LEAD Cohorts are online meeting places for small groups of MB pastors and leaders – or anyone interested in learning more about a specific topic or gathering with like-minded people.

LEAD Cohorts are FREE to all participants. The only cost is for books or materials, if recommended by the cohort leader. LEAD Cohorts typically last three months and meet online every two weeks for about an hour.

The next session of LEAD Cohorts will begin this Fall. Watch your email inbox for registration and information in early June. Below is a listing of the cohorts that will be offered, and more will be added soon. Online registration will be available. If you have additional questions, please email Janae Shafer.

Please note: The registration method for LEAD Cohorts has changed, but cohorts remain a free resource for you. To register, select a ticket, then click "Continue." After filling in your contact information, click "Complete order." Please note: There is no charge for LEAD Cohorts.

About Nothing for Those Who Want to Talk About Something - Luke LeViere and Jason Quiring
In community we can dream of fun possibilities, have a context to handle difficult stuff and celebrate each other’s victories. Out of relationships ministry partnerships happen. This cohort is about building and strengthening relationships through organic conversations – what’s on your mind this week? This cohort is for people looking for friends, real friends who love the Lord and want to build His Kingdom together. No other agendas, please. For male pastors only.

Luke LeViere is pastor of Good News Fellowship in Ferndale, Wash. Jason Quiring is lead pastor of Greenhouse Community Church in Saratoga Springs, Utah.

Cohort dates and time TBD

Calling out the Called: Discussing Leadership Development – Kyle Goings
Join this dynamic, interactive cohort designed for pastors and ministry leaders who are passionate about cultivating the next generation of church leaders and pastors. Whether you're looking to gain new insights or share your valuable experience, this cohort is the perfect platform for collaborative growth and learning. No expertise? No problem! All you need is a heart willing to support and invest in the future of church leadership. We'll share resources, hear from experienced developers and more. Don't miss this chance to shape the future of church leadership together.

Kyle Goings has nearly 20 years of experience in youth ministry and has worked as the NextGen Pastor at Ridgepoint Church in Wichita, Kan., since 2014. He is also the director of USMB NextGen, a ministry for U.S. Mennonite Brethren youth and young adults. Kyle and his wife, Katie, have two daughters.

Cohort dates and time TBD

Christian mythology: Becoming aware of the untruths we have passed on in the church without realizing it - Jeremy Matlock
We will discuss many passages and ideas that have been taught incorrectly and how to teach and receive them biblically. This is going to be fun, interesting and probably surprising.

Jeremy Matlock is lead pastor of Hillsboro (Kan.) MB Church. He has also served as pastor of adult discipleship and assimilation, a mission mobilizer, a missionary in Russia and China and a high school Bible/math teacher. 

Cohort dates and time TBD

Connection and Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives – Jen LeViere
Pastors’ wives, unite! It may not be a title that you ever thought you would be tagged with, or maybe it is what you dreamed of as a girl! Either way, you have a unique ministry to your husband, your church and your community. This group will meet to be a safe space for conversations and support, to encourage and collaborate, and to build friendships with sisters near and far! For pastors’ wives only. Capped at 10.

Jen LeViere serves at Good News Fellowship Church in Ferndale, Wash., where her husband, Luke, is the lead pastor. They have four kids: Adele (12), Jacob (10), Selah (8) and Mercy (5).

Cohort dates and time TBD

Contemplative Conversations – Chandelle Claassen
This cohort will be reflective and interactive within a relaxed setting meant to care for your soul. We will immerse ourselves in various scriptures in a personal way via a spiritual practice called Lectio Divina or "Divine Reading."

Chandelle Claassen is a trained spiritual director and certified life coach and member of the USMB LEAD Coaching team. Chandelle lives in North Newton, Kansas.

Cohort will meet the first and third Tuesdays at 2 p.m. (CST) beginning Sept. 3.
Sept. 3 & 17, Oct. 1 & 15, Nov. 5 & 19, Dec. 3 & 17

Discover Your EQ and How to Raise It - Ed Boschman
In their book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, authors Bradberry and Greaves clarify that EQ is critical to success in every aspect of our lives. The four core EQ skills are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. The book, required for this cohort, includes a code to access a powerful EQ assessment, which will measure your EQ and provide a launch point for our discussion and a personalized, proven strategies action plan to increase your EQ. Wanna ramp up your life’s impact at home, among friends, in board meetings, in public and while preaching? Join me. (Limited to 6 participants).
Recommended Reading: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Jean Greaves and Travis Bradberry

Ed Boschman, former USMB executive director, is a LEAD Coach and former member of the ICOMB executive committee. He lives in Lynden, Wash.

Cohort dates and time TBD

Ethiopian Pastors and Leaders, Tariku Semone 

የኢትዮጵያ ቤተክርስቲያን መጋቢዎችና መሪዎች
ይህ ህብረት የኢትዮጵያ አብያተክርስቲያናት መጋቢዎችና መሪዎች በመደበኛነት በጋር በመሰባሰብ ግንኙነታቸውን የሚያጠናክሩበት ፣ ስለ አገልግሎት መረጃዎችን የሚለዋወጡበት ፣ በጋራየሚመካከሩበት ፣ የሚጸልዩበት፣ ቃሉን የሚያጠኑበት ና የሚወያዩበት ፣ በየ ወሩ የመጨርሻ ማክሰኞ የሚደረግ ልዩ የአንድነት ፕሮግራም ነው።

Ethiopian Pastors and Leaders: (English translation) This cohort is geared for Ethiopian pastors and church leaders who desire to network and fellowship online on a regular basis to strengthen relationships, discuss and exchange information and ideas for ministry, pray together and much more. The discussion will be held on the third Tuesday of each month in Amharic and sometimes English.

Tariku Semone has served as a pastor at Ethiopian Christian Fellowship Church in San Jose, Calif., for more than 20 years. 

Cohort will meet the last Monday of the month beginning Aug. 26
Aug. 26 Sept. 30, Oct. 28, Nov. 25

Faithfully Different – J.L. Martin
Have you ever gone to a conference and wanted to continue the conversation that was started by the speaker? Now you can. Natasha Crain was one of the speakers at Gathering 2024 in Omaha, and this cohort will be reading through her book together to go deeper into what was briefly shared in Omaha. Even if you didn't attend but are interested in this topic, please join us.
Recommended reading: Faithfully Different by Natasha Crain

J.L. Martin is the Bookkeeper/Event Planner/Social Media Coordinator for USMB. Previously, he served as Pastor of Children and Family at Hesston (Kan.) MB Church. J.L. served in children and youth ministry contexts for more than 20 years. He enjoys coffee, Spartan races, reading and working out.  He and his wife, Bethany, have four children and live in Hesston.

Cohort will meet every other Thursday at 11 a.m. CST beginning Sept. 19.
Sept. 5 & 19, Oct. 3, 17 & 31, Nov. 14, Dec. 5 & 19

Guidelines for AI usage in the Church—Matt Ehresman
Very few things have become cultural staples faster than the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) over the past few years. Chat GPT and similar tools are everywhere now, and we're all still figuring out how to use them—or if we should use them. In this cohort, we'll walk through some practical ways AI tools can save you time and help you generate new ideas. We'll look at Chat GPT, Gemini, Claude, Dall-E and others, but we'll also pause to have important conversations about biblical precedents and ethical dilemmas to consider. Bottom line: Don't worry about the Terminator taking over just yet. With wisdom and discernment, AI can help make your life easier, and we'll explore those options together.

Matt has served as the media/graphic design/communications/web/video/social media guy at Ridgepoint Church in Wichita, Kan., since June 2013. He is also the host of LEAD Pods, the leadership podcast for U.S. Mennonite Brethren. He and his wife, Tillie, have two daughters.

Cohort dates and time TBD

Nuts and bolts of pastoral ministry—Tom Byford
In this cohort, we will discuss strategies for doing the regular work of a pastor. Some of the topics we will discuss include planning a funeral service, planning a wedding ceremony, meaningful church membership and leading a staff meeting. While newer pastors would benefit greatly from this group, we also encourage more seasoned pastors to come learn from each other as we all share our knowledge and wisdom.

Tom Byford is lead pastor at Parkview MB Church in Hillsboro, Kan. He also serves on the Southern District Board of Faith and Life. He lives in Hillsboro with his wife, Nicole, and four children.

Cohort will meet every other Wednesday at 11 a.m. CST beginning Sept. 4.
Sept. 4 & 18, Oct. 2, 16 & 30, Nov. 13 & 27, Dec 11

Personal Outreach Equipping and Practical Exercises—Stephen Humber
There is a kind of joy in outreach ministry that is unlike any other, and yet most of us would admit to being pretty weak in this area. Let's spend some time focusing on it together. We'll "learn with doing in mind" each session, through a variety of practical equippings followed by real-world practice. We'll debrief our experiences and pray for each other. It's going to be very challenging but good!

Stephen Humber leads one of the two mobilization teams in the U.S. for Multiply. He lives in Denver, Colo.

Cohort dates and time TBD

Praying Scripture over our Kids – Kelsey Ensz
Moms: Have you experienced the power of praying Scripture over your children? God's words are powerful and trustworthy; praying them back to God honors His heart and clarifies our minds and emotions. Moms of school age children will gather for short, simple conversational prayer through the format provided by Moms In Prayer. We'll get to know each other and pray Scripture over our children and their schools (homeschool/private/public/etc.).

Kelsey Ensz began praying Scripture over her children when she moved to a new town six years ago. A simple invitation to attend a Moms In Prayer group opened her eyes to the power of praying God's words back to Him and brought deep friendships into her life using this avenue of honesty and vulnerability. Kelsey has been married to Nathan Ensz, Pastor of Kingwood Bible Church in Salem, Ore., for 24 years. They have three children.

Cohort dates and time TBD

Youth Ministry Realities – Russ Claassen
Get to know other youth workers as we engage in passionate discussion focused on the realities we face as youth workers. We will explore topics relevant to the group. Sessions may include anything related to youth ministry--from personal leadership development and spiritual growth, to recruiting and training volunteers, parent ministries and talking about Jesus with teens. The possibilities are endless. This cohort is for anyone who works with youth in your local church--volunteers, small group leaders, youth pastors, etc.

Russ Claassen is Southern District Conference youth minister. Russ lives in North Newton, Kansas.

Cohort dates and time TBD

Dates and/or times on registration forms may not be accurate. The correct information is listed in the descriptions to the left. Once registered, you will be contacted by the cohort leader with more details and information. Thank you. 


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