Missio Dei Reboot

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : December 4, 2006

Last night, Missio Dei entered into a time of transition. After 2 years of experimenting and struggling, we?ve come to a number of conclusions about what we believe God wants for us and the Cedar/Riverside (West Bank) neighborhood. We?ve learned a lot in the past 2 years and right now we really think that we need to “reboot.” Basically, we are going to “submerge” Missio Dei in December in the killing waters of baptism and then re-emerge after a time of prayer and processing.
We will reboot with a freshly articulated mission, a rule of faith, a new affiliation with the Mennonite Church USA (hopefully), and a ministry house in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood. We feel that we need a sufficient enough break with the past to put some old mistakes and frustrations to rest, as well as to give people time to carefully process what their involvement will be with Missio Dei. We also feel like we?re spinning our wheels until we have a ministry center in the Cedar/Riverside neighborhood.

We’ve entered into this time with much prayer and, surprisingly, much excitement. Several of our members are moving onto the West Bank next month. Amy and I are putting our house up for sale in February and hope to find a new place to live on the West Bank by March. Personally, I’ll use this down-time to be refreshed, to put more time into planning for our future partnership with InterVarsity, and to travel a bit as I research my book.

If you’re interested, here’s the time-line for our reboot process:

Last night was our last regular gathering as the old Missio Dei (submersion). For the rest of this month, we won?t have any regular gatherings. I realize that this is an artificial distinction–between official gatherings and just hanging out. Nevertheless, there is a difference between doing something intentionally and doing it casually, between doing something as a group of all of us gathered around the same vision and activities instead of simply gathering as friends.

January 14: A time of prayer, processing, and discernment. We will gather to prayerfully process the past as we let God wash away our past.

Sometime in the last half of January, I will send out our “rule of faith.” I will also relaunch Missio Dei’s website. I’ve successfully detoxified from seminary and feel like I can once again talk like a regular human being. I think a lot of the words we’ve used to describe Missio Dei have been too complicated and lofty. I am going to re-write stuff and emphasize the simple ideas that make Missio Dei so special.

February 11: A time of prayer, processing, and discernment. We will each spend time discerning how we should be involved in Missio Dei in the future and how God wants us to refocus and re-center our lives around the West Bank.

March 4: A time of dedication to Missio Dei?s new journey. We will spend this week committing ourselves to God and his mission on the West Bank.

March 11: A time of prayer and discernment as we seek to move forward.

March 18: A time of prayer and discernment as we seek to move forward.

March 25: A time of prayer and discernment as we seek to move forward.

April 1: A time of prayer and discernment as we seek to move forward.

April 8 (Easter): Rebirth Sunday. We will re-emerge as a renewed community on Easter Sunday. With a new sense of calling and commitment, we will begin a new season of life together. By this point, we?ll hopefully have a new home on the West Bank, a new affiliation with the Mennonite Church USA, and will have begun engaging in radical hospitality and service. This will be our sort of official kick-off.

Mark Van Steenwyk is the editor of He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He and his wife Amy have been married since 1997. They are expecting their first child in April.

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