Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series

AVDS 2018 - Before the unthinkable happens: Confronting our role in injustice

Highlight/recap and session videos

February 23 to 25, 2018

Before the unthinkable happens: Confronting our role in injustice

Becoming an effective change agent is why you should attend AVDS 2018. You might ask, what can one person do to stand against “the troubles of this world”? The challenges are monumental and endless: economic injustice, gender inequity and racism. AVDS will explore this question and work towards answers. You can find or create a small group that shares your passion and begin learning strategies for fighting injustice with others in your congregation and community.

Conference partners, Dr. Drew G.I. Hart and Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) faculty, will set the stage for our work together. Then, in small, powerful Change Agent groups, participants can engage each other to develop meaningful responses and strategies for change. Saturday Change Agent groups will examine the competencies and listen to the words of Jesus led by Wichita area pastors Kevass Harding and Lois Harder, Hesston Bible professor Michele Hershberger and Dr. Hart.

Conference attendees are encouraged to read the following books: Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Dr. Drew G.I. Hart, and The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr, The KLC handout Adaptive Work by Ron A. Heifetz, is strongly suggested reading to give a common level of understanding for event attendees.

We ask participants to offer prayers, fast if appropriate, and intercede on behalf of the conference. May our work be one that will honor each other, and honor Christ as Change Agents to bring justice for all of God’s children.

AVDS is pleased to partner with:

  • Kansas Leadership Center, Wichita, Kan., whose innovative approach to civic engagement will help to develop skills to clarify our purposes regarding these issues, begin outcome plans and impact our culture.
  • Teacher, author and activist Dr. Drew G.I. Hart from Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), will strengthen our understanding of a biblical theology of justice around a broad range of cultural inequity in order to become faithful disciples and ethical believers.
Drew G.I. Hart photo, Kansas Leadership Center logoDr. Drew G.I. Hart is an assistant professor in theology at Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), author of Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, and activist with ten years of pastoral experience. Hart spent most of his young adult years leading and mentoring black and brown youth as a pastor, working for an inner city after-school program, and working closely with Philadelphia-based nonprofits. He remains passionate about partnering with community groups and churches to facilitate anti-racism training and seminars, as well as delivering lectures, talks, and sermons on Christian discipleship, western Christendom, Christian history, liberation and oppression, peacemaking and nonviolent resistance, urban ministry, social media and more. Beyond serving in the Church and the academy, Hart is a board member for both Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust and G.O.G.F. Ministries, each serving the greater Philadelphia area. He is a participant in Kingdom Builders, a cross-denominational urban Anabaptist gathering of leaders in Philadelphia that encourage and co-labor with one another in seeking shalom for their city. Hart has a Christian Century hosted blog entitled “Taking Jesus Seriously,” while also writing occasionally for The Mennonite.

The Kansas Leadership Center (KLC), Wichita, is a non-profit organization committed to fostering leadership for stronger, healthier and more prosperous Kansas communities. KLC is known for its innovative approach to civic engagement through four leadership competencies.

Lodging options

Conference Resources

Promo video


all events at Hesston Mennonite Church unless otherwise noted

Friday, Feb. 23

5 to 6:30 p.m. – Registration
7 p.m. – Welcome, introductions and announcements, gathering music
7:15 to 8:45 p.m. – Keynote address: “Stayed on Freedom: A Theology for Confronting Systemic Injustice as Beloved Community”
Dr. Drew G. I. Hart and KLC faculty, question/answer time. Open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken to help cover conference expenses for those attending this session only.

Saturday, Feb. 24

Breakfast on your own
8:15 to 10 a.m. – Morning worship music
– Change Agent Session One: KLC Competency Diagnose Situation, the Jesus homily and Change Agent group process
10 to 10:30 a.m. – Sponsors Break
10:30 to Noon – Change Agent Session Two: KLC Competency Manage Self, the Jesus homily and Change Agent group process
Noon to 1 p.m. – Lunch (served noon to 12:30 p.m. in Bontrager Student Center Dining Hall)
1:30 to 3 p.m. – Change Agent Session Three: KLC Competency Energize Others, the Jesus homily and Change Agent group process
3 to 3:30 p.m. – Sponsors Break
3:30 to 5 p.m. – Change Agent Session Four: KLC Competency Intervene Skillfully, the Jesus homily and Change Agent group process
5:30 to 6 p.m. – Evening bbq meal by Knackies of Inman, Kan., Community Center, Hesston Mennonite Church
6 to 7 p.m. – free time
Relax/visit on campus and/or see Hesston’s student-built prayer labyrinth for prayerful walking reflection (behind Keim Center)
Discovery: A Comic Lament7 p.m. – Discovery: A Comic Lament
Starring Ted Swartz and Michelle Milne, Discovery invites audiences to learn about the Doctrine of Discovery, the legal framework that justifies theft of land and oppression of indigenous peoples. Using humor and drama, the play helps us lament its ongoing legacy and connects us with indigenous-led justice efforts. The play has been affirmed by both settler and indigenous people. Written by Alison Brookins, directed by Phil Weaver-Stoesz and produced by Ted & Co. Created in partnership with the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition. The public is invited to join conference participants to attend this special event. Purchase tickets at the Hesston College Bookstore in advance or at the door for $12 per adult. Youth of all ages are free!

Sunday, Feb. 25

9 to 10 a.m. – Sunday School – Q&A event wrap-up time with keynote presenters
10:30 a.m. – Worship service at Hesston Mennonite Church
Dr. Drew G. I. Hart, “Where Do We Go From Here?” and a worship team of Hesston College students and HMC members Open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken to help cover conference expenses for those attending this service only.


AVDS 2018 sponsors
AVDS 2018 sponsors