hesston College. The theme was “Not Just On Sunday,” exploring what it looks like to live out faith every day.

Over 300 registrants traveled from 17 states to listen Claiborne; Nes Espinosa, executive director of Timoteo Football Philadelphia; and music by Dave Miller, pastor of Bellwood Mennonite Church in Milford, Neb . Each keynote session featured a question and answer time with Claiborne and Espinosa.

The weekend opened Friday night with Claiborne and Espinosa giving background on their work and the different projects taking place in North Philadelphia. It was a time for attendees to reimagine the body of Christ alive today.

Both speakers talked about living out their faith through actions.

“We have to show Kingdom work in our own community,” Espinosa said.

Nes Espinosa talks with attendees during the urban youth ministry learning track on Saturday. Photo by Carly Unruh.
Nes Espinosa talks with attendees during the urban youth ministry learning track on Saturday. Photo by Carly Unruh.

Claiborne told stories that illustrated how his community learned to “stop complaining about the church we experienced, and become the church we dreamed of.” The camaraderie between the two men from North Philadelphia, coupled with a message that had conference attendees reflecting on the lens they look at the world through, set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

On Saturday morning, Claiborne talked about being “Christian troublemakers” and inserting grace into our lives as we interact with others outside of our comfort zones. Each session also featured bluegrass-tinged worship led by Miller, along with local musicians and another member from Bellwood Mennonite.

Saturday afternoon, conference registrants chose between two learning tracks. Espinosa led a Youth and Urban Ministry track, while Claiborne focused on congregational life. Espinosa shared his story of growing up in North Philadelphia and choosing to stay there to make a difference, eventually starting Timoteo Football. Timoteo was established 10 years ago and now partners with 12 churches. The organization focuses on supporting communities by empowering men to mentor youth through athletics and spiritual formation.

Throughout the weekend, living out faith every day, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, was emphasized. Conference attendees had vigorous discussions during break times about applying these messages in their home congregations and communities. The Saturday evening dinner included time for conversation about translating the urban ministry principles to the rural areas that many attendees came from.

Saturday ended with a bluegrass concert featuring Miller and the Book of Jebb, a band featuring local Kansas musicians Bethany Schrag, Ben Regier, Eric Schrag, Tim Regier and Jesse Graber.

Each worship session and message brought a new perspective on living an “everyday faith.” In the last session, Claiborne challenged attendees to take more risks and to live with less fear.

“Fear is when we let being scared stop us from doing what love requires of us,” he said.

Listen to a sample of the music at AVDS on Saturday: 

Check out a Storify recap of the weekend:

Anabaptist World

Anabaptist World Inc. (AW) is an independent journalistic ministry serving the global Anabaptist movement. We seek to inform, inspire and Read More

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