LEAD Pods are the official USMB podcast devoted to leadership development and spiritual growth for Mennonite Brethren churches. This is MBs sharing ideas with other MBs, and hopefully beyond. ‘It’s the best of us to the rest of us.’

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EP. 031 – Teaching Kids About Jesus At Church and At Home (J.L. Martin)
JUNE 10, 2021

Teaching kids about Jesus is one of a parent's most important responsibilities. Today a lot of parents feel inadequate and aren't sure how to actually do that. The church can (and should!) help, but the most effect kids ministry occurs when the church and the parents work together to install Christian principles and values to the next generation.

J.L. Martin has been on both sides of this as a children & families pastor as well as raising four kids of his own. He understands the short attention spans, the awkwardness of praying out loud, and the importance of genuine faith conversations at bedtime. This episode is packed of super practical information that is helpful both for parents as well as those working in churches to give us the best chance at developing a healthy faith in our kids.

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EP. 030 – Kids Ministry Before & After COVID (Brittney Howard)
MAY 27, 2021

Kids ministry is a crucial part of most (if not all) churches, and rightfully so. Effectively ministering to kids and their parents is a huge responsibility and great opportunity to share the gospel with our communities.

COVID rocked the world in many ways, and children's ministry certainly wasn't an exception. Finding ways to reach children stuck at home was a challenge, and now that things are opening up, are there parts of our ministries that need to be shifted, removed, or started to adjust to this "new normal"?

Brittney Howard oversees the children's ministry at Prodigal Church in Fresno, and she and her team have been wrestling with all those questions. They found creative ways to minister during the shutdown and have great ideas of goals for the re-opening process. Be encouraged and maybe get some new ideas as we all walk through these rapidly changing times together.

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EP. 029 – Caring for Your Aging Parents (Lisa Keith)
MAY 13, 2021

All relationships can be messy, but the parent/child relationship is particularly interesting. As parents get older and their kids become care-givers, that can be a rocky transition, even for the closest of families. Knowing how to navigate new boundaries, difficult life adjustments, and challenging health diagnoses can lead to a lot of stress for both the parent and the child. How can we prepare ourselves in advance for that stage of life, and what does "success" even look like?

Today we talk with Lisa Keith from FPU who is currently facing this challenge with her parents. After they moved in with Lisa a few years ago in great health, all of their lives were forced to shift once health and memory issues rapidly entered the picture. Lisa is handling the challenges with a lot of grace, and today she reminds us that there is always a silver lining as long as we keep proper perspective.

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EP. 028 – USMB/Congo Partnership (Henri Ngolo, Terry Hunt, Rick Eshbaugh)
APR 29, 2021

Sometimes unlikely pairings can lead to significant and important partnerships. In recent years, many Congolese immigrants have found a new home in the U.S. in MB church families. Henri Ngolo has been one of those influential leaders, and MB district ministers Terry Hunt and Rick Eshbaugh have been instrumental in helping these new Congolese church plants grow and thrive in the U.S.

Many immigrants coming to the U.S. today are viewing that shift as a missionary assignment. The U.S. NEEDS church leaders from around the world, and we have much to share with them. Together, we can have a huge impact on the kingdom of God locally and around the world.

A lot of positive change has already come from these Congolese partnerships, and exciting things are on the horizon. Enjoy this episode and be encouraged!

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EP. 027 – COVID's Effect on the Local Church (Dan Strutz, Jordan Ringhofer, & Tim Sullivan)
APR 15, 2021

The sudden emergence of COVID-19 rocked all of our worlds, but church leaders had to move quickly and make tough decisions about how their congregations would meet. Those tough decisions seemed to keep coming for basically an entire year, and that pressure can put a huge strain on leaders--especially in particularly divided times.

Today we talk with three of USMB's district ministers to hear what they have been hearing from our local MB pastors around the country. We hear some encouraging success stories, and we also share stories of burdens we've all had to learn to carry together. As the world starts to slowly reopen, we hope this conversation leaves you encouraged and ready to see what God is up to in this new season of ministry.

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EP. 026 – Honoring God in the Workplace (Jason Lansdown)
APR 1, 2021

Many of our listeners are on staff at a local church, meaning our literal job is to spread the word about Jesus. As great of a privilege as that is, often times people working in the marketplace have more opportunities to build relationships and share about their faith with non-believers. Business leaders have tremendous opportunities to share the love of Christ by the way they lead, how they treat their employees, and how they view their business.

Jason Lansdown owns two Chick-fil-A restaurants in Wichita, and he is a fantastic leader. His faith plays a critical role in how he leads his teams and runs his restaurants, and he is very intentional about financial generosity and leadership development in the next generation.

How can you honor God with your day-to-day work? How should the church view wealth and business success? Should churches start utilizing more business principles in their leadership? This is a great episode with lots of practical advice, so enjoy this great conversation with Jason (and then go grab a Chick-fil-A sandwich).

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EP. 025 – Fighting COVID (Dr. Jules Glanzer)
MAR 18, 2021

All of our lives have been affected by the spread of the Coronavirus, but few of us have been hit as directly as Tabor's president, Dr. Jules Glanzer. After catching COVID, his health declined dramatically and led to an extended stay in the hospital. As his symptoms got worse, he even had a vision of entering heaven that led to significant shifts in how he's choosing to spend his days now.

Dr. Glanzer's story is encouraging and inspiring. He also shares important leadership lessons we can all take away from this challenging time. Thank you, Dr. Glanzer, for sharing your story so openly with us. Enjoy, listeners!

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EP. 024 – Living With Grief / Loving Grievers Well (Jenny Akina)
MAR 04, 2021

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest parts of the human experience. It's also true that knowing how to support grieving friends can be a tricky tight rope to walk. Everyone grieves differently, and knowing how to walk alongside people on that journey can be a real challenge.

Today we talk with Jenny Akina, a Grief Share leader from Fresno. Her husband passed away years ago, and her journey with her own grief has given her a big heart for others going through the grieving process. This week's episode has valuable information both for those who have recently lost a loved one, as well as those of us who want to support friends and family members currently going through the grieving process.

Grief is hard, and it's a topic the church doesn't often address. The Bible instructs us to mourn with those who mourn, so hopefully this conversation gives you the tools to do that well.

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EP. 023 – Honoring God With Your Finances (Nate Yoder)
FEB 18, 2021

Debt. College. Mortgages. Tithing. Roths. Wills.

Like it or not, money is a big part of our lives. A lot of us didn't get great training for the nuts and bolts of a healthy financial life, and it can be challenging to know where to begin--especially if you find yourself in a tough financial situation.

Today we talk with Nate Yoder from MB Foundation about all of this and more. How can and should we use our money to have a healthy financial outlook ourselves, and what does God have to say about our money? This is a practical and helpful episode where we think you'll learn a lot, so enjoy and get in touch with MB Foundation if you could use additional help!

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EP. 022 – TWO-PART EPISODE! Political Division (Don Morris & Tim Sullivan) + Free Speech & the First Amendment (Lyndon Vix)
FEB 04, 2021

After a few weeks off, we're BACK with a special two-part episode! Several big cultural events took place while we were away, and we wanted to spend some time as a family talking about the violence at the capitol and the current political landscape. Don Morris and Tim Sullivan guide us through what the MB statement of faith has to say about events like these and provide some comfort and encouragement for these times we're in.

We also talk with lawyer Lyndon Vix about free speech and the first amendment. These days there's lot of talk about "big tech" shutting down sites like Parler and taking certain leaders off platforms like Twitter. These are big and complicated issues, but as leaders, it's important for us to be educated and informed about cultural discussions like these.

Buckle up--we cover a lot of ground today. But we hope you leave encouraged and confident in your faith of who is really in charge in these troubling days we face.

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EP. 021 – Singles in the Church (Lisa Anderson)
DEC 17, 2020

Singles often get overlooked in today's churches. Sometimes churches inadvertently do or say hurtful things to single (no pun intended) them out, and we would all be wise to do a little check-up to ensure we're ministering to and meeting the needs of this important demographic in our churches.

Main takeaway: Singles aren't weird or broken or misfits, and they need to be included and welcomed in our churches.

Lisa Anderson is the Director of Young Adults at Focus on the Family, and she's also the host of the Boundless Show, their prolific podcast with nearly 700 (!) episodes. Lisa is a ton of fun and a wealth of knowledge on this important topic.

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EP. 020 – Creating Space to Experience Jesus (Gavin Linderman & Micah Bentley)
DEC 03, 2020

Gavin and Micah are leaders on staff at Axiom Church in Peoria, Arizona. Their church plant has seen a lot of success in recent years because of their desire to remain authentic and reach out to people who may otherwise feel left out of the traditional church.

Gavin and Micah are artists, and that artistic soul reveals itself in the culture at Axiom. Your church may not look or sound like theirs, but we can all learn from their desire to lead from their true selves. Our communities sense that authenticity, and leading from that space will be an appealing way to display the love of Jesus.

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EP. 019 – Realities of Church Planting (Christian Kohs & Phil Wiebe)
NOV 19, 2020

Church plants often lead to powerful spiritual growth and revival. Plus, Jesus called us to go out into the world and make more and more disciples. As successful and rewarding as church planting can be, actually starting a new church in the real world comes with a unique set of challenges.

In today's episode we talk with two young MB pastors who have completed the church plant process and are now working on launching second campuses. Join us as we hear from Christian Kohs in Minnesota and Phil Wiebe in Utah to hear more about their church planting journeys, their vision for their new campuses, and how we can all work together to most effectively share the good news of Jesus.

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EP. 018 – COVID's Impact on Mental Health (Cheryl Dueck Smith & Carlin Buhrman)
NOV 05, 2020

2020 has been quite the year. The combination of COVID and politics and race issues and natural disasters has been hard on all of us, and most of us could probably do a better job of taking care of ourselves. Today we're joined by two MB therapists with tips on how to manage our mental health, care for each other, and even find ways to thrive--and not just survive--the messy world we find ourselves in.

Thanks to Cheryl Dueck Smith and Carlin Buhrman for sharing their insight and advice with us!

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EP. 017 – Politics, Social Media and How to Be a "Good Christian" online (Sam Hoover)
OCT 22, 2020

The world of politics seems to just get messier and messier. This is a big week in America as we prepare for the upcoming election. The issues represented by our votes are big and important, and most of us feel compelled to share our thoughts and our convictions in various forms online. While there's nothing inherently wrong with that, you've probably seen Christian friends post things that maybe they shouldn't have, or maybe you've found YOURSELF in a heated Facebook debate you didn't intend to be in.

It's messy, and it's hard to know how Jesus would want us to act online--especially in divisive seasons like this one. Luckily, we chat with an expert today, and Sam Hoover has some excellent tips and advice we would all be wise to follow as we aim to be "good Christians" online--especially this week!

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EP. 016 – ICOMB's Work Around the World (Rudi Plett & Ed Boschman)
OCT 08, 2020

The Mennonite Brethren family is much larger than just those of us living in the U.S. We have thousands of MB brothers and sisters around the world, and we all need each other to be most effective.

In this episode, Rudi Plett (the director of ICOMB) and Ed Boschman (USMB representative) share how God has been at work in these world conferences and how we can best work together to help spread the good news of Jesus and develop our church leaders around the world.

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EP. 015 – Reaching Your Community Through Art (Cathy Beachy)
SEPT 24, 2020

The story of Jesus and the woman at the well is a well-known and favorite story from the Gospels, but how should that interaction affect our lives and our ministries today? Copper Hills Church in Peoria, Arizona used that story as a model of how they wanted to serve their community. After years of dreaming and hard work, they now oversee the Copper Hills Center for the Arts, which is an awesome and powerful outreach to their community.

Today we talk with Cathy Beachy, the director of the Center for the Arts. She shares not only details of how this works in their community, but she also shares ideas of how all of us in all of our churches can shift our mindset on "outreach" and how we can benefit our community, meeting common needs just like Jesus did for the woman at the well.

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EP. 014 – Reaching Millennials & Gen Z (Kyle Goings)
SEPT 10, 2020

Your age and the culture you were raised in play a huge role in how you see God and how you view the church. On this week's episode we dive into a study on all current generations, with a special highlight on the emerging generations of Millennials and Gen Z. What characteristics define them, how are they different from those who came before them, and what should the church be doing to reach them more effectively?

Kyle Goings is an experienced youth pastor who has studied this topic more than just about anyone. And (shhh!) don't tell anyone: He actually is a millennial. This is a fast-paced episode that will greatly benefit your ministry, especially if you find yourself lacking in representation from these emerging young adults.

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EP. 013 – Mennonite Brethren: The Rebellious Underdogs (Peggy Goertzen & Wendell Loewen)
AUG 27, 2020

Who exactly are the Mennonite Brethren? Where did we come from, and what makes us unique from the hundreds of other Christian denominations?

Don't miss this episode! Peggy Goertzen is the Director and Archivist of the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, and Wendell Loewen has been an MB pastor and professor for many years. Hear them blitz through our MB history and share practical handles you can use to explain this faith story to those who may be unfamiliar.

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EP. 012 – Ethnic & Gender Diversity with MCC (Dina Gonzalez-Piña)
AUG 13, 2020

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) does important work around the world in the areas of relief, development, and peace in the name of Christ. In today's ever-changing culture, one way they do that is by providing resources, training, and intentional effort to support and build diversity. Dina Gonzalez-Pina specializes in the areas of gender and ethnic diversity, and she shares practical insight in today's episode for church leaders.

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EP. 011 – Developing Female Leaders in the Church (Kadi Cole)
JULY 31, 2020

Wherever you land theologically about women in church leadership, your church likely has room for improvement in how you develop female leaders. In today's episode, author Kadi Cole encourages us to "be as effective as possible in the theology we believe," while also capitalizing on the leadership potential in women that often goes unnoticed. This is a crucial topic for today's church. Take advantage of the practical leadership and insight we can all learn from in today's LEAD Pod episode!

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EP. 010 – Leading the Church in Congo (Nzuzi Mukawa)
JULY 23, 2020

The "capital C" Church is alive and well in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and you'll see why when you hear from USMB leader Nzuzi Mukawa. Nzuzi has a passion for evangelism, whether he finds himself in a church, in the marketplace, or taking advantage of the "diaspora" as the world becomes a smaller and more global community. Be encouraged and be challenged as you listen to this episode. The U.S. has a lot to learn from global leaders like Nzuzi!

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EP. 009 – Soul Care (Dr. Rob Reimer)
JULY 16, 2020

How healthy is your soul? Do you have baggage you've been carrying that you need to deal with? Most of us have knowledge of Scripture and the promises of God, but do we have integration in our day-to-day lives? Dr. Reimer was scheduled to be one of our speakers at the USMB 2020 Convention. Today we dive into his book Soul Care and share ways church leaders can better care for their own souls so they can effectively lead and shepherd those around us.

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EP. 008 – Fighting Human Trafficking (Christa Wiens)
JULY 09, 2020

The issues of labor and sex trafficking in the U.S. and around the world are heart-breaking. We believe all men and women are created in the image of God, and we all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. These issues are big and systemic, so what can we do in our individual families and churches to help make a difference?

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EP. 007 – Life on the Border (Aaron Hernandez)
JUNE 25, 2020

Not a day goes by with new headlines about racial injustice, and the topic of legal immigration will likely be an issue we'll face for years to come. Pastor Aaron Hernandez has a unique perspective as he leads a church literally on the border to Mexico. In this episode, Aaron explains what life is like for Hispanic church leaders today, and he shares several important messages for white Christian leaders.

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EP. 006 – Relational Evangelism (Ed Boschman and Jameson White)
MAY 15, 2020

The Bible is pretty clear that all Christ-followers are called to evangelize. Beyond the threat of hell and cheesy Christian tracts, how can we build relationships in a way that leads others to Christ? Special guests Ed Boschman and Jameson White have great tips, personal examples, and practical encouragement for all of us to build--and share--our faith with those around us.

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EP. 005 – How to Lead a Great Meeting (Paul Robie)
MAY 15, 2020

Every leader leads meetings. We've all been in great meetings, and we've all been in bad meetings. We want to help YOU lead them well, and this podcast offers great insight from Paul Robie of South Mountain Community Church in Draper, Utah. Grab a pen and get ready for some practical tools for you and your team!

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EP. 004 – Living With Gospel Fluency (Ben Connelly)
MAY 15, 2020

Special guest Ben Connelly describes what a Gospel-fluent life looks like and steps we can take to grow in this area. Here's a hint: The Gospel isn't just something that happened 2,000 years ago. The good news of Jesus is as relevant and important today as it ever has been, and that should affect how we live our lives.

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EP. 003 – Leading Well When No One Can See You (Ben Connelly)
MAY 2, 2020

How can we lead well when no one can see us? How should we be using this extra time we've been given to invest in our families? Do you have a tendency to over-work or under-work? This week we get tips on all this and much more from our guest, Ben Connelly.

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EP. 002 – Becoming a House of Prayer (Esther Leonard)
APR 24, 2020

(Hopefully) all churches pray, and (hopefully) we all spend time in prayer in our personal faith journeys. However, there's a big difference between being a church who prays and becoming a "house of prayer." Guest: Esther Leonard.

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EP. 001 – Praying During COVID-19 (Stephen Humber and Kelly Pankratz)
APR. 4, 2020

How should the Coronavirus affect our prayer life? How can we grow in prayer if we don't feel gifted or have a personality that easily lends itself to prayer? How can we stay encouraged in these crazy days of COVID-19? Guests: Stephen Humber and Kelly Pankratz of Multiply.

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MAR 30, 2020

Join Don Morris, Lori Taylor and J.L. Martin as they kick off LEAD Pods, give some history of how the podcast got started and give a sneak peek at what's to come.

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