Due to coronavirus realities and restrictions, the biennial USMB National Pastors’ Conference and National Convention, scheduled for July 21-25, 2020, has moved online. The gathering that was to be held at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Independence, Mo., was cancelled June 1.
USMB 2020 Gathering Online is scheduled for July 22-24 with morning webinars beginning at 11 a.m. (CDT) and afternoon sessions starting at 1:00 p.m. (CDT). Podcasts featuring three of the scheduled keynote speakers will be released during July.
For details on the online events and to register, visit the USMB website.
The one-hour opening session Wednesday morning will include a time of worship led by Kim Bontrager of First MB Church, Wichita, Kan., and a message in Spanish with English translation by Aaron Hernandez, pastor of two USMB churches in Texas: Grace Point at Grulla and Grace Point at McAllen. The session will conclude with a prayer time led by Stephen Humber and Kelly Pankratz, members of the Gathering 2020 prayer team.
An afternoon webinar, “Increasing your church’s impact in the community” featuring a panel discussion led by Boris Borisov, pastor of Pacific Keep Church in Spokane, Wash., concludes the day’s activities.
Two online webinars are planned for Thursday, July 23. A morning webinar on discipleship and generosity will be led by MB Foundation president Jon Wiebe. A mid-afternoon webinar will focus on enhancing the ministry of town and country churches with speaker Ron Klassen, executive director of Rural Home Missionary Association.
A two-hour afternoon business session moderated by USMB Leadership Board chair David Hardt is planned for Thursday. Convention packets are being prepared and will be mailed to all churches. Agency reports will also be posted online.
Business agenda items will include electing new Leadership Board members and officers, affirming Board of Faith and Life at-large members as well as members of other boards which include USMB representatives and a review of appointments to other boards, including Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Disaster Service. Attendees will hear updates from the U.S. Board of Faith and Life, Multiply, MB Foundation, USMB Youth and an update about USMB church planting strategies.
Kadi Cole, author, speaker and leadership trainer, will address leadership development Friday morning, and the closing afternoon session will provide time to conduct unfinished business and for prayer and communion.
LEAD Pods featuring Cole, Rob Reimer, founder and president of Renewal Ministries International, and Nzuzi Mukawa, MB pastor, educator and church planter from DR Congo, will be released weekly beginning Friday, July 17. LEAD Pods are a new resource for USMB churches begun in April devoted to leadership development and spiritual growth for USMB churches.
The Congolese summit, originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon, will be held online Saturday morning, July 25.