Areas of Mission and Ministry

The Northern Plains District helps fund and support the following 12 areas of mission and ministry:


1) District Executive

Tim B-H copyTim Button-Harrison works out of his home in Ames, Iowa as part-time District Executive, aligning the District around five key areas: LEADERSHIP, OUTREACH, RELATIONSHIPS, COMMUNICATIONS and STEWARDSHIP. Tim says, “I am privileged to work with church leaders who are spiritually growing and faithfully joining hearts with those in their congregation and beyond. Inspiring a shared vision, modeling the way, encouraging the heart, and challenging the process are leadership traits I am developing in myself and others to help the District grow spiritually and numerically.”


2) District Conference

1185833_676413879054429_688244578_nEach first weekend in August, representing all churches across the Northern Plains, people gather for worship, learning, meals, fellowship and fun…and to conduct the business of the District. This year will be our 148th District Conference, August 1-3, 2014, in Cedar Rapids. Recognitions will be given to ministers and Camp Pine Lake volunteers, the ministries we make possible together will be celebrated, an auction of handmade crafts and an ice cream social will be held to support District and Youth ministries, new leadership will be elected and a budget approved for the coming year. We hope you can join us for this event!

3) Annual Conference

Church of the Brethren Annual Conference exists to unite, strengthen and equip the Church of the Brethren to follow Jesus.

urlAnnual Conferences must be special times in the life of the Church of the Brethren. We envision Annual Conferences . . .

* that bring or revive commitment to Jesus;
* that glorify God in excellent worship, work and fellowship;
* that facilitate the business of the church through business sessions, study committees, agency reports, and disposition of queries;
* that are open and welcoming, and bring together Brethren from all cultures and points of view to proclaim Jesus as Lord;

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4) District Board

linkedhandsThirty dedicated persons, chosen by District Conference delegates from across the District, meet quarterly to discuss, plan, and carry out District ministries. Churches graciously host District Board meetings, providing space, meals and overnight lodging in homes. The Board has a balanced organization with an Executive Committee and four commissions (Ministry, Nurture, Stewards and Witness). It appoints many others to special committees and roles that strengthen the life and ministries of the Church of the Brethren in our Northern Plains District.

5) Ministry Commission

51039_raised_handsThe Ministry Commission works in partnership with Church of the Brethren ministers and congregations to recruit and call out persons with gifts for ministry, to encourage, nurture and support those in our ministry, to explore new ways to share the Good News, to teach, train and model Christ-like leadership in our church homes and in our District, and to find ways for young people to explore the call to ministry in the Church of the Brethren.

6) Nurture Commission

nurtureThe Nurture Commission of the District Board is currently serving in the following ways: Camp Pine Lake programming is directly linked to the commission and nurtures persons of all ages as well as builds leadership skills. Additionally, the commission seeks out leaders of activities for youth, men and women for retreats, and other activities in the District. Providing resource ideas for nurture activities in the local church or fellowship is also a function of the Nurture Commission. Information-sharing regarding safety for children and background checking of persons working with youth and children is in progress.

7) Stewards Commission

cupped-handsAs the name implies, the Stewards Commission centers itself on the God-given resources entrusted to the District and its congregations. Some may think of the District budget as the Stewards’ overarching concentration. But it’s not the only thing they work on. The commission is also responsible for helping congregations be aware of good stewardship toward local as well as denominational needs. Stewards Commission assists Camp Pine Lake in overseeing and maintaining camp property. The District Financial Secretary and District Treasurer also fall within their area of responsibility.

8) Witness Commission

1185004_676414225721061_258819570_nThe purpose of the Witness Commission is to encourage and share generously, to reach out, and to share God’s love in practical ways. Here are just some ways the commission has reached out this past year:

* Notes of encouragement to each congregation
* Care packages to Brethren Volunteer Service participants
* Food and money to food shelves in towns where the Board met
* Thousands of t-shirts to diapers for Haiti
* Assembling clean-up buckets and hygiene kits to help with disaster relief
* Sharing ways churches can do outreach through the District Newsletter

9) Church Development and Renewal (CDRC)

Viceroy_ButterflyThe Church Development and Renewal Committee embraces the two-fold mission of supporting and nurturing new church starts as well as providing opportunities to strengthen, connect and revitalize established congregations. A snapshot of CDRC’s work includes:

* Exploring and supporting new church starts in Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota
* Assessing and educating potential church planters
* Utilizing feedback from the Sending of the Seventy to address congregational needs, celebrate strengths and deepen mutual understanding
* Supporting the Vital Ministry Journey to enrich connections
* Visioning how area Clusters can be a catalyst for mutual outreach.

10) Camp Pine Lake

488218_501672729861879_1660169352_nCamp Pine Lake, as a ministry of the Northern Plains District, offers full camping facilities in a unique natural environment where groups of all ages and sizes can experience the glory of God’s creation. The camp hosts Brethren camps and events and is also available for rental by other organizations, families or individuals.

Camp Pine Lake, through a ministry of camp programming and hospitality, seeks to provide a place for people to come know God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer; grow in discipleship; develop knowledge of the Bible and appreciation for the church; create nurturing relationships in Christian community; and stimulate a desire to share God’s love with others.

11) Minister of Leadership Development

url-1Garrison Keillor says that the children are above average in Lake Wobegon, and several years ago, the Northern Plains District Board concluded that the leadership potential in our district was quite a bit above average and that a staff person was needed to identify, train, and empower persons for leadership. The title given to this position is Minister of Leadership Development. Lois Grove, working out of her home in Council Bluffs, currently holds the position. The District budget helps defray the cost of supplies and facilitators for training events.

12) Minister of Communications

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe ministry of communications exists to keep the District’s 31 congregations up-to-date on events, meetings and other initiatives. Jess Hoffert has been the District Communications Intern since August 2011. Tasks include sending out the monthly newsletter, creating the annual directory, editing videos of District events and assisting with awareness-raising initiatives such as the bookmark campaign. In the near future, a Communications Minister position will replace the intern role. The minister will assume the intern’s tasks while taking on a more active role as spiritual communicator and technological advisor to the District’s congregations.