Oct. 10, 2023
Author Natasha Crain, who will be a guest speaker at our USMB Gathering 2024 in Omaha, Neb., in July 2024, writes the following in her book, Faithfully Different: “Knowing that ‘normal’ can’t tell us what’s good should consistently point us back to Scripture as our guide. Only God has the authority to say what’s right.” I hope you’ll join us in Omaha July 25-27 for the convention portion of USMB Gathering 2024.
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. They continue. Three weeks ago, an x-ray indicated that she had broken her right kneecap, an injury that occurred during physical therapy. She is now in a full leg brace for eight weeks to see if the kneecap will heal through stabilization. This has been a very challenging year.
2. I recently attended the Multiply Board meetings in Cedar Springs, Wash., Oct. 1-3. There are many good things happening with Multiply along with many challenges. The U.S. Conference has submitted several significant recommendations to Multiply for enhancing its presence in the U.S. Please pray for wisdom as these are considered.
3. The USBFL (Board of Faith and Life), NST (National Strategy Team) and USMB Leadership Council and Board will meet October 9-13 in Hillsboro, Kan., at the MB Foundation office—using some of the new meeting space created by their recent expansion! We are grateful for their generous hosting. These are important meetings, and many decisions will be made. Please pray for wisdom, Godly insight, energy and brightness of mind for those serving on these boards.
4. At the end of this month, some of our USMB leaders will join Canadian MB Conference leaders in Cedar Springs, Wash., for what is called CanAm. This is an annual gathering that helps us stay connected with our Canadian brothers and sisters—sharing together, praying for each other and learning new things for ministry. I will attend this as well.
5. J.L. Martin began serving full-time as USMB bookkeeper/event planner/social media director on Sept. 11. Welcome, J.L.! He is currently assisting Donna Sullivan 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 have rented a small office space in Wichita for them to work from.
6. The fall line-up of LEAD Cohorts is in full swing. We have many people involved in these cohorts. Please pray for cohort leaders, and consider joining a cohort next February 2024 as the new line up is already being considered. 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. Also, LEAD Pods Episode 88 is ready for download! There have been over 13,000 downloads of LEAD Pods episodes. They are great!
7. 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. Therefore, I have called for a leadership development Vision Summit to be held in Peoria, Ariz., Jan. 8-10, 2024. This event is by invitation only, but if you would like to attend, ask me. We must begin developing a cohesive, unified MB vision/strategy for developing new leaders, including pastors, associate pastors, worship leaders, youth pastors, missionaries, church planters and lay 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.
8. Repeat: The need still exists! 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 around $24,750 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.
9. Please pray for a gifted individual from the PDC who would be willing to serve on the Church Planting Council. The nominating committee is currently working to fill this critical vacancy. If you’d like to submit a name for consideration for this position, please email it to me: email@example.com. There is a process for then vetting potential nominees.
10. 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.
11. Repeat: Plans for our next USMB pastor’s gathering and national convention are 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. 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/usmb-gathering-2024.
12. The search for the next national director continues. The USMB leadership board has completed a national survey and is busy documenting the information in order to develop an updated job description for this position. Please pray for this search process and for finding the right person! Again, I’ll be retiring Aug. 15, 2024, just following the 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.
13. Repeat: 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. Fundraising is becoming more and more of a necessity if USMB is 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 to donate!
14. Congratulations to the Christian Leader which last week was awarded fourth place in Best of Class by the EPA (Evangelical Press Association)! 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.
15. I have been in a very busy travel season that will continue through the first week of November. With my wife’s health challenges, leaving home for days at a time has not been easy. But God is faithful. I thank the Lord that Janna’s sister, Sandy, lives here in Edmond and is always ready to help!
16. 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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