Fall 1989 · Vol. 18 No. 2 · p. 2 

From the Editors: Ministers in the Church

Elmer A. Martens

Churches, clustered in conferences, as in the Mennonite Brethren denomination, have need to work through common agenda, both doctrinal and practical. The Board of Reference and Counsel, which is the group charged with the spiritual oversight of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in North America, convened a “study conference” on August 2-4, 1989, at Normal, Illinois, to consider questions of doctrine, liturgy and practice. The delegates (approximately 120) first heard an exposition on “The Nature of the Church.” The theology expressed in this paper would shape questions about access to the Lord’s table—the subject of another paper. Still another topic, on which there is diversity of belief and practice in the churches, is the role of women in ministry. Two papers were assigned. Our denominational schools, for whom Direction is a voice, have a vital interest in the pulse of the constituency. Direction is pleased to carry these papers commissioned for study, as well as the “findings” reported from the sessions.

Of the many ministries in the church, preaching is one of the most prominent. Two sermons, one by a veteran, and another by a seminarian, on the same text, Genesis 18, demonstrate first the power of the biblical message, and also the variety of direction and communication styles possible. Ministry flows from people, but also from educational institutions. Gordon Matties tells how.

Two new features are introduced. The first is a list of recommended books, this time on “preaching.” The second feature is a listing of current research. Our intention is to list recent doctoral and masters dissertations, broadly in the field of religion and humanities, by Mennonite Brethren. Let this be an invitation to make a referral or to submit appropriate information.

In the past eight years Dr. Allen Guenther has given excellent editorial leadership to this periodical. The mantle now falls on a new editor. One could wish that with it would come a double portion of the requisite gifts!

The Spring 1990 edition of Direction will carry contributions on “The Changing Family in Today’s World.”