Aug. 22, 2023
One of the descriptive names for God was given to us by Hagar, the maid servant of Sarai, in Genesis 16. As she is in the wilderness after being mistreated by Sarai, the Lord speaks directly to her and she then calls God, “El Roi”—the One who SEES me. Might we remember that the Lord does see us. He knows all about us, and He truly cares about the things in our lives. God is El Roi, the One who SEES me!
1. As I’ve been saying for the past many months, thank you to so many of you who continue to pray for my wife, Janna, and her health issues. We’re now waiting to see if she might be included in a research study that could provide her with a heart valve clip. Two thirds of participants get the clip, and the other third are given medication. We’re praying she could be included in this study and then be in the group that is given the clip (to prevent blood leakage within the heart—which is a likely cause of her persistent leg swelling). Thanks for praying with us about this!
2. The recent 10th anniversary celebrations for two churches that had their start with Mission USA as a planting partner provided me with great joy. Greenhouse Church in Saratoga Springs, Utah (Jason and Nicole Quiring) and Axiom Church in Peoria, Ariz., (Gavin and Kendall Linderman) celebrated on back-to-back weekends in late July, early August. Sadly, I was unable to be present for the Greenhouse celebration, but I was able to attend the one for Axiom. Remembering the struggles that both of these churches experienced as they were planted and then to now see the amazing things God continues to do through them is so rewarding. Lives are being changed!
3. Please pray for our USMB staff as we begin making some transitions. J.L. Martin, current pastor of children and families at Hesston MB Church (Kan.) will begin serving full-time as USMB bookkeeper/event planner/social media director on Sept. 11. He’ll serve alongside Donna Sullivan for a time as he learns the financial system and tries to glean at least a portion of the many, many things Donna knows about “pretty much everything USMB.” We’ll have an office space in Wichita for them to work out of.
4. The new line-up of LEAD Cohorts is in the final stages of taking sign-ups. The new list of cohorts is extensive, so be sure to sign-up today if you haven’t already. Lots of people are gaining new ideas for ministry and life, plus developing relationships from all across the country. If you’re not in a cohort, you are just plain missing out on something really good.
5. We are in critical need of developing new young MB leaders. One thing you will hear from me often over the next year is that we have to have a concerted, collective effort to get more young leaders into the development pipeline. One thing we must do more of is “shoulder-tapping.” We’ve somewhat lost this “art” of speaking with young people who have ministry gifts, encouraging them to begin thinking about full-time or even part-time ministry—including lead pastors, worship leaders, missionaries, youth leaders and other ministry leaders. Who could you “shoulder-tap” this week? And could they start out by taking part in an internship through the USMB Leadership Pipeline? Send them to www.leaderpipeline.net to learn more about getting connected with a church for an internship.
6. The CORD program, with oversight from the Integrated Immigrant Council, needs some ramping up. This is a platform where existing MB churches can partner with a Congolese church (MB). We have had donations of almost $22,500 toward the MB Foundation match of $27,500! Several individuals/couples and several churches have made significant donations to this exciting program, but donations have slowed to a trickle. Please feel free to join in. But, please, please, please don’t shift your support for your church, district or USMB to give to CORD—make this an additional way of serving and giving.
7. Please pray for gifted individuals who would be willing to serve on the Church Planting Council or the USMB Leadership Board. The nominating committee is currently working to fill several vacancies. If you’d like to submit a name for consideration for one of these boards, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a process for then vetting potential nominees.
8. Several Zoom meetings and on-site meetings are on my calendar in the next couple of weeks. There are always significant issues (concerns) that are on my plate – prayers are appreciated.
9. The plan for our next USMB pastor’s gathering and national convention is taking shape. Mark your calendars for July 23-25, 2024, for the pastor’s conference and July 25-27, for the national convention. This is known as USMB Gathering 2024 and will be held at the Doubletree Downtown Hotel in Omaha, Neb. The theme for this gathering is “Salt and Light: Faithful Living in a Secular Culture.” There will be some top-notch guest and in-house speakers, inspiring worship, informative breakouts and great fellowship. More news coming soon. Please plan to join us!
10. The search for the next national director continues. The USMB leadership board has hired a consultant to help with the process of finding just the right person for the task at hand. Please pray for this search process and for finding the right person! Again, I’ll be retiring Aug. 15, 2024, just following USMB Gathering 2024 in Omaha, Neb. The plan is for me to work alongside the next national director for a short season prior to the convention.
11. Brian Harris, USMB Church Planting Mobilizer and Henri Ngolo, Integrated Ministries Coordinator need to raise significant funds for their ministries as do I. This has been a slow year for fundraising, plus, church giving continues to wane or is at minimum static, so fundraising is becoming more and more of a necessity if we are to provide the many ministry initiatives that truly make a difference. There is much to do. You can help us by going to our website!
12. You might remember that about 18 months ago we made significant changes to the process of developing themes, articles and writers for the Christian Leader magazine. That process has undergone some tweaks here and there, but overall the new system has been a blessing—we have several gifted people involved in the process as part of the Editorial Committee. As well, there is a Review Committee that reads and comments on anything that has theological content. We’re adding another person to that Review Committee, one from the Central District Conference, to help provide even more input. Connie Faber, editor of the Christian Leader, has done a great job of incorporating the new process and leading the Editorial Committee.
13. Overall: Please pray for me that the Lord might grant discernment, direction, stamina, energy, wisdom, compassion, understanding, gentleness and grace. Thanks for your prayers!
USMB National Director
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