First, the Anabaptists are not the anti-Baptists, nor was their founder “Anna Baptist.” I have heard or seen both of these references to the Anabaptists. It is not surprising that many have not heard of the Anabaptists or misrepresent them. In fact, being a relatively small and misunderstand group has been part of their story since they first emerged in Europe in the 16th Century and as they have moved around the world over the last five centuries.
The name “Anabaptist” was given to them by people who opposed them. It was a disparaging nickname and actually means “re-baptizers.” While the early Anabaptists had been baptized as infants, one emerging conviction was that only adults could decide to be Christians, and so they began to (re) baptize themselves as adults. The early Anabaptists were a variety of groups who lived in different locations in Europe and who did not agree on all matters but had a number of common convictions and practices. Today there are members of Anabaptist groups around the world in over 80 countries and many cultures.
Valued Leadership was created for Anabaptist-related health and human service organizations, particularly those that are members of MHS and other faith-based organizations. Anabaptist organizations, while having deep roots in the Anabaptist faith community, are also faced with increasing challenges as they confront 21st Century social and organizational life. A question I hear frequently is “What does it mean to be an Anabaptist-related organization today?” Related questions include “How do we demonstrate the values of Anabaptism in a way that is relevant?” and “How do I, as a person who is not an Anabaptist, help demonstrate and reinforce the unique core values of organizations functioning within this faith tradition?”
Valued Leadership was written to help answer these questions, and while it does not give all the answers, I hope it will provide a framework or platform for leaders and organizations to find answers, or at least a direction. We think the 4Cs described in Valued Leadership are helpful themes to support leaders as they build, reinforce, align, and integrate an Anabaptist approach for the future.
There are many people to thank for the creation of this website.
First, MHS received a special grant from the Friends Foundation for the Aging to start the project, and MHS through its Grant Program added funds to complete the project.
Second, there has been a great design team working together to develop Valued Leadership. It has been easy to serve as project director with such a talented team:
- Mim Shirk, Senior Vice President, MHS
- Jean Kilheffer Hess, Consultant, Core4, Inc.
- Eric Saner, Web Designer and Developer, eSaner, LLC
- Rosalind O’Brien, Web and Graphic Designer, Treetop Creative
- Adam Derstine, Producer/Editor, The Pixel Farm
Third, I am grateful to several others who have contributed to the project in important ways: Nekeisha Alayna Alexis, Floyd Saner, and Emily Reese. Much thanks also goes to Rick Stiffney, President of MHS, for his vision, support, and encouragement for this project and the many other MHS activities related to leadership formation.
I would also like to thank the numerous persons who participated in the videos, offered stories, gave quotes, and wrote blogs. Thanks for sharing your time and expertise with the wider community of Anabaptist-related health and human service organizations.
Blessings to you as you explore Valued Leadership. We trust it can be helpful if you are new to Anabaptist thinking and practices, or if you are currently leading an Anabaptist-related organization. Blessings as you demonstrate the 4C themes of Character, Collaboration, Culture, and Change. I invite you to sign up below to conveniently receive new Valued Leadership blog posts in your inbox.