On a Friday filled with sermon prep, a hospital ethics committee meeting and childcare duty while his wife taught school, Luke Haidle found time to answer a few questions for the Christian Leader. Haidle is pastor of Living Hope Church, the Mennonite Brethren church in Henderson, Nebraska, and the newly elected chair of the U.S. Mennonite Brethren Leadership Board.
How did you become Mennonite Brethren?
I went to a Christian high school in South Dakota with some Mennonite influence and then to Tabor College where I graduated in 2000. Looking for a place to do a year of ministry, I discovered Multiply’s short-term TREK program in Abbotsford, BC. I ended up staying there for 10 years, five years as director.
How did you come to be involved in conference leadership?
When I was first approached, I thought it was kind of ridiculous. I don’t know anything about denominational operation. Eventually I decided I’d let my name stand, but with a super-unspiritual motivation—I was going to learn and steal every idea I could and bring it back home to my church in Henderson.
The major restructuring of Multiply, the mission agency of the U.S. and Canadian conferences came to a head just as you began as chair. How did that situation impact you in your new role?
Having served within Multiply for close to 10 years, having lived on both sides of the border and now getting to serve as pastor has provided a perspective and insight which I trust has been helpful to the process. The recent evaluation and review process have been no small thing, and I believe it requires a listening ear, a discerning spirit and willingness for intentional and courageous steps. Good people have been involved in the process, and the desire for national church planting and international missions remains a commitment for all involved.
You recently finished Tabor College’s Master of Business Administration. Why an MBA?
I wanted some further education and thought about the skills I needed. I had gotten my Master of Arts from the MB Seminary in British Columbia and my exegetical preaching was already forcing me into deep study of Scripture. The questions I had in my pastoral role – how to hire a secretary, marketing questions like how to get the word out about our church’s Christmas in the Barn—these were better answered by an MBA.
How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the church?
This may be a practice run for the future—a new skill set for decentralized worship. COVID-19 has forced a lot of us to think smaller, home-based. We’re learning to build on important areas that have just been an accessory to Sunday. And we had to learn how to be a video production company in six days!
Kathy Heinrichs Wiest is a freelance writer who loves the smell of whole wheat bread in the oven, the feel of an orange being plucked from the tree and the view from her front porch in Kingsburg, California. On Sunday mornings you’ll find her in the fourth pew from the front on the left at Kingsburg MB Church, moved by the hymns and praise songs and inspired by the stories of God at work locally and around the world. She and her husband, Steve, own Dovetail Remodeling. They have two grown daughters, one son-in-law and a precious granddaughter.