These six regions correspond to the six ministerial conferences that we schedule with our ministry over a two-year period.
Our regional pastors were nominated by the elders in each region and selected by Ministerial and Member Services (MMS) in consultation with the president. At the present time, our regional pastors are Steve Nutzman (Northwest), Mitch Knapp (North Central), Steve Myers (Northeast), Jim Tuck (Southwest) Mark Welch (South Central) and Ken Martin (Southeast).
A few significant changes were recently made to the role of regional pastor, as approved by the Council of Elders at their August 2017 meetings. Most noteworthy is that the position of regional pastor is now a reporting line function between MMS and the field ministry. That means that the 75 church pastors in the United States will now report to their assigned regional pastor instead of directly to the operation manager for MMS.
We feel this change will be healthy and improve communication and advocacy for the needs of our ministers and members. Some of our pastors have wished they could have more communication and someone to talk to more directly and frequently about their work.
A conference was held Sept. 10-11 in Omaha, Nebraska, with the six regional pastors in attendance along with president Victor Kubik and Chris Rowland, who serves as administrator for MMS. Discussions at the conference emphasized that the regional pastor is first a servant to the men in his region and is responsible to get to know the ministers and their wives. As representatives of the field ministry, regional pastors advise the home office on needs and urgent priorities.
The essential responsibilities of a regional pastor are to develop a team concept with the region and to be a consultant. He will mediate in areas of conflict. Also, he is an advisor to MMS through regular conferences and will assist the men in his region so they can better do their jobs.
In our meetings we discussed each region and the manpower needs. Also we talked about proposed changes to the ministerial ordination approval process.
The regional pastors mentioned that the meetings were instructive, cordial and most helpful. This group plans to meet regularly by Web conference and further face-to-face interaction.
Here are a few quotes from those who will be serving as regional pastors:
Jim Tuck: “There can be no higher honor than to serve with those dedicated and loyal to the highest calling on earth. My wife, Joan, and I enjoy serving in the ministry of Jesus Christ and working with the Southwest region ministers and their wives.”
Steve Nutzman: “The recent regional pastor conference reminded us that the ministry exists to serve God and His elect. The job of a regional pastor continues to focus on being a brother in Christ to our fellow elders as a friend and helper in their ministry, and now includes some expanded responsibilities to further these goals. The conference renewed our focus and our spirit of unity.”
Mark Welch: “I am looking forward to serving all congregations, members and elders in the South Central region. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to help build and develop unity in God’s Church and consider it a great privilege to serve in this way as a regional pastor. Thank you!”