Prayers for local churches are being answered
By Terry W. Hunt
“Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” I Cor. 4:1-2 (NKJV).
The North Carolina District Conference (NCDC) is seeking God to remain faithful as we, servants of Christ, embrace the USMB Future Story as our own. We have affirmed that the three core commitments (church multiplication/evangelism, discipleship and leadership development) are essential to the future of our district. We are very excited about the opportunities to network with other churches throughout the U.S. and to empower local churches to achieve their full ministry potential as it relates to the three core commitments.
As a district, our first focus has been reaching out to the local churches. On the second Saturday of each month pastors and church leaders gather to discuss local church needs, strengths and desires.
Leadership development is one of our greatest needs as current leaders are all in their 40s, 50s and 60s. We are very concerned about who will be leading the district in the next 10 to 20 years. Therefore, we must seek the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers (leaders) into the district. According to Luke 10:2 we are to “plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers to help you, for the harvest is so plentiful and the workers so few” (TLB). So, we are borrowing a practice from the Canadian Mennonite Brethren. We set our cell phone alarms at 10:02 a.m. every day to remind us to pray.
What results have we seen from praying this prayer daily? John Hodge, 30-something youth pastor, came to visit his father during Christmas 2015 and moved his family here in February 2016. He is now serving as the youth pastor at The Life Center in Lenoir. The church has experienced tremendous growth in their middle and high school programs, especially on Wednesday nights.
Boone MB Church is experiencing a resurgence from the community to attend and to support the outreach efforts of the church. In February, three young adults gave their lives to Christ Jesus on a Sunday morning after a powerful message from Pastor Mike Mathes. To God be the glory! Efforts to strengthen the church leadership and to network with other churches have been beneficial.
Attendance at Bethel MB Church in Lenoir has increased from 40 to over 100 on Sundays. Pastor Johnson Granados is very thankful and excited about the growth of young families that are now attending. The church is in the process of remodeling the downstairs to add more classrooms to accommodate the growth.
A new church in Knoxville, Tenn., is in conversations with NCDC about the potential of becoming Mennonite Brethren in the near future. Leaders from Grace and Peace Fellowship and the NCDC are meeting and worshiping together to start working toward this future partnership. We continue to be encouraged while God answers our prayers.
To help with our leadership development, we have scheduled a LEAD ONE workshop in May with USMB national director Don Morris and Stephen Humber with MB Mission. The goal this year is to focus on our three core commitments by empowering each local church to use their God-given gifts and talents for kingdom building. What a joy it is to serve in this district!
Terry W. Hunt is pastor of The Life Center in Lenoir, NC and has served as the North Carolina District Conference minister since 2005. Hunt has lived and worked in North Carolina his entire life and spent 17 of 31 years in the pastorate as a bivocational pastor while working as a plant manager in the furniture industry. He is very active in his community and with USMB. He and his wife, Kathy, have four daughters and four grandchildren.