Ministry partner update: ICOMB – April 2017

The International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB) is made up of 21 national churches in 19 countries with approximately 450,000 members. ICOMB exists to facilitate relationships and ministries to enhance the witness and discipleship of its member national churches – connecting, strengthening and expanding.

Gathering of global Mennonite Brethren fans passion: ICOMB consultation on mission and prayer, Thailand 2017

“It’s all about love.” This was the message of PK, leader of Khmu Mission, on the final night of Thailand 2017, an ICOMB consultation in partnership with MB Mission. In Chonburi, Thailand, 240 delegates from 36 countries assembled 7–12 March 2017 to talk and pray about mission.

Attendees were leaders and mission or church planting coordinators from 21 well-established Mennonite Brethren conferences and some 17 new associations under MB Mission.

A call to mission

“Mission is not primarily our activity or initiative, but God’s people participating in God’s purpose to redeem all creation,” said Arthur Dück (Brazil), one of nine plenary speakers.

Johann Matthies of Germany pictured the world on the move – 244 million people are migrants, refugees and stateless – and unprecedented opportunity to share the gospel in holistic ways to waves of people.

Randy Friesen of MB Mission spoke of an “everywhere to everywhere” mission. With the geographical centre of Christianity in northwest Africa and trending southeast, this begs reflections on how MB mission praxis and strategy responds to this reality.

Each morning, a different continental representative presented a Bible study from Ephesians.

“Recognize the call of God on your life, keep the vision and move forward no matter what,” Nahtanong Silachotboriboon of Thailand encouraged (Ephesians 3).

Pastor Mvwala Katshinga of DR Congo proclaimed one Spirit (Ephesians 4) and highlighted the implication for women. “Is there one Holy Spirit for men, and another Holy Spirit for women? No! And the Spirit calls us together on mission.”

Pastor Ada De Mencia (Paraguay) called for openness to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5). An evangelist from Turkey called Mennonite Brethren to arm for spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6).

Prayer, the event’s parallel theme, complemented everything in practice, example and teaching. Prayer rooms and workshops offered practical opportunities to pray and learn about prayer.

The atmosphere of love and unity prevailed despite the inevitable misunderstandings of a cross-cultural meeting. “The sense of belonging was palpable,” says ICOMB executive director David Wiebe.

The listening committee (which included general secretary César García) summarized recommended action steps arising from the consultation: make time for prayer and intercession, empower women, increase awareness about other Anabaptist churches and recommit to being a church on mission in “radical imitation of Jesus [through] forgiveness and love.”


The annual summit of ICOMB conference leaders followed the consultation 13–14 March 2017. Rudi Plett was dedicated as associate director with focus on serving Latin America.

—ICOMB report