Contemplative Ministry Quest of the Mennonite Brethren

As the Mennonite Brethren seminary continues to train Mennonite youth through their Ministry Quest program, some very important questions need to be asked, but no one dares to be so bold. Such as:
Are students learning about God through His Word?
Are they learning a correct estimation of how God sees them?
Are they being mentored by adults who know God and believe the Bible?
This is from a student’s pen

“I felt like God was telling me to love who he shaped me to be…
I should love myself and think about ways to love others and myself…
God created me to love the hurting…and to LOVE the person God shaped me to be.”

God certainly loves us, but He created us for His glory and pleasure, not to love ourselves. We already love ourselves too much! Jesus said: ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ (Luke 10:27)

This student also reflects on an idea gleaned from Summoned to Lead by Leonard Sweet, that “a leader must listen to the people they are leading and … remember, that their opinions really matter and… to listen to those ideas.”

As Ministry Quest students learn from Leonard Sweet to listen to people’s ideas, are they also taught to remember what the Bible says? “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

Something else that really stood out to this student was “through Career Direct and the Spiritual Gifts inventory I realized that I am a caring listening person – I like helping others.” This new perspective on ministry helped this student learn – “we can do ministry,” “what I want to do with my life” and the “ways I can put ministry into it,” and the importance of getting affirmation from others.

[This is not a personal critique on this student, but a sincere question to the MB leaders and parents as to whether or not they believe this is a biblical view of ministry that is being taught at Ministry Quest.]

Another student’s reflections are as follows…

“If I can truly grasp that God loves me and come to terms with myself, then I will be able to serve others… when I’m faced with a decision, I can ask myself whether or not my mission statement will be kept or not.”

This Ministry Quest student was also helped through the “Spiritual Gifts personality type or passion or gift … the sessions definitely helped to create a sense of self esteem about my [personal] gifts and abilities…” The student learned that “if you know who you are and whose you are, what you do flows naturally,” “…I discovered a bit more of my passion for getting to know people and their worldviews.

From this glimpse, does it look like these students are learning about biblical ministry? (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) Are they being taught to come before God and serve Him on His terms, or on their terms, and with their abilities? Are they being taught that God doesn’t use His servants because of their abilities, but through their weaknesses? Since ministry means serving (being a servant of Jesus first and others second), should those in ministry to the Lord be learning to know and talk about themselves, or about Jesus? Why is it that students who have gone through the MB Ministry Quest are talking about themselves? Is it possible that they have discovered a new image and understanding of God – the contemplative, inward way? Contrary to what Jesus said (that He is the only way, and to learn of Him), are these students being pointed to the pathway of the gospel of ‘knowing your true self’? Are they learning the way of the cross – dying to self? Are they learning about who God says they are in the Bible? Or are they taking the Meyers Brigg’s personality test (based on Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers typological approach to personality) to learn who they are according to man’s ideas?

These students may have discovered a new perspective of God – but was it by studying His Word, or through contemplative spiritual direction, methodology, exercises, and the ideas of man? If this is the case, it is not through any fault of their own that they are being led captive by the opinions, philosophies and traditions of men (Colossians 2:8). They have been sent to Ministry Quest by their churches and parents who have paid for them to learn about themselves (the servants) instead of the One whom they serve, through unbiblical Jungian philosophy of self knowledge and by studying the following books recommended by Ministry Quest for highschool students…

Series of three books
(1)Redefining Life: My Purpose
(2) Redefining Life: My Identity
(3) Redefining Life: My Relationships
by Margaret Feinberg

Soul Tending, by Kenda Creasy Dean and Foster (
(this book introduces the development of contemplative spiritual practices to get close to God – also explores soul friends, mentors and spiritual companions)

Learn to Dance the Soul Salsa by Leonard Sweet (read Leonard Sweet quotes here)

Soul Feast by Marjorie J. Thompson
(see warning here)

In addition, some of the Ministry Quest mentoring resources for those who guide these students include practicing the spiritual excercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits:

Guided Ignatian Reflection

Practicing Ignatian Examen

Lectio divina

The Ministry Quest selection on Lectio Divina is from here, and was written by present-day monk Fr. Luke Dysinger, O.S.B. from SAINT ANDREW’S ABBEY, Valyermo, a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery. It instructs individuals to:

“PLACE YOURSELF in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians focus for a few moments on their breathing; other have a beloved “prayer word” or “prayer phrase” they gently recite in order to become interiorly silent. For some the practice known as “centering prayer” makes a good, brief introduction to lectio divina.”

[Note: This “prayer word” is more commonly known as a mantra – accompanied by breathing relaxation exercises, it ushers the participant to reach the silence, a practice which is not taught in the Bible. In fact, it is the opposite of biblical prayer. Are Ministry Quest students learning that they can come boldly before the throne through the blood of Jesus, or through practicing breathing, prayer exercises and mantras?]

The recommended reading list for the Ministry Quest mentors who train the MQ students also includes books by contemplatives or those who condone contemplative prayer:

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas

In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen

We are told that the cost per student for participation in Ministry Quest is $125 per stage (there are two stages) and $300 per student per stage for their church. MQ is open to high school students (ages 16-18) who are curious about ministry and show leadership potential.

Is Ministry Quest about biblical ministry or about Roman Catholic spiritual formation and the typical Jungian self absorbed ‘me, myself and I‘ psychology that is so popular today?

Paul said that the perilous last days would be characterized by this trend to love self rather than God. Writing to Timothy, he stated:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.


And shouldn’t the MB leaders have a disclaimer on the Ministry Quest website about directing teenagers to follow the writings of men like Leonard Sweet at the risk of their own soul? Sweet expressed his personal gratitude in his book Quantum Spirituality to channeler and veteran New Age leader, David Spangler (see Source) who says that Christ is the same force as Lucifer who brings us wholeness and stands at the door and knocks (see here). Seriously; churches, parents, why are you allowing yourselves to be conned into paying money for your KIDS to drink spiritual cyanide? They are your dependents. What could you possibly be thinking?


Book Alert: Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson (keep in mind the fact that this book is promoted by the MB Conference as recommended reading for 16-18 year olds)

Recommended Menno Reading (regarding Kenda Creasy Dean and Leonard Sweet books promoted by the MB Conference as recommended reading for 16-18 year olds)

One Year Later – Nothing has Changed (nothing new, warnings unheeded, still diving into apostasy)

Leonard Sweet Quotes

Leonard Sweet and His Quantum Spirituality – Part 1

Getting in S.H.A.P.E. for C.H.U.R.C.H.


MB Conference Promoting Next Level – Jesuit Training

Mennonites and St. Ignatius

What is Lectio Divina?

What is Centering Prayer?

Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Why It is a Dangerous Practice


A polite question for Mennonites who are too polite to say anything about the false teaching in their denomination

Oh Mennonite Brethren:
As the false teachings of Roman Catholic contemplative spirituality and unbiblical mysticism are being taught in your seminaries, at your conferences and retreats, from your pulpits, through your church plants, in your magazine articles, by your pastors, to your men, women and youth – why are you too passively polite to say anything?

Was Menno Simons polite to false teachers?

Read THIS and decide.

Was Jesus polite to false teachers?

Watch this and decide:

If Menno Simons (whose name you use to label yourselves) was not polite to false teachers, and if Jesus was not polite to false teachers, then why are you so polite to the false teachers and wolves in your midst?

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1

Pope Benedict, the Mennonites and the Jesuits

Pope Benedict “wants to heal East and West” and reconcile with the Eastern Orthodox Church. Dialogue is ongoing with Lutherans, Pentecostals and Mennonites.

As for the pope’s view of Jesuits…the Society of Jesus is called to continue to work “at the frontiers” and yet continue to work in education…Pope Benedict may appreciate the ability of a “loyal opposition” to strengthen the church and “push the envelope.”

-SOURCE: Traditionalism not the same as tradition

Might this explain the exponential explosion of the teachings of Roman Catholic and Jesuit spirituality within the Western church denominations including the Mennonites?

MB Conference Promoting Next Level – Jesuit Training

Why is the Mennonite Brethren Conference directing people to Jesuit training? Could it actually be possible that an organization of this size has simply not done their homework? On their Leadership Development page, under Partners in Leadership Training is this recommended resource:

Partners in Leadership Training
• NextLEVEL Leadership

Next Level Leadership is a Christian leadership equipping organization that offers something called Leader Mentoring, which is described as follows:

Following Module 1, we offer a kick-start mentoring call where a NextLEVEL trained mentor who will call you to help you review your material and help you decide what you are needing in a mentor.
In addition, we have Christian men and women in our network qualified in the areas of Coaching and Spiritual Formation who offer their services to NextLEVEL Leadership alumni. Click on the links below to check out an individual’s services, location and contact information.
The Tyndale link will take you to a list of Spiritual Directors who have been trained and certified by the Tyndale Association of Spiritual Directors.

Listed below this are Next Level Leadership’s recommended mentors, coaches and spiritual directors.

The first one is April Burrows — Qualified as Spiritual Director and Coach by Mt. Carmel Spirituality Centre and the Haden Institute (a training institute based on Jungian psychology and spirituality where faculty includes Lauren Artress of Grace Cathedral labyrinth fame and its former Dean, Episcopal priest and author Alan Jones who believes the Cross of Christ is a vile doctrine). Here is what April Burrows’ Spiritual Direction is about:

Spiritual Direction

What is Spiritual Direction and how does it work?

Since the times of early Christianity, Spiritual Direction has been a profound resource to foster an increased consciousness and awareness of God within ourselves and our world. It is the practice of Spiritual Companionship once known in Ireland as Soul Friendship (Anamcara).
The role of a Spiritual Director is to listen with reverence to the Spirit working in your life. Through the sharing of your prayer, spiritual practices and life with God, your ‘Companion’ reflects with affirmation, support and challenge to aid you to discern what invitation is being extended for the purpose of your self discovery and spiritual growth. (…)

My favorite descriptions of Spiritual Direction are found at…


Simple prayer suggestions every day:
John Velti’s Website: an incredible source of knowledge and tools about Ignatius Spirituality –
Spiritual Directors International where I hold a membership –
Jesuit Retreat Centre in Guelph Ontario –
Guelph Ecumenical Guild of Ingnatian Spiritual Direction – – This group also has a list of local Spiritual Directors in Guelph who are trained in Ignatian Spirituality as well as host yearly for 26 years “The Week of Guided Prayer” which was my first experience with a Spiritual Director and Ingatian Prayer.

Other recommended coaches and spiritual directors at Next Level Leadership include:

Marion Howell — Adler trained executive coach, and certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Emotional Intelligence facilitator (

Sandra Ricketts — Qualified as a Spiritual Director by The Ignatian Centre of Spirituality, Montreal

Tyndale Spiritual Directors (website link)

[Note: Tyndale Seminary has strayed far from their roots as revealed by their Spiritual Formation Reading Room
which is filled with contemplative spirituality and mysticism.]

Ironically, these recommendations at NextLEVEL Leadership come with the following disclaimer regarding what they have identified and promoted as “excellent resources.”

While we endeavour to identify excellent resources, NextLEVEL Leadership assumes no responsibility for the information provided, and we provide no warranty of any kind with regard to such information or resources. Given that we have no control over the content or interpretation of messages, advice, counselling, information or publications supplied by third party resources, we cannot and will not be held liable in any way for connecting with any of the resources listed on this website. We will also not be held liable for the content or use of any advice, information, recommendations or counselling provided by any such third parties who are accessed by users of this website.

The MB Conference may or may not have a similar disclaimer about directing their leaders to NextLEVEL Leadership and into the arms of spiritual directors trained in Ignatian and Jungian Spirituality and contemplative spiritual formation. What would be far better than such a disclaimer would be simply to not even promote Next Level Leadership on their MB Conference Leadership Development web page in the first place. If they were to make such a bold decision, they might also have to turn on the spot light and do some housecleaning in a few other dark contemplative corners, and that might be embarrassing. This is why the obvious problem with this recommendation, if brought to their attention, will either be ignored, swept under the rug, or quietly removed.

Once again, where oh where are the watchmen?


Mennonites and St. Ignatius

About those Spiritual Exercises


SPECIAL REPORT: The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church

MB leaders discuss the Atonement

BCMB hosts regional discussion on atonement
November 12, 2010

Winnipeg, Man.—On Nov. 3, 2010, more than 200 credentialed pastors, church leaders and interested parties gathered in person and online at Gracepoint Community Church in Surrey, B.C. for a one-day event called, “Deep Spirited Friends Study – The Cross of Christ – a regional theological discussion on Atonement,” sponsored by the B.C. Conference of MB Churches (BCMB).

The event provided an avenue of teaching and dialogue in response to the interests and concerns that surfaced at the B.C. provincial convention held April 30th in Richmond.

“Everyone agrees that the cross of Christ is centrally important to our faith and mission,” says Steve Berg, BCMB conference minister. “Bringing BCMB leaders together in a study-day format gave us some great gains in theological clarity and inspiration for preaching, teaching, and ministry. I would like to see us have regular theological study days in the future.”

More here:


Which does God accept – Apology/lite or Repentance/contrite?

Discussing Mark Baker’s Apology

Living More with Less (and going green)

On page 25 of the November 2010 MB Herald (Volume 49 No. 11) is a promotional ad of the 30th anniversary edition of an old book by a Mennonite author called Living More with Less. What is interesting is that the emergent radicals and environmentalists have also noticed it.

Since the MB Herald ad only highlights (part of) Shane Claiborne’s endorsement of Living More with Less, here are the rest of them, courtesy of Herald Press:

“This book was decades ahead of its time, and is just as relevant today as it was thirty years ago. With fresh voices and new ideas alongside the gems it is known for, Living More with Less is all about preserving artful living, celebrating the age-old wisdom of simplicity, and protecting skills that are in danger of extinction. It is like a cookbook for life.”
—Shane Claiborne, author of The Irresistible Revolution, speaker, and activist

“This message is even more important than it was thirty years ago, because we’re closer to the abyss we’ve dug with our rampaging economies. Herein lies sound advice for living sensibly—and for freeing up the energy you need to join with your neighbors in the drive for a fair and durable earth.”
—Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“This timely revised and updated edition is exceptionally wise, urgently necessary for the sake of saving our planet, pertinently and personally practical, always adaptable to train us for the next step, gently escorting us to actions for the sake of our sanity, and accessibly appropriate for all! Who could not but rave about this book!”
Marva Dawn, author of Unfettered Hope; Being Well When We’re Ill; and Keeping the Sabbath Wholly

“Living More with Less is about a way of living rooted in the Christian faith. It’s about following Jesus who cared for the poor. It tells the stories of those who live with less—a countercultural move in a society of excess. Our planet is groaning and we desperately need the kind of thoughtful essays and tips in this book to show us the way forward.”
Ron Sider, founder and president of Evangelicals for Social Action

“In recent years global interconnectedness has made us more aware of worldwide injustices; consumer culture, environmental changes, and energy crises have only heightened our sense that things are not as they should be. The collective wisdom of Living More with Less is a tremendous gift to us in that it articulates a holistic vision for a better way as well as practical insights for making that life a reality.”
—Albert Y. Hsu, author of The Suburban Christian

“As someone who wants to pattern my life after the person of Jesus in very practical and contemporary ways, Living More with Less is a volume to underline and dog-ear and highlight and bookmark. I highly recommend it for those who aspire to live well.”
—Margot Starbuck, author of The Girl in the Orange Dress and Unsqueezed

“What I love most about this anniversary edition is the opportunity to hear a chorus of diverse but harmonious voices, singing together for the first time in one volume. Living More with Less . . . is a book filled with hope and encouragement.”
—Nancy Sleeth, co-director of Blessed Earth and author of Go Green, Save Green: A Simple Guide to Saving Time, Money and God’s Green Earth and The Year of Living Without: One Woman’s Quest to Regain Peace and Quiet.

Also not mentioned in the MB Herald ad promotion is the long Afterword in the book that is written by emerging church leader Brian McLaren. This is not the first time he has associated himself with the Mennonites. In the past, he has spoken to various groups at Mennonite universities and gatherings, and they in return have promoted his false teachings (such as the promotion of his book in the MB Herald here).

Others who like the message in Living More with Less of living more environmentally correct and less biblically correct include Mennonite/Benedictine oblate Paul Boers and some green Mennonites:

Congregational Score Sheet: The Mennonite Creation Care Network offers a helpful score sheet for congregations interested in measuring their environmental stewardship.

Creation Care: Mennonite Central Committee Ontario’s Creation Care website offers resources for congregations seeking to address climate change and to stand in solidarity with those most affected by it.

Mennonite Initiative for Solar Energy (MISE): MISE, a program of Mennonite Central Committee Ontario, works to: raise energy consumption questions; connect constituents with resources on solar energy; mobilize churches to adopt solar energy; and foster relationships to share ideas on caring for creation.

One Hundred Shades of Green: The Mennonite Creation Care Network is inviting congregations to name a creation care liaison. Become one of 100 congregations actively caring for creation.

It looks like these people and their causes are all, more or less, on the same page as the new kind of Christians and their green social gospel – but theirs is an extra page that has been added to the Bible.


The Church of Climate Change:
Here Comes The Green Shepherd

By Jan Markell

The religious aspect of the Environmental movement

Shane Claiborne’s Common Prayer

Shane Claiborne, the keynote speaker for the 2011 National Youth Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches, is celebrating his latest published work – a book called Common Prayer – A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.

RSVP for a Common Prayer Release Party Near You!

The description of his new book says:

Product Description
Common Prayer helps today’s diverse church pray together across traditions and denominations. With an ear to the particulars of how various liturgical traditions pray, and using an advisory team of liturgy experts, the authors have created a tapestry of prayer that celebrates the best of each tradition. The book also includes a unique songbook composed of music and classic lyrics to over fifty songs from various traditions, including African spirituals, traditional hymns, Mennonite gathering songs, and Taize chants. Tools for prayer are scattered throughout to aid those who are unfamiliar with liturgy and to deepen the prayer life of those who are familiar with liturgical prayer. Ultimately, Common Prayer makes liturgy dance, taking the best of the old and bringing new life to it with a fresh fingerprint for the contemporary renewal of the church. Churches and individuals who desire a deeper prayer life and those familiar with Shane Claiborne and New Monasticism will enjoy the tools offered in this book as a fresh take on liturgy.

A reviewer at notes that the book tells us the following:

“Come Methodist, Quaker, Baptist, Anglican, non-Denominationalist, non-attending Believer, Catholic, Orthodox, Presbyterian, Lutheran, et. al., come and share together in the great underground flow of words that all of your fathers and mothers have offered up to God in Jesus throughout time. Sit with us on the porch of our believing. Listen and share, because we are all one family. Sure, there were times you did not get along, but sit, these times are not those. We need to rest and sit a spell and talk to our Father – together. We can still do that. Come. Sit. Pray with me. Let us see where we have been and take hope for the road ahead is long, and we have much to do together to bear His easy yoke of holding hands and loving. We have much to do to be made anew into His image and likeness. Come, sit, pray with me.”

At the Common Prayer website ( there is also a one year calendar to follow along with. Coming up on the Common Prayer calendar are highlighted days to commemorate the anniversaries of various mystics and political/radical activists from around the world, including the following (click on the links to find out who they are):

Dorothy Day
Nov 29, 2010
[Roman Catholic activist/anarchist who advocated distributism]

Thomas Merton
Dec. 10, 2010
[Trappist Monk and interspiritual visionary who embraced Eastern religions.]

Quaker Jubilee:
Jan 1, 2011
[Quakers helped to abolish slavery, core doctrine is the Inner Light]

Brother Lawrence (1611-1691)
Jan 11, 2011
[17th century Carmelite monk known for his practice of the presence of God which was akin to Zen or mindfulness meditation]

Gandhi’s Fast for Peace
Jan 12, 2011
[Remained a committed Hindu throughout his life – Source: BBC)]

Earth Day
Apr 22, 2011
[Radical anti-human philosophy that is all for Gaia]

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)
May 13, 2011
[Contemplative mystic who called God “Mother”]

United Nations
Jun 25, 2011
[One of the foremost world harbingers for the “New Spirituality” and the gathering “New World Order” based on ancient occult and freemasonic principles. – SOURCE]

Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)
Jul 31, 2011
[Founder of the Jesuits]

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
Sep 10, 2011
[Universalist who said “We never try to convert those who receive [our aid] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied.” – Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations, and Prayers, pp. 81-82]

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
Oct 15, 2011
[Spanish mystic]

These are only a few examples of simplicity, prayer, activism, and pacifist peace and justice movements chosen for the Common Prayer calendar because together they have all paved the way for Claiborne’s new monastic movement and the integration of (unequally yoked) spirituality and work. No wonder he wants everyone to have a party. The Common Prayer project is the ecumenical icing on the new missional cake of the radical social gospel party.

“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16

Additional information:

Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals


A Biblical View of Social Justice
by John Wheaton

Global Ecumenism:
The Highroad To Trampling Truth Underfoot

By Chris Lawson

The Emergent Social Gospel
CFR and the Social Gospel: Part 2

by Discernment Group

by Ken Silva