USMB Gathering 2024 is two weeks away

Biennial National Convention features guests speakers, new USMB national director and business sessions

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USMB Gathering 2024, the biennial National Pastors’ Conference and National Convention, is just two weeks away. Details of the schedule have been finalized, nametags are being prepared, registration bags are ready to go and the event app, Whova, is live.

Registration is just under 270 and anyone who has not yet registered is encouraged to do so promptly.

“Please register as soon as possible because final attendance numbers for hotel catering is due Monday, July 15,” says J.L. Martin, USMB event planner.  “Also, the hotel deadline was July 1, so you will want to contact the hotel to see if our room rate is still available.”

USMB Gathering 2024, to be held July 23-27 at the Double Tree Downtown in Omaha, Nebraska, will include the formal introduction of Aaron Box as the new USMB national director.

The theme is “Salt and Light: Faithful Living in a Secular Culture.”

“Few other passages are as instrumental as Matthew 5:13-16 in understanding how we as Christians are to live in the world, called to be salt and light,” says Don Morris, retiring USMB national director. “The convention planning team felt strongly that this was the message we needed to focus on for USMB Gathering 2024. How do we live faithfully different—as Jesus has called us to live in this messed-up world?”

The National Pastors’ Conference will be held Tuesday evening beginning with dinner and concludes Thursday noon. It will feature a guest speaker, affinity groups, a question-and-answer time with district ministers and afternoon free time.

The National Convention begins Thursday with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and concludes at noon on Saturday with a full slate of business and worship sessions as well as workshops and meals.

Proposed bylaw revision

The National Convention business agenda will include a proposed bylaw revision. The Leadership Board, along with the U.S. Board of Faith and Life, is recommending a revision to USMB bylaws removing the reversion clause, allowing individual districts to address the handling of capital assets should a church withdraw from the conference or dissolve.

The current bylaw states that when churches withdraw or dissolve, their capital assets become the property of the district. However, there has been a disparity between bylaw and practice. The change would allow districts to address situations on a case-by-case basis. The board does not recommend that districts remove the reversion clause from district bylaws.

Delegates will be asked to affirm a revision to the Multiply U.S. bylaws. A copy of the bylaws with the proposed changes marked is available on the Whova app.

In other business, delegates will also be asked to affirm and recognize ICOMB USA as an organization affiliated with the U.S. Conference of MB Churches (USMB), affirm the 2024 budget and elect new members of the Leadership Board, Board of Faith and Life, Historical Commission, Multiply board and MB Foundation board.

During the National Convention, delegates and guests will hear brief updates from Tabor College, Fresno Pacific University, Multiply, MB Foundation and the International Community of Mennonite Brethren. Leaders of various USMB programs (Church Planting Council, LEAD Coaching, USMB NextGen and the Board of Faith and Life) will also report.

Representatives from various agencies and ministries will be present during USMB Gathering 2024, including Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service and Mennonite World Conference.

Keynote speakers

Five keynote speakers will highlight the event.

Gary Hoag, president and CEO of Global Trust Partners, will speak about biblically faithful leadership at the Pastors’ Conference. Hoag is sponsored by MB Foundation. Global Trust Partners, an international entity formed by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, empowers national workers to build trust and grow local giving to God’s work. Hoag speaks and teaches around the world and has authored more than 10 books. He lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife, Jenni. They have two adult children and one granddaughter.

Guest speakers for the National Convention are Brian Kluth, National Association of Evangelicals spokesperson and Natasha Crain, speaker, author and podcaster; Kluth is also sponsored by MB Foundation.

In addition to being the spokesperson for NAE’s Financial Health and Bless Your Pastor programs, Kluth is a bestselling Christian author and frequent guest speaker for churches and conferences. He is the founder of Poverty Solutions, which provides affordable solutions to help alleviate poverty, sickness and hunger in Africa and around the world. He and his wife, Mary Ellen, live in Denver and have four adult children.

Crain earned a Master of Business Administration degree from UCLA and a certificate in Christian apologetics from Biola University. She is a former marketing executive and adjunct professor whose most recent book is Faithfully Different: Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture. She is also the author of three apologetics books for parents. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.

Convention goers will hear Friday morning from newly appointed National Director Aaron Box, who began working July 1 in his new role, and from retiring National Director Morris Saturday morning. Morris will conclude his work following USMB Gathering 2024.

Free lunch, workshops and more

As an optional add-on, MB Foundation is sponsoring a free luncheon for pastors and spouses following the conclusion of the Pastors’ Conference, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday. NAE’s Kluth will be the speaker.

Workshops will be offered in two one-hour blocks Friday with topics including raising children with confident faith in a secular culture, learning to welcome a vulnerable posture in pain, empowering the next generation, prayer and a new resource launch party by MB Foundation, among others.

Musicians from Omaha’s MB churches, Iglesia Auga Viva and Stony Brook Church, will lead attendees in singing and worship.

Children’s and youth activities are being planned and coordinate by the Omaha MB churches. Children’s activities will include Bible stories, activity stations, crafts, skits, a puppet show and games. Youth activities ill include games, experiments, Bible lessons and worship times and visits to area museums and exhibits.

Free time is built into the schedule on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons, giving attendees opportunity to visit area attractions, including the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and the historic Old Market District and RiverFront Park. For a list of attractions, visit www.usmb.org/attractions-2024.

For more information or to register, visit  usmb.org/gathering2024

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