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Warren Hoffman

As moderator of the Brethren in Christ Church of North America, he has seen the Church through the first decade of the 21st century. Warren Hoffman is ready for your questions.

How have you been involved in the BIC Church over the years?

I was born into the Church and studied biology at Messiah College. Over the years, I’ve served as a youth pastor, worked at the Navajo Mission in New Mexico, church-planted in Oklahoma, served as the Atlantic Conference bishop, and filled the role of general secretary. And I’ve been moderator for the last 11 years. All I can say is, the roles I’ve been in have not been typical ones.

Are you like the BIC version of the Pope?

I’ve been called everything from “The Pope” to “The Boss” to “The Big Enchilada”—and not one fits.

What does your job as moderator actually entail?

The moderator gives coordinating leadership to the Church. I work to see where the Church needs to go, get the right people on the team, and keep everyone moving in the same direction.

What do you see as the most significant contribution you’ve made to the Church during your time “in office”?

I would have to say that my greatest fulfillment was early on, when we convened leaders from across the Church to flesh out who we are as Brethren in Christ. The result of that gathering was the development of our Core Values and the book Focusing our Faith, which identify our mission and core convictions.

What about the most significant personal change since becoming moderator?

I have learned to depend on the Lord more deeply, which is why I pray.
I’ve also learned to depend on my colleagues and my co-workers. Because I have these partners in ministry, I can take more risks in leadership—to tackle stiff challenges, pursue unexpected opportunities, and embrace the creativity of emerging leaders.

How do you think BIC today differ most from their 18th-century predecessors?

For 200 years, our common ethnicity and interrelatedness kept us together. Today, we’re still in relationship with one another, but not solely because of family ties. Now, it’s our shared convictions and mission that bind us together.

What is the biggest shift you’ve seen in the BIC Church?

We are no longer a homogenized group. God has blessed us in wonderful ways. Now two-thirds of our congregants come from outside the BIC Church, one-third are urban, and one-fifth are Spanish-speaking.

How can the people in the pew best pray for you and the BIC Church?

Pray that Connie (my wife) and I, along with our colleagues, will be deeply in love with Jesus and never be anything less.

As for the Church, pray that we have a clear sense of who God has shaped us to be, that we will embrace both our strengths and our weaknesses, and that we will fulfill our calling wherever we are.

This article originally appeared in the winter 2009 issue of In Part magazine.

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