Delegates hear church plant stories, recognize Boschman, revise Article 13
by Connie Faber
“Momentum” was the theme of the 30th USMB National Convention held July 26-27 in Santa Clara, Calif., and the motion repeatedly emphasized was moving forward with the mission of God. Among those who delivered that message were two keynote speakers who shared the same first name as well as a strong commitment to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ.
“We are on mission,” said USMB executive director Ed Boschman who gave the Saturday morning address. “We have the right message for this time. We’re Bible-believers. We’re Jesus-centered. We’re Spirit-led. We call people to repentance. We are agents of reconciliation and peace. We are a covenant community. We are what our neighbors need.”
That afternoon, Boschman, who retired July 31, was recognized in a service that included an emotional foot washing. Referring to Boschman as the “evangelistic conscience” of U.S. Mennonite Brethren, Gary Wall, the Pacific District Conference minister, said of Boschman, “You remind us often that unless Jesus saves and transforms a lost soul, we’re missing the mark of what it means to be a faithful people.”
Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, focused on church multiplication in his Friday evening keynote address. “There is a motion to the mission,” said Stetzer, referring to John 20:21. “Don’t let your church be a cul-de-sac on the Great Commission Highway.” Stetzer went on to challenge U.S. Mennonite Brethren to plant churches in the subcultures—the “divots”—of today’s world.
And that’s just what USMB church planters are doing, said Mission USA director Don Morris in his report Saturday morning. “We are finding those divots in which to plant churches,” said Morris. Stories told by the eight USMB church planters who spoke during the Mission USA report supported Morris’ statement.
A USMB priority that gained traction over the two-day convention was unity in spite of disagreement about how U.S. Mennonite Brethren can best express our understanding of peacemaking. Delegates discussed and voted on a revision to Article 13 of the USMB Confession of Faith. The revision was approved, making this the first time an article has been changed since the Confession of Faith became a national rather than binational North American statement.
Mission USA and BFL were two of 14 Mennonite Brethren and inter-Mennonite ministries that reported to the 194 delegates and guests during the two-day convention.
The National Convention was the second of two events that comprised Conection 2014. The National Pastors Conference was held July 24-25, also at the Santa Clara Marriot. Stetzer was the speaker at both events and a worship band from The Bridge Bible Church in Bakersfield, Calif., led the music during worship times.
USMB Leadership Board chair Steve Schroeder moderated the 2014 National Convention. Photo by Steve Wiest
View a photo album of Conection 2014 highlights.