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    Ten percent said I attend but am not a member Fifty two percent reported I don t know if my church offers membership And 1 percent answered that they were unsure This last statistic in itself is a little bizarre but let s not go there We know that some of the discussion that amplifies this subject is the matter of membership in the universal church While there are both truth and merit to the universal reality I m willing to challenge anyone to point out where the Bible pulls those apart It seems to me self evident that the New Testament knows nothing about Christians who are not attached to a local church For what it s worth the Scriptures also know nothing of believers who love Jesus but not the church In that early church reality leaving the Caesar is Lord reality and choosing Jesus as Lord hooked one in to the church in a covenant relationship like none other Speaking of which our abbreviated MB Confession of Faith says We believe the church is the covenant community called by God through Jesus Christ to live a life of discipleship and witness as empowered by the Holy Spirit The local church gathers regularly for worship fellowship and accountability and to discern develop and exercise gifts for ministry What is it about declaring commitment to that kind of community that makes it unimportant What is it about our church life that makes membership unattractive How and why did baptism get so separated from committing to the community of faith How did membership in the invisible global church get separated from the local expression of the body of Christ I m pretty sure you can figure out some of what I am thinking Am I off the rails Where am I going wrong here Share your responses with me at ebed usmb org or post them online www usmb org conference call Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments What s up with church membership Friday Feb 1 2013 Why church membership matters by Ed Boschman During the 1980s while it was my privilege to be the lead pastor at Laurelglen Bible Church in Bakersfield Calif we usually held new member sessions three times a year We met for a series of five one hour sessions After an inaugural high speed hour about the history of the Christian church including a significant and prioritized focus on the birth of the Anabaptists and the Mennonites and then the Mennonite Brethren we taught our core biblical beliefs The sessions concluded with clarification about what it would mean to be a member of LBC both what the church would expect of its members and what the members could expect of the church While the process was somewhat intense it was also productive We had people come to faith in Jesus When we arrived at the end of that course of studies we normally had most everyone saying If that is

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Whats-up-with-church-membership.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    the Word of God If a day goes by and you don t have your intimate quiet time with God do you feel like something is missing 1 Peter 2 2 says Like newborn babies you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation Cry out for this nourishment NLT If you have ever spend more than one minute around a newborn you know that a baby cries as if the world is coming to an end if she don t get satisfied There is no hiding it and the baby doesn t care who knows it This should be our response to the Word of God We should be crying out for more nourishment for our lives because we are starving without it David knew this when he wrote Psalms 86 11 NLT Teach me your ways O Lord that I may live according to your truth David knew that the more he understood Scripture the more his life reflected Scripture And the more his life reflected Scripture the more glory and honor would be given back to God But it starts with a craving a desire to know what God has in store for you and that desire can be meet by reading God s Word It s more than attending a church on Sunday morning more than participating in a Bible study or small group it is getting into the Bible every day To know God s Word is to know God And when you realize the Bible isn t just for informational purposes but is a tool to transform lives you will soon realize as David did that the Bible is the only thing in this universe that a person can crave and it will never disappoint never go unfulfilled and will always satisfy Kyle Goings is youth pastor at Bible Fellowship Church a USMB congregation in Rapid City SD Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Psalm 86 made to crave Friday Feb 1 2013 Understanding Scripture helps us reflect God s love to the world by Kyle Goings Teach me your ways O Lord that I may live according to your truth Grant me purity of heart so that I may honor you Ps 86 11 NLT Crave verb to long for want greatly desire Have you ever craved something so strongly you didn t know what would happen if you didn t get it I am not talking about craving food but maybe a promotion your dream house to get married or even a child What did it feel like when that craving was met Were you satisfied for a while maybe even years but then excitement faded and you soon moved on to another craving I believe we were made to crave God created us to crave and his desire is that we will crave a relationship with him The best way to build that relationship is to meditate on his

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Psalm-86-made-to-crave.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    of why we strove to plant churches why we spent the money to do so and why we fought the fight against the enemy of people s souls why that mattered was because people matter a whole lot to God One day I will stand before the throne of God alongside people who came to know him through the ministry of our MB church plants I have tears in my eyes as I write this line What I imagine is likely only a scarce replacement resemblance of what it will actually be like I think that heavenly scene will be much more incredible than what I can conjure up in my limited human mind Our human minds cannot quantify the immeasurable That s what church planting is all about placing ourselves within communities so that we can interact with broken people and introduce them to Jesus so that they can have a relationship with Jesus right now here on earth So that one day they can stand before the throne of God and experience the truly immeasurable wonder of eternity There is nothing more important we can do as a conference of churches than reach more people with the good news of Jesus whether that s through planting new churches so we can expand our impact or through our existing churches strong evangelistic efforts 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 the Lamb They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands And they cried out in a loud voice Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb Rev 7 9 10 For me the ministry of Mission USA is all about doing as much as we can to help more people become a part of that future great multitude Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Standing before God s throne Friday Feb 1 2013 Growing the great multitude that will one day stand before God s throne by Don Morris Join me in imagining the amazingly incredible scene of the multitudes in heaven standing before the throne of God Can you picture yourself standing there immersed in the awe inspiring wonder joy peace and yet incredible power that will envelop everyone in that diverse crowd I love to think about this scene one that I know I will one day experience firsthand It is one of my favorite daydreams Often when I imagine standing before the throne I also picture someone I ve never met before coming to stand alongside me This person says You don t know me but I want you to know that I am here because of the ministry of Fill in here the name of a Mennonite Brethren church plant I know at that moment I will be struck with the knowledge that the culmination of why we

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Standing-before-Gods-throne.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    the Rio Grande Valley Williams Velez is the church planter of Iglesia Biblica De La Gracia Hermanos Menonitas Velez who just completed a biblical studies degree from Rio Grande Bible Institute Edinburg Texas formally began serving as the church planter Jan 1 Although Velez began serving as a paid staff member in January he has ministered to a group of 15 to 20 people in the area for over a year During that time five people have been baptized In addition to several adults there are many children attending the weekly gatherings Mission USA Grace Bible Church of Gettysburg SD and the Latin American MB District Conference LAMB are joining Mission MB Church as supporting entities The church plant project team consists of Velez and his wife Elurden John Langer from Grace Bible Church Don Morris director of Mission USA two or three leaders from Mission MB Church and perhaps a member from LAMB s leadership board A small worship facility is under construction on what is known as 7 Mile Line in Mission Plans are for this facility to provide space for the new church s worship gatherings but additional space is still needed for children s activities The church s goal is to reach people in close proximity to the church facility a neighborhood with many needs and broken families Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Mission MB plants daughter church Friday Feb 1 2013 Congregation targets 7 Mile Line neighborhood for new church plant Mission USA news story Mission Texas MB Church has announced the birth of a daughter church in the northern part of this city in the Rio Grande Valley Williams Velez is the church planter of Iglesia Biblica De La Gracia Hermanos Menonitas Velez who just completed a biblical studies

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Mission-MB-plants-daughter-church.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    and other district and national leaders to encourage additional participation I am saddened that we do not have strong representation from all parts of our constituency wrote Boschman Boschman specifically encouraged every member of a district board of faith and life to register We as a National Board of Faith and Life have communicated that we cannot imagine doing this well without that reality I pray it will yet happen Total study conference registrations which did grow following Boschman s plea include 22 Canadian participants as well as representatives from Fresno Pacific University s Peace and Conflict Studies Program the International Community of Mennonite Brethren Mennonite World Conference and Mennonite Central Committee who are presenters in a session highlighting peacemaking in the broader world I m very excited about the study conference says Larry Nikkel USMB Board of Faith and Life chair That so many have registered confirms these topics as being of high interest and importance to our constituency My prayer continues to be that people come with a greater heart for understanding the complexities of these issues than with the hopes of winning everyone to their unique viewpoint I believe God will honor that prayer Following the study conference an online discussion will be held on the USMB website to invite wider USMB participation in the discussion begun at the study conference The online discussion will provide input for BFL on the mood biases and positions of the USMB family as the board reviews the articles identify areas of unity and determine the best path forward in processing the USMB commitment to peacemaking The discussion blog moderated by Myra Holmes USMB social media coordinator will open Jan 28 For more on the 2013 study conference Kingdom Citizens in a World of Conflict visit the event website which lists presenters read a panel discussion concerning the reasons behind and goals for the study conference published in the Oct Nov Christian Leader Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments BFL study conference held this week Tuesday Jan 22 2013 U S Mennonite Brethren gather to discuss peace citizenship in the real world By Connie Faber Organizers are thrilled to be hosting more than 160 participants this week in Phoenix Ariz for the 2013 USMB study conference on two related articles of the USMB Confession of Faith about which U S Mennonite Brethren do not have consensus Study conference participants will be discussing Article 12 Society and State and Article 13 Love and Nonresistance The three day event hosted by the USMB Board of Faith and Life BFL will include five presentations each followed by a response paper Bible study and small group discussion I m prayerful that we as a national family will talk freely and meaningfully about this important and timely topic says Ed Boschman USMB executive director and that in the end we will find a way towards unity in these matters Article 13 in particular has for too long been divisive and therefore has

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/BFL-study-conference-held-this-week.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    J Epp USMB director of development agrees Long term funding gives the conference stability in revenue he says Epp says My hope is that the Lord will touch the hearts of those that attend and show them how they can partner with us for life changing ministry for years to come Boschman and Epp will represent USMB at the Will Power events and will highlight the work of Mission USA in growing leaders equipping existing churches and planting new churches Given the goal of planting 60 churches in 10 years church planting is a USMB priority As we plant churches we want to be able to provide for their needs as they grow to become self sufficient Epp says No estate is too small to provide a legacy gift says Wiebe Everyone needs an estate plan and everyone can make a gift to ministry at their death he says God doesn t ask how much we have He simply asks us to be good stewards of what we have This includes being generous with the resources he has entrusted to us Research reveals that over 90 percent of Christians leave 0 to God s work when they die says Wiebe USMB and MB Foundation would like to encourage a different trend Our experience is that the majority of USMB folks don t have a plan for their resources when they die and if they have one it needs to be dusted off and reviewed to make sure it still accomplishes their objectives says Wiebe All Will Power events are scheduled from 6 30 to 8 00 p m locations to be determined Interested individuals are asked to contact MB Foundation for more information 800 551 1547 Feb 10 Corn Okla Feb 11 Enid Okla Feb 17 Wichita Kan Feb 18 Hillsboro Kan April 14 Huron SD April 18 Bakersfield Calif April 22 Reedley Calif April 23 Fresno Calif April 25 Lodi Calif Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments USMB MB Foundation encourage Will Power Tuesday Jan 22 2013 Organizers planning seminars to educate and inspire regarding wills USMB ministry By Connie Faber If you are among the seven out of 10 people who do not have a will you are invited to attend one of nine Will Power events hosted over the next three months by USMB and MB Foundation MBF the U S Mennonite Brethren stewardship ministry Events are being planned for February through April and will be held in Corn and Enid Okla Wichita and Hillsboro Kan Huron SD and Bakersfield Reedley Fresno and Lodi Calif Although planners are specifically inviting those over the age of 65 everyone is welcome MBF staff members will be present to help attendees understand the ins and outs of preparing or updating a will but the primary purpose of the Will Power events is to encourage individuals to leave a legacy gift that fuels ministry specifically the ministry of USMB the national conference of U S Mennonite Brethren

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/USMB-MB-Foundation-encourage-Will-Power.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    nationalize the Confession of Faith currently owned managed and protected jointly by the Canadian and U S national conferences Conection 2012 delegates approved the recommendation that the two North American national conferences establish independent COF statements in keeping with the pattern of other national Mennonite Brethren conferences around the world The Latin American Mennonite Brethren LAMB District celebrated 75 years of ministry Nov 23 The first church in South Texas was established in 1938 as a result of evangelism efforts by Southern District Conference missionaries Harry and Sarah Neufeld and others Currently two of the nine LAMB churches are partnering with Mission USA to plant new churches in the region Of the at least five USMB congregations that celebrated the completion of a building program Bible Fellowship Church of Minot ND had the unique experience of rebuilding their flood damaged facility with the help of Mennonite Disaster Service MDS MDS assisted the USMB congregation with the understanding that the inter Mennonite disaster relief agency will use the renovated facility to house volunteers for an estimated three year rebuilding effort in this city that was flooded in 2011 South Mountain Community Church of Draper Utah Birch Bay Bible Community Church of Blaine Wash Community Bible Church of Olathe Kan and Ethiopian Christian Fellowship of Sacramento Calif also dedicated new facilities in 2012 Other significant events The death of a Tabor College student as the result of an altercation with McPherson College students put the neighboring Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference schools in the national spotlight Two McPherson College students were arrested in the case a preliminary hearing for Alton Franklin and DeQuinte both 19 year olds from Dallas Texas has been delayed to Jan 21 MB Foundation announced at the end of May that for the 21st consecutive year the USMB stewardship ministry grew by 6 7 percent in 2011despite a basically flat market and a record number of estate distributions resulting in over 4 4 million released to charities When national conference representatives of the International Community of Mennonite Brethren gathered in Switzerland May 16 19 they affirmed Canadian David Wiebe as the full time ICOMB executive director pictured right and welcomed a new Mennonite Brethren conference based in northern Thailand as an official ICOMB member bringing ICOMB membership to 20 The ICOMB meeting was held prior to the Mennonite World Conference triennial General Council meeting also held in Switzerland Delegates came from 48 of the 54 countries with MWC member churches The rise of leadership from the global South was evident As new general secretary Cesar Garcia a Mennonite Brethren of Colombia took charge MWC moved its head office from Strasbourg France to Bogota Colombia In a major reorganization Mennonite Central Committee dissolved its binational structure equalizing the roles of its U S and Canadian divisions The change culminated a five year re visioning process called New Wine New Wineskins which included consultation with partners around the world USMB executive director Ed Boschman represented U S Mennonite Brethren in the process Mennonite Disaster Service marked the conclusion of its seven year 8 million Hurricane Katrina project the longest continuous rebuilding effort in MDS s 62 year history In 2012 MDS had 12 binational projects underway its biggest flurry of new sites since Katrina Hurricane Sandy the year s biggest natural disaster in the U S prompted MDS to focus its efforts in three New York City neighborhoods in Queens and Staten Island Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Top news stories of 2012 Wednesday Jan 9 2013 Church planting budget ups and downs top the CL list of significant USMB news in 2012 Compiled by Connie Faber When we look back on 2012 what events will we regard as having significantly influenced the USMB family of churches Only time will tell but here are the happenings that the CL editors anticipate will have a lasting impact on U S Mennonite Brethren congregations and agencies Where possible links are provided to the original story on our website Mission USA is successful in planting six new churches When USMB Leadership Board and USMB staff members heard in late 2011 that Mission USA director Don Morris believed God was calling U S Mennonite Brethren to plant six new churches in 2012 and to raise the money necessary for such a project they eagerly grabbed hold of the goal and expanded the vision to six churches a year for the next 10 years Fast forward to the fall of 2012 when Morris announced at the October Leadership Board meeting that one half dozen new USMB churches planted in partnership with district conferences were at various stages in the planting process It would be an understatement to say that the Leadership Board and USMB staff were enormously thankful for God s blessings Four of the new churches are in the Pacific District Conference Axiom Church in the greater Phoenix area Christ Church Sellwood in the greater Portland Ore area Mountain View Community Church Sunnyside in Fresno Calif and a yet unnamed English language church in Spokane Wash that is being planted by Pilgrim Slavic Baptist Church a Russian speaking USMB congregation in that city The fifth church plant is Grace Point McAllen in McAllen Texas and is part of the Latin America MB Conference The Stone the sixth church plant in Denver Colo and part of the Southern District Conference is an affiliated church and currently not an USMB member church The goal is to again plant six new churches in 2013 USMB budget growth has its ups and downs Funding a 10 year church planting strategy while also growing other ministries requires additional financial resources And so for the first time delegates to the USMB biennial national convention held July 25 28 2012 in Omaha Neb were asked to approve a 1 million plus budget and they did The 2012 13 budget of 1 018 524 a 20 percent increase over the previous year reflected an aggressive plan that incorporated

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Top-news-stories-of-2012.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    a community center market and playground The beneficiary selection process is currently underway with input of project partners and local authorities MCC Haiti will continue its efforts to build houses alongside local partners while at the same time supporting Haitian organizations that are pressuring their own government to provide permanent housing MCC Haiti in conjunction with the MCC U S Washington office also is calling on U S constituents to ask their legislators to pressure the Haitian government to meet the housing needs of its people Visit mcc org haitiearthquake for ways to join the advocacy efforts Establishing a livable community In Desarmes where MCC continues to expand and upgrade the facilities and programming of a trade school students learn skills they can use to support themselves without living in Port au Prince They learn farming masonry plumbing and electrical skills The project includes a center to transform agricultural goods into products a model home for rent and a community store that will support the financial sustainability of the school This project fits within the broader MCC Haiti focus in Desarmes a town in the Artibonite Valley where MCC s reforestation program has operated for 28 years Earthquake funds have been used in this area to establish clean drinking water build better irrigation and road systems and offer training in human rights By establishing a livable community outside of Port au Prince where people can get an education earn a living and access resources fewer people need to crowd into the capital Overcrowding and poor construction were key reasons for earthquake associated deaths of hundreds of thousands of people says Hildebrand To learn more about MCC s work in earthquake response follow the social media posts of MCC communicators during a visit to Haiti from Jan 8 to 12 Send questions you would like the communicators to ask while in Haiti to mailbox mcc org as many as possible will be addressed Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments MCC work in Haiti continues three years after earthquake Wednesday Jan 9 2013 MCC focuses on housing sustainable livelihoods in its long term response By Linda Espenshade of MCC and other news service files This weekend Haiti will observe the third anniversary of a 7 0 magnitude earthquake that struck the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere on Jan 12 2010 The catastrophe killed more than 200 000 people and displaced 2 1 million from their homes Almost three years after the massive earthquake devastated Haiti Mennonite Central Committee MCC continues to address long term needs for housing and sustainable livelihoods MCC provides relief and development aid and aims for peace in the name of Christ MCC is currently in the midst of two large earthquake response projects building a new housing community for 100 families on the northwest outskirts of the capital city of Port au Princeand expanding a vocational training program in Desarmes a community 32 miles northeast of the city Funding for these two projects

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/MCC-work-in-Haiti-continues-three-years-after-earthquake.html (2016-02-17)
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