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Habits and Practices of Excellent and Fruitful Mennonite Pastoral Ministry

Lawrence Yoder
1 scholarship practice hour

Summary of the original project proposal and anticipated outcomes.

This project was to develop a behavioral profile of excellent pastoral ministry based on the actual ministry practices of Mennonite pastors acknowledged for their 'excellent, fruitful ministry.’ The process was to ask the conference ministers and overseers of Mennonite Church USA to identify fifty "excellent, fruitful" Mennonite pastors representative of all of the conferences and churches of Mennonite Church USA. The first stage was to interview Twenty-five of these pastors in their own ministry context. From these interviews a composite behavioral profile was to be developed.

From the composite behavioral profile an instrument was to be developed to administer to the second twenty-five 'excellent, fruitful pastors’ to measure the degree to which the ministry of these people corresponded to that of the first group. Based on the results of this process the instrument was to be modified and refined to more fully represent the ministry of the two groups. The instrument was then to be prepared for use with current pastors to help them identify and cultivate habits and practices that consistently characterize excellent, fruitful Mennonite pastoral ministry. The instrument was to be made available to the seminaries as feedback into the process of theological education and pastoral formation and to the Congregational and Ministerial Leadership office of MC USA to be shared with conference ministers and overseers.

Status of the Project and Degree of Completion

The current status of the project is that twenty-one of the twenty-five pastors have been interviewed and a draft profile prepared. Two project colleagues terminated early. One AMBS colleague working on the project terminated early because he moved to another seminary. The other colleague also requested termination for family reasons.

Summary of Outcomes Achieved

We have recordings of some of the twenty-one interviews completed so far and detailed edited notes on all of them. Four of those interviews are yet to be conducted. I have produced a partial draft of the composite behavioral profile of excellent, fruitful Mennonite pastoral ministry. That profile needs yet to be completed, as does the instrument to be administered to the second group of twenty-five pastors. On the basis of the results of that study the instrument will be modified and prepared for broader use. This should be nearly completed by the end of August 2007

Sharing Outcomes

The outcomes of the project are not yet in a form to be shared. A copy of the Excellent, Fruitful Mennonite Pastoral Ministry Profile will be given to the deans of AMBS and EMS upon completion along with the refined Excellent, Fruitful Mennonite Pastoral Ministry Evaluation Instrument. These will also be shared with the Congregational and Ministerial Leadership office of Mennonite Church USA to be made available to the conference ministers and overseers.