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    Since only the smallest percentage of Christians tithe and the vast majority do not live according to a budget learning basic budgeting and tithing will make a huge impact What would happen if God s people got out of debt and started giving Gift asks Wiebe also questions Ramsey s urging to negotiate for every purchase which if taken to the extreme could damage Christian witness and an assumption in Ramsey s Legacy Journey material that all estate resources should be left to children Pastor Mike Petts discovered another ill fitting area when his church Salem MB Church rural Bridgewater SD offered Financial Peace classes last fall Petts says that farmers a huge part of Salem s congregation and community had trouble relating to the principles especially the emphasis on no debt Farmers have to constantly get in and out of debt to buy machinery or land he says A more customized approach Because of these gaps in Financial Peace Wiebe does not recommend Ramsey s curriculum as the foundation of a church s stewardship education I would recommend other material first he says Wiebe suggests Crown Financial an in depth curriculum that emphasizes discipleship Good Sense which he says is both theologically sound and appealing or material from Randy Alcorn s Eternal Perspectives Ministries which grounds financial advice with deep theology In addition he recommends material from authors Andy Stanley Chip Ingram and Matt Bell The MBF website contains links to many of these resources But before a congregation invests in any pre packaged material Wiebe recommends that church leaders consider the needs of their congregation when deciding the best way to teach stewardship and generosity Such an evaluation begins with an honest look at the church leadership and the church budget Are the leaders personally modeling generosity Does the church operate under debt Does the church give a firstfruits offering to missions the community and the denominational family If the church leaders and the church budget don t model good financial management any coursework offered will be empty Wiebe points out Leaders need to lead well Beyond that a church should look at motivation expectations and what has already been done then consider practical concerns such as the size of the church and the church calendar It may not be reasonable for example for a small congregation with an already full calendar to add a nine week course Thinking through these issues will often result in a more customized approach to stewardship education Resources from MBF And MBF is happy to help congregations as they work it out After all Wiebe points out one of MBF s goals is championing biblical stewardship resourcing local congregations so that church leaders can take it from there The MBF website provides links to a number of resources like their monthly devotional past teaching campaigns including Advent Conspiracy and The Genius of Generosity and recommended material from established experts For even more customized help Wiebe and MBF staff members are available for consultations with church leaders and for preaching and teaching on stewardship Wiebe would gladly field queries from church leaders about how to equip their congregation in the area of stewardship to help them put their money where their mouth is If we really care about people s discipleship we have to talk about money he says To contact MBF call 800 551 1547 or email Wiebe at jwiebe mbfoundation com Myra Holmes Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Personalizing educational tools best way to teach biblical stewardship Tuesday Jul 1 2014 Financial Peace University MB Foundation resources popular options By Myra Holmes Discipleship has to impact the way we use our resources or else we re really not putting our money where our mouth is says Jon Wiebe president and CEO of MB Foundation the stewardship ministry for U S Mennonite Brethren Wiebe points out that pretty much every area of discipleship has implications for stewardship Loving a neighbor for example might mean giving to the church s benevolent fund buying some groceries or loaning a car It really comes down to what we are doing with our money with our time with our resources he says It follows then that USMB congregations should be teaching and equipping attendees in this area And they are Wiebe who travels extensively throughout the USMB constituency observes a fresh wind of interest in stewardship especially when framed in the language of generosity It s a different way to talk about it he says not about obligation and duty but about a generous spirit Wiebe believes this is more than the latest trend he sees a substantial willingness to lean in against the consumerism of American culture and obey Scripture It s not a fad he says It s an openness a willingness to teach the full Word of God So what s the best way for churches to encourage and teach a biblical approach to money Financial Peace one popular option One common approach is to use pre packaged curriculum Among the many courses available one that seems especially popular with USMB congregations if church bulletins and newsletters are any indicator is Financial Peace University a nine week DVD based course offered by Dave Ramsey See www daveramsey com fpu The course is divided into 90 minute sessions each including DVD teaching followed by discussion and hands on activities Through the course Ramsey encourages baby steps toward sound financial management such as setting up an emergency fund or cutting credit cards all aimed at eliminating debt and building financial freedom Participants purchase a membership kit with class materials resources and workbooks for a suggested price of 109 User friendly curriculum an attractive option A clear advantage of using any curriculum is a certain ease of use and USMB congregations that have chosen Financial Peace University say this resource is especially user friendly both for the hosting church and for those taking the class Churches say the logistics of hosting

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Personalizing-educational-tools-best-way-to-teach-biblical-stewardship.html (2016-02-17)
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    decorations Serving together gives family a joint purpose Extended Kroeker family members siblings parents nieces and nephews each have a role in RFKC Lisa s parents are now involved as camp grandparents giving the kids a healthy grandparent figure while at camp Even Jeff and Lisa s toddler son Nathaniel has been to camp serving to demonstrate to the campers how loving parents treat a healthy baby Lisa says her family keeps coming back to serve because they believe these children deserve to be loved and know the love of Jesus The experience has given her a tender heart toward the broken and inspired her to volunteer to help hurting kids by advocating for abused children in court As the Kroekers serve together they are transformed together Lisa says Serving together provides a joint purpose in our nuclear and extended families It brings us together has us work together serve together witness God s provision together Sandy says that RFKC provides both laughter and tears during Kroeker family gatherings as they share stories and memories of camp God has made our family so close and we have so much gratitude for what he has done for us for what he s done in us and what he s been able to do through us she says Lisa notes that RFKC has changed how all of the Kroekers see other people for the better When we see people around us who are experiencing hurt the experiences of camp help us to recognize act and take initiative in providing love and support she says Camp teaches us to HUG Helping others Using what we know to be true about our faith Giving of ourselves That goes further than just to a group of kids one week a year It changes how you live the other 51 weeks To see how RFKC has transformed the life of one child Samantha visit http royalfamilykids org camps Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Camp for abused youth transforms kids volunteers Tuesday Jul 1 2014 Nebraska family loves kids who hurt through Royal Family KIDS Camp by Myra Holmes The statistics are staggering 3 6 million kids in the U S are reported as abused neglected or abandoned every 10 seconds a child is abused in the U S and 30 percent of those abused children will become abusers I was devastated by that says Sandy Kroeker a member of Henderson Neb MB Church and a licensed social worker I know that I can t stop the cycle of abuse she says But in my community in my area I can touch the life of one child I m good with that Camp transforms Kroekers kids Kroeker helped start Royal Family KIDS Camp RFKC in Nebraska and has directed the Henderson camp for more than 20 years The camp transforms the lives of abused children and has transformed Kroeker s family Royal Family KIDS is an international network of camps and mentor

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Camp-transforms-abused-kids.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    worship team but also gave leadership to the church s outreach oriented vacation Bible school program Both programs grew under their leadership and reached new unchurched families Our mission field and community impact expanded with them here says Thiessen Praying for confirmation With their time of training nearly complete the Clarks faced another crisis and called on their church family for prayer and discernment During their studies they had felt a strong call to serve in Thailand or another country in that region Their school research projects often focused on topics related to the cultures and religions of Southeast Asia However after their final four month training with MB Mission the mission offered them a placement in Guadalajara Mexico It was a devastating blow and the start of several months of soul searching We had very clearly expressed and our church had clearly expressed our call to Thailand Tifany says How is it that everything has pointed us toward Thailand and that s not what the mission heard from God The congregation was as surprised and perplexed as the Clarks were but once again rallied around them praying for God s confirmation and peace about where to go from here When there was doubt we just acted like a family should listened and prayed says Thiessen Their church family s prayer and support were vital to the Clarks processing this change in direction The pastors and elders were right there with us praying intently that we would all see and hear the word that God was telling us Jason says In time the Clarks agreed to travel to Mexico for an MB Mission vision trip and while there sensed a confirmation that this was indeed God s call for them for the three year assignment they had been preparing for Safe in the place of the unknown Tifany credits the prayers and support of the church with bringing them to this point If we hadn t had the community I don t know if we would have come to the same decision We felt that safety net around us and felt safe to stay in the place of the unknown As they begin their assignment in Mexico later this year the Clarks can look forward to the continuing support of their congregation in both prayer and practical ways Eytzen will keep their current picture and latest news and prayer requests on the missions board She will also add each of their names to the 10 missionaries on her birthday calendar On the birthday of every adult and child in the seven missionary households the church supports Eytzen circulates a card for the church family to sign She encourages people to add a brief note and if they like a little bonus Eytzen invites signers to put a dollar in the envelope a gift of love from a congregation who finds practical ways to let their missionaries know that they continue to be valued members of the Birch Bay Bible Church family The Clark family left to right Cayleb age 15 Charity Ann 11 Jason Sarah Rose 8 Tifany and Noah 13 photo provided by MB Mission Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 1 Comments Randall Braun Butler MB Fresno fr of the Ens 2015 10 17 04 16 10 0 Will the children be schooled at their home a missionary school or in Washington I am friends or acquaintances of missionary families who educated their children a variety of ways Clark family travels a rustic road to missions Tuesday Jul 1 2014 Washington congregation supports family s call to mission field By Kathy Heinrichs Wiest For two and a half years Jason and Tifany Clark and their children have been camping It s not an extended vacation for the family of six Nor is it a back to nature adventure of living off the grid The Clark family from Birch Bay Bible Church in northwest Washington state is living in three recreational vehicles in a woodsy rural housing development because that is what it took to follow God s call to missions Their Birch Bay church family has stayed with them through their faith testing path of forsaking earthly wealth and pursuing a life of mission Praying for direction The journey began in February 2011 when Jason lost his job as a heavy equipment operator They knew their church family would support them in prayer through this crisis but the prayer the Clarks requested was a little out of the ordinary When you lose a job you think you have to get another job so you can continue to bring money in says Jason You don t think about what if we changed the way we live so we don t need money or not near as much Instead of asking for prayer for a new job the Clarks felt compelled to ask the church to pray for direction for their lives The answer came within a month as Jason and Tifany experienced a clear call to international missions one Sunday in the worship service God s guidance that Sunday morning is just one of many specific answers in a prayer partnership between the Clarks and their congregation Over the next three years the congregation continued to pray with them sometimes in small discernment groups and other times as they shared requests and answers to prayer during Sunday morning worship Many times they ve stood in front of the church and said We have a meeting this week Pray for us and then they would come back and report to us recalls church member Joanne Eytzen Eytzen added the Clark family and their prayer updates to the missions bulletin board she posts in the church foyer Walking with their church family The Clarks call to missions was just a first step in a long journey of preparation with their church family walking alongside When they sold their home property along with their goats and chickens someone from the

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Family-travels-rustic-road-to-mission.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    state our commitment to living as disciples of Jesus Christ who pursue peace and reconciliation what really matters is how we live our lives writes BFL in the board s October 2013 open letter In Article 12 we have agreed that our kingdom citizenship takes priority over all other loyalties In view of Article 12 we now need to find ways to implement the principles of Article 13 We understand that simply changing the wording to our Confession of Faith alone will yield minimal results in how we live The letter goes on to say that the national BFL will be working with district BFLs to strengthen our understanding of and commitment to conflict resolution We believe that these efforts will result in an outcome that allows us to have integrity in our pursuit of the biblical ideal of peacemaking and will give us the opportunity to grow in unity toward a vibrant peace witness in our homes churches communities and in the world As we prepare for the USMB National Convention we must take seriously the responsibility of thinking carefully about our theological statement on peacemaking And more importantly we must commit to being peacemakers every day by our actions and not just our words Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 1 Comments Donald Goertzen 2014 08 27 07 06 57 0 I am a former MB Years ago after I moved away from my home town my membership was transferred to a Mennonite congregation of a different Mennonite denomination I have a positive relationship to the MB church Many MBs have been ambivalent to article 13 Evangelicals to whom MBs are very close have always confused patriotism with Christianity thus the ambivalence Also the term nonresistance is a mis translation of the Sermon on the Mount reading which only adds to further confusion The text might better be translated do not resist with evil The term nonresistance suggests passivity in the face of evil Best wishes my friends Commiting ourselves to peacemaking Tuesday Jul 1 2014 Theological statements on peacemaking should be supported by our actions by Connie Faber CL editor When U S Mennonite B rethren gather for the National Convention in the San Francisco Bay area later this month we will vote on a recommendation to revise Article 13 of our Confession of Faith The Board of Faith and Life BFL is asking that we affirm a new statement regarding Love Peacemaking and Reconciliation the title recommended for the article that is currently called Love and Nonresistance Since January 2013 BFL has provided numerous opportunities for input feedback and counsel and has tested several drafts of Article 13 with us Assuming we have spoken well and BFL has listened well this recommendation should have the support it needs to pass But as with many decisions it s unlikely that all of us will be 100 percent happy and that means we will have the opportunity to practice our commitment to living at peace with

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Commiting-ourselves-to-peacemaking.html (2016-02-17)
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    satisfactory reality skilled life coaching through LEAD Coaching will provide the help you need to get unstuck and become the best you can be says Boschman You can achieve stable spiritual health and general well being and balance in your life says Boschman Powerful questions provided by the coach will inspire you to develop a satisfying life plan ministry vision and ministry plan As a bonus you will discover ways to maintain your priority commitments and get things done Boschman believes that connecting with another person about ministry challenges offers great benefits I know that the Spirit of Jesus is the ultimate coach for my life but because of my hard core humanness the fact that he is not in the flesh and does not audibly talk to me creates a challenge says Boschman Having a real live person who cares deeply about me and regularly connects with me about how I am really doing is both high privilege and greatly motivating It may well be that the accountability factor is the greatest benefit LEAD Coaching provides an opportunity to review and refocus life using a one year Core Four model says Boschman The phases are Life Plan Ministry Vision Ministry Plan and Priority Management One key reality in the process is that the person being coached holds the reins to the action plans says Boschman As the LEAD Coaching supervisor Boschman will ensure quality and consistency in coaching provide training venues establish coaching guidelines and handle individual coach concerns As head coach he will also champion LEAD Coaching among our USMB constituency It will be a privilege to link with the trained certified coaches we have in our USMB family says Boschman My goal will be to keep them encouraged and well resourced as they partner with their coachees I am honored to have been invited to serve in this way To learn more about LEAD Coaching visit www usmb org Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Boschman to serve in LEAD Coaching program Tuesday Jul 1 2014 Life on life mentoring offered to pastors ministry leaders lay leaders Mission USA news story Ed Boschman USMB executive director will serve as head coach of USMB s LEAD Coaching program beginning August 1 Boschman who will retire as executive director at the end of July will provide overall leadership for this national coaching initiative on a part time basis and will oversee the continuing development of LEAD Coaching coaches LEAD Coaching is part of Mission USA the USMB church planting and church health ministry LEAD Coaching provides life on life coaching for pastors ministry leaders and church lay leaders for an agreed upon term at basically half the monthly rate of typical Christian life coaching Because of my experience with both having been coached and currently having a coach I know without a doubt that I can commend this experience to our church staffers and lay leaders says Boschman It helps you grow as a person

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Boschman-to-serve-LEAD-Coaching-program.html (2016-02-17)
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    to know that when the lights are on you and the mic is in your hand finding humility and deferring to God is complicated Deflecting and redirecting all the glory to God is not a natural thing to do but for this I want to be on record The part of me that is spiritually born again by the new heart that God has given me longs to do exactly that As a couple too it has been Carol and my hearts desire to serve faithfully and well and to give the glory to God For those times we have not done so we claim God s grace and ask for yours For these past seven years I have repeatedly invited our U S Conference of MB Churches to partner as one family serving one Lord on one mission for the transformation of individuals families and communities Our mission statement emphasizes that we are a divinely constituted spiritual family and that Jesus would want us to behave as such The core of the statement declares and affirms that we would have no God other than Jesus Christ and that he is the center of our faith Putting that lordship into action means that we partner with God on his mission to save the world While I am certain that the Spirit has not given every Christian the specific spiritual gift of evangelism I am equally convinced that every believer has been called to live on mission When we love our neighbors as ourselves and they choose to begin a faith follow relationship with Jesus the Spirit will transform individuals and families and communities For whatever ways this season of service to Jesus and his USMB church has strengthened us as a family reaffirmed our unequivocal commitment to Jesus and multiplied evangelism initiatives in our nation Carol and I are grateful Because of his love and faithfulness all the glory belongs to God Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments The glory belongs to God Tuesday Jul 1 2014 God is not interested in sharing his glory with us by Ed Boschman USMB executive director Back in the summer of 2007 Carol and I were looking for a biblical foundation on which to build the new opportunity for me to serve the USMB family as executive director We landed on Psalm 115 1 Not to us O Lord not to us but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness There is not an iota of doubt that the human part of me likes glory When you add to that the fact that most of me is human it makes for a significant and relentless challenge It s not that I intentionally nurture my pride In fact I think a lot about aiming to be humble It s just that it won t go away Pride is pretty much impossible to kill That God is not interested in sharing his glory with me is

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/The-glory-belongs-to-God.html (2016-02-17)
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    their creativity and passion to bring us to this point I d like to focus on one leader in particular Ed Boschman When you read this Ed will be close to retirement after seven plus years as the USMB executive director Ed previously served us as the first director of Mission USA I have had the privilege of serving directly under Ed s exemplary leadership He cares from deep within his soul about people s eternal destination and craves seeing people come to faith He cares strongly about the health of our churches districts and the national conference He has served us very well He has consistently responded to criticism with grace I have heard countless people express great appreciation for all the hard work Ed gave year after year Many people say we are in a better place now as a conference of churches due to this man s leadership I believe most of us except perhaps his wife Carol don t have an inkling just how much Ed lived and breathed this work on our behalf So Ed thank you I can write about the fact that it s time because you have led us so well to this juncture Over the coming months USMB districts and many MB agencies will be involved in a structural review With a consultant s assistance we ll be intently looking into the ways in which we all work together finding pathways where we can do that more effectively I think God has placed this before us at this time because he wants to bind us together in a healthier way so that we are poised to experience a movement of his power and zeal among us It s time A lot of denominations seem to be headed in the wrong direction losing members and even losing their way theologically But for us it s time to witness a new powerful movement of God Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Time to be passionate Tuesday Jul 1 2014 Let s be passionate about reaching people who don t know Jesus by Don Morris Mission USA director Over the coming months I ll be saying quite often that it s time For us as Mennonite Brethren it s time to become exceedingly passionate about reaching people who don t yet know Jesus with his message of renewal and redemption To me that means it s time for us to plant more churches as many as six per year But we ll need planters partnerships locations and money to get it done In addition it s time for our existing churches to develop a deeper passion and real success for reaching the lost and discipling them Some of our churches are already doing this and they can be the flag bearers for this movement as God seeks to change lives I firmly believe our Savior is leading us to do much more to help build his church And I want

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Time-to-be-passionate.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    serving or ministering in the world 1 Cor 12 7 11 The work of the Spirit is expressed through the priesthood of all believers where everyone participates in ministry and relates together as a fellowship of equals Act 2 17 18 Gal 3 28 1 Peter 2 5 This affirmation also underlies the Mennonite Brethren concept of brotherhood with the implication that there is no inherent distinction between clergy and laity The church discerns the call of God and affirms those he gifts to equip the church for ministry Eph 4 11 13 Mennonite Brethren affirm that a biblical understanding of leadership emerges from what it means to be the church since the source of authority is the presence of Jesus within the church Matt 18 19 20 Leadership is not defined as authority but as servanthood because the ministry of leadership reflects one s gifting or function in the church not an office Rom 12 4 8 A typical Mennonite Brethren model of church governance is structured around a group of gifted leaders who are responsible for oversight and yet also recognize the authority of the Spirit in the gathered community Witnesses The Spirit of God empowers the church to witness to God s salvation and participate in God s mission reconciling humans with God each other and the world Acts 1 8 2 Cor 5 18 Proclamation of the gospel involves both telling the good news and doing acts of love and compassion Luke 4 18 19 Christ has commissioned the church to make disciples of all nations by calling people to repent and baptizing and teaching them to obey Jesus Matt 28 18 20 The church as Christ s ambassador and agent of reconciliation actively seeks to defend the weak care for the poor and promote justice righteousness and truth within society 2 Cor 5 20 The church is called to be a peacemaker in all situations Matt 5 9 Eph 2 14 18 and by its life the church bears witness to God s reign by revealing God s saving purposes to the world The identity of God s wonderfully diverse family John 17 20 21 centers around the Lord Jesus Christ who spoke with great hope when he said I will build my church Matt 16 18 So how is this vision of what it means to be the church lived out within your local congregation as you gather together as brothers and sisters a community of disciples as ministers and witnesses What does it look like to be a new creation within the unique context in which you live Doug Heidebrecht is currently working in an international setting Previously he served as director of the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Winnipeg Man and as an instructor at Bethany College in Hepburn Sask This essay is adapted from an article that first was published in an Indian MB Conference periodical It is appearing in both the CL and MB Herald the C anadian Conference of MB Churches magazine as a reminder that we are part of a global family of faith This article attempts to summarize the description of the church found in the Mennonite Brethren confessions of faith Quotations come directly from Confession of Faith Commentary and Pastoral Application 2000 and Knowing and Living Your Faith A Study of the Confession of Faith International Community of Mennonite Brethren 2008 Both are available through Kindred Productions Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Being the church Tuesday Jul 1 2014 A Mennonite Brethren vision of the family of God By Doug Heidebrecht No two U S Mennonite Brethren congregations look the same A church plant in Denver will look very different from a long standing community church in Nebraska or a multiethnic congregation in Fresno Our understanding of what it means to be the church is shaped by the diverse ministry concerns missional challenges leadership styles and worship practices that emerge from within the unique contexts in which we gather In the midst of such diversity we may wonder whether there is a common core that underlies a Mennonite Brethren understanding of the church Though Mennonite Brethren appeal to the New Testament as the model and authoritative guide regarding how to be the church today we also look to our confessions of faith as a summary of our shared understanding of what the Bible teaches Four themes emerge in our confessions description of what it means to be the family of God new creation community ministers and witnesses New creation Mennonite Brethren affirm God s new creation the church 2 Cor 5 17 Gal 6 15 as a single global body with Christ as the head Col 1 18 Eph 4 15 All Christians whether they worship in Telugu in Hyderabad in French in Kinshasa or in English in Hillsboro follow Jesus as the head of the church The outpouring of God s Spirit at Pentecost established the church Acts 1 4 5 2 17 18 and his continuing presence now defines the church as the people of God Rom 8 9 1 Cor 12 3 in line with the continuing story of God s relationship with Israel 1 Peter 2 9 10 Rom 9 25 26 At conversion each believer is cleansed by the Spirit Titus 3 5 and incorporated into the body of Christ 1 Cor 12 13 The Spirit unites all believers into one body Eph 4 4 without distinction between male and female nation race or caste Gal 3 28 1 Cor 12 13 Col 3 11 Rom 10 12 The church embraces the diversity of humanity and it does not make distinctions based on these differences Gal 5 6 6 15 The dated language of Brethren in our name highlights the significance of seeing the church as a family where believers relate to each other as brothers and sisters All believers are called to keep the unity of the Spirit Eph 4 3 despite their differences

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Being-the-church.html (2016-02-17)
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