The National Pastors’ Orientation (NPO) held March 28-30 in San Diego, Calif., on Shelter Island, provided a great time for relationship building, information sharing and learning about MB history and current USMB vision.
Twenty-six pastors new to USMB, including lead pastors, church planters, associate pastors, as well as 11 spouses, plus 18 presenters and five of their spouses attended the three-day event.
Along with considerable free time provided for relationship building, including afternoon and evening excursions on Monday, a good—oftentimes fun—atmosphere permeated, even during the learning sessions. A special, unexpected treat came from pastor Andrew Wuerffel who roused the crowd with superb yodeling.
About the free time for creating relationships, one pastor wrote following the event, “I think it was a wise choice to give us the open evening, as it allowed pastors to develop a bit more organic relationships with one another.”
On hand from MB agencies and schools were representatives from Fresno Pacific University, Tabor College, FaithFront, MB Foundation, Multiply, ICOMB and USMB Youth. Each presented briefly, introducing and informing the attendees about their ministries.
U.S. Board of Faith and Life produces the NPO, along with USMB, and most BFL members were present and provided sessions focusing on our Anabaptist/Evangelical roots, the USMB Confession of Faith, MB history and some information pertaining to current issues
USMB considerably subsidizes the NPO in order to reduce costs for attending pastors.
In reviewing the event, one pastor wrote, “I think some sort of regular ‘MB overview’ like this could be a really valuable resource for all pastors, not just for new pastors.”
Don Morris encouraged pastors to make sure their church’s members and regular attendees are receiving the bi-monthly Christian Leader magazine.
Brandon Pasion led meaningful and inspiring worship each morning and for the closing communion service.
“It’s always special when you have a room full of pastors who are free to just enjoy worshipping without having responsibility for the service, they let it out,” says Morris, USMB national director. “It’s wonderful, heartfelt connection with Jesus.”
The NPO is typically held every two years on odd-numbered years. With COVID-19, the schedule was delayed one year, resulting in a three-year gap between NPO gatherings. To get back on track, BFL determined to hold another event next year, then resume an every-other year format.
Any recently licensed pastor who missed this year is strongly encouraged to attend the NPO in 2023, likely in April after Easter. Most USMB districts require newly licensed pastors to attend the NPO in order to better grasp how the conference functions, what agencies are available for resources, what USMB offers through the LEAD initiatives, the Church Planting Council (CPC) and the new Leadership Pipeline. Attendees can meet and get to know conference leaders, build relationships with other pastors and learn how their church fits within the USMB family.
One attendee at this year’s NPO wrote, “I would think that most pastors would value something like this. I would come again with great anticipation.”