Leadership training focused on personal finances, church vision
By Connie Faber
The most recent LEAD ONE event, held Jan. 16-17 for churches in the Latin American MB (LAMB) Conference, had a dual focus: clarifying church mission and vision and personal financial integrity. LEAD (Leadership Education And Development) ONE events are regional church leadership training events hosted by USMB.
The response of the 30 attendees from five of 11 LAMB congregations was positive, says Don Morris, USMB interim executive director and Mission USA director. “During break times we enjoyed really, really good tamales, but what I noticed is that people were talking during the break about the content of the seminars and what was presented,” says Morris.
LEAD ONE presenters were Morris and Jon Wiebe, (pictured right) president and CEO of MB Foundation, the stewardship ministry of U.S. Mennonite Brethren. Aaron Hernandez, (pictured left) pastor of Grace Point @ Grulla/Grace Point @ McAllen, translated the presentations into Spanish.
While some LEAD ONE events have featured four or five presenters, having just two speakers at the LAMB seminar allowed for more small group interaction. “Fewer speakers just naturally lends itself to more interaction,” says Morris.
Morris’s presentation Friday evening focused on the importance of church pastors and leaders taking time to clarify their congregation’s mission and vision. Morris divided the participants into church groups to discuss six key questions. Answering these six questions can help congregations successfully prepare for the future, he says.
The groups identified a variety of six-month goals, including enhancing congregational small group ministry, emphasizing the importance of love for God and the community and developing a better understanding of worship.
“The segment on mission and vision has resonated well in other districts,” says Morris. “And it was a good topic for the Latin America MB (LAMB) Conference. Several (participants) said it was good for them to think about this since they don’t always think about (mission and vision).”
Wiebe’s Saturday morning session focused on personal financial integrity. He also reports that attendees were appreciative and engaged in the topic. “(They) commented that this is a topic which is not discussed and the silence needs to be broken,” says Wiebe.
Wiebe based his workshop on Matt Bell’s book, “Money, Purpose, Joy.” The same content was offered to leaders in the Southern District Conference and Central District Conference in the form of a pastor’s retreat for which MB Foundation secured Bell as the speaker.
Wiebe divided his presentation of Bell’s material into seven parts and ended each section with three points of application and reflection: Where do you stand? What action steps will you take? What sermon/ministry ideas come to mind?
“As part of the reflection and application, couples were encouraged and prompted to visit together about how God was moving in their hearts and points of conviction that needed to be shared,” says Wiebe. For many couples, these conversations were a first, says Wiebe.
Weibe spoke Sunday morning at Grace Point @ Grulla and the congregation responded positively to his message on living in 2015 more as a steward and less as a consumer. He says this was a highlight for him. “I had several follow-up conversations with folks who said they were moved by the message and wanted to live more faithfully. One lady followed up with me later with questions about generosity,” says Wiebe. “It is exciting to see God at work in this important area of discipleship.”
The LAMB Conference leadership team and Tiemplo Nueva Vida Community Church, the USMB congregation in Palm View, Texas, hosted the January LEAD ONE event. “The church did a great job of hosting,” says Morris.
LEAD ONE events are intended for USMB pastors, church leaders and future church leaders. Morris anticipates that the Central District Conference will hold a LEAD ONE event sometime in 2015 while the Southern District may also host a leadership event in the near future.
PHOTO: Pastor Aaron Hernandez, left, translates for Jon Wiebe, right, president and CEO of MB Foundation, during the Saturday morning session of the recent LEAD ONE leadership training event held in Palm View, Texas. Photo by Don Morris
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