Conference Leader Announcement

At the 2017 Annual Conference Assembly, the Leadership Team was tasked with finding a Conference leader who is passionate about mission and who would encourage and lead us in our desire to become more missional as well as pick up the pieces that have over-burdened our staff for the past two years.

As the Leadership Team began its quest to find this leader for the Conference, it became apparent to us that if we tried to saddle that person with the executive functions and the “gathered” part of Gathered and Sent* we would stifle all of the Missional Leader’s energy, creativity and enthusiasm for missions. We believe there is too much work to try to include it all in one half-time position. Also, the gifts and talents that we desire in the Missional Leader do not relate to the gifts and talents we desire to fulfill the executive functions.

We began to realize that the Gathered and Sent initiative and the relational parts of caring for our congregations were equally important. At their last meeting, the Ministry Development Team very eloquently reinforced that sentiment.

So we are considering separating the two positions, which leads to the question of how are we going to fund them both when we had budgeted for only one half-time position. The Stewardship Ministry Team came through by suggesting that we look at using the revolving loan fund to pay for the Missional Leader position. In keeping with the paradigm shift that the church is no longer a building, but rather the people of God building relationships with and being a blessing to those around them, using those funds to help us as a conference become more missional seems appropriate to us.

*For a quick review of the Gathered and Sent initiative, see

Conference Missional Leader

The Leadership Team has been working on a job description for the Missional Leader position.  We are looking for someone to provide a mission-oriented voice within the leadership of the Ohio Conference. We want someone with experience and skills in building and maintain relationships, communicating vision, managing conflict and thinking about mission in new ways.

Long-term vision

  • Articulate the realities of how the post-Christendom church shift is affecting our church’s ability to be effective in our culture, thus requiring a paradigm shift.
  • Facilitate the conversation around that paradigm shift necessary for us to become mission-oriented.
  • Help bring awareness of church culture and how it can often impede mission.
  • Help equip leaders with the language and tools necessary to facilitate the necessary cultural shift in their congregations.
  • Help equip Conference leaders with the tools necessary for understanding and replicating the missional vision of Conference.

Short-term focus

  • Articulating to the Conference the rationale and need to have a mission
  • Collaborating with the Credentialing Ministry Team to evaluate the possible positive impact of identifying the gifts of our credentialed leaders and developing a structured mentoring system around their particular gifts as well as identifying the areas in which they need to grow their gifts.
  • Helping congregations in identifying the gifts of lay leaders.
  • Collaborating with Regional Pastors in concerted efforts to identify and work with the leaders and congregations already involved in being missional.

The Leadership Team is meeting on Saturday, Aug. 26, to continue this discussion regarding what we expect from this position and how much time that may involve.

Conference Executive Position

The Leadership Team is working on the job description for the administrative portion of Conference leader and hope to finalize that at our next meeting on Aug. 26.

We are a looking for a Conference Administrator who understands and will encourage a missional emphasis. We want someone who is approachable and willing to listen to our concerns.

Some of the duties we are considering including in the position are:

  • Staff supervision
  • Coordination of Regional Pastors, Missional Leader, and Gathered and Sent
  • Be the connecting voice between the ministry teams
  • Maintain contact with the wider church and denomination
  • Ability to manage conflict and willingness to work at areas of conflict

In the meantime, we have set up a search committee to handle the search process for us once the job description is finalized. John Rohrer, LaVonne Hartman, Robb Esh, Paula Snyder Belousek, and Jeff Hochstetler have graciously agreed to serve in that capacity.

Your response is requested

The Leadership Team would very much like to hear what you think of this proposal.

  • Does this direction seem on target for the needs of the Conference and your congregation?
  • Does this direction raise concerns for the Conference and your congregation that you wish to share?

The Leadership Team is meeting on Saturday, Aug. 26, to continue this discussion. Please reply to Bob Sauder to voice your opinion of the direction we are proposing by Monday, Aug. 21.  I (Bob) will respond to each reply to thank you for it and to let you know I have received it. I will be looking for common themes to share with the Leadership Team at our meeting.

Bob Sauder, Conference Moderator


Phone 419-633-7008 (The best time to call is 5:30–9 p.m., or text anytime.)

We will continue to keep you informed as work progresses. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf, and we continue to covet those prayers as we move forward.

The Ohio Conference Leadership Team
Bob Sauder, Moderator
Thomas Dunn, Assistant Moderator
J. Andrew Stoner, Credentialing Ministry Chair
Mel Hathaway, Gifts Discernment Ministry Chair
Melanie Miller, Stewardship Ministry Co-Chair

Delegate News is for you

…if you are a delegate to Ohio Conference’s Annual Conference Assembly. Each Ohio Conference congregation is eligible to send at least two delegates, as well as an additional young adult delegate. In addition, the following people are automatically delegates:

  • Credentialed pastors of Ohio Conference congregations
  • Ohio Conference staff members
  • Ohio Conference Leadership Team
  • Ministry Development Team
  • Stewardship Ministry Team
  • Credentialing Ministry Team
  • Gifts Discernment Ministry Team

If you are no longer a delegate for your congregation, please forward Delegate News to the new delegates in your congregation. In addition, please inform Judy King, Conference administrative assistant, of the change. You may contact her at or (330) 857-5421.