Nathan Yoder, Bishop Nominee for the Atlantic Conference
The General Conference Board is pleased to present the name of Nathan Yoder, senior pastor of Palmyra (Pa.) BIC Church, for approval as the nominee for bishop of the Atlantic Conference of the Brethren in Christ Church.
The Atlantic Conference Bishop Selection Committee selected Nathan and the General Conference Board subsequently approved him for the nomination after deeming him the best fit for the Atlantic Conference at this time. Nathan has accepted the nomination, believing that this opportunity is consistent with his life purpose of “joyfully stewarding the resources, talents, and opportunities that God gives to me so that my life will advance the kingdom of God.”
As the oldest son of a Mennonite pastor, Nathan says that “the church always played a prominent role in my family.” At the age of ten, he responded to an altar call during a two-week tent revival in his community and devoted himself to following Jesus Christ. “Since that time, I would describe my spiritual life as an ongoing journey in which God has faithfully and graciously matured me,” he explains.
During his teenage years, Nathan began to feel a calling towards spiritual ministry: “Initially I pursued a teaching ministry, but through a series of events in seminary, I felt called to prepare for pastoral ministry. My ten years in pastoral ministry have been fruitful and fulfilling. I have no doubt that God has called me to give leadership, in some capacity, to His kingdom work.”
Nathan received a Certificate in Biblical Studies from Rosedale Bible College (Irwin, Ohio) in 1991; a B.A. in Social Science from Cedarville (Ohio) University in 1993; and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Ky.) in 1997. His experience in ministry began in 1997 when he served as the first full-time pastor of the New Danville Mennonite Church.
In 2000, Nathan began his work as the senior pastor of Palmyra (Pa.) BIC. During his seven years of service there, Nathan initiated the transformation of the church’s children’s ministry and Sunday worship, implemented a small group ministry, increased ministry in the community, and was most recently leading a search for land to expand the church’s facilities, which are being stretched by the almost doubled congregation. He was ordained by the Brethren in Christ in 2004 and has continued his education by enrolling in the doctoral program at Denver (Colo.) Seminary, where his focus is on Church and Para-Church Executive Leadership.
Over the years, Nathan has been involved with the Atlantic Conference. He served as the Atlantic Conference’s assistant moderator from 2003-2004 and, since 2004, has led the Church Health Team. As the current director of congregational development for the Atlantic Conference, Nathan has responsibilities in expanding the fledgling Leadership Development Program and in coaching local pastors and lay leaders as they develop their leadership abilities. Through these positions, Nathan has become familiar with the pastors and congregations of the Conference.
He has also been involved in the wider Brethren in Christ Church in a number of ways. In 2005, Nathan participated in BIC Emerge and the Consultation on Marriage. This past April, Nathan took part in a BICWM Pastor’s Vision Trip to Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia, as well.
Throughout his years of involvement and service in the BIC Church, Nathan’s appreciation for the richness of the denomination’s history and beliefs has grown. He shares, “I am deeply grateful that God led me to the Brethren in Christ. The blend of Anabaptism and Wesleyanism feels very much ‘at home’ for me.”
Pending confirmation of his nomination by the annual meeting of the Atlantic Conference in March 2008, Nathan will bring Grace, his wife of 15 years, and their three children, Hannah (9), Kyle (6), and Kory (4), with him to this new ministry role in August 2008. The family enjoys taking bike rides together and eating Bruster’s ice cream.
Please pray that the Lord would continue to bless and assist Nathan and his family, giving them strength for transition and faith that God will complete His good work in them.
Atlantic Conference Bishop Selection Committee:
Nick Frey, Warren Hoffman, Don McNiven,
Denys Pfeiffer, John Reitz, and Dale Shaw