Leadership Board holds October meeting


District ministers invited to participate in board meeting

By Connie Faber


There were new faces around the table when the USMB Leadership Board met Oct. 13-14 in Wichita, Kan. In addition to new board members Lud Hohm, Yale, SD, and Aaron Box, Eugene, Ore., (pictured right) the board had invited the four USMB district conference ministers (DMs) to attend.

In his opening remarks, Leadership Board chair Steve Schroeder explained that the current governance model is 10 years old and that in the last year or two the board concluded that it would be better able to serve pastors, churches and the district conferences if district ministers were part of the national board.

“We want you to participate as if you were a board member,” Schroeder, of Hillsboro, Kan., told the DMs. And the district ministers—Rick Eshbaugh, (pictured above left) Central District; Terry Hunt, North Carolina District; Gary Wall, Pacific District and Tim Sullivan, Southern District—did just that, adding their perspective and experience to discussions.

Schroeder also clarified that only board members would be voting, in keeping with the USMB bylaws, and that interim executive director Don Morris would interact with the board on behalf of the USMB staff.

Monday morning and much of the afternoon was spent hearing reports. Each of the district ministers gave updates on the churches in their region and other activities in which they are involved. Aaron Hernandez, a member of the Leadership Board, reported on Latin America (LAMB) District activities. While the LAMB District does not have a DM, Hernandez is a pastor and leader in the district.

Morris reported as both the interim executive director and as director of Mission USA, the USMB church planting and church renewal ministry. During the executive director’s report, the board approved a request from the International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB) that USMB provide ICOMB executive director David Wiebe with administrative assistance in planning the 2015 ICOMB meeting to be held in the United States. This is an estimated 20 hours of work that will be done by USMB administrative assistant Lori Taylor.

 Taylor, who also serves as the USMB web master, Christian Leader editor Connie Faber, social media coordinator Myra Holmes and Donna Sullivan, who serves as the USMB event coordinator and bookkeeper, gave reports.

Staff reports and Leadership Board discussions touched on a variety of topics and ministries. Among the things noted were:

  • Ed Boschman, who retired at the end of July as the USMB executive director, will continue serving as the USMB representative to ICOMB.
  • Ministry Quest, a program of Tabor College in partnership with USMB that offers leadership training for high school students, offers a valuable experience.
  • Named 2015, the National Youth Conference, is scheduled for April in Denver.
  • The USMB Board of Faith and Life will host the National Pastors Orientation, an event for new USMB pastoral staff members, in March 2015 in San Diego, Calif.
  • U.S. Mennonite Brethren involvement this summer in Mennonite World Conference and Assembly 16.
  • Additional funds will be spent so that the new USMB website will be “mobile responsive.”
  • The financial report and post-event survey for Conection 2014, the biennial National Pastors Conference and National Convention.
  • Updates on nine current church plants in which Mission USA is involved and a report on possible new church plants for 2015.
  • USMB fundraising efforts, including Giving Tuesday, a national movement that promotes generosity on Dec. 2.
  • Recognition of Connie Faber for 20 years of employment with USMB.

The Leadership Board also reviewed a proposed 2015 budget prepared by the staff, and USMB staff members answered budget questions about their areas of responsibility. The staff was then dismissed, and the Leadership Board spent the remainder of Monday and Tuesday morning in executive session with the district ministers and Morris.

Following the meeting, Schroeder reported that the board unanimously passed a 2015 budget of  $767,740, a 2.1 percent increase over the 2014 budget. No other decisions were reported.

In addition to Schroeder, Hohm, Box and Hernandez, the Leadership Board includes Marv Schellenberg, vice chair from Wichita, Kan., David Hardt, treasurer from Bakersfield, Calif., Tim Hodge, secretary from Newton, Kan., and Clyde Ferguson, Jr., from Lenoir, NC.

Photos by Connie Faber

Photo 1: Rick Eshbaugh, Central District Conference minister, talks with Aaron Box, the newest Leadership Board member from the Pacific District Conference.

Photo 2: Clyde Ferguson, Jr., left, and Lud Hohm, right, lay their hands on Aaron Hernandez, Latin America MB District Conference pastor and Leadership Board member, during a prayer for the five USMB districts.


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