Name: Glen Guyton
Role: Executive director of Mennonite Church USA, effective May 1
1. What is one fun or interesting fact about yourself?
I love cooking and comedy. Before I graduated from high school, I had two dreams: open up a restaurant and do stand up comedy. I don’t think I have fully given up on those dreams yet. I did own a coffee shop once, and people think I have a good sense of humor. I think my wife appreciates my cooking more than my comedy though.
2. Why did you say “yes” to becoming executive director of Mennonite Church USA?
I have been a leader in this denomination for more than 19 years. My journey with Mennonites is amazing to me, and it has to be God ordained. I have been blessed to be a part of this church, and I still have a few stories left to write. The Anabaptist peace theology and emphasis on community have really changed my worldview.
The Mennonite Church USA staff and I worked hard on the development of the Future Church Summit (FCS), which is now leading into the Journey Forward process. I am still passionate about the future of Mennonite Church USA and some of the positive changes I have helped to birth. I am excited about and committed to our new denominational focus that builds upon the positive reports coming out of Orlando 2017 and the FCS.
I sense a positive change in the air. Our denomination is changing, so there are opportunities to do new and exciting things. I truly believe the real role of the executive director is to motivate the denominational staff and help encourage each part of our denominational structure to live into the vision of healing and hope.
God > me. God is greater than me. I have trusted God through many of my life decisions. The thought of this role is somewhat intimidating. I know the weight that comes with this role. I have experienced many of the ups and downs of executive leadership by serving, in my most recent role, as chief operating officer of Mennonite Church USA. In the end, what God has for me is for me. I believe I can do the job as executive director, not through my own strength, but truly by the power of the Holy Spirit leading and guiding me.
3. What do you envision being MC USA’s core priorities the next few years?
This is an easy one. We are in the midst of getting feedback from the people and entities that are Mennonite Church USA via the Journey Forward process. Right now we looking at three main areas: following Jesus, being a witness to God’s peace and experiencing the transformation of the Spirit. From early on, one thing I have respected about Mennonites is the emphasis on biblical discernment.
4. What is it about the Journey Forward process that excites you?
The best part of anything we do as ministers of the Gospel is talking to people and hearing the amazing stories of what God has done and how God is using them to impact the world.
5. How would you describe your leadership style?
I would say I challenge people to be and do their best. My style definitely is high energy with a high degree of optimism. I try to get people to believe that we can do just about anything we put our minds to.
6. Can you tell us about a moment of transformation in your faith journey?
The moment my daughter was born changed everything about my life. Becoming a father meant my life had a deeper meaning and purpose. It wasn’t just about me and what I wanted. I inherited someone whose life would be framed by how I treated her, her mom and the people I came in contact with. Parenting is a big job. It helped me better understand my relationship with God.
7. What is one specific goal you have for your first 90 days as executive director?
One major goal is to help us realize our call as a peace church and to have a strategic plan in place to develop peace movements/churches/centers throughout our nation. We need that right now in our nation. We need to fill that gap as Mennonite Church USA.
Sheldon C. Good conducted and edited this seven question interview. You can read past seven question interviews online.