New Staff Represents Shift in Anabaptist Leadership

by Emily Ralph Servant, Director of Communication

Over the last two years, executive minister Steve Kriss has been building a diverse staff to accompany Franconia Conference’s credentialed leaders, congregations, and Conference Related Ministries through a time of fluidity and change.  In April, two new leadership ministers joined Franconia’s team to walk alongside a range of new and established congregations as we seek to follow Jesus together.

Marco Guete, Josh Meyer

Marco Güete (Sarasota, FL) and Josh Meyer (Telford, PA) began their conference work by joining Franconia’s staff retreat at Spruce Lake (Canadensis, PA) in early April.  Güete will serve as an interim leadership minister for a cluster of congregations in Florida who are exploring conference affiliation.  Meyer will assume congregational responsibilities from other current staff as roles shift toward missional initiatives and executive priorities.

“Marco and Josh represent different generations of Anabaptist leadership,” reflects Kriss.  “They both bring strong commitments to the church and will add depth and wisdom to our staff team.”

Marco Güete has broad experience in the church as a pastor, missionary, radio host, church planter, and conference minister.  He currently works with Mennonite Education Agency in their initiatives with Spanish-speaking leadership development and formation and, like many of the Floridian Anabaptist communities, he moves readily between Spanish and English.  Güete is the director and founder of the bi-national Anabaptist Biblical Institute training program (IBA), from which Franconia Conference has several graduates, and has an MA in theology from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Roy Williams, moderator of the Florida network of congregations and former moderator of Mennonite Church USA, has worked with Güete for many years.  He witnessed Güete’s good work at integrating their conference, despite the challenges, and was impressed by the ways he was able encourage participation from congregations who were on the margins of the church.  Williams recommended Güete for the Franconia staff position, noting that he seemed like a good fit because “he has experience working with Mennonite Church USA, he’s a good leader, and he’s well-trained.”  Güete has a heart for the conference priorities of formation, mission, and interculturalism and “brings people in and gets them involved.  He’s very good at inclusiveness,” says Williams.

Josh Meyer is the pastor of discipling and preaching at Franconia congregation and has served on the conference’s Faith and Life Commission, Ministerial Committee, and reconciliation process’ Structure and Identity Task Force.  Meyer has an MDiv and DMin from Biblical Theological Seminary (now Missio Seminary) and teaches public speaking at Eastern University.  Meyer recently completed a doctoral thesis that worked to identify the factors that cultivate and confirm calling among millennial leaders serving in our conference and he is particularly interested in helping congregations connect the good news of God’s great love with younger generations and those without a faith background.

Associate Executive Minister Mary Nitzsche has served with Meyer on the Ministerial Committee since 2014. In her experience, his thoughtfulness, reflective questions, insights, and pastoral experience have greatly contributed to their conversations regarding the credentialing process, discernment of potential credential candidates, renewal requirements, and the ministerial misconduct policy and procedure.  These years of working with these processes firsthand will enable him to effectively assist pastors and congregations through the credentialing process and accompany them in times of change or transition, she reflects.  “As our youngest Leadership Minister, Josh brings energy and passion for expanding his leadership gifts and for developing other younger leaders to serve our conference into the future.”

“We continue to rely on both experienced and emerging leaders to help shape our conference into the future,” observes Kriss.  “I am grateful for both Marco’s and Josh’s willingness to join our team and to bring their gifts into our shared work together.”