“The unity of the conference was more important than each position,” says Paul Dück, church leader of the Mennonite Brethren Conference of Brazil, Convencau das Igrejas Irmaos Menonitas (COBIM). “We agreed to create a path or a highway, not too narrow but also not too wide where both groups could live peacefully.”
During online Mennonite World Conference General Council resourcing sessions with former MWC general secretary Larry Miller, Dück shared how the Mennonite Brethren church in Brazil learned to be one.
Each 109 MWC member church has one to three representatives on the General Council, based on church size. Their meetings in Indonesia were cut short due to COVID-19 infections among participants. So, General Council delegates gathered on Zoom for equipping and sharing Dec. 1-2, 2022.
“Our consensus-based decision making is not practical with a large group on a medium such as Zoom,” says César García, MWC general secretary. “However, we can use Zoom to learn and pray together, to keep nurturing our worldwide communion.”
Larry Miller gave teaching sessions entitled MWC & Communion and MWC & Leadership. Both can be viewed on the MWC website.
To illustrate “receptive listening,” Dück told a story from his church’s experience. Some COBIM congregations were historically Anabaptist and predominantly Germanic. Others were Brazilian with strong influences from Pentecostalism. The sharp differences between the groups seemed to be headed toward a split.
However, representatives from both groups agreed to talk together. Over several days, they agreed to “recognize Christ in one another,” one of Miller’s points.
“We started with the definitions of what the Bible teaches about the topic,” says Dück. “Each group had the opportunity to share about their understanding and the practical living of the explained topics.”
They entered the process Miller called “learning receptively from each other.” As a result of the conversations, “those in the traditional group agreed to be more open to the moving of the Spirit while those in the charismatic group agreed that they could be more focused on the Word,” says Dück.
Unity within the church was maintained peacefully, with openness to continually revising understandings.
“It should be emphasized that God’s Word should be the reference of unity,” says Dück.
Miller says, “According to (the apostle Paul), God’s unity plan is immeasurably bigger than the plan we might have in mind.”
Mennonite World Conference is a communion of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service, and witness. USMB is a member conference of this global ministry.
I alway thank God and pray for the unity of the body christ… thank you so much for aplying win win result. And give and take!!! That is Godly wisdom.God bless you all !