USMB continues to come alongside our local Mennonite Brethren churches, serving in many ways to help maximize each church’s full ministry potential. One of the LEAD initiatives that has been well received and has provided significant resourcing for hundreds of people is LEAD Cohorts.
LEAD Cohorts are online meeting places of small groups of MB pastors and ministry leaders, including many who are lay leaders in their churches. It’s about meeting with like-minded people who are striving to follow Jesus well, learning new things together, sharing life experiences with one another and being encouraged within a group setting.
Typically, groups meet every two weeks via Zoom for about an hour. Groups are intended to have a relatively short life span of about three months. Cohorts kick off twice each year, usually in February and then a different lineup is offered in September.
Many cohort leaders have led groups several times.
“It’s been a joy to lead a LEAD Cohort,” says Chandelle Claassen, who is a life-coach. “Thanks for the opportunity to do it again.”
Claassen has been a regular cohort leader and will lead another this spring.
“[God] used the LEAD Cohort as time to teach, equip and encourage me,” says one cohort participant. “As a result, I have seen my faith increase. Two words to describe my experience: Disciple awakened!”
LEAD Cohorts are meant to make a significant difference in people’s lives. Although cohorts provide solid training and growth, it’s also rewarding to simply connect with others, perhaps someone a thousand miles away.
“My participation in two different cohorts has allowed me to get to know pastors from other parts of the country that I don’t get to interact with on a regular basis,” says one pastor. “I have valued the times when we have been able to share the joys, struggles and fears of ministry together and encourage and lift one another up.”
The various cohorts being offered can be found on the USMB website—www.usmb.org. Click on the Resources tab and then hit LEAD Initiatives for Pastors and Churches, then LEAD Cohorts on the right. To sign up, simply use the red “register” tab or send an email to Janae Rempel (email@example.com). Tell her which cohort you’d like to take part in, and she’ll get you set up—it’s that easy. Promotional emails will also be sent out in January that provide for easy registration.
USMB National Director Don Morris says, “We’re providing a lot of variety in these cohorts, including ones in Spanish and Amharic for Ethiopian leaders. And for the first time, we plan to offer a cohort for worship leaders this spring.”
When Morris first began exploring offering cohorts several years ago, he was rebuffed.
“The people I spoke with about offering cohorts didn’t think it would fly,” he says. “I spoke to the wrong people. I then decided we were going to see where it went and if it didn’t work at least we had tried. But the response has been amazing and hopefully the benefit for those participating has been genuinely fulfilling. One thing I’ve noticed at our conventions, people who’ve been in cohorts together already have a connection and can then develop that relationship even further. We often say that USMB is like a family. I think LEAD Cohorts fit right in with who we are.”
Whether it’s Praying Scripture Over Our Kids, Teaching Apologetics, Leading Through Uncertain Times, Youth Ministry Realities, የኢትዮጵያ ቤተክርስቲያን መጋቢዎችና መሪዎች – ሳሙኤል አሰፋ, La descripción general del Nuevo Testamento, or A Group About Nothing for Those Who Want to Talk About Something, there’s a spot in a LEAD Cohort for you. There is no charge for participating in a cohort. Sign up at www.usmb.org/lead-cohorts.