Are we ready to buy in to our future?


USMB future will focus on three convictions

by Don Morris

The review of USMB ministries and structures that began in the fall of 2014 is now coming to completion. It has been a long 20 months of evaluation, analyzing, discussing, writing, praying, listening, reviewing, revising and praying even more. I won’t go into all of that process, but I do want to highlight the three core convictions that have emerged as the future focus for us as a conference of churches.

Various important convictions were laid out and examined by the groups assigned at different times to provide input for our future vision. In the end, three commitments percolated to the top as the center of what USMB will be about in coming years.

Drum roll please! The three core convictions—our overall collective strategic focus—will be local, national and global church multiplication/church planting/evangelism, intentional disciple-making and leadership development. Over the next several years, we will center ourselves on these three things and do all we can to serve, resource and network local MB churches to reach their full ministry potential in each of these areas.

This vision has emerged from a cross-section of our leaders and interested individuals. It has come from countless hours of processing and prayer. It comes to us with a huge amount of confidence that this is indeed inspired by and given to us by God. It’s not our vision; it’s his vision. But we all need to understand that it will require buy-in and commitment from the USMB family as a whole for this to truly impact us as we move forward.

So, what do these commitments really mean? What does it mean to say we will embrace local, national and global church multiplication/church planting/evangelism? Well, we envision the formation of networks of churches of various demographics, working with their district church planting boards and committed to significant teamwork. The national and district conferences will encourage and assist, as needed, in the formation and development of these networks of churches doing church planting together. This is often simply called churches planting churches.

And, what about intentional disciple-making? Again, we’ll seek to help create networks of churches that will join together to encourage one another as to how to move people in their churches toward real spiritual development, sharing of their faith and missional engagement. Helping people become dynamic and true followers of Jesus has been a hallmark of Mennonite Brethren for decades. We want to assist our churches to enhance that even more.

Finally, what are we referring to as we concentrate on leadership development? It’s obvious that we need vocational and lay leaders. How can we increase our ability to train new leaders? How can each church identify potential leaders and provide a pathway for them for learning? We think collectively we can do better at answering these questions than we have been doing.

As more is revealed about the new Future Story over the coming months and at the USMB National Convention in July in Denver, I hope and pray that we will all embrace these three core commitments. And by doing so, that we will witness God moving in a powerful new and fresh way among us.

Don Morris is the director of Mission USA, the U.S. Mennonite Brethren church planting ministry, and is currently also serving as the interim USMB executive director.


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