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Leadership Project Questionnaire results


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“The face of ministry in changing times” in Mennonite Church Canada

October, 2002 summary

Total questionnaires sent out - 250, total returned - 82. Thank you again to all who so thoughtfully and carefully filled out the form and gave us much to ponder…

MCEC – 36 Manitoba – 15 Sask. – 16 B.C. –10 AB – 4 N/W - 1

As much as possible I used the language congregations used to describe themselves, in whatever way they deemed it to fit into the categories provided. Sometimes I gathered similar thoughts in summary form, hopefully keeping the range of nuances and variations. I offer minimal interpretation – in most cases the data speaks for itself.

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I. A Brief Congregational Profile

1. Size

  1. under 50 members - 12
  2. 50-100 members - 13
  3. 101-200 members - 24
  4. 201-300 members - 17
  5. 301-400 members - 4
  6. 401-500 members - 5
  7. over 500 members - 3

2. Setting

  1. urban, over 100,000 - 23
  2. urban, over 50,000 - 4
  3. urban, over 20,000 - 7
  4. town, over 10,000 - 4
  5. village, under 10,000 -18
  6. rural - 21

3. Demography

From a random sample of 20 questionnaires out of the total 82, we get the following picture of the age of our congregations.

The smallest congregation in this sample is 23 persons, the largest is 946, the median is 155 or 190, average, 265 persons.

Of these, 18.4% are children under 14; 6.4% are youth; 16.2% are young adults; 19.6% are between 36-50; 15.8% are age 51-65; and 23.3% are seniors over age 65.

4. Ethnic Composition

Swiss/South German is the predominant group in 19 congregations, Dutch/North German in 43 congregations. Two other predominant ethnic group congregations were identified – West Indian, Japanese/Korean.* Some of the “mixtures” identified include:

  • Russian, Paraguayan, Brazilian
  • mix of 1870, 1920, 1940 immigrant groups, and Mexican Mennonite since 1960’s
  • Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Ukranian, Sudanese, Congolese, Dutch
  • Swiss/Dutch and “others”
  • GCMC, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, Baptist, Muslim
  • Dutch, Swiss, Irish, French, Polish, Native Canadian
  • “many faith backgrounds”, all white Anglo
  • German, Swiss, non-Mennonite background

* There are other a number of other recent Canadian (non dominant culture) Mennonite groups in Mennonite Church Canada which are not reported here, including Chinese, Laotian, Hispanic, Hmong, etc.

II. Models of Pastoral Leadership

Five congregations indicated that at present they have no pastor. Two of these indicated that they are in search of a pastor, three by choice do not have pastoral staff, have other leadership models.

1. Gender and Training

31 congregations indicate that they have one credentialed pastor. Of these, 28 are male (21 full-time, 4 part-time), 3 are female (1 full-time). The three female pastors have masters degrees. Of the male pastors, 5 have certificate or informal training, 7 have undergraduate theology degrees (e.g. B.Th.), 12 have masters, and one has a post-graduate degree. (It should be noted that not everyone indicated his/her level of training.)

2. Pastoral Teams

Of the 77 congregations that reported they have pastor(s), 46 indicated they have some form of a TEAM of credentialed pastors. Of these, 32 indicated that they have a designated lead pastor; 29 of them are male, 3 are female. 14 congregations state that they have no designated lead pastor on the team.

For purposes of listing level of training by gender, I have listed “lead pastors” with “co-pastors.” Of the male pastors in this cohort, 1 has certificate training, 12 have undergraduate, 25 have masters, and 6 have post-graduate degrees. For the female pastors, 1 has certificate level training, 3 have undergraduate theological training, 6 have masters, and 2 have post-graduate degrees. Thus it appears that the level of training is similar for both male and female lead or co-pastors.

When we examine the “second/third” pastors on the team, those who are associate pastors, assistant pastors, or “minister of youth,” etc. we see a somewhat different picture concerning their training. Of the male pastors in this cohort, 1 has certificate training, 18 undergraduate training, 8 masters. Of the females in this group, 2 have no training, 5 have certificate level training, 12 have undergraduate training, and 7 have masters degrees (M.Div,etc.)

And what congregations call the 2nd 3rd or 4th. pastors on the team? They call 22 of them “co-pastors”, 8 of them are simply called “pastor,” 16 are called “associate pastor,” 6 are called “assistant” pastor. There are 16 pastors who are called “youth minister” and 2 are called “youth worker.” There are 2 who are called “minister of music,” 1 called “children’s ministry director,” 1 called “Hispanic pastor,” and 1 called “outreach worker.” It should be noted too that the majority of 2nd 3rd. or 4th. pastors on these teams are less than full-time, most often .5 FTE (full-time equivalent).

What level of training do pastors have? Where there is one credentialed pastor in the congregation, five males have certificate level training (no theology degree), six have undergraduate theology degrees, eleven have masters degrees, and one has a post-graduate theology degree. The three female pastors have a masters degree.

Where there is a ministry team, the lead pastors and co-pastors have training as follows: One male has certificate training, twelve have undergraduate theology degrees, 24 have masters degrees, and 6 have post-graduate theology degrees. Of the female lead or co-pastors, 1 has certificate training, 3 have undergraduate degrees, 6 have masters, and one has post-graduate theological training.

Those who are 2nd. 3rd. or 4th. pastors designated as associate or assitant (not lead or co-pastors) have training as follows: One male has certificate training, 18 have undergraduate degrees, and 9 have masters. Of the female assistant or associate pastors, 6 have certificate training, 12 have undergraduate degrees, and 7 have masters degrees.

3. LAY Ministry

Definitions of “lay minister” varied considerably. I tried to use the term as you understood it and described it. In three cases, congregations defined their committees (or their designated chairs) as “ministries.” e.g. ministry of worship, ministry of missions, etc. In two of these cases they were named “Ministry Team,” seen somewhat similar to, but also different from the traditional “lehrdienst.” Numbers of designated “lay ministers” (besides the three cases noted above) in congregations ranged from 1 to 8. Three congregations reported having 1 lay minister, 4 have 2 lay ministers, 4 have 3 lay ministers, 5 have 4 lay ministers, 2 have 5, 2 have 7, and 1 congregation has 8 lay ministers. (total 83+- depending on the terminology used)

Of the lay ministers, 68 are male, 15 are female. Of the total group, 24 are ordained (23 men, 1 woman), 6 are commissioned (3 men, 3 women). Those who reported having theological training noted a range from occasional studies, to Bible college, to M.Div. or Phd degrees. Clearly there are theologically-trained persons in congregations whose gifts are being used as lay ministers, alongside those who are gifted but not theologically trained. 75 of these persons do their lay ministry on a totally volunteer basis, 1 reported being paid an honorarium for his part-time ministry work, 1 is a paid youth minister.

The category of ordained lay minister is reported only among congregations of Dutch/North German background.

4. RETIRED or FORMER pastors

  1. There are 90 retired or former pastors. Of the 39 congregations that reported having retired or former pastors in their midst, 16 have 1 such person, 11 have 2, 8 have 3, 2 have 4, 1 has 6, and 1 has “more than 12.” Clearly there is a wealth of pastoral experience sitting in our pews week by week.
  2. What ministry roles do they play in the life of the congregation?
    • pulpit supply – 21
    • teach Sunday School or Bible study - 13
    • no defined role (beyond what the lay people have) – 9
    • general visitation and pastoral care - 6 senior visitation – 4
    • conduct funerals - 4
    • serve as deacons – 3
    • serve as elders – 3
    • advisor to pastor(s) - 2
    • music ministry – 1
    • cell group leader
    • serve communion – 1
    • outreach ministries – 1
    • sit on church council – 1
    • care group leader – 1
    • teach lay leaders how to preach – 1
    • “bring wisdom & stability to the congregation” - 1
  3. To whom are these lay ministers accountable?
    • to lead pastor – 10
    • to church council or leadership team – 6
    • to ministerial committee/ministerial council – 4
    • to no one – 2
    • “we have a written agreement about this” – 1
    • to reference group – 1
    • to education committee – 1
    • to worship committee – 1
  4. Two congregations reported that they have a designation of “pastor emeritus.” One of these has a pastor currently in that role.

5. DEACONS, ELDERS (and other designations):

  1. What titles are used in your congregation for Deacons, Elders – people or groups of people who play similar roles?
    • Deacons – 31 ( all in the Dutch/North German background groups)
    • Elders – 21 ( mostly, but not exclusively, in the Swiss/South German groups)
    • Ministerial Council – 5
    • Ministry Team – 4
    • Shepherds – 3
    • Care Team – 3
    • Pastoral Team – 2
    • Pastoral Committee – 2
    • Pastoral Care Commission – 2
    • Visitation Team – 1
    • Care Group/Care and Concerns Group – 2
    • Spiritual Care Co-ordinator – 1
    • Pastoral Care Co-ordinantor – 1
    • Small Group Leaders – 1
    • Cluster Leaders – 1
    • Advisory Committee – 1
    • Faith and Life Committee – 1
    • Spiritual Council – 1
    • Inspiration Group – 1
  2. What do these people or groups of people do, as they work with pastors in the spiritual care of the congregation?
    • offer spiritual oversight, contact with members – 29
    • visit the sick, special needs visits, assist pastor in pastoral care – 28
    • visit members, adherents – 22
    • offer support and counsel to pastors – 18
    • assist in communion – 14
    • membership concerns, transfers, baptismal interviews – 7
    • offer prayers – 5
    • gift discernment for congregation – 4
    • assist in baptisms – 4
    • administer mutual aid (deacons fund) – 4
    • do Bible Studies – 4
    • crisis caregiving – 3
    • oversee all programs – 2
    • counseling – 2
    • plan special services – 2
    • part of ministry team with pastor(s) – 2
    • co-ordinate small groups – 2
    • assist in preaching – 2
    • deacons serve as “department heads” – 1
    • pastoral care to those not in small groups – 1
    • “arrange the worship services” – 1
    • care for widows and orphans – 1
    • read minutes – 1
    • Sunday greeters – 1
    • telephone support to members – 1
    • prayer chain – 1
    • “functional care” – 1
    • mentoring – 1
    • oversee “safe church” policy – 1
    • assist in membership classes – 1
    • assist in parent-child dedication – 1
    • assist in funerals – 1
    • lead and support in ministry principles – 1
    • discipling in attitude of cooperation and communal caring – 1
    • assist pastor to lead congregation in fulfilling its mission – 1
    • “help maintain a climate of peace and goodwill” – 1
    • serve as co-shepherds with pastor – 1
    • administrative leadership – 1
    • liaison, pastor & congregation 1

III. Involvement of laity in ministry


  1. How often does someone in the congregation other than a pastor preach?
    • weekly – 2
    • bi-weekly – 8
    • monthly- 28
    • quarterly – 27
    • rarely – 13
    • as required –1
  2. How often does someone in the congregation other than a pastor lead worship?
    • weekly – 50
    • bi-weekly – 16
    • 3 of 4 – 2
    • monthly- 7
    • quarterly – 1
    • rarely – 2
  3. How often does someone in the congregation other than a pastor lead in the “pastoral prayer” or “prayer of the congregation?”
    • weekly – 13
    • bi-weekly – 18
    • monthly – 26
    • quarterly – 5
    • rarely – 18
    • never – 1
  4. How often does someone in the congregation other than a pastor conduct the ordinance of communion?
    • always- 8
    • (with pastor) sometimes – 14
    • rarely – 1
    • never – 62
  5. How often does someone other than a pastor conduct baptism? .
    • always – (assist pastor) - 4
    • sometimes – 2
    • never – 76


Who in the congregation, besides the pastor(s) is designated to offer pastoral care? [The numbers indicate the number of congregations that gave the response as indicated.]

  • Deacons – 39
  • Lay ministers – 14
  • elders – 18
  • Visitation team – 14
  • nobody - 6
  • volunteer visitors - 4 “all members are charged to care for people in need” – 4
  • trained counselor – 3
  • refer to counselor – 1
  • Shepherds- 3
  • Care Group leaders – 4
  • small care groups – 2
  • pastor’s wife – 1
  • senior women to shut-ins – 1
  • commission members – 1
  • cell church leaders – 1
  • house church group – 1
  • cluster leaders – 1
  • visitation coordinator – 1

IV. The Changing Face of Ministry (Leadership models) for Times like These

1. Most significant changes

What have been the most significant changes experienced in models of pastoral leadership in your congregation in the past 10-20 years? [ note: there is considerable overlap between responses to question #1, and #2 which follows. Where similar thoughts are expressed, I chose a phrasing, followed by the number of times a similar idea is stated.]

  • the development of multiple staff ministry, hiring added staff x 17
  • the “professionalization” of ministry (paid, trained, etc.) x 13
  • women in leadership (lay and pastoral) x 19
  • increased lay involvement (worship, pastoral caregiving) x 9
  • small group ministry (including cell church) x 4
  • new models for pastoral caregiving x 7
  • development of “mixed team” of pastor and lay people x 7
  • less expectation for routine pastoral visits from credentialed pastor
  • called new pastor, previous pastor served for past 50 years
  • development of an empowering dynamic of pastoral leadership
  • moved from paid to non-paid ministry (a reverse trend)
  • multi-racial, more focus on young adults, university students, refugees
  • from husband-wife team, to interim pastor, to one pastor model
  • pastor as spiritual leaders as opposed to pastor as chaplain/counselor
  • used some theology students for leadership
  • in house church, concern expressed for more formal pastoral leadership
  • administrative/clerical tasks shifted from pastor to paid admin. assistant
  • shift to more liturgical style of worship
  • greater emphasis on visitation
  • pastor connects more as “friend” than on a “pedestal” (though still important to keep professional distance)
  • struggle from strong “overpowering’ pastoral leaders, pendulum swing to not wanting pastors to lead (working to achieve balance) x 2
  • a move back to a lead minister and deacons
  • standardized conference standards used
  • units of time as measuring pastor’s work
  • decision to avoid hierarchical terms in pastoral team (but designate a pastoral team leader in the job-descriptions)
  • from pastor running affairs of the congregation, to a church council
  • interim pastor between long term pastors
  • disbanding a ministerial council composed of deacons and chosen-for-life lay ministers and the pastors
  • congregation split in half, necessitated a part-time pastor
  • no pastor living in community x 2
  • part- time pastors living elsewhere, now full-time resident pastor
  • moving from no pastor to half-time pastor (caused some tension)
  • bi-lingual worship (interpretation needed for Korean group)
  • pastor as leaders is a new idea, used to having pastor as priest
  • Church Council, shift from decision-making body to meet to coordinate and share
  • shift from younger pastor to a more experienced pastor
  • because of finances, have cut from 1FTE to .75FTE
  • moved from multiple ministry to single pastor
  • began Sunday worship gathering, along with continuing small groups
  • changing from deacons committee to cell group committee
  • move from having more lay ministers to having fewer

2. New models

What new models(s) for ministry have been tried in your congregation? [ Note: Out of 82 responding congregations, 48 described changes in ministry models, many to do with restructuring, some also simply in terms of “how things are being done.” Of the 32 who did not fill out this question, a number did reflect significant changes in #1.The two questions got some overlapping responses. ]

  • models for alternative pastoral care (besides that offered by pastors) x 9
  • models of pastoral teams, or “mixed” teams developed x 9
  • models that invite more lay participation in ministries x 10 (some of this is also implied or stated vis a vis the team models)
  • a time of sharing introduced into worship time
  • interim pastors for transitional periods
  • working through missional church material as a congregation x 2
  • summer camp workers & outreach ministry program workers being paid
  • Pastoral Congregation Leadership Commission members invaluable in determining programming and needs discernment within congegation and outside the church
  • move from committee-based structure to a coordinator-based structure
    • (recruit individuals for ad-hoc short term commitments, not standing committees.)
  • sermon preparation by a study group
  • Design Teams – for worship planning
  • increased focus on children
  • Alpha Program used x 2
  • Sunday School – uses Faith Weaves CE material & program
  • Sunday School – to team teaching approach
  • no capital facility expenses, using shared facilities of community services x 2
  • doing significant study of youth ministry inside and outside congregation (may lead to staffing in that area)
  • are almost “direct democracy” oriented; decisions often made on basis of bulletin information and hand raising
  • a “cowboy church” service annually (cowboy poets and singers in charge)
  • interview church planters, other workers in place of sermon
  • healing service (people with cancer share their stories)
  • trying new models for VBS, weekday and Christian Ed x 2
  • “ministry groups” named instead of committees x 2
  • ongoing tension between people desiring more lay leadership, but not having time or energy to do it, default back to pastoral leadership
  • Trillium model of organization adopted
  • Tuesday evening fellowship/Bible study, only SS on Sundays. Attracts people of nontraditional church backgrounds
  • lack of people ready to stand as elders, so (by default?) invite congregation to take more responsibility for caring ministries
  • pre-service prayer group (mostly seniors) prays for people in need, and prays for the pastor
  • currently in restructuring process x2

V. Training and resources for Lay Leaders

[ 64 congregations indicated some form of training for lay leaders, from libraryresources, to pastor doing training/mentoring, to conference events, etc. They also noted when they had theologically-trained persons in congregational lay leadership roles. 16 congregations said they did little or no training for lay leaders.]

1. What training do lay leaders in the cong. receive?

  • many reported attendance at conference-sponsored workshops (worship,Christian education, music, elders/deacons meetings, etc.) x 37
  • a number also reported attendance at other workshops (interdenominational,community, etc.) x 8
  • pastors play a significant role in educating/mentoring/leading discussions with leadership persons within regular meetings, or special sessions x 20
  • congregations also reported having local (in their congregation) workshops or leadership seminars (Christian ed. worship, sound systems, etc). Pastors may be involved in these as well, but was not indicated. x 35
  • some congregations took their leaders (deacons, etc.) on retreats x 6
  • a number of congregations noted that they offer library and other resources to their lay leaders, or use conference resources x 12
  • deacons have used the “Called to Caregiving” resource, led by pastor
  • of the professionals in the cong., many have gone to Bible school, CMBC x 2
  • some lay leaders on their own initiative take pastoral care courses
  • pastor offers regular memos/prompts to lay leaders
  • Giving Project/stewardship seminars x 2
  • discernment of spiritual gifts
  • budget to send people to appropriate workshops x 2
  • a number of people have post-grad theol. training
  • attend Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre courses
  • distance education
  • take part in yearly portable CMU sessions x 2
  • MC Saskatchewan Bible conference
  • Ecumenical Spiritual Care workshops
  • used Shalom counseling services to help train care team
  • cell leader training - occasional seminars

2. What additional training/resources would be helpful for lay leaders in your congregation?

[ 40 congregations offered suggestions of what could be offered, either in their own congregations, or by conference or the broader church. Some suggested there is already lots being offered, if only people would attend! Of the 40 congregations who did not suggest what might be offered, the reasons were as follows: “not sure” “little interest shown” “too small to undertake such”. The majority simply left that question blank.]

  • workshops on worship leading (its various components, including preaching)x9
  • workshops on youth and youth club ministry x 2
  • workshops on models of caregiving, visitation, deacons resourcing x 5
  • assistance in small group leadership x 2
  • help in process for discerning spiritual gifts x 2
  • help to discern gifts for pastoral ministry
  • lay leader resources for pastoral work
  • sessions for lay ministers, including preaching
  • workshops on counseling, training for pastoral care of “difficult situations”
  • work on identifying and nurturing lay leaders (young and older)
  • workshops on administration & finance x 4
  • Christian education, teacher training x 2
  • video training packagetraining to “market” our mission, information and technology
  • \n
  • getting through the “information glut”, finding & discerning natural fit of the congregation’s mission
  • \n
  • provide study materials for one and two hour sessions
  • \n
  • training on “decision-making as a group
  • introduction to systems theory
  • \n
  • new paradigms for pastoral care
  • Calling & Caring ministry
  • conflict resolution
  • outreach
  • hospitality
  • studies in different models of leadership
  • information of roles leaders play spiritually
  • a series of “how to” manuals: “Leading a Care Group for Dummies”, Seniors Ministry for Dummies,” etc.
  • a manual for pastors on “growing healthy ministries.”

Several additional comments and concerns were reflected, as follows:

  • Distance and cost is an issue for participation in some of the good programs that are offered by conference or church schools. Is there a way to bring things closer? or to subsidize travel?
  • The mood is to have workshops, resources brought into the congregation, including churchwide resource staff. Local (on site in the congregation) resourcing seems to work better, more effectively…
  • …conversely, others noted that there is lots happening “out there” if people would only avail themselves of it.

VI. Additional comments regarding lay leadership:

lay ministers, deacons (or other designation) variations on team leadership, reflections on the nature of leadership

* Several persons wrote extensive comments, or appended materials, which have been edited for the sake of brevity. Each bullet indicates another congregation giving expression to its understanding of these terms.

  • We have…an Executive of 6 members who give administrative leadership but carry an increasing responsibility for giving spiritual leadership to the congregation…The pastor as a leader is a new idea and one of which people are highly suspicious. They have been more used to the idea of pastor as priest – doing the religious things that need doing to make the experience of religion complete. Pastor as leader is threatening for some of them…My sense is that Mennonite Church congregations have been weak on leadership and so simply trying leadership is new (strong emphasis that power and authority rest in the congregation, a misinterpretation of priesthood of all believers, and our fear of bishops of another era have contributed to this weaknes). I have been searching for help to do leadership development and training in our congregation – helping prospective and current formal leaders understand…what it means to be leaders, catch a vision for leadership, how to exercise leadership and the spirituality of leaders.
  • We struggle with the role of the pastor in leadership. Church has had strong “overpowering” leaders and then the pendulum swung to not wanting pastor involved in leadership at all; we are presently trying to find a balance.
  • We have broadened team leadership to include other selected committee leaders.
  • Pastoral care duties are shared amongst the congregation (we have no pastor). We have a cheer person who keeps her finger on the pulse and notifies members of needs within the congregation; this is done in combination with all members watching out for needs. (Similar comments about engaging the whole congregation in the care of each other appeared 3-4 times.)
  • We call lay ministers “ministerial assistants.”
  • We have a diversity of persons who volunteer their gifts in worship leading, occasional preaching, pastoral care, Christian education, administration, music. But we don’t call them lay ministers. Some have theological training, others do not. None of the lay leaders is ordained. One lay leader is licensed for chaplaincy ministry elsewhere.

  • We have four lay ministers: Minister of worship, Minister of missions, Minister of community, and Minister of administration (all volunteers, all university graduates).
  • We don’t use the term “lay minister” as such, but have a Leadership Team composed of: Leadership Team Leader, Finance & Administration Commission Leader, Missions & Service Commission Leader, Nurture Commission Leader, Pastoral Care Commission Leader, Worship Commission Leader, Youth & Young Adult Commission Leader, two members-at-large, Pastor, Associate Pastor.
  • Two pastors (one lead, one associate) are on a Mixed Team which includes four additional persons who are commissioned for their volunteer roles in the congregation (not called lay ministers as such, simply called “Ministry Team”)…There are at least six retired or former pastors in the congregation, none of whom functions as a “free-lance minister.” They are accountable to the lead minister, take on specific ministry tasks from time to time at request of lead minister. Accountability also defined through Pastor emeritus designation… Initially (16 years ago) the congregation began with a Ministry Team of four lay ministers, with a staff minister added a year later, with the stipulation that this staff minister was NOT the leader of the Ministry Team…Eventually it was determined that the staff minister should lead the Ministry Team and should be named as the lead minister ( after it became clear the church “expected” certain things of the staff minister but had not given him the authority to see that they happened)… The Congregational Care Team is a group of five persons with a variety of caring and organizational skills to enhance pastoral care ministry beyond what the two staff ministers and three lay ministers are able to provide. There are 20 care groups (includes about 80% of members, 65% of adherents); we see these as part of our congregational caregiving as well. The care group coordinator is to be a member either of Ministry Team or of the Congregational Care Team…This system can work well because we have people with well-developed skills, who also know their limits…The fact that lay ministers are quite involved with spiritual oversight and pastoral care…means that the congregation can be “understaffed” with paid staff, according to the usually accepted number of staff needed for a congregation this size….
  • [excerpts from a six-page document attached to one survey]…This model values strong spiritual leadership and accountability, while recognizing that ministry is done best by the priesthood of all believers. Situations have changed….individuals are less willing to make long-term commitments…Deacons who were once called for life have more recently been called to three-year terms of service…The language used in this model is up-dated with terms and titles that are more easily understood. Committees are re-envisioned as Teams with emphasis on a common vision and a willingness to enter into helpful partnerships. The title of Deacon, which carries the heavy weight of authority and varied responsibilities, has been released in favor of Care-giver, which continues to uphold the virtues of Christian character while at the same time creating new possibilities for service…Also added is the term Elder, borrowed from the former Mennonite Church, not as familiar in the Russian-Mennonite tradition but is helpful in its focus. In A Mennonite Polity for Ministerial Leadership an elder is called “to provide spiritual oversight of the congregation, and serve as a support group for the pastor”… This congregation has a Church Council, and a Ministry Team. The latter has pastors and four elders.

summarized by Maurice Martin,
Director of Congregational Leadership Development
Christian Formation, Mennonite Church Canada


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Cover letter:

September 10, 2002

Maurice Martin

[Edited January 8, 2003 for relevance]

The survey was designed to help us discover the various shapes which congregational ministry and pastoral leadership take in the congregations of Mennonite Church Canada. Through this survey, we hope to learn what kinds of training and resources might be most helpful for those who lead our congregations, whether as pastors, lay ministers or other lay leaders.


Maurice Martin, Director of Congregational Leadership Development

Henry Paetkau, Denominational Minister