What a wonderful and exciting time to be a part of the USMB family. This is a new season of partnering together that crosses over district, ethnic and traditional tribal lines. This vision forward truly is a move of God, a move of God that will cause us to lean in toward each other with greater force for the building up of his church. A move toward a greater opportunity to share resources, experiences and accumulated wins and losses that can be networked to help build others up outside our current reach and capacity.
Ed Stetzer, in an article about networks written for his blog, The Exchange, reminds us that people are ultimately attracted to fire, not fences. We are to work around and at times break down the barriers that previously held us back from coming together as one body. The general attitude of “we are doing this together, and we’re in this together” undoubtedly leads to momentum toward the greater cause of reaching the lost. So the question that continues to provide much imagination, creativity and opportunity is: How can we do this more effectively?
The LAMB District, in the southern tip of Texas, has been challenged by this question as we engage and participate in our three USMB core commitments: multiplication/evangelism, intentional discipleship and leadership development. Our desired future is that all three core commitments be spinning equally and functioning at full potential. But the challenge was where to start.
A few years back, Jon Wiebe of MB Foundation encouraged us to look into leadership and theological development thru The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI), a World Impact ministry. TUMI focuses on equipping leaders, which is directly in our scope of core commitments. LAMB’s leadership team prayed and agreed that this would be our area to start.
We would start by providing an opportunity for every church to send local members for leadership development that would eventually bring fruit to their local church. Fruit in the form of trained and developed leaders that would eventually lead their local churches in evangelism and discipleship efforts.
Our current batch of students has just completed their first module, and already churches are beginning to see the benefit of this effective program. Rolando Mireles, LAMB secretary and long-time lead member, recently commented that he is “encouraged by the steps being made by the district to provide some Bible training and leadership development to help the local church.” This is an opportunity that is allowing us to see new young leaders who serve well within the local church. Mireles also said, “In all my years God has been very faithful, and I know that he will continue to do so with the coming generation after us.”
As well, we are taking steps toward the spiritual health and care of our local pastors. The district has partnered with our local churches to provide a free pastoral retreat that will allow our pastors to find soul renewal and encouragement through relationship building. Our desire is to see healthy churches led by spiritually healthy pastors.
There is still much work to be done, as well as a greater intentional effort needed toward partnering with our different USMB agencies and districts. So, we ask that you continue to pray that the LAMB District’s future story be one that is linked together with greater force to our diverse USMB family.