Leadership Board focuses on future of USMB

Morris named interim executive director, board will hire consultant

By Connie Faber

When the USMB Leadership Board met March 14-15, board members spent most of Friday in executive session, focusing on the future of the conference as they discussed both long- and short-term issues that surround the retirement this summer of executive director Ed Boschman.

Leadership Board chair Steve Schroeder summarized the discussion and decisions Saturday morning when the board returned to open session.

Addressing the immediate vacancy that will be created August 1 when Boschman retires, the Leadership Board appointed Don Morris as the interim USMB executive director. Morris has served as the director of Mission USA, the USMB church planting and renewal ministry, since 2004 and will add the executive director’s tasks to his current responsibilities.

Lori Taylor has agreed to continue serving as executive assistant and as Web master.

“We have an excellent staff, and we move forward with a lot of confidence,” Schroeder said in announcing these interim arrangements.

The Leadership Board also discussed USMB’s long-term health and will be retaining a consultant that works with denominations to help the Leadership Board and other USMB leaders conduct a strategic review of the conference.

Boschman’s retirement is a “God-given opportunity to seek outside, subjective/objective help to move to greater health and vitality,” said Schroeder in describing the decision. “We (USMB) are in a much better place (to conduct such a review) thanks to Ed’s leadership.”

Boschman has been the USMB executive director since 2007. He had previously served in a variety of local church pastoral roles and was the first executive director of Mission USA from 1996-2002.

Among the consultants that the Leadership Board is contacting are people whose research Boschman has consulted during his tenure. “We will be going in the direction Ed has been leading,” said Schroeder.

The Strategic Review Team, consisting of Schroeder, Marv Schellenberg, Leadership Board vice chair; Larry Nikkel, Board of Faith and Life chair; and Jon Wiebe, MB Foundation CEO, will vet possible consultants and make a recommendation to the board.

Schroeder said the board anticipates the review will take six months to a year and will involve district ministers and leaders of USMB partner ministries. The board hopes to begin the review as soon as possible. Once the process is completed, the board will determine “what skill set we need in the next executive director,” said Schroeder.

Other decisions made by the board while in executive session include:

  • approving new wording for Article 13 of the Confession of Faith as recommended by the Board of Faith and Life.
  • increasing the 2014 budget for church planting by $50,000. This adjustment is possible due to a surplus in fundraising during the seven-month 2013 fiscal year. “We want to keep moving forward with church planting,” said Schroeder.

When the Leadership Board resumed meeting in open session Saturday morning, the board reviewed the schedule, budget and business agenda for the National Convention, to be held July 25-26 in Santa Clara, Calif.

In preparation for the convention business sessions, the board approved bylaw changes requested by MB Mission as well as changes to the memorandum of understanding brought by the Historical Commission. Convention delegates will be asked to approve changes to both of these documents.

The board approved a revised Leadership Board Governance Manual and discussed upcoming vacancies on the Leadership Board. The board had earlier welcomed Tim Hodge of North Newton, Kan. (pictured right), as a new board member, bringing the number of board members to 10. The board encouraged the Nominating Committee, comprised of Boschman and the district ministers, to retain balance between members living east and west of the Rockies when recruiting new board members for this summer’s election.

Schroeder noted that district ministers believe it would be valuable to attend Leadership Board meetings. After some discussion, the Leadership Board decided to invite district ministers or a district representative to the October board meeting as guests.

The board began its meeting Friday afternoon hearing brief staff reports from Morris concerning church planting and new church health initiatives and from Connie Faber, Christian Leader editor, Myra Holmes, social media coordinator and Donna Sullivan, bookkeeper and event coordinator. Boschman gave his executive director’s report during executive session. Saturday morning Taylor, reporting as the Web master, gave board members a short tour of the new USMB Web site.

The Leadership Board concluded its meeting with a time of prayer for USMB staff.

In addition to the Leadership Board, two other USMB meetings were held the second week of March in San Diego, Calif.

The Board of Faith met March 12-13. Their agenda included finalizing a recommendation regarding Article 13 of the Confession of Faith. The recommendation will be posted online.

The Leadership Summit convened March 13-14. Recently, attendees at this annual gathering have varied, depending on the focus of the meeting. This year the discussion centered on the transition to a new executive director. Attendees included the Strategic Review Team, USMB staff members Boschman and Morris and district ministers or representatives—Central District Conference minister Rick Eshbaugh, Latin America district representative Aaron Hernandez, North Carolina representative Terry Hunt, Pacific District Conference minister Gary Wall and Southern District Conference minister Tim Sullivan.

Photos by Myra Holmes

Photo #1: USMB Leadership Board members Clyde Ferguson, of North Carolina, and Vyacheslav Gladysh, of California, review a financial report during the March 14-15 meeting in San Diego, Calif.

Photo #2: The USMB Leadership Board hopes to increase its membership and recently appointed Tim Hodge, of Kansas, as a 10th board member.



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