As I reflect on 2023, the word steadfast comes to mind. As in steady wins the race. Since 2015, the U.S. team of mobilizers has steadily and organically grown. Whether early on the journey like myself with an eagerness to learn; or part of the majority in the trenches faithfully grinding at a steady pace to reach those around them; to the soldiers that have been steadily marching for so long, they lead the pack carrying their unfaltering torch high as a beacon of maturity and shining wisdom. I’m in constant awe of the heartfelt commitment and unbendable resolve toward mobilization from this tribe.
Mobilization implies movement, and steadfastness carries an unwavering resolve to continue the mission no matter what life throws at you. I see that in our team. I get to see it in our participants every time we host a course and they go through the transformational journey themselves. I’ve had the privilege to witness many of my fellow brothers and sisters keep their eyes on Jesus amid life’s unpredictable storms. It makes me proud to be a part of this imperfect team of fighters dedicated to being on mission with God.
God has been the most faithful to us this past year, meeting needs through answered prayers in the most unexpected ways. Some general highlights include:
The Kairos Course:
A total of 39 courses across five language groups (Chinese, English, Korean, Russian & Spanish).
Out of 803 enrolled participants, 702 completed the course. That’s an 87% graduation rate and a higher number coming back to finish missed sessions.
128 of those graduates trained to become Facilitators & 9 became Head Facilitators.
The Unfinished Story:
63 participants completed The Unfinished Story amongst five courses that whet their appetite for mobilization. Some participants trained to be Church Coordinators to mobilize within their local church.
Eastern Mennonite Mission, a strong developing close partner, hosted an Interface seminar at their headquarters with 11 in attendance.
With the faithful leadership of Letekidan Gebremariam - Interface mobilized a diaspora group.
Five Interface Seminars were presented to over a hundred Amharic/Tigrigna language-speaking leaders sparking a mobilization movement within the Ethiopian Church diaspora across the U.S. and globally.
Prayer teams have formed and meet regularly to pray for their people, the unreached and mobilization strategy.
In partnership with the Horn of Africa, a passionate team has begun the work of translating additional SM material for use in cohorts of Amharic churches.
New Language Teams
With the spread of the Kairos course reaching more language groups, three new language teams were added to the SMUSA family tree: Amharic, Russian, and Spanish.
Stronger Online Presence
Our website was transitioned to a new platform and received a more user-friendly makeover.
We went social, creating Facebook and Instagram accounts and engaging the online community.
Post-pandemic forged the growing momentum for the Kairos course to remain as an online option, resulting in an online summit team refining the online process and updating statistics.
SMUSA, a U.S. non-profit organization, added three new Board members as two others rotated off.
Two new members were added to the National Coordinating Team.
A North American Korean Pastoral Advisory Council was formed.
We had to say “goodbye” to Joshua Rodenbaugh, a key person in the development and growth of SMUSA. His growing responsibilities with Team Expansion called for a change. We are indebted to Joshua for his critical contribution over the years. Many of us trace our initial course and subsequent training to Joshua and Team Expansion. Thank you!!
Kairos for Kids is in development. A team of passionate children’s ministry leaders is in the process of creating a course for elementary-age students. You can read more about it from our recent blog here.
The Unfinished Story for Youth launched for beta testing after debuting at our International Conference. Twenty facilitators took the course online as an upskilling training to be ready to roll out in creative ways amongst their respective local churches to mobilize the next generation of youth. Our first U.S. course was successfully facilitated in Las Vegas just this week.
Simply Mobilizing International Conference
The biggest highlight of the year was our international conference where 35 delegates representing four language groups from the U.S. flew to Chiang Mai, Thailand for one week in September.
Globally, 372 mobilizers from 63 countries were in attendance; many more wanted to attend but faced difficulty securing traveling visas.
Another important takeaway was one of synergy and momentum, which was beautifully captured here by our Regional Coordinator.
An answer to months of prayer for the US team was having delegates representing our Spanish language group in attendance at the conference. We were also blessed to connect with our Vietnamese US delegates.
Fellowshipping, networking, and being encouraged by regional reports from around the globe affirmed to many the critical integration step of keeping the vision. We are so grateful for the international leadership team that worked diligently to fill our cups to overflowing. Click here to watch our North American regional report video.
And so much more!
Phew! Praise the Lord of the Harvest for this gift of mobilization that has found its steadfast momentum. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look back on 2023 as an incredible year. As you ring in the new year, I pray you begin to think about your role as a mobilizer. In the next blog, we’ll take a look forward on our vision board for 2024 to offer a plethora of opportunities to join the momentum. Stay tuned!