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.
Brazilian MB Conference Leadership Changes
In times full of uncertainties and a changing world, our churches and also our conferences are going through different changes and challenges. What was obvious in the past is not necessarily valid today. In all changes, we know that 2 foundations do not change: the Word of God, the reference and authority for our Christian personal life and for that of our churches; and God’s mission for our churches. But people and the world are changing very rapidly and this has been impacting Convenção Brasileira das Igrejas Evangélicas Irmãos Menonitas (COBIM) – the Brazilian MB Conference.
We came through a period of great growth over the past few years. But that also brought difficulties. We made the decision to regionalize the conference management, moving from a central conference management of all churches to a distributed leadership and management. Some regions and leaders were more prepared to handle the increased responsibility than others. The decision was correct and has brought positive results but it has taken time to implement.
Difficulties also showed up in the national board, due to many additional responsibilities accepted in a moment of growth, not enough trained and prepared leaders, lack of patience for the pace of change, health issues, financial pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and difficulty prioritizing responsibilities.
We decided to reinforce listening to God, investing time in prayer, being obedient to his commands, and being sensitive to how he was guiding us. We also set up weekly online board meetings to search for solutions.
For the new leadership board elections in October, we determined that the representatives of the Regions would prepare the elections, to have neutrality in the process. Through open dialog and God’s guidance, a new board was proposed and voted in by the general COBIM assembly. The vote changed the roles of some members to better align with their giftings and brought new leaders to reinforce the team.
At the beginning of December, we had a meeting of the new board committee and we clearly sensed the presence of the Lord, with forgiveness between leaders and a commitment to lead the conference under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
—Report submitted by Paul Dück, Brazil, ICOMB Update