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Within this article, you will find the names and photos of persons approved as candidates for Minister of the Word by Synod 2019. One striking feature—a first in recent years and perhaps ever—is that some of the candidates have requested public anonymity. That’s because they have been and will continue to be involved in ministry where the security of those to whom they minister requires that their names and photos not be made public. Being anonymous as an ordained pastor also will enhance their ability to go into and out of closed countries as a public citizen.

The request has made me consider one of the primary qualifications of all who are called to ordained pastoral ministry: humble service. If a pastor enters ministry motivated by a love for the spotlight and an expectation of personal gratification through public recognition, his or her potential for effective ministry is truly threatened. Consider these words of Jesus: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).

These are great words of challenge for those approved as candidates for ministry. They are also great words of challenge for all of us as disciples of Jesus. Together with their pastors, all communities of faith pick up the towel of the servant and even welcome anonymity in order for the name of Christ to be lifted up. Yes, we surely encourage one another, and these approved candidates will rightly be blessed with a lot of encouragement. Perhaps in some cases our encouragement might need to come in the form of helping one another accept anonymity with grace and joy. Many of those who read these words have quietly and humbly encouraged these candidates through the candidacy process. May we move into the future with the combined goal of anonymously lifting the name of Jesus until he comes again.

For contact information, biographical information, eligibility status, and testimonies from each candidate, visit the candidacy committee website at

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