Over the past two years, we’ve added many new members to our General Conference Board (GCB). They have brought with them fresh perspectives, new ideas, and passion for the Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S.
We connected with GCB members Brian Mbuu, Jose Rodriguez, and Naomi Smith to hear about their experience on the board and to learn their hopes for the future of BIC U.S.
How did you come to be a part of the BIC?
Brian – My wife and I started attending Harrisburg BIC (Pa.) after graduating from Messiah University. We felt a calling to be a part of a Church that strives to be an authentic and diverse congregation and joined as members in 2003.
Jose – Growing up, I was heavily involved in the first BIC missions congregation in Cuba, and then stepped into pastoral ministry when my family moved to Miami, Fl. in the late 80s. Since then, I’ve been involved in various regional conference leadership roles.
Naomi – My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all BIC pastors. I grew up in a BIC church but have also spent time in Wesleyan and Mennonite churches. I am now back at home in the BIC but am deeply grateful for all the steps and stops on my spiritual journey.
As a newer member, how would you describe you time on GCB so far?
Brian – It has given me a greater appreciation for all the work done by Leadership Council, various task forces, commissions, and our pastoral staff. We are blessed with many individuals that have different gifts and talents that are used to serve the Kingdom.
Jose – It has been an interesting season to start serving on GCB. The zoom meetings make it more difficult for interaction, but it has been a blessing to serve alongside my BIC brothers and sisters around the country.
Naomi – I had not served on a governing board before, so it felt like jumping into the deep end of the pool. I had a lot to learn about organizational culture and procedural rules. But I have enjoyed growing in appreciation for what it means to be a part of a decision-making body.
Much of the work of GCB goes on behind the scenes. For people who aren’t familiar with GCB, what do you think is the most valuable component of its work for the larger church?
Brian – I believe that one of the most important aspects of GCB is how we steward our resources. Our resources are primarily comprised of people and finances, and it is important to keep both in mind when making decisions. I am encouraged and humbled to work with a team that values both aspects.
Jose – We take care of a wide range of administrative topics. In just my short time on GCB, we’ve addressed gender discrimination allegations, temporary bishop placements, and revisions to the Manual of Doctrine and Government.
Naomi – Part of our work is on a big scale, in the realm of casting vision for the denomination. But equally important is the “nitty-gritty” work we do in overseeing changes in governance documents, property ownership, and financial realities. It’s not glamorous, but those tasks are critical to the health of the larger church.
With Project 250 in mind, what do you hope the BIC church will look like in 10 years?
Brian – My prayer is that our strategic priorities for the BIC church will allow us to continue growing spiritually closer to Christ. We have a rich history to build upon, and I believe that as we work together towards attaining our outlined goals we will be better examples of Christ to our communities.
Jose – I hope the BIC church remains in the Word, while opening to be more inclusive, growing, and vibrant.
Naomi – I hope that we will look like an even more diverse group of brothers and sisters in Christ, who welcome new faces to the family while remaining steadfast in our faithfulness to God’s word, our allegiance to Jesus, our sensitivity to the Spirit, and our love for one another.
This was originally published in our 2021 Annual Report.