Aaron Kauffman

Bridge Builders

January 11, 2023

What if the God of the universe did not wait for us to bridge the gap between us, whether that gap is mythical or existential, but instead, “gave up his divine privileges … and was born as a human being” (Phil. 2:7)? If that’s true—and I’m staking my life on the belief that it is—then we have a message that everyone deserves to hear. And they deserve to hear it in the cultural idiom that will make sense to them.

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WATCH: Merry Christmas From VMMissions

December 21, 2022

President Aaron Kauffman brings Christmas greetings and gives a few recent highlights from the ministries of VMMissions.

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Aaron Kauffman

Faithfulness + Patience = Fruitfulness

November 1, 2022

I confess I feel some discomfort with measuring “success” in missions. Depth of transformation is not an easy thing to quantify, nor do we often see immediate results. Perhaps the key to long-term fruitfulness in Christian mission is faithful witness combined with patient trust in the Lord of the harvest.

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Aaron Kauffman

Catching the Wave

July 28, 2022

Launching a campaign in the middle of a pandemic has been a venture of faith. Dreams were stirring in our hearts as we celebrated our centennial in 2019. We asked God, “Where are you leading us as we enter our second century of ministry?” The clear response was to continue sharing new life in Jesus Christ with all people, especially those who haven’t heard.

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Aaron Kauffman

The Gospel is for Everyone

May 12, 2022

We launched A Church of Many Cultures in 2021 with the goal of raising $3 million for three new areas of ministry: Business for Transformation, Global Church Planting, and a Mission Training Center. I am happy to share that as of this month, we have raised nearly $2.7 million. If you haven’t already, please consider how God is calling you to support this campaign.

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Aaron Kauffman

Putting on God’s Glasses

April 18, 2022

In leading a 103-year-old mission agency, I confess it can be hard to see where we’re headed sometimes. We do our best to craft careful plans, [but] if we’re not careful, we can end up discouraged and disillusioned. To see the present clearly and make sense of it, it helps me to put on the lenses of God’s future.

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Aaron Kauffman

Seeds are Bursting Forth with New Life

March 21, 2022

Patience is hard. We see a broken world in need of Christ and want change to happen right now. But seeds lie dormant for a long time before springing to life. Please join us in providing the support that will allow our ministries to bear lasting fruit for God’s kingdom.

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Aaron Kauffman

From the President: Gentle Boldness

February 28, 2022

“A key mentor of mine has been the Anabaptist missiologist, David W. Shenk,” Aaron Kauffman writes. “David and his wife Grace were missionaries in East Africa in the 1960s and ’70s before returning to Lancaster, Pa., where they helped to revitalize my home congregation. David encouraged me to explore my own call to mission as an adolescent. Even after I moved away, he made it a priority to meet with me for breakfast whenever I was back in town.”

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Aaron M. Kauffman

From the President: Patient Ferment

December 2, 2021

I celebrate the move in Christian missions toward indigenous leadership and simple approaches to discipleship that can easily multiply among new believers. It is a welcome change from models that foster unhealthy dependency on foreign workers. Yet I also have some caution, especially when the emphasis is on speed and numbers.

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Aaron M. Kauffman

Thank You for Helping Us Declare the Healing Power of Jesus

July 27, 2021

As we are seeking $100,000 to reach our Mission Fund goal for the fiscal year ending in August, I want to share two recent stories of the healing only Jesus can bring. Dramatic physical healing is not always our experience today, yet Scripture promises that the cross is God’s ultimate answer to the sickness of sin. Your generosity makes these stories possible.

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Aaron M. Kauffman

Stronger Together

June 29, 2021

Partnership is one of our deeply held values at Virginia Mennonite Missions. First, we partner with the church in mission. This year alone, we have joined hands with 92 churches as they added their people, prayers and funds to the task of making Christ known among the nations. We can do more together than we ever can on our own.

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Aaron M. Kauffman

The Costly Call of Christ

April 23, 2021

When we heed the Lord’s call, we never know where we’ll end up. There will be sacrifice and hardship. But there will also be unspeakable joy. Like countless generations of sojourners before us, may we have the courage to say yes to God’s call.

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Aaron Kauffman

Hope That Does Not Disappoint

March 5, 2021

Where does hope come from? From optimism about the future? From careful planning to manage the unknown? From confidence in human ingenuity, wealth or strength? These can be temptations for all of us. Yet Scripture tells us that God alone is the source of our hope.

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Share the Light of Jesus

December 7, 2020

As 2020 came to a close, we invited you to help us reach our goal of raising $100,000 by December 31. Thank you for helping us reach our goal! Gifts are still coming in; as of January 4, we raised just over $101,000.

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Jason Showalter

Shaken Beyond the Walls

November 2, 2020

We’re faced with opportunities for repentance, generosity and bold witness as ambassadors of God’s reconciliation through Christ. May we be shaken by that indwelling presence beyond our walls and to new places of repentance, healing and bold witness.

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Aaron Kauffman

Love Tears Down Walls

October 29, 2020

A vital truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ: love tears down walls. And it was love that led John Perkins to tear down the wall of a formerly segregated health clinic in Mendenhall, Mississippi. As Perkins puts it, “God’s love and justice come together in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and we can’t be about one and not the other. They’re inextricably connected.”

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Carol Tobin

The Children Who Ask, “Who Am I?”

July 17, 2020

Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are uniquely formed and called to serve. Having grown up in Thailand, our daughters are TCKs. Their faith has been tested by deep affinity with people whose view of the world is vastly different than theirs. Yet, they are convinced of the reality and relevance of Jesus, and they are well-positioned for witness in the intercultural settings that abound in our world today.

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Confessing Our Complicity and Committing to Change

June 8, 2020

At a recent prayer time, several staff members gave voice to our collective confession for complicity in systemic injustice and racism. We share this prayer with you as a statement of our ongoing need for God’s mercy and transformation. We also commit to learning from our sisters and brothers of color in their suffering and in their strength, and to taking steps toward undoing racism in our church and in our culture.

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Aaron Kauffman

The Power of the Cross

May 4, 2020

Jesus’ sacrificial death undoes the curse of sin and makes new life possible for those who trust in him and surrender their lives in service to his kingdom. Like a seed that dies to be reborn as a fruitful new plant, death is the path to life in God’s economy.

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Steve Leaman

VMMissions Mourns the Loss of Steve Leaman

April 6, 2020

With great sadness we share the news that our dear coworker and brother, Steve Leaman, passed away suddenly on April 5. Steve had served on staff since December 2015, most recently as Director of Advancement. He was known as a hard-working and caring colleague, a lifelong learner, a devoted family man, and a faithful follower of Jesus.

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Bold Humility: Mission in the Way of Jesus

February 27, 2020

Is mission a thing of the past? Contemporary attitudes toward mission are much different than the ones that gave rise to Virginia Mennonite Missions one hundred years ago. Today, the claim that Jesus is Lord offends our pluralistic sensibilities. But is sharing the gospel inherently oppressive? Not if we follow the example of our crucified Lord.

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College students at a prayer and worship service of Eastside College, a discipleship ministry of worker Rachel Yoder. Photo: Rachel Yoder

One Hundred Years of Sharing Jesus with Neighbors Near and Far

November 5, 2019

This year marks 100 years of Virginia Mennonite Missions helping the church share Jesus with neighbors near and far. How did it all get started? What has God done through our work? Where might God be leading in the future?

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The River and the Sea: Making Sense of the Story

November 2, 2019

For one hundred years, VMMissions has existed to help the church know itself as sent. It is when we look back that we are best able to see an unfolding storyline that can then help us to orient toward our future. What do we see when we look back?

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Aaron Kauffman

The school of obedience

May 3, 2019

Discipleship is about the most important kind of learning possible, learning to follow after Jesus. Yet too often, we see it as an add-on rather than an essential part of Christian faith. Perhaps if discipleship were only a matter of acquiring information, we would be less inclined to neglect it. But it’s more than that.

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Aaron Kauffman

Expect a harvest

February 28, 2019

Like the disciples, we can get so preoccupied with our own needs that we can’t see the bounty in God’s global harvest. What if we allowed our hunger to drive us into the grain fields of the world? Can we trust that Jesus is already there, beckoning us to reap with joy what others have sown?

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Lynn Suter

A culture of multiplication

November 5, 2018

If you were asked, “What are the irreducible minimums of the church?” what would you say? An assembly of some number? What number? A pattern of assembling? What’s the pattern and what mission and values would it reflect? Beyond discerning that biblically, and agreeing what church should be for a particular context, how would you multiply it?

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Results of fiscal year end campaign

September 10, 2018

We are seeing the fruit of changed lives and communities that God is producing through our ministries! Like an abundant harvest, a great deal of work lies behind these fruitful ministries. Thank you for making this possible.

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Carol Tobin

From anywhere to anyone

August 16, 2018

At first glance, the idea of all of us “going” sounds like a perfect recipe for chaos! But, somehow, this is what the Holy Spirit does when he gets a hold of us. Our hearts enlarge. Our vision expands. We go beyond our culturally comfortable borders.

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Aaron Kauffman

Work as witness

April 30, 2018

Too often we as Christians have adopted our culture’s divide between the spiritual and the secular. We designate what we do at church or in our personal devotional life as “spiritual,” and the rest of life as “secular.” Except for paid ministry, we rarely think of work as spiritual. The Bible, however, makes no such distinction between spiritual and secular.

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Aaron Kauffman

The best is yet to come

October 31, 2017

It’s easy to look at the present landscape of the church in North America and get discouraged. Nearly all denominations are in decline. Where are the streams that God is causing to spring up in what feels like a spiritual wasteland? I see at least three streams of renewal.

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Call to Prayer: Teaching children to pray

August 30, 2017

As believers, we are tasked with the job of bringing the little children to Jesus. One of the ways we do this is by encouraging and teaching children to pray. We can spend all the time in the world teaching children about God, but if we don’t teach them how to relate to God, we’re not doing any better than the disciples who tried to shoo the children away.

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Aaron Kauffman

Lifestyle evangelism

August 12, 2017

“People don’t go to church on Sundays to support their pastors in their ministry. The pastor goes to church on Sunday to support the people in their ministry. And their ministry, the ministry that really counts as mission, is outside the walls of the church, in the world, being salt and light in the marketplace.” […]

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End of fiscal year campaign

Goal exceeded!

August 7, 2017

Thank you for helping us extend the great chain of disciples who make disciples who make disciples. We slightly exceeded our fiscal-year-end goal of $110,000!

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Aaron Kauffman

The wisdom of teams

May 31, 2017

Have you ever tried playing baseball by yourself? Or singing four-part harmony alone? There are some things you simply can’t do without the help of others. And we believe mission is one of them. One of the guiding principles for our work at VMMissions is that team is our preferred mode of engaging in mission. […]

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Aaron Kauffman

Coworkers for the kingdom

March 8, 2017

Our culture idolizes heroes. Hollywood tells story after story with the message, we need heroes to solve the world’s problems. Right now my little boys are fixated on Superman, Spider-Man and Batman—a curious thing, since they’ve never seen them on the big screen. But somehow they’ve caught our culture’s love of heroes. Who doesn’t wish […]

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Aaron Kauffman

Setting sail with Jesus

December 1, 2016

We live in an age when it’s popular to be spiritual but not religious. Many view the church with indifference or even suspicion, though they may still admire Jesus. So we at VMMissions know we are going against the grain when we say church is the primary instrument for God’s mission. Why make that claim? […]

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Kingdom multiplication

April 29, 2016

In the world of Christian mission, the term multiplication is often associated with the numerical growth of the church. The basics of biology teach us that healthy organisms multiply. If the church is healthy, we should see an increase both in the number of believers and the number of believing communities. That’s a constant refrain […]

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All of life under the reign of Christ

January 8, 2016

If you want to get a sense for how the gospel touches all areas of life in just over 100 verses, read the book of James. Most likely penned by the brother of Jesus himself, James gives practical advice on what it means to live out God’s kingdom before a watching world. Here’s a sampling […]

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Mission begins with God

October 3, 2015

I grew up in a church that had altar calls. Not all the time, and not in manipulative ways, but from time to time, the leaders at Mountville Mennonite Church would invite us to respond to God by coming to the front of the sanctuary. The invitation would vary. Sometimes it would be for prayer, […]

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Extending God’s embrace

July 2, 2015

Sometimes the Apostle Paul sounds absolutely crazy. For example, take these words from 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NRSV): “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the […]

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Know them by their fruit

March 14, 2015

Last spring, I bought a new (to our family) vehicle. The 15-year-old minivan we were using at the time kept having maintenance issues. The starter faltered. The transmission was unresponsive at times. But I was prompted to action when the fuel line sprung a leak right over the exhaust manifold. The mechanic told me it […]

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Renewing our Connections

March 3, 2015

For the past 25 years, Virginia Mennonite Conference (VMC) and Virginia Mennonite Missions (VMMissions) have shared the publication, Connections. In this editorial, Clyde Kratz, VMC Executive Conference Minister, and Aaron Kauffman, VMMissions President, discuss the challenges and the dreams that have emerged about this communication tool. Clyde: I value the joint effort by VMC and […]

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More with less?

February 13, 2015

Over the past ten years, Virginia Mennonite Missions has more than tripled the number of adult mission workers in assignments of a year or more, from 16 to over 50. And that’s not including the children of those workers (27 and counting!), or the USA church planters and short-term teams we’ve supported. Meanwhile, our level […]

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Giving ourselves away

December 1, 2014

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” – Mark 8:35 (NIV) I recently read about a congregation in Texas that has routinely given away some of its best leaders, most committed members and significant financial resources in its […]

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In step with the Spirit

October 1, 2014

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:25 On a warm January evening in Colombia, our church planting team gathered under a campground pavilion, with pastor Martín González leading us in worship and prayer as part of our retreat time. While we were praying for each […]

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Will our faith have children?

August 6, 2014

[The LORD] brought [Abram] outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:5-6 Outside of Europe and North America, the church […]

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Partnership as mission

May 27, 2014

A few months ago I had the opportunity to hear César García, General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference, speak about the role of North American mission agencies in the global church. García comes from the Mennonite Brethren Church of Colombia, a church birthed through the mission efforts of North Americans. When someone asked him whether […]

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People-fishing, Jesus-style

March 20, 2014

As a mission agency, what are we supposed to do? Evangelize? Plant churches? Train leaders? Provide education? Work at relief and development? Care for refugees? “Yes, but…” to all of the above. These activities do not define our core mission. Our mission is “to invite people to faithful living in Jesus Christ.” We seek to […]

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Ending and emerging

December 6, 2013

I come to the end of my presidency of VMMissions at the conclusion of 2013. As tenures go, eleven-and-a-half years is not so long. Earlene and I for the most part are not record-breakers. Add to these years, however, our years assisting two church plants in Virginia Conference, pastoring other churches, serving overseas with VMMissions, […]

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Start here

September 24, 2013

I like the tagline of Hesston College in Kansas, “Start Here, Go Everywhere.” I wish I’d thought of it. It makes a bold statement about Christian college education as a launching point from which people go virtually anywhere in the world. It implies that a college can broaden horizons, deepen perspectives and add to the […]

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