USMB has canceled Gathering 2020 due to the restrictions and realities of COVID-19.
It’s time to once again come together as a U.S. Mennonite Brethren family—for USMB Gathering 2020 in Independence, Mo. (north Kansas City). I encourage pastors and spouses to make plans now to join us July 21-23 for the biennial national pastors’ conference and everyone for our national convention, July 23-25.
The theme is “Increasing Impact,” with a focus on how we can increasingly maximize our personal and collective impact through enhanced soul care, leadership development, generosity, intentional disciple-making and evangelism—as we strive to make a real difference for Jesus in our communities, nation and the world. You can register online.
USMB Gathering 2020 is something that we do together to build strong bonds and relationships.
Both events will take place at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Independence—just a few miles down the road from the stadium of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. In 2019, Stoney Creek Hotel received the “Certificate of Excellence” from TripAdvisor.
Donna Sullivan, USMB administrative secretary, worked diligently to negotiate the lowest room rates (including breakfast) at this beautiful, almost new facility. Nestled within the Falls of Crackerneck Creek, there are beautiful nature views and many recreation opportunities along the two-mile walking path surrounded by a small lake right behind the hotel. You can visit Bass Pro Shops right next door or nearby Country Club Plaza.
Meeting at convention is something Mennonite Brethren have done for decades. It’s a unique time for gathering together to share stories, hear updates, listen to quality speakers, take part in inspiring worship, do a little business, renew old friendships and create new ones. This is something that we do together to build strong bonds and relationships.
As we meet in Kansas City, I believe it will also be a time of recognizing the diverse cultures and ethnicities that make up USMB. Diasporic people groups, particularly Congolese and Ethiopian, have been connecting with us recently for potential affiliation. In fact, a mini summit of Congolese pastors and leaders will take place on the Thursday afternoon of USMB Gathering 2020.
Four different main speakers plus a live panel discussion led by pastor Boris Borisov of Pacific Keep will express a variety of ideas about how we can personally and collectively make an increasing impact for Jesus. Rob Reimer (pronounced Ree’mer) will share with our pastors about increasing their own soul care and marriage health as they serve their congregations. Gary Hoag, known as the Generosity Monk, has dedicated his life to encouraging Christian generosity while serving in leadership positions at Denver Seminary and Biola University. Kadi Cole is an author, speaker and leadership trainer who is passionate about helping local churches thrive and equipping leaders to fulfill their calling. Her newest project is to help churches to do a better job of increasing female leadership in their congregations. Nzuzi Mukawa, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is currently serving as a pastor, mission professor, Multiply team leader and missional church planter, mobilizing churches in DR Congo for mission and evangelism. It’s a great group of presenters.
The USMB staff and leadership board realizes that it is indeed an investment to pay for registration, accommodations and travel costs to attend. That’s why we’ve worked hard to make it a most worthwhile event. Many churches will send their pastors, but I sincerely hope that many others will attend as well, that we continue to gather in this collective way in order to build one another up, worship together and uphold relationships. There’s a trend in America to forego denominational meetings. I think this creates isolation, vacuums and disinterest about our companion churches. We need one another.
So, I’m asking for us all to consider this gathering a priority. Pastors and ministry leaders, please encourage your flock to attend. Come to Kansas City, inspired to learn and engage with our USMB family in how we might have increasing impact: together!
Don Morris is the USMB national director. He and his wife, Janna, live in Edmond, Oklahoma, where they attend Cross Timbers Church.