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Fall 1999    Vol. 28 No. 2    pp. 153–65 

The Elusive Biblical Model of Leadership

Bruce L. Guenther and Doug Heidebrecht

For several decades Mennonite Brethren (MB) churches have wrestled with modifications to leadership and organizational structures. Many factors have precipitated the search for more effective arrangements. Some churches have made changes in order to establish and maintain more vibrant relations between lay leaders and professional pastoral staff, and to avoid frequent pastoral turnover. Some churches in urban centers have grown to considerable size, and previous leadership models are no longer deemed functional or effective. New church plants and larger multiple staffs call for different leadership styles. In some churches, the elected representative council members have not been recognized by the congregation as the authoritative leaders in the church. In many places, the representative council model—a model which has been widely used within MB churches in North America—has now been replaced by the eldership model.

The question ought not to be, “What is the biblical leadership structure?” but rather, “What leadership structure will both be consistent with NT leadership principles and be most effective in a specific situation?”

While the appropriateness of referring to these changes as a “crisis of leadership” may be open to debate, the present diversity of leadership models within MB churches does raise many important issues. A common stereotype is that older more traditional (rural?) churches operate with the representative council model while the newer and larger {154} (urban?) churches have shifted towards the eldership model. 1 Is this shift a pragmatic solution to changing leadership needs or is it a deliberate attempt to follow a biblical pattern? While people have argued for the biblical basis of both models, is one method of leadership truly more biblical than the other? What exactly does it mean to be biblical? Is there a specific method of church leadership and organization prescribed by the New Testament (NT) which must be followed today? How has the NT pattern of leadership informed the practice of the church at different times and within different cultures? Does the experience of the church throughout its two thousand years of history offer any insights towards such questions? This article surveys biblical and historical sources in order to respond to these questions.

ELDERS, OVERSEERS, AND PASTORS
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH

In ancient Israel, the term elder was an imprecise way of referring to those who were recognized as the wise and natural leaders in the community because their authority and power were based on existing family/community relationships. 2 These were people to whom respect was instinctively given because of their age and experience. With the development of synagogues as places of assembly, some of these elders were appointed to oversee the well-being of the local Jewish communities.

The NT church burst forth on Pentecost in Jerusalem within this Jewish context. Initially leadership was grounded in the apostles themselves and believers were dircted by their teaching (Acts 2:42). A division of leadership functions was deemed necessary when care for the poor became too much for this small group of leaders (Acts 6:1-4). Deacons were appointed while the apostles devoted themselves to prayer and the teaching of God’s Word. Eventually the apostles’ ministry took them beyond the church in Jerusalem which necessitated further changes in church leadership structure. A passing reference to the elders in Jerusalem in Acts 11:30 suggests that the terminology of elders, familiar to Jewish Christians, had been carried over from the synagogue to the NT church. 3

As the church spread beyond Israel, the Gentile congregations started by Paul arose within extended households and met together in homes. The elders of the home or family were naturally recognized as the leaders of the newly formed churches. These elders continued their role of overseeing, protecting, and caring for these “families” of believers. Near the end of Paul’s missionary journeys while on his way back to Jerusalem, he sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church to meet him {155} (Acts 20:17). He pleads with them to “guard yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers to shepherd the church of God” (Acts 20:28). The elders’ role was to watch over and shepherd the flock of God. The three terms for church leaders found in this passage—elder, overseer, and shepherd—arise as the language of leadership in the NT churches. Elders provided wisdom and maturity, overseers watched over, and shepherds fed, guided, and protected the church.

The writers of the NT use these terms interchangeably for leaders in the church. Paul wrote to the church in Philippi and to its overseers and deacons (Phil. 1:1). In the letter to the Ephesians, those gifted by God to equip believers for the work of ministry and the building up of the church include apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherd-teachers (4:11). The qualifications for an overseer in Paul’s letter to Timothy include the ability to teach (1 Tim. 3:1-2). Later in this same letter Paul refers to how the church should treat its elders (5:17, 19). Similarly, after Paul tells Titus to “appoint elders in every town” (1:5), he then describes the characteristics of an overseer (1:7). Peter’s instruction for elders is to “shepherd the flock” willingly and eagerly without domineering those for whom they are responsible (1 Pet. 5:1-3). In the NT church elders oversee and shepherd, overseers are identified as the elders, and shepherds as well as overseers should be able to teach (feed) believers.

Leaders are identified and chosen on the basis of their maturity, character, and giftedness. Elders were those affirmed as mature and growing (Eph. 4:13). The concern for an overseer’s character (1 Tim. 3:1-7) acknowledges that for one to oversee others, one needed to be watching over oneself. The ability to shepherd, coupled with the ability to teach, was recognized as a gift distributed by God’s Spirit as he determines.

Leaders serve on behalf of Christ who is the head of the body, the church. Christ is recognized as the chief pastor or shepherd (1 Peter 5:4, Heb.13:20) and he is ultimately the overseer of believers (1 Peter 2:25). The nature of church leadership is best seen in a leader’s reflection of Christ’s relationship with his church.

A CHURCH HISTORY TOUR

A tour of church history reveals that different circumstances and cultural situations gave rise to a variety of leadership models within the church, all of which claim to be based on the NT. A survey of these models lays the groundwork for identifying leadership models that might be effective within our particular cultural context.

The apostolic church faced many challenges: rapid cross-cultural {156} expansion resulted in an enormous influx of non-Jewish people into the church. Gradually the church developed its liturgical practices, defined its major doctrines and the boundaries of the canon. Although sporadic persecution severely pressured congregations and sometimes resulted in the deliberate eradication of leaders, the more serious challenges involved the preservation of unity among congregations spread across a vast empire, and addressing various heretical groups and ideas.

At the outset the church relied on charismatic, itinerating individuals to provide leadership and hold the church together as the apostles had done. This system gradually gave way to a more settled, hierarchical organization as leaders struggled to prevent schisms and to formulate a unified doctrinal response to Jews, Greek philosophy, and Romans.

Only decades after the death of the apostles a threefold order of ministry emerged in the form of deacon (minister), presbyter (elder), and bishop (overseer) who were elected from local assemblies of believers. As cities grew to have multiple congregations, bishops developed larger roles as overseers in a specific geographical area. By the third century, church offices had multiplied, and Irenaeus, in the absence of the canon, appealed to apostolic succession as a guarantor of truth in response to the Gnostics. Not everyone, however, emphasized the notion of apostolic succession to the same extent.

The patristic period (313-600) witnessed the conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine which led to an unprecedented level of toleration for Christianity. Instead of facing persecution, church leaders now acquired privilege and power. By the end of the fourth century Christianity had become the official state religion. During this period the church experienced a fuller development of practices that had emerged during the apostolic era.

Metropolitan bishops by virtue of their location in population centers gained ascendancy over country bishops. The geographical regions of metropolitan bishops eventually coincided with civil provinces of the Roman empire, and gradually the office of the bishop began to perform administrative functions for the state. The claims of apostolic succession bestowed special honor to bishops (patriarchs) from the early centers of Christianity such as Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. As leadership structures in the church came to mirror those of the state, and as claims to authority raised the clergy to exalted positions within the community, the distance between clergy and laity widened and the role of the laity was diminished. By the sixth century the hierarchical order of the church on earth came to be considered the counterpart of the celestial hierarchy among the angels in heaven. To contemplate {157} the structure of the church in this manner was to gain a glimpse of heaven.

THE MIDDLE AGES AND THE REFORMATION

Two profoundly different views of episcopal authority emerged during the Middle Ages which culminated in a major schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches in 1054. In the eastern Mediterranean basin, it was generally believed that all bishops shared a common authority. Ultimate authority lay within ecumenical assemblies of bishops (councils and synods). In the western Mediterranean, the bishops of Rome steadily increased the claims for Roman papal supremacy. Leo I in the fifth century and Gregory I in the sixth did much to enhance the position of the bishop of Rome by establishing their office as a papal monarchy. The one institution which managed to survive both the collapse of the Roman empire and centuries of political instability during the Middle Ages was the papacy. In the absence of a strong central political power in western Europe, the papal office was used as a court of appeal, hence the eventual claim of supremacy by the pope over temporal leaders. It is easy for Protestants to look with contempt on the medieval papacy; yet, while examples of corruption should not be excused, western culture would have been vastly different had it not been for the efforts of the medieval papacy.

The Protestant Reformation represented a major revolt against the authority claims of the clerical hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Reformers denied the supreme authority of the pope and redefined the nature and function of clergy. They taught that clergy were to be ministers of the Word, not “priests” who mediated the sacraments to a subservient laity. Martin Luther taught that all Christians are uniformly priests by virtue of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. What started as an attempt to reform the corrupt and often abusive Catholic clergy set in motion changes in the authority structures of church and society. The variations in church organizational structures which emerged within Protestantism are all derivatives of either the episcopal, presbyterian, or congregational models.

The word episcopal is derived from the Greek word episkopos (overseer). It denotes a system of church government in which a bishop possesses the chief ecclesiastical authority. Emphasis is given to the office to which leaders are appointed or elected. As outlined earlier, this system has been used, with variations, by the church since apostolic times. It continues to be used by the Roman Catholics and Anglicans, as well as by some Lutherans and some Methodists although without the claim to {158} apostolic succession. It has been successful in helping groups maintain a consistent expression of faith over a long period of time, but it has also been vulnerable to the excesses of corrupt individuals. The biblical basis for this model is the Jerusalem model of leadership, and the leadership of the apostles especially Peter, John, and James.

Presbyterianism refers to a church which is governed by presbyters (elders), usually elected by the people of a congregation or group of congregations. Traditionally it is the title given to English-speaking Reformed or Calvinistic churches coming out of the Reformation and their daughter churches in different lands. Presbyterians trace their concept of church government back to the Old Testament synagogue which was governed by a group of elders. Because the NT church used the same form of organization, John Calvin considered their example to be the proper form of church government.

Although he did not establish a completely presbyterial system, Calvin’s ideas laid the foundation. Presbyterianism was formally established in 1692 in Scotland where it emerged as a response to both the episcopal form of church government and to the interference in the church on the part of monarchs in England. While it tried to remove the element of undue influence on the part of politicians, the Church of Scotland, as a national church, nevertheless retained a close relationship with the state. With the colonial expansion of Britain, presbyterianism spread throughout the world.

The foundation of the presbyterian structure is the elders, who are collectively known as the session of a local congregation. The session is made up of “ruling” elders who are chosen by church members, and by the minister or “teaching elder,” also known as the moderator. The next level within the presbyterian structure is the presbytery, which is composed of the ministers and the “ruling” elders of each congregation within the presbytery’s geographical region. Although ministers are chosen and called by a congregation, they are inducted by the presbytery. This presbytery has extensive power over congregations within its jurisdiction. It is, in turn, responsible to the general assembly which is the final authority for all matters. It is made up of equal numbers of ministers and elders who are presbyterial representatives. The presbyterian system often leaves considerable distance between lay people in local congregations and those who make decisions.

A CONGREGATIONAL APPROACH

The congregational model of church government emerged as a reaction against both the Queen of England’s (Elizabeth I) desire to enforce {159} uniformity within the Church of England and those Puritans who wanted to see the national church reorganized on presbyterian rather than episcopalian lines. These new “separatists” (later known as congregationalists) were influenced by Robert Browne, who had, in 1582, published his congregationalist principles. He rejected the concept of a state church in favor of the “gathered church” principle, that is, the idea that the church should consist only of those who have responded to the call of Christ and who have covenanted together to live as his disciples. As a result the local church should be independent and not be subject to bishops or magistrates. Authority and power, including the right to ordain, is not vested in elders, but is placed in the hands of the whole church. Although congregationalists insist on the independence of the local Christian community, this has not prevented the creation of loose fellowships of independent local churches for the purposes of mutual fellowship and encouragement. 4

The officers of a congregationalist church are a minister, deacon, secretary, and treasurer. The call to a minister to assume the pastorate of a local church is issued by a church meeting of all members. Deacons are elected by the membership to assist the minister in administration of the church and to share in pastoral responsibilities. During the twentieth century some Congregationalist churches introduced moderators: individuals charged with the spiritual oversight of churches in different geographical areas but with no legal authority over the churches.

Many early congregationalists fled England both to Holland and the New World (America) in search of religious freedom. The “gathered church” concept has had a profound effect on many evangelical Protestant groups within North America. As an expression of their freedom from the bondage of tradition, congregationalists have often set themselves against credal tests for church membership. This tolerance has sometimes been a strength but it has also left many congregationalists vulnerable to different theological variations. Although it is the most “democratic”—some call it Christocentric—form of church government, it has also facilitated considerable schism and divisiveness.

LEADERSHIP MODELS USED BY MENNONITES

The final stop on our tour is a look at leadership models used by Mennonites. 5 As part of the larger Anabaptist movement, Mennonites rejected the notion of “Christendom,” that is, a society in which all people are Christians by compulsion and in which church and state are closely intertwined. They extended Luther’s notion of the priesthood of all believers by suggesting that the church should be a voluntary {160} organization. From early on Mennonite groups tried to develop a leadership structure that gave more responsibility to laypeople than the episcopal model used by the large state churches. However, there were variations in the models of leadership used by the early Anabaptists. The need for strong leadership during times of severe persecution did not always make it possible to organize congregational systems.

During the sixteenth century Mennonite elders (bishops or Aeltester), ministers, and deacons were usually chosen within congregations by a majority vote. 6 Their term of office often extended for life. Bishops were authorized to lead, ordain ministers, exercise discipline, baptize, and administer the Lord’s Supper; ministers were helpers and generally only authorized to preach; and deacons took care of various administrative tasks. As Mennonite churches grew, the bishops often assumed responsibility for multiple congregations. In some areas, a ministerial body (or council) comprised of the bishop and all ministers shared overall leadership. In order to preserve a higher degree of moral integrity among clergy, the Mennonites opted not to pay their church leaders a regular salary. This system still remains in place among traditional Mennonite groups like the Old Colony and Sommerfelder.

The system has not been without its critics; over time the office of bishop developed considerable prestige and power, and certain bishops exercised this power in arbitrary and domineering ways. The result, ironically, was a type of hierarchical theocracy (which was in practice a modified episcopal system). The village type of settlement used by the Mennonites in Russia gave the bishop practical control of both the civil and ecclesiastical life of the community.

During the eighteenth century, some Mennonite congregations in Holland expressed a need for a specially trained leadership. As young men interested in ministry received theological training and were chosen as ministers, the old system gradually disappeared. Changes usually took place first in urban churches where lay ministers found it difficult to cope with the complex problems and responsibilities. Soon there was only one minister in each congregation, and ordination authorized this individual to perform all ministerial functions. This new model spread during the nineteenth century to German Mennonite groups, while most Mennonite groups in Poland and Russia retained the older structure.

MENNONITE BRETHREN PRACTICE

Although a commitment to certain NT principles of leadership remains consistent throughout MB experience, the particular models of church government used by the MBs during the nineteenth and early- {161} twentieth centuries have varied from a modified episcopal to a modified presbyterian-congregational hybrid. 7 With the exception of various conference-appointed traveling evangelists, the young MB church in Russia retained more or less the older model of bishops and ministers even after many had immigrated to the United States and Canada. The conference structure, which became an integral part of MB polity, began in Russia in 1872 and somewhat later in America. The idea of brotherhood, implying a covenanting interdependent relationship among all congregations, led to the designation of the conference as the primary unit of the church. While individual congregations have autonomy over local affairs, the conference has the authority to make the final decision on matters of faith, common church welfare, and mission.

Until the 1930s in the U.S. and the 1950s in Canada, local MB churches were led by a board of elders made up of bivocational ministers and elders chosen from the congregation on the basis of giftedness and service. 8 Although the structure was fairly heirarchical, the power of the board of elders was held in check by the fact that authority was shared equally within the group and that the congregation had the opportunity for significant input.

As the size of congregations increased and secondary education became more prevalent, the need for English-speaking pastors became more apparent. More and more theologically-trained pastors became salaried, signaling a shift from a multiple lay ministry to a professional pastoral system. Good, practical reasons were put forward for this change: better preaching, more efficient ministry, and better community outreach. While the intent behind paying a pastor was not to abandon the NT principle of multiple leadership, often the result was that responsibility, authority, and ministry in the church were concentrated in the “professional” pastor.

At the same time pressure increased to change the local church governance structure to accommodate pastoral preferences for a more centralized form of government. Church councils, whose members were elected as short-term representatives of various program areas in the church, emerged as an alternative form of governance. It was considered by many to be less hierarchical, less prone to irresponsible authoritarian excess, and more democratic. However, due to its composition, functional character, and brevity of tenure, the church council form of government often offered less leadership than did the former eldership model. 9

A renewed sensitivity within MB churches to the NT pattern of multiple leadership and its teaching on the spiritual giftedness of all believers began to raise questions regarding a church’s reliance on an {162} individual pastor as the spiritual leader and ministry specialist. This single-pastor structure virtually forced the church to become dependent upon an individual’s personal qualities and gifts—which were inadequate to meet the needs of the entire congregation—thus leading to the development of program-centered ministry patterns. 10 The re-evaluation of leadership structures within MB churches has resulted in a significant number of congregations returning to a modified form of the eldership model.

The recent popularity of “Church Growth theory” with its emphasis on evangelism and the emergence of large “mega-churches” has influenced MB practice still further. Church Growth theory places a strong emphasis on centralized, autocratic pastoral leadership. The pastoral role is often compared to the functional role of the Chief Executive Officer in a large corporation or a commander of an army. 11 Although the Church Growth movement has helped MB congregations become more aggressive and successful in their outreach, the corporate management model of governance is seen by some as incompatible with an understanding of local churches as part of an organism that is larger than, and prior to, the local church. 12

Various models of leadership are currently in use by MB churches, with proponents of one model or another sometimes asserting that they are following the biblical pattern of church leadership. 13 However, the claim that any model is the only representation of what is biblical seems unfounded in light of the experience of both the early church as reflected in the NT, and the subsequent history of the church including the early Anabaptists.

CONCLUSION: EVALUATING VARIOUS MODELS

Several observations can be drawn from this survey which might facilitate a deeper understanding of the changes currently being considered within MB churches. First, during the past two thousand years, the church has used various leadership models which have reflected different emphases and needs, and which have been the pragmatic amalgamation of contemporary cultural methods and specific biblical principles. Each model has strengths and weaknesses, benefits and dangers. If we isolate only the example of the NT church’s leadership structures and declare these as normative for our day, we are prevented from considering and assessing other organizational structures and leadership models used by the church. The effectiveness of all leadership models should be continually evaluated in light of both the NT principles of leadership and an understanding of the specific cultural context.

Second, throughout its history, church leaders have often appealed to {163} the language of the NT to legitimize specific leadership structures. As noted above, elders, overseers, and pastors were interchangeable terms in the NT used to describe the general nature and role of leadership in the local church. These same terms—presbyters (elders), bishops (overseers), ministers (deacons), and pastors (shepherds)—have each formed the core of specific leadership models throughout the history of the church. Caution needs to be exercised when appealing to a specific term as the defining structure of a particular model. The current emphasis on the use of the title “pastor” is intriguing, given there is only one place in the NT where church leaders are actually called pastors (Eph. 4:11).

Third, each leadership model used by the church has been adopted, in part, because of its practical function within a specific cultural and philosophical framework. For example, the NT church borrowed from Jewish synagogues and extended households the familiar eldership structure. The contemporary preference in North America for a congregationalist model may be more a reflection of the assumptions of western democracy and individualism than an intentional attempt to model the practice of the early church. While certain leadership principles are evident, the NT does not prescribe a precise model of leadership, but rather reflects how the church adapted, and continues to adapt, its organizational structures to meet changing needs.

Subsequent shifts in church leadership models continue to reflect the adaptation of the church to new circumstances and cultures. In other words, the question ought not to be, “What is the biblical leadership structure?” but rather, “What leadership structure will both be consistent with NT leadership principles and be most effective in a specific situation?” Because of the diversity of cultural situations in which MB churches can be found even within North America, the lack of uniformity in organizational structures is not surprising. But neither is it necessarily a cause for concern. 14

It is worth reflecting on how contemporary cultural needs and philosophical assumptions have given rise to the current variations in organizational structures within MB churches. Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian, popularized the phrase “the medium is the message.” 15 Although he wrote about technology, his idea can be applied to church liturgy, architecture, and even leadership structures. McLuhan suggests that the way we do things reveals assumptions about what we consider to be of ultimate value—he provides a sophisticated way of saying that “our actions speak louder than our words.”

Sometimes there is a considerable gap between what people identify as their “biblical” principles and what actually happens in a church. 16 In {164} order to prevent such dissonance, it is important to become as self-conscious as possible about the values and assumptions of the culture in which we live. Cultural and historical analysis alongside biblical study is an essential part of the process of identifying, or designing, a leadership structure (the medium) that will genuinely reflect NT leadership principles and the nature of what it means to be the church (the message).

NOTES

  1. For example, see James Nikkel, “Church Growth Leadership Theory and Mennonite Brethren Theology,” Direction 20:2 (Fall 1991): 73.
  2. R. Alastair Campell, “The Elders: Seniority in Earliest Christianity,” Tyndale Bulletin 44:1 (1993): 184.
  3. See David Mappes, “The ‘Elder’ in the Old and New Testaments,” Bibliotheca Sacra 154 (January-March 1997): 91-92.
  4. The work of the independent Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs is also vitally important during the 1600s for the way in which it articulated certain principles that could be used by Christians to work together despite their differences.
  5. See the helpful survey by Abe Dueck, “Church Leadership: A Historical Perspective,” Direction 19:2 (Fall 1990): 18-27.
  6. See Harold S. Bender, “The Office of Bishop in Anabaptist-Mennonite History,” Mennonite Quarterly Review 30 (1956): 128-32, and Cornelius Krahn, “The Office of Elder in Anabaptist-Mennonite History,” Mennonite Quarterly Review 30 (1956): 120-27.
  7. MB historians vary in their categorization of early MB polity: J. A. Toews’ description of MB polity as “congregational” does not adequately account for the authoritarian style of certain leaders and for the deference given to the “office” of the minister (see A History of the Mennonite Brethren Church [Hillsboro, KS: Board of Christian Literature, 1975], 200); J. B. Toews describes early MB polity of a conference led by bishops as a modified form of presbyterianism (see J. B. Toews, “How Shall We Then Be Led?” in A Pilgrimage of Faith: The Mennonite Brethren Church, 1860-1990 [Winnipeg, MB and Hillsboro, KS: Kindred, 1993], 219). While there have been occasions when MB leaders functioned in ways comparable to bishops within episcopalian systems, early MB polity is best described {165} as a congregational-presbyterian hybrid (see, e.g., the description by B. J. Braun, “The Scriptural Teaching on Organization and Government of the Local Church,” Minutes of the Continuation Study Conference, sponsored by the CRC Denver, Colorado, 14 July 1958).
  8. Toews, “How Shall We Then Be Led?” 221. See also J. B. Toews, “The Church Growth Theory and Mennonite Brethren Polity,” Direction 20:2 (Fall 1991): 105-108.
  9. Toews, “How Shall We Then Be Led?” 222.
  10. Ibid., 226.
  11. See, e.g., C. Peter Wagner, Your Church Can Grow (Glendale, CA: Regal, 1976), and Donald McGavarn and George G. Hunter III, Church Growth Strategies That Work (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1980).
  12. Toews, “The Church Growth Theory and Mennonite Brethren Polity,” 108-12. See also Marvin Hein and Herb Neufeld, “Two Responses to J. B. Toews,” Direction 20:2 (Fall 1991): 114-20.
  13. See John H. Redekop, “Church Council or Board of Elders?” Mennonite Brethren Herald, 6 November 1998, 29, 31.
  14. Abe Dueck observes that a consensus will likely never be reached on all matters pertaining to MB polity. He is nevertheless hopeful that the “dynamics of brotherhood,” which relate more to “a quality of church life,” can be realized in a variety of ways and are not tied to one specific model of church government (“Church Leadership: A Historical Perspective,” 26). Dueck’s article concludes with a helpful checklist of issues which must be addressed regardless of the particular leadership model in use.
  15. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964), 23-35.
  16. Isaac Block uses the work of Paul M. Harrison (Authority and Power in the Free Church Tradition [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1959]) to make a similar plea for congruency between the church’s doctrine and its practice (cited in “Issues in Church Polity for North American Mennonite Brethren,” Direction 19:2 [Fall 1990]: 29).
Bruce L. Guenther is Assistant Professor of Church History at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary-BC, Langley, British Columbia. Doug Heidebrecht is an instructor in the area of biblical studies and Dean of Faculty at Bethany Bible Institute, Hepburn, Saskatchewan.
This essay is a revised version of an article previously published as “Church Leaders through the Ages,” in Mennonite Brethren Herald, 6 November 1998, 4-7.

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