Search for next Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA

Given all that we’ve talked about here, maybe there are some opinions on what the next Executive Director should do? Who it should be? How they should act? What salary (if any) they should be paid?

This is a chance to weigh in to the process. The search committee is consulting far and wide across the Mennonite church. Feel free to add your voice in the comment section below.

Some things to consider, if you’d like to:

Think about our current world and church and the strengths and needs of Mennonite Church USA as you understand/have experienced them.

Consider our denominational vision–Vision: Healing & Hope: “God calls us to be followers of Jesus Christ and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to grow as communities of grace, joy, and peace so that God’s healing and hope flow through us to the world.”

Also consider our denomination’s mission: “Joining in God’s activity in the world, we develop and nurture missional Mennonite congregations of many cultures.”

Some questions to consider:

1) What role and leadership qualities do you believe we need MOST at this time in the Executive Director position to assist us in all parts of our church to live out this vision and mission in our world?

2) See below for Job Description…

3) What emphasis should the search committee highlight at this time for a special emphasis (young, Racial/Ethnic person, “insider” vs. “outsider”)?

4) Are there personal traits that you think that the new Executive Director will need in additional to those listed in the draft job description?

5) Are there new things that the new Executive Director needs to be doing and are there things that the new Executive Director should stop doing?

6) What do you want the Search Committee and the Executive Board to know as they search for a new Executive Director?

7) When you reflect on this role in the church, are there persons that you think the search committee should be considering.

2) A copy of the proposed Job Description is below. As you review the current draft:
a. What items can you affirm of the proposed job description? What items raise questions for you?
b.How do you respond to the essential qualities identified? Are they realistic? Which are MOST important to you? What is missing?
c.Additional qualities have been listed that we believe might be beneficial for this role. Would you move any of these into the essential category? Are there any you would remove? What should be added?

The Executive Director will lead Mennonite Church USA toward a Christ-centered spirituality and missional calling, and will:
– Inspire Mennonite Church USA through a compelling articulation of the vision, mission and priorities of the church
– Form and lead an Executive Leadership Team that empowers Mennonite Church USA to join in God’s activity in the world and achieve outcomes established by the Executive Board
– Serve as the Chief Executive Officer and primary public spokesperson of Mennonite Church USA
– Ensure strategic alignment in denominational efforts on the churchwide priorities of Witness, Antiracism, Leadership Development and Global Connections
– Perform such other responsibilities as requested by the Executive Board

A person who contacted me from the search committee gave me the okay to ask for y’alls opinions.

Comments (5)

  1. Pam K.

    Re: the third question (i.e., “young, Racial/Ethnic person, ‘insider’ vs. ‘outsider'”)

    Wondered if the committee would consider thinking about gender, as well.

  2. TimN

    The job description is a little bit vague to me. What does the executive director do on a daily basis? I never had a clear sense of what Jim Schrag did other then to make appearances at the bi-annual assembly. I guess that’s the spokesperson part.

  3. Dave S


    And Tim, thanks to you too. You’re right, the job description for such a position can seem vague. To some degree this is intentional. Our interest is to call a person with leadership gifts to serve in a broad capacity, exercising their gifts on the church’s behalf, making observations and listening to the Spirit of God and to all of us in the church as they serve. In turn, we hope that they will invite and challenge us to move together as a whole (many parts moving together). We want this person to work within the huge parameters of God’s dream and the stated vision of the church (hopefully there is some overlap here) and we want to give them a lot of latitude as to how they actually do this to work in and through people. We don’t name many specifics because we don’t want to limit how he or she carries out the role…specifics might limit creativity and orient tasks more in line with power and authoritative structure than vision and need.

    Jim S could certainly tell you better exactly what he does on a daily basis, but I think his aim is to be an observer and listener to the big picture of the whole church and to our calling. This means relating to a lot of people in a lot of different ways, phone, e-mail, writing, meetings, preaching, etc. On a daily basis he watches, listens, and tries to speak honestly to others to invite them/us to stick to and live out our calling, God’s vision for the world through Christ. On a little bit more down-to-earth level, in addition to his work at and in preparation for the Delegate assembly each year, his role is to follow up on the details that the Delegate Assembly desires for the church. This includes a lot of travel, meeting with a lot of people, one-on-one and in groups–to listen, build relationships, preach, explain, make analogies so that we get it and so that we learn to appreciate others in the church, and so on. He really does, as you can imagine, have quite a number of intense interactions with individuals and groups. He is also responsible to help the denomination and its various parts (agencies, conferences, schools, etc) move toward our stated vision. He does this through an executive leadership staff group that he meets with and supervises. Together they work with communication and finances between many groups, convention planning, several boards, committees and leadership groups, and so on. He also meets regularly with the leaders of all the Mennonite Church Agencies and he is our representative to inter church groups as well. Again, a lot of his role has to do with communicating with and to the church. I hope something in here was helpful. Thanks again for your honest question. Don’t hesitate to ask more.

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