Tools Matter

“We become what we behold.  We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”  This quote is often attributed to media theorist Marsh McLuhan. 

The point is powerful.  Tools matter.  Tools shape us. 

If all a person has is a hammer, everything looks like nails.  If all the tools a person has destroys life and community, then that person will become destructive.  But if a person has tools that build up community and cultivate life, that person will be a force for good in the world. 

There are so many tools that shape our world towards death.  So many tools that shape individuals and society toward violence and polarization and fear.  Our world is in need of some better tools.

Jesus modeled a new set of tools.  In his life, he rejected the violence of the sword and picked up the upside-down way of the cross.  Paul understood this when he said, “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Romans 12:2).  Peter encouraged this when he said, “Seek peace and pursuit it” (1 Peter 3:11).

Guns donated from Bob.jpg

A few years ago we at Toledo Mennonite Church began putting energy behind initiatives to create better tools and follow Jesus in the way of peace.  We partnered with RAW Tools Inc. for the first time in October of 2016 to host the first guns-to-gardens demonstration in Toledo.  At the event, blacksmiths forged a gun into garden tools through the old-school technology of blacksmithing.  The mission of RAW Tools is not only to transform guns, but to transform hearts and minds as well. 

This vision caught on.  We have since done three more guns-to-gardens demonstrations with diverse partnerships such as the Hindu Temple of Toledo, Creative Peaceful Resistance, The Junction Coalition, and Mom’s Demand Action. 

This summer, a board was created to launch a Toledo chapter of RAW Tools.  Pastor Joel serves as the chair of that board.  This chapter is the first regional chapter that RAW Tool has opened.  By establishing a formal relationship with RAW Tools, we tap into their national network while being able to respond to local opportunities. 

This summer, we are launching a class for youth and young adults to learn the skill of blacksmithing by learning how to turn guns into garden tools.  Along the way, participants will learn basic skills and concepts for non-violence and conflict resolution.  The dates for the class are July 14, 21, 28, and August 4 and 11 from 1:00-4:00. 

First Class.jpg

Additionally, this past April we hosted Shalom Ministries for a conflict mediation training.  Eleven people from TMC participated, as well as four people from McTigue Elementary School and six people from the community.  We have had talks about potentially sponsoring a second training this fall. 

Finally, Pastor Joel was recently trained in circle process through the Lucas County Juvenile Court.  Circle process is a pro-active community-building process that can be applied to a variety of different settings.  It isn’t for responding to specific conflicts, but for building up relationships and helping people thrive together before any conflict erupts.  The training Joel received was specifically to help youth develop character and life skills, but can also be applied to many different groups and circumstances.    

Our world needs better tools.  As disciples of Jesus, and as people faithful to the way of scripture, we envision a world of better tools.  Not only that, but we also put words into actions to disarm hearts and forge peace. 

Please continue to pray for these initiatives that broadly fall under the vision of a Toledo Peace Center.  Pray that these would be ways for us at Toledo Mennonite Church to be salt and light in our city.  And if you have any ideas or want to contribute in anyway, let’s keep those conversations going about how we can be peacemakers and toolmakers for the Kingdom. 

Pastor Joel Shenk

Rhythms of Prayer

Rhythm of Prayer

** Due to vacation schedule, there will be no weekly prayer the week of August 6-12.  **

What:  Online Morning, Mid-Day, and Evening Prayer


  • Mondays:         6:30 am via Zoom
  • Wednesdays:    12:30 pm via Zoom or TMC Office
  • Saturdays:         9:00 pm via Zoom


Step 1 – Get the App on your Phone

Download the FREE Anabaptist Prayer App - Take Our Moments and Our Days – available on Apple and Android devices.  Easy-to-navigate format, as close at hand as your digital device. Features include navigation to a recommended service for the date and time of day, tracking to keep your place in the sequence of services, an ability to call up particular services, introductory materials and extensive indices. 

Step 2 – Join Online on your Computer     

Go To (No account needed) 

First-time users allow a few extra minutes to download and install the appropriate plug-in.

Click “Join a Meeting”

Enter the meeting ID# - Check our Facebook page for future meeting ID #s

Pray for Korean Peninsula

ReconciliAsian has partnered with Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Central Committee, and Mennonite Mission Network to highlight May 20th as a Day of Prayer for the Korean Peninsula.  

With hope we pray for peace and clear minds for all leaders engaged in historic talks regarding the future of North and South Korea. This initiative invites MC USA members and congregations to: LEARN.  PRAY.  and JOIN.  

Click Here for more

What Blooms on Blum

We are glad to be leading another Guns to Gardens event on April 21 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm at 1301 Blum Street in the Junction neighborhood of Toledo.  We have been asked by their community-led coalition to demonstrate turning guns into garden tools as part of their larger community development project involving social, economic, and environmental justice.  Please join us for this event.  

Conflict Resolution and Mediation Training

A Seminar for Schools, Churches, Educators, Community Leaders and anyone interested in learning how to effectively hand conflict

April 13-14, 2018  |  Click Here to download brochure  

This workshop will give participants an introduction to the theory and definition of conflict, comparative practices within the fields of conflict management, conflict resolution, and conflict transformation. Time will be spent on the values, commitments, and the growth and challenges of Conflict Resolution and Mediation as a practice.     

Participants will be discover their own conflict management style as well as learn the basic components of facilitating the mediation process.  A particular focus will be on learning how to identify and move from oppositional and position based interests to mutual interest based outcomes and agreements as well as how to move past the challenge of an impasse.  

Come join us and explore how conflict resolution and the practice of mediation can be applied in your profession and within your community.

Schedule: April 13-14, 2018

Friday 5:15-5:30 p.m. Registration  |  Click here to register online

Friday 5:30-8:30 p.m. Defining Conflict & the Mediation Process           

Saturday 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.     

8:30 a.m.– 10:00 a.m. Challenges and Community Response

     10:00-10:10 a.m. Break

10:00 am-12:00 pm  Conflict Style Inventory

12:00 pm-12:45pm  Lunch will be provided

12:45-2:00 pm   Mediation Best Practices

     2:00 pm-2:10 pm  Break

2:10 pm-4:30 pm  Conducting Mediation

Click here to Register

This training will be led by Allen Rutter from Shalom Ministries.  Allen Rutter has been a mediator and conflict resolution trainer since 2006 and is the executive director at Shalom Counseling and Mediation Center located in Archbold and Bryan OH.  Over the years he has helped families, businesses, organizations, churches and court ordered participants resolve a myriad of conflicts and restitution regarding criminal offenses as well as divorce and truancy mediation.        

Shalom Counseling and Mediation Center has been serving individuals, families, and the courts of NW Ohio since 1998.  Shalom is a faith based  501 c 3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization operated by a board of directors.