Emphasis on intentional disciple-making could transform USMB
by Connie Faber
A new national ministry plan will be unveiled this July when U.S. Mennonite Brethren gather for the National Convention. Several articles are published in the May/June issue of the Christian Leader highlight the Future Story, the name of the document outlining this new vision and strategy.
Although the USMB Leadership Board’s current plan is to limit the information shared about the Future Story prior to the National Convention, we do know that it concentrates on three activities that will be carried out using a networking approach. The overall strategic focus is on
- local, national and global church multiplication, church planting and evangelism,
- intentional disciple-making and
- leadership development.
While all three initiatives provide exciting challenges for our churches, I am most excited about deliberate disciple-making.
Discipleship is more than gaining knowledge. Discipleship is God at work in our lives, renovating our hearts and changing our behavior. Discipleship is following Jesus. It is providing shelter for the homeless, liberating victims of human trafficking, healing the sick and doing what we can to eliminate the conditions and structures that bring about poverty, slavery and disease. Discipleship takes place in community and that community extends beyond our local churches and neighborhoods to include our nation and the world. So the emphasis on networking—following Jesus in community—is spot on for us as Mennonite Brethren.
If we are successful in stirring a fresh commitment to discipleship among U.S. Mennonite Brethren, we will see leaders emerge and congregations grow. A renewed emphasis on discipleship is the foundation for the other two initiatives. Courageous discipleship in our world will both require and generate servant-leaders, and it will be the sweet-smelling aroma that will attract new followers of Jesus. May we boldly embrace this new commitment to become devoted followers of Jesus, disciples who are part of thriving communities of faith that strive to show our world how to live as God intended.
Related stories about the 2016 National Convention and the Future Story:
Are we ready to buy in? A call to embrace the three core convictions that define our Future Story as U.S. Mennonite Brethren.
Living abundantly as we press on: An invitation to the July 2016 National Convention and Pastors' Conference.
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