Don Morris attends ICOMB Summit
I recently returned from the International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB) Summit at the Matthew Training Center just outside of Guadalajara, Mexico.
ICOMB is made up of 21 member national conferences in 19 countries with associate members in over 20 more countries. Delegates from the majority of the national conferences that are members of ICOMB gathered from around the world for four days, May 29 through June 3, in a wonderful expression of diversity and celebration.
Delegates reported on many positive things that are happening within their national conferences. It is obvious that God is moving around the globe; the number of overall baptisms numbered in the hundreds! Great growth is occurring in the newest context, Malawi, where new MB churches have been birthed in Malawi Refugee Camps. It was reported that as many as 8,000 believers are now a part of those refugee churches. In La*s, many new churches continue to be born among the Khmu, and there is growth in the churches in Bavaria and Germany.
Although much of the reporting was about the good things taking place in many of the conferences, some delegates asked for prayer for difficulties being experienced. In Japan, the church is aging and there is a real concern that young people are not engaging. In some countries there is simply not enough financial resources to do all the things pastors and leaders would like to incorporate in order to reach more people.
The Matthew Training Center (MTC), directed by long-term MB missionaries, Trever and Joan Godard, does a great job of training prospective young leaders from several countries. After completing the year-long training, these young people fill leadership needs throughout ICOMB conferences and beyond. The MTC hosted the Summit and these young students provided much of the preparing and serving of food and setting up the facility for meetings.
Gary Wall, currently the district minister of the Pacific District Conference, was affirmed by vote of the delegates to begin serving ICOMB full-time late in 2019. Walls’s job description will include connecting with USMB churches, pastors and leaders on behalf of ICOMB, potentially providing some training for ICOMB conference leaders, championing the vision and mission of ICOMB and helping to raise much-needed funds. ICOMB intends to engage with national conferences at an even higher level than in the recent past and Wall will be instrumental in helping to move ICOMB to that next level. Wall will be responsible for raising his entire salary and travel expenses.
Ed Boschman, formerly the USMB executive director, serves as the USMB ICOMB representative and on the ICOMB executive committee as the treasurer. USMB currently supports ICOMB with the requested 2% of the overall conference income, which is $16,100 for 2019. USMB also provides travel expenses for our USMB ICOMB representatives.
Overall, the ICOMB Summit was a very positive event and served to unite, connect and inspire national conference leaders for Kingdom work. It was a small glimpse of the scene pictured in Revelation 7:9, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”
Please support ICOMB by communicating the vision and purpose of this international MB agency to your church family, and if possible, support ICOMB financially. It’s your global MB family!
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Thanks, Don, for a good, succinct and helpful report.
Thanks for attending this important conference and your leadership in the USMB!
Great report, Don. I’m so glad you were able to attend.