MC USA launches two podcasts for pastors and leaders

MC USA Executive Director Glen Guyton interviews Mennonite Mission Network Executive Director Marisa Smucker for the “Lead/Follow” podcast, while Andrea Rogers of Grassroots Media films. — Camille Danger

Mennonite Church USA is launching two new podcasts, aimed at encouraging and equipping today’s pastors and congregational leaders.

Lead/Follow is a video podcast for pastors and congregational leaders, hosted by MC USA executive director Glen Guyton. He talks with folks across the denomination, digging deep to uncover insights, inspiration and strategies to equip those who are leading others to follow Jesus.

Each season of Lead/Follow will feature 10 weekly episodes focused on a central theme. There will be two seasons each year, launching in the spring and the fall.

The first season, which debuted on May 1,  addresses ways to engage with youth and young adults, from Gen Alpha to Gen Z. Topics include fostering resilience and mental wellbeing, encouraging spiritual growth, connecting through service, gathering around a peace witness, building faith at home and more. Guests include pastors, mental health experts, educators and young people from across the denomination.

In the first episode, Amy Zimbelman, conference minister for MC USA’s Mountain States Mennonite Conference, shares about the conference’s Future Anabaptist Leaders program that allows 18- to 30-year-olds to explore leadership roles in churches and affiliated ministries.

The Lead/Follow podcast is best viewed on MC USA’s YouTube channel. The audio portion is also available on Apple and Spotify.

The first two seasons of Lead/Follow are sponsored by The Schowalter Foundation.

The Competent Pastor is an audio podcast of MC USA’s church vitality department, hosted by Michael Danner, associate executive director for church vitality, and Rachel Ringenberg Miller, denominational minister for ministerial leadership, specifically for pastors.

Each episode will feature an in-depth conversation with an experienced MC USA credentialed leader that begins with a single question, “What is the most important skill of a competent pastor?” The episodes will be released monthly, beginning this spring.

“Congregational ministry has a large learning curve, and pastors never stop encountering new and challenging aspects of the job,” said Ringenberg Miller. “We wondered, then, what specific skill helps pastors navigate the ever-changing landscape of congregational ministry? What skills do pastors value most in congregational ministry?”

Initial guests will include Melissa Florer-Bixler, pastor of Raleigh (North Carolina) Mennonite Church; Sarah Ann Bixler, associate dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary,  Harrisonburg, Virginia; Guyton, and  Rod Stafford, lead pastor of  Portland (Oregon) Mennonite Church.

“Often saying someone is competent is a polite way of saying they’re good enough, but not great,” said Danner, explaining the genesis of the podcast’s name. “The truth is, that being competent is a high bar when talking about the various skills and tasks facing pastors. It is also an acknowledgment that pastors will not be great at everything, but there are some things that they need to be able to do and do well,” he added.

The Competent Pastor will be available soon on Apple and Spotify.

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