Three core commitments, networking key to new vision
by Don Morris
The USMB Pastors’ Conference and National Convention are just completed as I write this. You will find articles about these events in this issue and online at www.usmb.org. I thought these events were really good. Matt Heard, our speaker for the week, connected extremely well with most people. His insights into living Life with a Capital L, the title of his recent book, were timely for our pastors and spouses. His two-part presentation to convention attendees to “get on board” with the new Future Story vision for USMB was heartfelt.
For this column, I want to zero in on the next step for those of us who consider ourselves part of the USMB family. Certainly the Future Story, our new collective vision, provides an opportunity for all of us to capture the passion of this new day, a new way of doing conference. This fresh vision calls for centering our mutual efforts around developing community with one another, including increased networking, idea-sharing, resourcing and gathering together for learning. The spotlight will be on three core commitments: church multiplication and evangelism, intentional disciple-making and leadership development.
This new collective effort could include things like enhanced social media connections, specialized ministry cohorts, planting churches along with other churches and simply a willingness to lend a helping hand from time to time. It’s about doing what we can to reduce our own silos of ministry and to think openly, with a collective USMB mindset.
MB Mission, our global mission agency, has committed to providing their resources and staff for assistance in creating meaningful ways for all of us to learn and grow in the areas of the three core commitments. MB Foundation, the stewardship ministry for U.S. Mennonite Brethren, is a vital partner as well, not only for support but for facilitating training venues and teaching about generosity. C2C, the Canadian MB church planting network, now has permission to do ministry in the U.S. and has offered their resources and support to enhance our USMB church planting initiatives. There’s a whole lot of positive going on as we move forward.
For the Future Story to be fruitful, it will require buy-in from the majority of our churches and people. Although I anticipate that a few churches may elect not to engage, I’m praying that most will. If the bulk of us choose to support USMB, as we revitalize what USMB is all about, there will be great benefit that spreads and intensifies. What is the overall main reason for all of this? It’s to reach more and more people with the gospel.
Again, a major aspect of the new Future Story is that networking will be a key function—churches connecting with other churches in an organic manner. In other words, it won’t be up to the conference to make everything happen. The expectation is that USMB staff will help create the appropriate environment where collective involvement takes place as churches naturally mesh with other churches.
I believe all of this will begin to make more sense as we move forward. So the main question for now is: Will you join us as we explore what it means to network together in order to maximize each local church’s God-given ministry vision? I invite you to hop on the USMB Future Story bus!
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