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.
ICOMB Snapshot: The Global Family amid challenging times
Many home groups and churches are not meeting face to face. Many try to meet through Zoom, WhatsApp or other virtual platforms, to at least have some meetings and keep connecting. The restrictions to meeting have a high toll and reduce discipling, worshipping as church, teaching, doing mission/evangelism activities, etc.
These restrictions not only take a toll on local churches, but conferences. The needs of local churches are growing far over the abilities of national conferences to help.
The restrictions have even greater implications for churches and conferences that were in crisis before the pandemic. To deal with those challenges in the midst of so many new ones, has been overwhelming in some situations.
In all of this, what is the role of ICOMB? ICOMB has a very small staff, limited financial resources, and we are currently limited physically by travel restrictions. However, we have great opportunities for growth and connection during this time.
When executive director Rudi Plett called Jacobo Piraza, the leader from Panama, inviting him to a Zoom meeting with other leaders, Jacobo Piraza had never used any virtual video conference platform. [deleted sentence] Jacobo realized that his daughter used Zoom for college. After some arranging with Rudi, she made her computer available and helped her father until we started the meeting. Since then he has participated in other meetings with individuals, with other Latin American leaders, and beyond. We have all had to find new ways to participate and connect.
Through many intentional Zoom meetings, calls and emails, we have worked to connect more often than we did before.
To that end, we even put together our first ever Pentecost service online! It was a blessing to realize a connection through the Spirit to the global family on Pentecost Sunday. The most important thing we have tried to communicate to our members is, “You are not alone! There is a local and global family that loves you, wants to hear from you, and wants to bless you!”
And, the flip side of that coin: “There are others who want to be loved, seen, and blessed by you!”
We are so thankful for the many leaders around our globe that are passionate about Jesus, mission and caring for others. They have been blessing people locally, continentally and globally. They are blessing others by ministering and by being “contagious,” encouraging others to become and do the same. This “infection” with life is so important while so many fear infections that bring death.
Please pray that we see the opportunities God is placing on our path, and that we have the courage to pursue them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.