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  • USMB
    was leaving from Rock Valley just 20 miles from my office I figured I d ride a couple of days Why do you call it your Dam Ride Dave Klassen from the Twin Cities MCC Sale challenged me to make my ride a fundraiser for MCC I decided to raise money for MCC s sand dams in Kenya Later I learned that the ride ends at a dam on the Mississippi River that RAGBRAI calls the best finish by a dam site You ended up riding more than a couple of days Yes I committed to ride one day for every 300 bags of cement at 10 each But then my church gave me a very generous matching gift and challenged me to raise 32 000 In the end people gave almost 40 000 enough for three whole dams Who donated Four MCC Sale auctions collected matching gifts and I put it out for all of my Facebook friends to share my blog with their friends How was the ride I just blogged and giggled and laughed the whole way I was excited to ride the whole week and even more excited about the money we ve raised doing it To learn more about Steve s ride see his blog at mydamride wordpress com or visit the MCC webpage describing the project Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Fast Chat 5 Minutes with Steve Hopkins Monday Sep 1 2014 Interview by Kathy Heinrichs Wiest Steve Hopkins is an IRS collections manager who attends Salem MB Church in rural Bridgewater SD A long time volunteer auctioneer for Mennonite Central Committee MCC Relief Sales he took a bike ride in July that raised 40 000 for MCC He rode from Rock Valley Iowa to the Mississippi River in

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Fast-Chat-with-Steve-Hopkins.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    the Global Youth Summit for ages 18 and up will take place July 17 19 It will be held at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg just across the river from Harrisburg Its theme is Called to Share My Gifts Our Gifts Assembly Scattered Assembly Scattered will take place in more than 10 communities during July 2015 Many of the Assembly Scattered sites for PA 2015 also include visits to nearby historical or cultural landmarks says Liesa Unger chief international events officer for MWC Hosts will introduce their guests to places and activities they ve read about But this is more than tourism By experiencing each other s settings we learn to know each other better says Unger who is from Regensburg Germany Many reasons to go There are many reasons to attend the assembly MWC leaders say If assemblies continue to be held every six years rotating among the five major continents it will be another 30 years before the assembly comes back to North America It is relatively inexpensive to attend compared to the next assembly scheduled for 2021 in Indonesia Most important worship with sisters and brothers from around the world many of whom live in inhospitable settings will feed and nourish souls and faith for years to come Dennis Becker Bill Braun and Trent Voth all of Fresno Calif are the USMB representatives to MWC PHOTO Mennonite World Conference Assembly Program Committee member Vikal P Rao of India chief international events officer Liesa Unger of Germany and general secretary César García of Colombia take part in a kickoff celebration for the 2015 Mennonite World Conference assembly July 20 Merle Good MWC Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 2 Comments Glenn Lygrisse 2014 09 02 13 22 32 0 Can you tell more about hotel facilities in the area what about area RV facilities Connie Faber 2014 09 02 13 26 32 0 I don t have information about lodging including RV options I would check the MWC website Countdown begins for July 2015 MWC reunion Monday Sep 1 2014 U S Mennonites and Brethren in Christ inviting Anabaptist from around the world to PA 2015 By Phyllis Pellam Good The worldwide Anabaptist family reunion will come to the United States next summer for only the second time in Mennonite World Conference s MWC 90 year history The event was last held in the U S in 1978 in Wichita Kan Registration has begun at www mwc cmm org pa2015 for Pennsylvania 2015 MWC s every six year assembly to be held in Harrisburg Pa July 21 26 2015 U S Mennonites and Brethren in Christ are inviting everyone in the global Anabaptist fellowship of 1 7 million souls to attend PA 2015 MWC staff are preparing for 6 000 to 10 000 people It isn t possible to have real communion with those with whom we don t communicate says MWC general secretary César García a Mennonite Brethren from Colombia It isn t possible to build

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Countdown-begins-for-MWC-Assembly-2015.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    yee haw in church he marveled It was so out of my culture zone As he learned in a lunch conversation after the service God was also reaching people in this cowboy divot of society The man seated next to him at the restaurant had been released from prison just six months prior Knowing he needed support in his transition back to society the man had sought out a church and experienced repeated rejection But when he came to Crossroads the man told Stetzer I got washed in the blood of Jesus Stetzer pointed out that because of its Anabaptist heritage the Mennonite Brethren are in a good place to connect with people searching for God People are open to some of the unique ways of thinking that you bring in the culture where we find ourselves today he said but the question has to be Will you go into the divots of society because Jesus has sent you MBs are also uniquely equipped to fulfill Great Commission s call to reach the increasing number of immigrants who make up American society he said Just as Jesus called the disciples to be witnesses in Samaria to people of the wrong ethnicity on the margins of their society Christians today need to reach the many newcomers on the margins in the US Wouldn t people who love peace and justice love immigrants who are often without the peace and justice in their own land he asked Mennonite Brethren are known for caring for the hurting both showing and sharing the gospel he said efforts that effectively reach every part of society U S Mennonite Brethren should send their best and brightest to plant churches in the divots of society Will you send them to reach all different kinds of people he asked Because if you will then your church and your movement is not a cul de sac on the Great Commission highway Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Stetzer advocates for churches in the divots Monday Sep 1 2014 Opening worship session focuses on communion mission by Kathy Heinrichs Wiest A quiet murmer of prayer arose among the delegates seated at tables in the Marriott Grand Ballroom as Friday evening s session of the USMB National Convention opened with a celebration of the Lord s Supper At the invitation of Executive Director Ed Boschman they took the moment to remember the significance of forgiveness to celebrate redemption and to anticipate Christ s return Some table groups prayed silently reflectively a tear wiped away as a heart was touched Others joined in intense prayer aloud together beseeching God As the prayer time closed they reached for the bread and cup at the center of each table and passed it from hand to hand The praise team from The Bridge Bible Church of Bakersfield Calif played quietly in the background The music built in volume and intensity as the gathering stood and the room was filled with music

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Stetzer-advocates-for-churches-in-the-divots.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    congregations This doesn t mean our credibility is lost forever What we need to understand is that humble repentance is a powerful witness It s the kind of news that gets around town too It restores credibility 3 Multifaceted Churches that are effective at evangelism take a multi faceted approach They don t look for one formula a single program or one approach as their solution Their approach is from a number of angles sometimes dozens of them These churches look for obstacles that need to be removed that are making evangelism difficult For example a church constitution that requires a form of decision making that creates a lot of open conflict and harms the church s reputation could be a hindrance They look for building improvements that are needed to make the church more attractive for newcomers new paint a pleasant foyer updated nursery upgraded sound system or new bathroom fixtures They look for church ministries that need improvement music or children s programs They create opportunities for their people to be involved in evangelism showing movies on Main Street hosting a children s rodeo holding vacation Bible school or organizing a Thanksgiving dinner Multifaceted churches repeatedly suggest many ways that the congregation can be involved with evangelism on the personal level going hunting with an unbeliever inviting neighbors to your home heading up the town s welcome wagon program for newcomers volunteering in the public school etc Small town churches can grow although the strategies may be different than in urban settings I hope that the observations in this article will trigger something that might be implemented in your small town church Ron Klassen is the executive director of Rural Home Missionary Association a ministry that plants and strengthens churches in small town America Klassen a former Mennonite Brethren pastor will be a resource speaker at the Sept 5 6 LEAD ONE USMB leadership training event in Sioux Falls SD Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Growing churches in rural communities Monday Sep 1 2014 Three characteristics of effective small town churches By Ron Klassen Our English language is full of oxymorons found missing same difference and definite maybe To some small town church growth sounds like an oxymoron With only one stoplight and precious few residents can the small town church actually grow It can and it has in many contexts For the past 25 years as I ve traveled across the United States I have observed shared characteristics of effective evangelistic town and country churches 1 A sense of urgency Many rural people tend to think most everyone in their community is a Christian And even when people recognize that not everyone follows Christ they tend to think the church has been in the community long enough that people know it s there and that they are welcome to attend anytime They don t feel a sense of urgency to become proactive in evangelism One way to develop this sense of necessity

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Growing-churches-in-rural-communities.html (2016-02-17)
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    soul we re missing the mark of what it means to be a faithful people said Wall Boschman was one of the first leaders I met that made me feel as if I was a leader said Hunt Saying he wanted Boschman to know how much we appreciate you Hunt invited Boschman to the stage The Grand Ballroom was silent as Hunt washed Boschman s feet and then prayed for Boschman and his wife Carol The crowd expressed their appreciation to Boschman with a standing ovation In his address Saturday morning Boschman pictured right talked about the foundation for his faith If Jesus didn t live die and rise again we wouldn t have much of a story It all depends on Jesus He is the reason I love pre Christians the way I do Boschman addressed the delegates from selected passages of the Gospel of John Taking what he called a pastoral moment Boschman urged his listeners to pursue unity Some of us are not so very good at loving each other said Boschman We are better at critque at holding grudges sometimes against people and sometimes against leadership teams It s time for us to grow out of that malady Boschman said that living in unity will bring people to faith while not living in unity calls into question whether we are living our faith He asked the audience to take a moment to reflect on where there are relationships in their lives that need repairs Boschman closed by reminding his listeners that We are a mission to make disciples We have the right message for this time We re Bible believers We re Jesus centered We re Spirit led We call people to repentance We are agents of reconciliation and peace We are a covenant community We are what our neighbors need Read an interview with Boschman about his ministry as the USMB executive director Photos by Steve Wiest Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Boschman affirmed as bold leader Monday Sep 1 2014 Footwashing symbolizes how much we appreciate you By Connie Faber Ed Boschman USMB executive director since the fall of 2007 was honored during the closing business session of the National Convention for his 40 years of service as a pastor and conference leader Boschman retired following C one ction 2014 Steve Schroeder Leadership Board chair Gary Wall Pacific District Conference minister Larry Nikkel Board of Faith and Life chair and Terry Hunt North Carolina District minister pastor and former Leadership Board member reflected on Boschman s ministry All four speakers affirmed Boschman s leadership gifts One of the reasons I am standing before you is because of Ed said Schroeder Ed was my youth pastor He inspired us Nikkel said Ed is a leader and he s not afraid to lead Because of that a lot has happened over the course of the last couple of years You ve helped us the U S Conference arrive at the point

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Boschman-affirmed-as-bold-leader.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    we also need to incorporate more intentional times away from work technology and the demands of life We all struggle with that need to unplug and recharge while away I blog regularly and early on I could justify posting all the time I m trying to build readers I d say to my wife and myself and yet after working vacations I never once came home recharged and refreshed like I had hoped We need to be intentional about our time away We see it modeled in both the Jewish calendar and the life of Jesus Jesus is purposeful and passionate but never hurried He relaxes refreshes and recharges on a consistent basis He rises early in the morning for prayer spends time relaxing with his disciples and travels to Jerusalem for significant holy moments throughout the year I ve begun calling this holy wasted time an extended period of time where our only goal is to relax refresh recharge and rebuild key relationships We need to be intentional as we plan our vacations Vacations are more than just time away from the office It is a way to connect in more meaningful ways with our Creator our families and within ourselves 3 Engage in intentional life giving activities This is especially important for leaders church staff and ministry volunteers Ministry is hard It s time consuming and draining That s why it is especially important to regularly do something preferably something that doesn t involve electronics that gives you life Go hiking camping or fishing Spend time outdoors Put a puzzle together build something or fly model airplanes What we do isn t as important as that we do If we don t have time to invest in ourselves I m fairly convinced that we don t have time to invest in others in any meaningful way Doing something that brings us joy and delight is a simple way to acknowledge the special and unique way that God has created each of us And when incorporated into the rhythm of Sabbath and holy wasted time this is a chance to worship God in deeper and more meaningful ways The two radio show callers serve as a great reminder to all of us Don t let the technology we use to enhance our lives serve as an idol or tool of distraction Maybe the struggle isn t with email but with posting so many vacation pictures to Facebook that you actually forget to enjoy vacation Perhaps you struggle with the need to never miss what is happening in someone else s life while missing what God is trying to say in yours Maybe what we all notice and fear is that our great common struggle is that we don t really know ourselves And in all honesty we are too afraid to understand ourselves so we fill our lives with external distractions The greatest act of courage then is not outward but inward and upward to reclaim the titles and status that come with a life in Christ Justin Hiebert is a husband father and pastor He does his best to follow Jesus with his church in the heart of Denver is a doctoral student at Bethel Seminary and loves spending his time outdoors His passion is helping leaders excel and creating disciples to change the world This essay is adapted from one of Hiebert s blog posts at http empoweringmissional com Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Centered in Christ in the midst of a social world Monday Sep 1 2014 Pulling ourselves away from life online regaining a life fixed on Christ By Justin Hiebert As an executive she was smart practical and successful As a mother she was caring loving and kind As an entrepreneur she was energetic and passionate She was also a social media addict She had called into a radio show to ask about the necessity of checking email and social media while on vacation Isn t it okay if I just quickly sneak it in while we are in the car driving someplace The next caller voiced a similar concern He mentioned that it was just too hard to go on vacation and not check email He found that he was more stressed if he didn t check email than if he did so he wanted some affirmation that it was okay to keep checking Behind these callers questions even behind their desires to be doing the right thing was a need to justify something that deep down they knew was wrong In their questions you could almost hear the pain of their families voices that longed to spend significant time with them to connect with them to play with them to even just for a moment be seen as more important than email And yet they couldn t pull themselves away They wanted to feel justified in their importance and worldly worth Jesus shared a story once about a man who wanted to justify himself A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers They stripped him of his clothes beat him and went away leaving him half dead A priest happened to be going down the same road and when he saw the man he passed by on the other side So too a Levite when he came to the place and saw him passed by on the other side But a Samaritan as he traveled came where the man was and when he saw him he took pity on him He went to him and bandaged his wounds pouring on oil and wine Then he put the man on his own donkey brought him to an inn and took care of him The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper Look after him he said and when I return I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have Luke 10 30 35

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Centered-in-Christ-in-a-social-world.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    two most popular workshops were on theology and church outreach In a session entitled How Do We Do Theology Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary Professor Tim Geddert talked about how theology is formulated and outlined the differences between biblical theology and systematic theology Gavin Linderman pastor of Axiom Church a church plant in Peoria Ariz led a workshop calling for unique and creative methods to reach the unlikely people who would not naturally become involved in a church community Two other popular workshops dealt with personal growth Executive Director Ed Boschman led a session on Life Coaching a new program for pastors being made available through the conference MB Mission Director Randy Friesen s workshop looked at spiritual practices that feed the soul Kathy Heinrichs Wiest PHOTO We can t be everything to everybody and we can t afford to be copycats to the big churches said Bill Koogler pastor of Good News Fellowship in Ferndale Wash Koogler and Aaron Box pastor of North Park Church in Eugene Ore led the Healthy and Effective Small Churches workshop Box pictured above during the workshop emphasized that our energy and resources should go into developing relationships and told how a food program for low income children has connected North Park with people who have a similar concern for their neighborhood children Photo by Steve Wiest Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Convention workshops appeal to varied interests Monday Sep 1 2014 Article 13 theology church outreach popular workshop topics by Kathy Heinrichs Wiest In addition to the well attended Board of Faith and Life workshop on the Confession of Faith article titled Love Peacemaking and Reconciliation the 2014 National Convention featured two workshop sessions on topics ranging from theology to church issues to personal growth The two most popular

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Workshops-appeal-to-varied-interests.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    off the radar but that doesn t mean the conflicts have been resolved Life continues to be violent in too many places in our world Many of these violent situations are beyond our borders and out of our control Yet the recently approved revision to Article 13 of our USMB Confession of Faith reminds us that there are conflicts that we can influence We actively pursue peace and reconciliation in all relationships by following Christ s example and his command to love God neighbors and even enemies We strive to be peacemakers and agents of reconciliation in families churches communities in our work and throughout the world You and I probably don t have to think back very far to remember the last time we had a conflict with someone in our families at work or even at church Our stated commitment as U S Mennonite Brethren is that we will actively chase after peace and reconciliation when we disagree with someone We can t do much about conflicts in the Middle East or Ukraine or even Ferguson But we can readily take responsibility for being peacemakers in every relationship we have If we as Mennonite Brethren were to do that we would truly be a shining city on a hill Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 1 Comments Lisa Keith 2014 09 25 15 08 24 0 Well said Every day peacemaking Monday Sep 1 2014 Our commitment to peace can make us a city on the hill by Connie Faber CL editor As I write this the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS has released a video showing the brutal beheading of American journalist James W Foley Israel and Palestine are firing rockets and mortar rounds at one another Russia and the Ukraine continue to

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Every-day-peacemaking.html (2016-02-17)
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