Leadership has always been a part of Merle’s journey. During his thirties he taught classes at SMBI, lead people’s hearts in counseling, founded AgSalt, a salt company that now has 20 employees. In 2005 he helped birth Anabaptist Financial (AF) and its sister organizations. In 2009, he co-founded Open Hands, a saving group organization. In the past three years, he helped co-found Anabaptist Savings and Loans International. Currently, he is leading a vision committee with a vision to launch a social security organization for the Anabaptist community.
The seed for the Serving Leader Challenge book was planted more than a decade ago when Merle experienced a leadership crisis while leading Anabaptist Financial. Realizing he was ill-equipped to handle the leadership challenges he was facing, he reached out to AF mentors whose advice led him to his mentor and friend John Stahl-Wert who provided structured training in serving leadership. Once out of survival mode, Merle realized he was not alone in lacking the necessary skills needed to be a serving leader. Since no books from an Anabaptist perspective were on the bookshelves, he began brainstorming what such a book would look like. Two years ago, he resolved to answer the call and write this book. At the end of 2017, Mark Gingerich join Merle in the initial interviews that jumpstarted the project. Daniel Smoker and Caleb Crider were contracted as editors and at the end of 2018, Donavan Lacy joined the team as a ghostwriter. Last year was a learning curve as the team worked on a section of the manuscript and conducted more interviews. At the end of the year, Maribeth Lacy joined the team as a tool ghostwriter, editor, and project manager. Lastly, Thomas Womack, a senior editor with 40 years of experience committed to coach the writing process and provide the primary editing for the manuscript. The team continues to take shape as the project moves forward.
The mission is to transform serving leaders by equipping through books, tools, stories, and educational resources.
- To become a small publishing house focused on serving leader resources.
- To enable and assist authors to write on serving leadership.
- To publish books, tools, and resources for leaders seeking a Christian perspective.
- To develop a distribution network for serving leader books, articles, tools, and educational resources.
The vision of Serving Leader is:
- To provide a comprehensive understanding of Serving Leadership with a clear model from a Christian worldview.
- To challenge leaders to a journey of leadership transformation by inspiring the heart to serve through telling living stories of Anabaptist businesses.
- To equip leaders with proven practices and tools that are practical and actionable.
- To rally a team of authors to write and publish top-quality learning resources for serving leaders.
The vision is to provide educational leadership resources for organizational leaders and leader-educators such as teachers, coaches, and trainers of serving leadership.
At the root of this vision lies the germ of teamwork and brotherhood. This purpose will never be accomplished by Merle and a few editors. The book – The Serving Leader Challenge (SLC) and its companion tool guides – Serving Leader Tools (SLT) are only the beginning. The seven principles from the SLC need to be expanded – each with a book providing a full treatise of its principle. Merle envisions inviting other authors (4-5) to join the project, each writing from their leadership strengths, becoming a team of writers and educators that collaborate and develop serving leader resources as a team.