At its April meeting, the Executive Board approved a final job description for the new Executive Director. The description was significantly shaped by feedback the Search Committee received from many persons across the church. A priority for the committee has been to engage all of Mennonite Church USA in this process. Dave Sutter, committee member said “It is our goal to conduct this search in a way that models our theology of being an organic body where all parts work together for the common good.”
In its meeting, the Search Committee reflected on what was learned through this intensive listening process. Many persons expressed gratitude, and some surprise, for a process that is committed to authentically include and listen to all parts of the church. To be as inclusive as possible, search committee members made phone calls to young adults, adult members in the pew, conference leaders, executive board staff and former moderators. Other persons responded online to the invitation to send their perspectives to the Search Committee. Some just wanted to let the committee know they are in prayer for the search process and Mennonite Church USA during this time.
Some persons wanted the Executive Director to be a pastor while others wanted a “corporate type CEO.” Overall, the committee heard that people want someone with the heart of a pastor and the skills of a CEO. There was affirmation for an individual with the ability to “initiate and lead sustainable change.” The committee heard the desire for all parts of the denomination to effectively work together and be inspired by an Executive Director who calls us to walk together on the missional journey we are traveling, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Other modifications included changing the need to work out of the Newton or Elkhart office from essential to desirable and including a sense of humor as an essential quality. This was the fourth revision of the job description based on input from a variety of sources. The Search Committee appreciates the time, thoughts and prayers offered as part of the process.
As the search committee travels further along the discernment journey, committee members again request the prayers of everyone in the church. Often in the listening process committee members heard that this is a significant time in the life of the church and choosing the person God is preparing for this position is a critical decision. The committee heard a yearning to effectively and creatively move forward in bold witness to healing and hope through Jesus Christ. Committee chair Ed Diller said “We are so grateful for the counsel and prayers we have received. Now we ask you to pray for the committee as discernment continues and also to pray for the person whom God is already calling to this position.”
Members of the Search Committee include: Moderator-elect Ed Diller (chair) of Cincinnati, Ohio; Glen Guyton of Yorktown, Va.; Charlotte Hardt of Mount Vernon, Wash.; Sue Miller of Middlebury, Ind.; Juanita Nuñez of Ocoee, Fla.; Patty Shelly of Newton, Kan.; David Sutter of South Bend, Ind.; J. Richard Thomas of Lancaster, Pa.; and Keith Weaver of Reinholds, Pa. Moderator Sharon Waltner of Parker, S.D., is an ex officio committee member of the committee.