Making disciples in all nations

Vantage Point: Working together for one local, national and global mission.

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Two and a half years ago at a U.S. Mennonite Brethren leadership summit in San Diego, Calif., where the future ministry structure of the conference was being discussed, the Lord made it clear that he wanted us to consider what our ministries could give to one another rather than what a future structure could give to us. I was challenged to consider what MB Mission could contribute to the missional health of our conference and churches, not just globally but also here in North America. After extensive consultation and prayer, a collaborative vision for “one mission – local, national and global” is becoming a reality.  The Canadian Conference of MB Churches recently released the C2C church planting network to join MB Mission in serving local churches and conferences in the U.S. and beyond.

MB Mission is committed to the three anchor causes of church planting, disciple making and leadership development that USMB churches have defined as the core strategy. In many ways, we have been working at all three of these causes globally for 117 years, and we are now released to also support our U.S. Conference, districts, churches and schools in these same efforts here at home.

In November 2017, we assisted all our USMB church planter couples in attending the continental C2C church planters’ summit in Quebec City. Don Morris, USMB national director, shared with the hundreds of participants why working through C2C was a strategic partnership for USMB. We heard from David and Essey Yirdaw, church planters in Denver, Colo., how God has provided resources, a better meeting location and new families in this ministry. David, the son of an Ethiopian immigrant family to Denver, described the multinational character of the church God is giving them in Denver. God is sending church planters from Africa to reach our cities. Mission is now “from everywhere to everywhere,” and it is local, national and global.

I meet regularly with Don Morris and our district ministers as the National Strategy Team to discern and coordinate national mission strategy and resourcing. We have affirmed C2C as our national church planting resource network. A team of USMB pastors—Brent Warkentin, Paul Robie, Brad Klassen and Fred Leonard—have joined Don in providing ongoing counsel and support to Scott Thomas, the C2C US national director.  This investment by leaders from missionally engaged and growing MB churches is a big win for our family. We are now also serving and networking with other denominational families who want to join the C2C network.  God is using the Mennonite Brethren to serve and bless others in his kingdom as we together consider what God is asking us to share, not just receive.

Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18), and then he gave his disciples the task of making disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey all he commanded (Matt. 28:18-20). We believe that means all of us are called to live on mission and share the gospel in our neighborhoods locally, together through C2C nationally and together through MB Mission globally. Our “One Mission” is the mission of Jesus, and we are joining disciples of Jesus around the world in that effort.

At our last National Strategy Team meeting we agreed to assist local churches interested in developing a local, national and global mission strategy. The local expression of that strategy must include equipping all of us to live on mission, not just those who serve internationally. We look forward to what this integrated approach to mission equipping and spiritual renewal can mean for both our church health and witness in this world. 

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