Donations continue to be critical for MB church planting the U.S.
By Myra Holmes
For the third year, USMB is participating in Giving Tuesday by asking for individual, online donations to support Mennonite Brethren church planting in the U.S.
Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to generosity that falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year Giving Tuesday is Nov. 29. The movement began in 2012 and has grown to include over 40,000 organizations in 71 countries. In 2015, an estimated 700,000 donors raised more than $116 million, fueled primarily through social media.
Individuals and churches donated over $40,000 to Mission USA as part of USMB’s 2015 campaign. Those funds supported a number of existing church plants and helped start City Church, Pueblo, Colo. (Photo: Mario and Stephanie Trujillo share about City Church at the USMB National Convention in July.)
Don Morris, USMB national director, says those church plants resulted in changed lives. “If we counted all the life transformation that happened this past year through our church plants it would be in the hundreds. I know of many people who have been broken by life’s troubles who have come to know the peace of Jesus through the planting of MB churches.”
This year, all donations to USMB on Giving Tuesday will go toward support of at least 11 active MB church plants in the U.S., including City Church and Avenue Church, Aurora, Colo. Avenue Church is a daughter church of Ethiopian Evangelical Church of Denver, Aurora, and anticipates a February 2017 launch under the leadership of David and Essey Yirdaw.
Morris notes that working together to fund church planting on Giving Tuesday is an expression of the newly-adopted USMB national ministry strategy not only because it supports one of the core commitments—church multiplication and evangelism—but also because it requires networking and partnership, a key component of the vision. The vision was revealed at the USMB National Convention in July in a document titled "The Future Story."
Morris says, “We desire to see an increasing level of churches getting together to plant another church. It might be four or five churches that, although they don’t have enough resources on their own to plant a church, could network with a few other churches to do so. There’s a lot of ownership when that happens. It’s kind of like having a baby of your own.”
The campaign hashtag, #together, was chosen to emphasize that kind of cooperative effort. “There is just no way we can do church planting without doing it together,” Morris says. “It takes church planters, people working directly with church planting in support roles, dedicated core team members, prayer warriors and those who have the resources to help fund church planting for it to happen. If one of those elements is missing, we won’t be successful in planting churches. It really is a combined effort.”
Morris also notes that, while the administrative structure of MB church planting in the U.S. could be changing, support for church plants is still very much needed.
USMB leaders are involved in ongoing discussions with leaders of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC) regarding a potential merger of C2C, the Canadian church planting ministry, and MB Mission, the North American MB mission agency that is co-owned by CCMBC and USMB. In addition, CCMBC delegates to their national convention in July authorized C2C and MB Mission to collaborate with USMB in church planting in the U.S.
“Just because some things are changing doesn’t mean we’re quitting,” Morris says. “In fact, we’re hopefully just getting ready to do a lot more.” He points out the current church plants that continue to need support and the aim to plant even more MB churches.
He adds, “Please support USMB church planting. Please continue to give to Mission USA. We really do need your donations on Giving Tuesday!”
For more information on USMB’s Giving Tuesday campaign or to donate, visit www.usmb.org/GivingTuesday or follow #together on Facebook and Twitter.
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