The USMB Leadership Board, meeting via Zoom Oct. 23-24, 2020, approved the formation of the Church Planting Council, a volunteer board that will help facilitate a unified USMB church planting vision and assist in “keeping the church multiplication piece of USMB’s three core commitments progressing and succeeding,” according to the proposal.
According to the proposal presented by the National Strategy Team, the Church Planting Council (CPC) is “tasked with planting additional MB churches across the U.S., investing in and assessing potential church planters, collaborating with districts and district church planting boards, inspiring existing MB churches for involvement, raising funds, providing various project management pieces and connecting and communicating with the USMB family about national church planting strategies and outcomes.”
The CPC will be a small group comprised of volunteers who “have a passion for MB church planting and have the capacity to help make it happen.” They will meet face-to-face two to three times annually and electronically/online as needed.
Tasks the CPC will undertake include initial church planter contacts and interviews, planter assessments, training, coaching, internships, apprenticeships, cohorts, special events for planter couples, project funding, establishing task force teams and overseeing church plant launches. The council will report to the Leadership Board and collaborate with districts and district church planting boards as needed or requested.
The Leadership Board had a lengthy discussion about the proposal during open session and in executive session before approving the proposal. During the discussion, board members spoke to the importance of good collaboration between the CPC and district church planting boards. They expressed concern that a board comprised of volunteers would be able to offer the kind of support that had been in place with previous church planting efforts spearheaded by C2C Network and Mission USA prior to that.
Fundraising and bookkeeping were also points of discussion. Revenue will be accounted for through USMB and will be deposited into the USMB bank account and designated for CPC. A financial statement specifically pertaining to CPC activity will be provided to the Leadership Board on a semi-annual basis.
Board discusses changes at Multiply
The Leadership Board continued its discussion of changes initiated at Multiply, the North American MB mission agency. The board had met online monthly July through October to process various agenda related to the Multiply Review Task Force and its recommendations. The board made a number of decisions related to Multiply.
- Some USMB church plants were expecting to receive financial support from Multiply when it merged with C2C, however that support did not materialize. During its Aug. 24, 2020 meeting, the Leadership Board approved a one-time grant to several U.S. church plants.
- The Leadership Board, meeting Sept. 15, 2020, via Zoom, approved the Review Task Force’s 18 recommendations regarding Multiply’s leadership, governance and culture. The board also voted to request that USMB representatives to the Multiply board whose terms continued past 2020 resign; the Canadian Conference made the same request of Canadian members of the Multiply board. Elton DaSilva, Canadian Conference of MB Churches national director, and Ron Penner, CCMBC moderator, joined for part of the meeting to share their perspectives.
- Meeting via Zoom Oct. 15, 2020, the Leadership Board unanimously elected four new members to represent USMB on the Multiply board. Vivian Wheeler, Blaine, Wash., and Yvette Jones, Fresno, Calif., will serve four-year terms and Jones will serve as liaison to the USMB Leadership Board. Fred Leonard, Fresno, Calif., and Aaron Halvorsen, Olathe, Kan., will serve two-year terms.
During the October meeting, Morris reported that the new Multiply board will be meeting Nov. 9-10, 2020. U.S. board members will meet in Fresno and the Canadian members will gather in Abbotsford, B.C. The first day will be devoted to board orientation and the second day will deal with issues and recommendations.
USMB Youth tackles leadership development
In his report, USMB Youth representative Kyle Goings outlined the group’s plan to address long-term leadership needs at the local church level. The Leadership Board discussed at length the proposal for the National Leadership Pipeline, which has a proposed launch date of 2022.
The proposal calls for a nation-wide summer internship program and providing year-round training and support in cooperation with Tabor College, Fresno Pacific University, Multiply, MB Foundation and the Pacific District Conference Next Gen Leadership team.
Next steps in the process include developing a website, meeting with a lawyer to discuss legal issues related to paying interns and doing a “test run” of the program in summer 2021. Given that all USMB Youth members are volunteers with full-time jobs, Goings requested funds for administrative help to support the new pipeline. The proposal was affirmed.
In other business, the Leadership Board
- approved a USMB 2021 budget of $834,204, which includes transferring $50,000 from reserve funds for church planting and $10,504 from reserves for National Youth to cover administrative help and projects. Income from church contributions was set at $375,000, down from $406,000 for 2020.
- heard reports from the Board of Faith and Life, MB Foundation, Multiply, the Congolese Task Force, the USMB national director and district ministers.
- reviewed written staff reports.
- set the dates for USMB Gathering 2022. The biennial convention will be held July 26-30 in Kansas City, the location selected for the 2020 event that was held online due to COVID-19.
In early December, Yvette Jones, Fresno, Calif., resigned from her position on the Leadership Board. In her letter of resignation, Jones says her brief time on the board led her to realize that the Leadership Board time commitment distracted from her primary commitment at Fresno Pacific University as First Lady and other previous ministry commitments.
Connie Faber joined the magazine staff in 1994 and assumed the duties of editor in 2004. She has won awards from the Evangelical Press Association for her writing and editing. Faber is the co-author of Family Matters: Discovering the Mennonite Brethren. She and her husband, David, have two daughters, one son, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law and one grandson. They are members of Ebenfeld MB Church in Hillsboro, Kansas.