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Vocational choices rooted in church community

   
 


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Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia joint release
January 20, 2012
-Steve ShenK

WATERLOO, Ont. and HARRISONBURG, Va. — For years, Gerald Mast, a professor at Bluffton University, has been teaching that a Christian’s life decisions should be made in consultation with other members in the church.

You don’t go it alone, he says, when “choosing a college major, finding that first job, facing a mid-life crisis, or heading into retirement.”

Mast began sharing his thoughts and then book manuscript pages with his students, inviting responses from them. Eventually it was accepted by Herald Press and released in early January.

The book is titled Go to Church, Change the World: Christian Community as Calling. Each chapter ends with discussion questions for Sunday school classes, small groups, university classrooms, and other settings.

In a time when many question the relevance of the church to their spiritual journeys, this book asserts that “going to church”—not just personal virtue or ethics—is at the heart of Christian vocation.

Drawing on Anabaptist life and conviction, Mast presents Christ’s call to all believers to be the church, whether gathered for worship or scattered for service. By exploring such practices as baptism, communion, singing, and group discernment, he asks readers to consider how participation in the life of the church shapes their daily witness—how “going to church” transforms “going to work” in the world that God loves.

Mast, professor of communication at Bluffton, is also the author of Separation and the Sword in Anabaptist Persuasion (2006), and co-author, with J. Denny Weaver, of Defenseless Christianity (2009), both released by Cascadia Publishing House.

Born and raised in Holmes County, Ohio, Mast has deep family roots in the Amish and conservative Mennonite communities. He is currently a member of First Mennonite Church of Bluffton, Ohio.

Mast graduated from Malone College and received a PhD in rhetoric and communication at the University of Pittsburgh.

Among his extra-curricular activities, he serves as vice-chair of The Mennonite magazine board and edits Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History.

“I love this book!” wrote John Stahl-Wert in the foreword. “To the modern and post-modern mind alike, Mast’s beautiful treatise is close to nonsensical, and so desperately needed,” he said. “Going to church matters, he shows us, both to the working out of our salvation and to the transformation of the world.”

Stahl-Wert, an author himself, serves as president of Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation.

Go to Church, Change the World is priced at $16.00 CAD. and is available at www.MennoMedia.org/GoToChurch or by calling 800-631-6535.

Herald Press is the book imprint of MennoMedia, a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.