Author Archive: Hinke

Maybe you’re asking the wrong question

In follow up to my earlier post, the following is what I presented this past weekend at the Believers Church Conference (Believers Church includes Baptists, Penticostals, Mennonites, Brethren, etc…adult baptizers). I was the the young adult representative on a panel discussing mission and evangelism in light of denominationalism and congregationalism in the Believers church in our time. My answer is based on a personal theology of mission and recent reading as well as conversations I have had with young adults in the Mennonite church.

Question: “How do young adults desire to engage in the church’s ministry of mission and evangelism? Where do you see possibilities and problems in the church’s approach to mission in our day? Provide illustrations.

The question asked assumes that mission and evangelism exist as departments or branches owned by the church. We know that ultimately mission and evangelism belong to God and so every Christian should naturally engage the world with mission and evangelism through the way they live. The church then is a group of Christians who gather together for mutual encouragement and building up and worship of God. Therefore mission is at the heart of this group of Christians called the church. The church does not design, select, and control mission and evangelism unless the church is purely viewed as a structural organization. If the church is viewed as a body of believers living in the way of Christ, then Christians of all ages, young adult, middle-aged adult, baby adult and old adult, are part of this body and together they engage the world with mission and evangelism because it is integral to who they are as individuals and as a larger body that God has called, is calling and will continue to call. (more…)

In need of other young adult opinions on “Assesing Believers Churches’ approaches to evangelism and mission in our time”

Hi All, I need your help. I will be presenting at a North American Believer’s Church Conference in about a week and will be representing young adults….ha! This is an impossible task and an enormous responsibility. The context of the overall conference is, I believe, the “tension” between the individual congregation and the denomination. The theme of this particular workshop I’m presenting at is “Missional vision and practice of denominations together with congregations in the Believers Church family: Present-day issues and opportunities.”

The specific questions are:
1. How do young adults desire to engage in the church’s ministry of mission and evangelism?
2. Where do you see possibilities and problems in the church’s approach to mission in our day? Provide illustrations.

Well I have PLENTY to say on these topics but I desperately need the counsel of others of my generation/culture or those who are “young adult” at heart. Questions like these should be answered in community and not by an individual. If you have problems with the language in these questions, by all means, provide alternative language as you answer the question as you understand it. These questions are asked in the context of a discussion about the local (congregational) and global (denominational) roles of the mission of the church and a trend toward “local-centred” mission initiative and the way that a Believer’s Church self-understanding intersects with missional ecclesiology.

I don’t think I’ve ever introduced myself on YAR properly before. I was born in Canada, grew up in E. Africa, went to the US for college (EMU), then worked in Virginia, went to seminary in Manitoba, Canada, spent some time in Mozambique, worked for Mennonite Church Canada and am now headed for Israel/Palestine soon as an international worker for Mennonite Church Canada. Faith-wise, I consider myself Christian anabaptist, from a Mennonite/Methodist family and am currently inspired by emergent/missional writings when they’re real and down to earth. I am often disillusioned with the church but hopeful at the same time.

I’ll post some of my opinions on my topic once a discussion starts :) And I really would appreciate feedback.

Creating Room for Imagination to Breathe in the Church

Young adults were given 90 minutes of discernment time with delegates at the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly in Abbotsford this year. As the session flew by, the breadth of our responses quickly narrowed, mostly in response to some very insightful questions from the delegate floor. As one of 5 young adult panelists, the challenge for me was to focus my answers to represent voices I’ve heard again and again from young adults in the Mennonite church. Given the width of the questions, focusing answers on key thoughts was not easy.

If I were to sum things up, I would say the focus became, “Why is the present heart of the Mennonite church in today’s culture being labelled an issue of young adults and the future of the church?” (more…)

The global symphony of faith

“Aaaiii, Hinke!” yelled Amina as she bounded out to hug my brother and me, during a recent visit to her home. Then after many greetings she danced off to the family cucumber fields to give the news of our arrival to her mother and sisters. Amina and I had last seen each other 13 years earlier but for much of our childhoods we grew up together in Tanzania. Her father, Juma, had worked for my family and had been like a second father to me.

Quickly the entire family gathered and we caught up on 13 years of family news. Several hours later we were all sitting down to a meal of ugali (a paste made of maize meal and water) and mchicha (Tanzanian greens), as well as a few celebratory sodas bought at a nearby kiosk. We sat in the dirt yard, seated on wooden stools and ate from a communal dish.

“Hinke, my sister, why aren’t you eating?” asked Juma’s son Athumani in Swahili, after I had eaten a few handfuls of food.

I grinned at him and answered, “I am eating, but I’m also listening,” It was the same response I had given to the same question when I was a child. (more…)