New name brings clarity, highlights mission
By Karla Braun for the MB Herald and Christian Leader
After nearly 110 years, most under the somewhat unwieldy moniker Mennonite Brethren Mission and Service International, MBMSI is changing its name to MB Mission. Following a process of consultation with partner organizations, pastors, supporters and missionaries, various boards approved the new name and fresh visuals.
“Many individuals have simplified it (MBMSI) to MB Mission already,” says Larry Neufeld, lead team, mobilization and media. “It’s a natural step.”
The organization began rolling out the new name through a letter to pastors, a press release and a full-page announcement in the Winter 2011 issue of Witness, MBMSI’s quarterly magazine inserted in the MB Herald and Christian Leader. By the end of the first quarter, all the organization’s branding and correspondence will reflect the new name and the new tagline, “Going to the least reached.”
The “family” made it clear that “clarity and simplicity is the road to go down,” says Neufeld. “The brand becomes an expression of who we are as an organization.”
In a letter to pastors, general director Randy Friesen writes, “We are rooted in the faith of leaders who have gone before us.”
“Our history will help propel us into the future,” says Neufeld. “Mission is about moving forward, a sense of invitation.”
The slate gray color in the logo expresses the “grounding” of the past while the deep orange graphic evokes a sense of vibrant energy—pointing to “where God is moving, doors he’s opening, being obedient to him,” says Neufeld.
“It (name change) will have minimal impact on the way we go about our work, but it will certainly take less explaining both to Thai nationals and other missionaries we come across,” says Andy Owen, a long-term missionary in Thailand. “At the same time, it still maintains the distinctiveness we bring as Mennonite Brethren to our Kingdom ministry around the world.”
Constituents affirmed showing the tie to the Mennonite Brethren church in the name, and identified mission on the frontiers as a characteristic of the organization. MBMSI currently has 85 missionaries around the world, 18 in restricted access countries.