Our task is to fill in the details of our new USMB ministry vision
By Connie Faber
In the summer of 2016, U.S. Mennonite Brethren affirmed a new ministry vision and strategy that emphasizes three core commitments:
- local, national and global church multiplication/church planting/evangelism,
- intentional disciple-making and
- developing leaders.
The document that outlines this new USMB ministry approach, The U.S. Mennonite Brethren Movement: The Future Story, describes in two-year increments what progress will be made from 2015 to 2025 in achieving the strategy’s goals and vision.
Here is how the document summarizes where we will be by 2025 in terms of leadership development: “Each year, significant progress was made in the calling out and development of emerging, diverse leaders. Significant increase in the effectiveness of existing leaders was also occurring through intentional leadership development. Peer learning clusters of pastors, staff and various ministry personnel infused best practices into many ministry settings.”
The 2016 ministry vision document describes what will characterize our family of churches by 2025—but offers few details for how we will get from where we are now in terms of calling out a new generation of leaders and equipping USMB leaders to where we hope to be in 2025. Charting a course that fills in these details—not only with regard to developing leaders but also in the areas of intentional disciple-making and church multiplication and evangelism—is one of the tasks before us.
I hope the Christian Leader will assist in fleshing out this new shared vision by providing encouragement and insights and by sharing examples of how our congregations, districts, national ministries and North American agencies are working toward these goals. For example, several pieces in this issue of Christian Leader focus on leadership development, including a feature article by Chandelle Claassen that invites us to identify our gifts so that we can recognize times when we can serve best by leading and those times when we do best to follow. In BodyLife you will learn how two USMB district conferences are drawing on the resources offered by The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) to provide pastoral training and about a new and improved leadership program targeting high school students: FaithFront, the Tabor College leadership ministry supported by USMB.
Speaker and business leader Les Brown has said, “Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.” In many ways, we’re more like explorers than tourists. We don’t have a detailed road map telling us exactly what to do, but we have the adventure of discovering what’s possible. I invite individuals, pastors and congregations to join this expedition. Embrace this vision for our family of churches. The end result of this 10-year journey will be incomplete without the support of each USMB congregation.