Feb. 14, 2024

With snow on the ground this week, I find myself increasingly ready for spring. I’m ready for warmer temps, to see buds on plants and trees and to see things begin to turn green. I like Isaiah 61:11: “For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”

Not only am I ready for “the sprout to come up and seeds to grow,” I’m ready to see the nations praise God. There is so much turmoil in our world. I pray for peace and for the nations to recognize our Creator! I think we all yearn for that.

Prayer requests/news:
1. I’ve had issues with a recurring infection on my left ankle where I had Achilles surgery almost 23 years ago. Without going into many specifics, the surgical material used to re-attach the tendon now has bacteria imbedded in it, and that causes the recurring problem. So, on April 3 I’ll have surgery on that ankle—praying that it will take care of the problem for the future. I’ll be on crutches for a couple of weeks, but that’s really not a big deal. Still, prayer for this would be appreciated.

2. March 20-23 will be USMB meetings in south Texas (LAMB). This includes the U.S. BFL on Wednesday of that week, then the National Strategy Team (NST) on Thursday, USMB Leadership Council on Friday and the Leadership Board on Saturday. I’m looking forward to being in south Texas again (McAllen and surrounding area), seeing some of our good friends in the area MB churches and enjoying the warm weather. A tour of the southern border is also planned.

3. As you may know, a Vision Summit—Leadership Development was held in Peoria, Ariz., Jan. 8-10, 2024. This event provided considerable time for discussing how we might collectively address our critical need for developing pastors. Some “next steps” were determined. One question that each of us can ask is, “Who could I ‘shoulder-tap’ this week, encouraging them to think about future ministry leadership?” Please pray that we might continue to receive God’s wisdom for this critical aspect of our conference of churches.

4. You may have heard the recent news that Scott Thomas, leader of Church Planting Partners, has agreed to provide 15-20 hours per week for USMB church planting leadership as part-time church planting mobilizer. Scott is contracted for this work through the end of 2024. Scott has a wealth of church planting experience and expertise and will provide coaching, training and assessing for church planters and will be directly involved with the USMB Church Planting Council (CPC). Welcome, Scott!

5. Our USMB staff is preparing for several transitions this summer. Donna Sullivan, long-serving administrative secretary/event planner/bookkeeper; Lori Taylor, webmaster and myself will all be concluding our positions (just following the national convention). In addition, Brian Harris, previously serving as the USMB church planting mobilizer, recently changed positions from the USMB staff to begin work as the new Southern District Conference district minister. Plus, Janae Rempel, administrative assistant/Christian Leader associate editor, was married to Austin Shafer on Feb. 3 and moved from Hillsboro to Wichita. There have been and/or will be a lot of staff changes. Please pray for smooth transitions.

6. Please pray for our many LEAD Cohort leaders as they continue leading the line-up of spring LEAD Cohorts. People are gaining new ideas for ministry and life, plus developing relationships from all across the country through these cohorts. Also, LEAD Pods episode 96 is ready for download! There have been over 13,000 downloads of LEAD Pods episodes. They are great!

7. I asked in the previous Snapshot for prayer for a gifted individual from the PDC who would be willing to serve on the Church Planting Council. I’m grateful to announce that an experienced person has agreed to serve as the PDC rep. More of an announcement about this will be coming soon.

8. Registration will be open soon! Plans for our next USMB pastor’s gathering and national convention continue to take 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. We chose this location for the convenience it provides for many people to drive to Omaha; obviously and especially this is true for those living in the Midwest. 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. Please plan to join us! Find all the details on our website: www.usmb.org.

9. The search for the next national director continues. The USMB Leadership Board has compiled a list of applicants and is working to discern the next person for leading the USMB conference. 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.

10. There have been some concerns expressed to me about what we, as MBs, are saying, writing, believing and doing about the issue of abortion. I’ve written about this vital subject for the upcoming March/April issue of the Christian Leader. Understanding God’s heart and His proclamations to us about the sanctity of life and protecting the lives of the innocent require for us a non-negotiable position in my opinion: To be definitively pro-life. Let’s be those who provide real help and support in the name of Jesus so that people facing these tough choices can and will choose life!

11. As usual, 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.

12. Overall: Please pray for me that the Lord might grant discernment, direction, stamina, energy, wisdom, compassion, understanding, gentleness and grace. Thanks for your prayers!

Don Morris
USMB National Director

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