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New binational magazine for leaders to build on former "Builder"


Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Church USA joint release
January 27, 2003
-by Laurie L. Oswald with Dan Dyck

Scottdale,PA./Winnipeg, Man. (MPN)— Leaders seeking to build a foundation on the new missional vision set forth by Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA will find practical blueprints and tools in the new bi-national quarterly magazine to be launched this summer.

Leader: Equipping the Missional Congregation, to be published by Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN- formerly Mennonite Publishing House), will build upon the former work of Builder, which provided resources for congregational leaders. When Builder is discontinued in May, Leader will also add some “new rooms,” as it seeks to inspire, equip and empower pastors and lay leaders to guide congregations in becoming the missional church in more holistic ways.

The 32-page, one-color magazine with a four-color cover is expected to release its first issue this summer during the church-wide assemblies in Canada and the United States.

Builder had a largely educational focus, whereas Leader will also integrate aspects of congregations, missions and worship as they pertain to joining God’s work in the world to bring hope and reconciliation to our communities,” said Byron Rempel-Burkholder, Leader’s managing editor based in Winnipeg.

Leader will tend toward the practical, helping leaders to see what the missional church does, what it looks like, some how-tos. … We’re not only producing a printed product. We want this to be a service, an interactive and dynamic forum where leaders can share ideas and sharpen each other.”

Leader will continue Builder’s seasonal worship resources for Advent, Lent and Easter, he said. But the Bible lessons and adult teaching materials – formerly included in the Builder Uniform Series edition – will be contained in a separate quarterly publication, Adult Bible Study Teacher.

Rempel-Burkholder will work closely with Richard A. Kauffman, Leader’s senior editor and an associate editor at Christian Century. Kauffman, former associate editor at Christianity Today, believes this assignment will help him to stay connected to Mennonite journalism and to help build missional congregations, he said.

“I care about the Mennonite Church and this gives me a way of being involved, even though my primary employment is elsewhere,” said Kauffman, formerly pastor of two Mennonite congregations and a member of Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Church.

“And this also gives me the opportunity to help us reflect on two questions I believe are very important in forming missional congregations: ‘Why are we here in this place at this time?’ And, ‘What are the opportunities for ministry here in this place?’ ”

Kauffman and Rempel-Burkholder will consult with a publishing council consisting of representatives from executive staffs of MC Canada, MC USA, Mennonite Mission Network, and Mennonite Publishing Network; and with an editorial committee to include pastors, denominational leaders and mission agency representatives. The council and committee will work together to ensure that Leader strengthens Builder’s former goals, as it also strives toward some new goals.

New goals include pursuit of greater involvement of church leaders in shaping the magazine; inclusion of voices from denominational mission programs; greater intentionality in being a bi-national publisher; and a clearer purpose of maturing the identity and vision of the missional church, said editorial committee members.

Excitement is building over these new goals. Marlene Kropf is an editorial committee member and director of the MC USA Executive Board Office of Congregational Life.

“… it’s very important that Canada and the United States have a joint project at a time when some fear there’s been an increasing disconnect between the churches. This publication is a good way to talk together and work together. This desire for collaboration shows us that we don’t want to lose our connection,” said Kropf

Justina Heese, executive secretary of MC Canada Formation is a member of the publishing council. “What makes Leader unique is that it holds the missional vision of the transformational process. Mennonite Church Canada Formation, Witness and leadership see themselves as united in this vision for the church. Creating this magazine is the intentional determination to give the ministries of Mennonite Church Canada one voice,” she said.