Pastor and international evangelism leader to deliver message on ‘Living’ at 2017 national gathering
by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE – The Rev. Juan J. Sarmiento, associate director for mission with The Outreach Foundation, will preach opening worship and give the Tuesday morning plenary address at “Living, Dying, Rising,” the 2017 national gathering for 1001 New Worshiping Communities.
“Living, Dying, Rising,” which takes its scriptural basis from John 20:19–23, will be held August 7–10 at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The 2017 national gathering will outline the story of the life of Christ and the life of the church.
A native of Venezuela, Sarmiento served as organizing pastor for Portuguese and Spanish congregations and as the evangelism catalyst for the Presbyterian Mission Agency before assuming his current position at The Outreach Foundation. He has resourced movements for the development of new congregations in more than 27 countries on three continents and is the co-author of “The Intercultural Journey: Becoming an Inclusive Church.”
Sarmiento recently shared with the Presbyterian News Service his excitement about being a part of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative and its 2017 national gathering.
PNS: What will you preach, teach, or present at the “Living, Dying, Rising” conference?
JS: I will be preaching about “Living” during the opening worship gathering on Monday as well as our Tuesday morning time. In addition, I am going to facilitate a workshop titled “Leadership for Bi-lingual and Bi-cultural Communities.”
PNS: Why are the theme and the content of this national gathering important for today’s church?
JS: The theme of “Living, Dying, Rising” centers us around core dynamics of following Christ, our own vulnerabilities and the much-needed reliance in Spirit’s enlivening action. Not only does it evoke crucial elements of our experience but invites exploration on becoming partakers of God’s unfolding ministry in our changing communities.
PNS: What in your own personal, professional, and/or pastoral experience drew you to the leadership of this conference?
JS: I have been directly involved in the formation of three new congregations and continue to resource many in diverse and challenging settings. I guess I am among the ones that can say that I have and continue to make plenty of mistakes in this area but feel fortunate to remain involved with groups that are multiplying beyond established church paradigms.
PNS: What features are unique to this conference?
JS: Things like idealism and strategies can be learned at a distance but will only take you so far in developing new worshipping communities. On the other hand, practices such as discerning experimentation and involving others in what God is doing are better “caught” through intentional interaction with fellow practitioners. This gathering is carefully designed with that specific end in mind.
PNS: What’s one thing you want each person who attends this conference to come away with, to share, or to implement in his or her daily life?
JS: People will come back reinvigorated with greater focus and creativity for the gathering and sending of new disciples in their spheres of influence.
PNS: Is there anything you’d like to add?
JS: The 1001 New Worshipping Communities movement is one of the most exciting things happening in our PC(USA). Come on over and find out why and how you can strengthen your participation in it!
For complete information and to register online, visit the national gathering website.
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