Outreach Committee 2017: Strategies and Tactics

By Outreach Committee

FMCSF CORE VALUES and PRACTICES in italics. Can be found on our website here.

2017 OUTREACH COMMITTEE STRATEGIES & TACTICS found below each of the core values and practices.

First Mennonite Church of San Francisco strongly identifies with its rich Anabaptist heritage, believing that we are here to help bring about the realm of God that Jesus proclaimed in his ministry on earth. We live this out through these core values and practices: 

What animates us… 

We believe that community, discipleship, peace, justice, and reconciliation are fundamental values that call us to service every day of our lives. We actively seek practices of social engagement that help bring about God’s realm. 

  • Be Visible. As Mennonites, we are often torn between the desire to “let our light shine” and our tradition as “the quiet in the land.” At this time, we feel called to find ways to share our gifts collectively beyond our community.
    • Art build/protest art
    • FMCSF Non-violent direct action affinity group
    • Public theology (developing a strategy for sharing sermon/discipleship group resources/other learnings. On the blog? Creating a zine?)
    • Dismantling Doctrine of Discovery
    • Advocacy Calls and Letters

We seek spiritual practices that draw us closer to the Divine and to each other. At times we draw inspiration from traditions other than our own. We especially value the ways in which music and creativity in worship open up the mystery of the Divine. 

  • Be in Prayer. We will make holy listening a central part of our decision-making process around social action. When we decide to act, we will ground ourselves in singing and in prayer. We will deepen our personal and corporate contemplative practices as bread for the journey.
    • Contemplative scripture reading and prayer at each Outreach mtg
    • Share our gifts of singing by collecting, learning, and teaching songs and chants for social actions (create simple songbook as a resource to share)
    • Sermon series on prayer
    • Seek opportunities to pray with people of other faith traditions and learn about their spiritual practices 

How we relate to others… 

We value dialogue more than dogma. We encourage dialogue with those of other Christian traditions as well as other faiths. Further, we seek a dialogue with our own Anabaptist heritage, with the larger Mennonite church and with scripture itself, recognizing that such interchanges enrich our individual and communal understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus in a dynamic and changing world. 

  • Practice Peace. As we live into our call to be visible, we will love and honor our brothers and sisters on the road, both Mennonites and Christians as well as other people of faith and people of no faith.
    • Learning from a Jewish lens on liturgy
    • Seeking spaces for learning and connection with communities of other faith traditions 
    • Conversation about our public theology with those who are more conservative than us
    • Supporting bystander intervention with Congregation Sha’ar Zahav
    • Commitment to undoing Christian hegemony

We practice our Anabaptist faith with humility. We recognize that ours is not the only path to God or ultimate truth. At the same time we identify as Mennonite and Christians called to our own faith, practice, and service. 

  • 2017: Serve in Community. We feel called to a posture of service in social action. We will act out of relationship and seek out relationships of accountability, rather than acting in isolation.
    • FMCSF & CSZ Joint statement/organizing
    • Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference relationship-building
    • Mission neighborhood organizing (Faith in Action, Mission Nightwalks)
    • Building relationships with Muslims in Bay Area
    • Organize ourselves to go to events/actions together 

How we live together… 

We are a welcoming community to all who wish to join us. We seek to follow Jesus’ example by welcoming all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, economic or social circumstances, racial or ethnic background, marital status, physical ability or age. In addition, we welcome people regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey, including those who may not identify as Christian.

  • Honoring scent policy 
  • Examining structural sin, oppression

True to our Anabaptist heritage, we believe in non-hierarchical, shared models of leadership. We therefore are committed to training members of our community in the arts of worship, social engagement, and leadership in the world and in the church. We especially value our strength in cultivating young adult leaders and teaching our children. 

  • We will commission and support our clergy in organizing efforts and we will challenge organizing strategies that rely primarily on the moral authority of clergy. We refuse to put clergy on pedestals. 

We value honesty, authenticity and caring for each other. We recognize that the community is strengthened when members share their truths, passions, doubts, fears and failures – with vulnerability and without fear of judgment. We also seek to care for each other in concrete ways, through offerings of emotional, spiritual and financial mutual aid.

  • Experiment. We recognize our own weakness, and recognize that we will “get it wrong.” But we also believe that Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness. We commit to take risks, ask for forgiveness, and constantly seek feedback.
    • Bi-annual survey/adult ed to get feedback on Outreach strategy
    • Add social action activities to gifts discernment cards

Tactics added by Outreach Committee in 2017