A few years ago I visited my parents’ congregation in Pennsylvania during Advent and immediately recognized that their church was using the same visuals and worship resources as my own congregation in Ohio. The same thing happened during Lent a couple years ago as well.
And it’s no small coincidence, given that Leader magazine publishes worship resources for Mennonite congregations to use during the seasons of Advent, Lent–Easter, Pentecost, and the summer.
Leader magazine is published quarterly by MennoMedia in cooperation with Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA “to inspire, equip, and empower both pastors and lay leaders in helping their congregations fulfill the missional vision of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.”
But what does that mean?
In a nutshell, Leader magazine is filled with interesting articles on a topic that the editorial council believes will be of interest to congregations. Recent issues have focused on:
- Crucial Conversations (Fall 2012)
- Interfaith Dialogue (Winter 2012–13)
- Adult Faith Formation (Spring 2013)
- Worship (Summer 2013)
- Fear Factor (Fall 2013)
- Family Complexities (Winter 2013–14)
- The Externally Focused Church (Spring 2014)
- Children and Youth and Faith Formation (Summer 2014)
- Creating Authentic Community (Fall 2014)
At MennoMedia, it’s our goal to keep Leader magazine accessible across the Mennonite church, both in the articles and the worship resources. We are trying to reach a broad spectrum of leaders from a variety of settings. We are doing a disservice to our mission if we are only serving a slice of the church.
We also want Leader magazine to be practical. There are other places for esoteric talk on the church. With Leader, we strive for concrete examples from congregational life—giving our readers ideas to use and apply in their own settings.
Those have been our goals all along with Leader, and now after 10 years it’s time for us to take another look and think about changing some things to meet the needs of today’s congregations.
Our editorial team is hard at work on determining what Leader will look like starting in Fall 2015. Toward that, we are asking:
- The worship resources are the most-used part of the magazine. Our recent survey has shown this to be true, so how do we get leaders to get into the articles as much as the worship resources?
- What do those who read the articles find appealing? Why are some skipping over the articles?
- How can the magazine’s appeal be broadened beyond pastors and elders to Sunday school teachers, youth sponsors, and other congregational positions?
- What kind of new design or format would best meet the needs of today’s leaders?
- What kind of online repository could be created with past articles and worship resources?
- How are congregations planning worship today—or are they? And who is doing the planning?
- How are congregations training leaders to lead?
I would love to hear from you! How are you using Leader in your congregation? How would you answer the questions above?