National Leadership

National Leadership

National Staff

Steven Cole 

Executive Director

steven [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1010

Steven Cole is a native of Texas and has spent time in New Mexico, Georgia, and most recently, Northern California where he was the pastor of Northgate Community Brethren Church in Manteca. As the Executive Director of The Brethren Church, Steven works to communicate the vision and diverse story of our denomination. He is a 2007 graduate of Bethel Seminary with a Masters of Arts degree in Transformational Leadership and is currently working on his Doctor of Ministry degree at Ashland Theological Seminary. His wife Beth and he have been married since 2001 and are the parents of Maggie and Patrick. Steven is an avid golfer and rarely turns down an invitation to play. 

Gary Diehl

National Church Vitality Coordinator

gary [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1002

Gary Diehl serves the as the national Church Vitality Coordinator. He loves helping pastors, leaders, teams, and congregations ask and answer the right questions based on their specific circumstances and unique context of ministry. As a member of First Brethren of North Georgetown, he has been a teacher, choir director, worship leader, moderator, financial secretary, deacon and a coach and leader of teams, task forces, and boards. Gary had 30+ years of experience in a business setting before joining the national office staff and earned his B.A. in business from Malone University. He also serves churches outside the Brethren context as a lead consultant and coach with Living Stones Associates. He and his wife Nancy have four children and four grandchildren.

Ryan Smith

Director of Ministry Operations & Leader Development

ryan [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1004

Ryan Smith is the Coordinator for Brethren Leadership Development, a role he has served in since 2013. A former youth pastor with the Nappanee First Brethren Church, Ryan has the heart to help guide people to greater Kingdom impact. Ryan is a 2010 graduate of Huntington University, with an MA in Youth Ministry and a 1999 graduate from Malone University, with a BA in Diversified Ministries. Ryan and his wife Lindsay (Brandon), along with their daughter Lily, live in Nappanee Indiana, where they are actively involved in leading a GSE church plant, called  White Stone. In his free time, Ryan enjoys Geocaching, grilling, Minecraft, & being with friends.

Patrick Sprague

National Communications Director

patrick [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1005

Patrick began full-time ministry in 2004 and has served the local church in roles as a worship leader, creative arts director, and operations pastor, as well as helping plant a church in Utah. Most recently, Patrick worked as a content director in a marketing agency. He's a strategic leader and has a deep passion for empowering the local church. Patrick and his wife Leah, along with their daughters Andi and Amelia live in Ashland, Ohio, and attend Park Street Brethren Church.

Jason Barnhart

Director of Brethren Research and Resourcing

jason [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1008

Jason Barnhart is the Director of Brethren Research and Resourcing for the Brethren Church National Office in Ashland, Ohio. He has over a decade of pastoral experience in congregations in Ohio. He served for three years (2014-2017) as the University Chaplain of Ashland University in Ashland. Jason was co-editor of A Brethren Witness for the 21st Century (2014) and co-edited a primer for the work, A Brethren Witness Primer (2015), for youth and young adults. He is also the editor of the forthcoming book, A Brethren Vision, which is a re-release of the late Brian Moore's work, A Brethren Witness for the 21st Century (2008).  He has a deep love and appreciation for Brethren historical theology and works to bring it into engagement with our present day. He is currently finishing a ThD in Brethren Historical Theology at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jason resides in Ashland with his wife, Allison, and two children, Miles and Clementine.

Scott Soden

Brethren Global Partners Coordinator

scott [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1005

Scott serves as the  Associate Pastor at the Cheyenne Brethren Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming and has been an ordained Elder in the Brethren Church since 2010. Scott has AAS in Business Management from Laramie County Community College and two certificates in Entrepreneurial Studies. Scott is currently pursuing his BA in Business Administration from Colorado Christian University. Scott and his wife Barbara have been married for 22 years and have three amazing kids. David, Katryna, and Victoria. Scott spends his free time connecting with people. He often invites friends over for dinner and loves cooking and grilling outside. Scott is passionate about science fiction especially Star Trek and loves the Comic Strip Calvin and Hobbes. He is an avid learner, always reading books on leadership, business, ministry, and missions looking to explore the new frontier while bringing people together from around the world.

Ronald W. Waters

Director of Donor Development

ron [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1003

You could say Ron's resume looks like a guy who cannot keep a job - serving in the Brethren Church National Offices for the sixth time, has served as pastor/staff of five congregations, and was twice on faculty/staff at Ashland Theological Seminary. He and wife Norma recently moved to Canton, Ohio, and enjoy spoiling their daughter, son-in-law, and (especially) their two grandchildren.

Jim Thomas

Director of Finance

jim [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1007

Jim has served as a finance director for Ashland Theological Seminary and Winebrenner Theological Seminary, as well as owning an accounting firm for over 25 years. A native of Ohio, Jim also continues to serve in financial administration roles for the Churches of God (Findlay, OH) and Ashland Theological Seminary Foundation. Jim, and his wife Donna attend Park Street Brethren Church and reside in Ashland, OH. 

Laura Kollar

Assistant to the Executive Director

laura [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1010

Laura was married 46 years to her high school sweetheart until 2013 when Bill departed this earth. She worked in various hospital settings for 30 years as an RN, earned an M.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Akron and an M.Div. from Ashland Theological Seminary. She has lived in Ohio, New Mexico, Nebraska and Arizona and was a support to her husband's ministry in each of these states. Family ties brought her back to Ohio where her son and grandsons reside. She enjoys music, reading, walking, and yard work.

Stef Hunn

Financial & Administrative Assistant

stefanie [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1001

Stefanie has attended a Brethren Church since birth and has been involved in the ministry of the church in some capacity for over 20 years. Stefanie graduated from Ashland University in 2004 with a B.A. in Speech Communication and Religion and loved it there so much that she went back in 2006 to obtain a teaching license in social studies. She has worked in the social work and education fields for the past 14 years before deciding to take a dive into the administrative side of the National Office.  Stefanie currently attends and serves at Park Street Brethren Church alongside her husband, Jon. In her free time, Stefanie enjoys spending time with her 2 sons, Eli & Zachary, reading, cooking, and watching sports.

National Executive Board Members

Emery Hurd

Cheyenne Brethren Church

pastoremery [at] cheyennebrethren [dot] org

Mallorie Dladla

Ashland University

mndlovu [at] ashland [dot] edu

Dale Stoffer

Park Street Brethren Church

dstoffer [at] ashland [dot] edu

Rich Hagopian

Smoky Row Brethren Church

rich [at] smokyrow [dot] org

Roger Stogsdill

Tucson First Brethren Church

roger [at] tfbchurch [dot] com

Tracy McPherson

Gretna Brethren Church

mcphersont63 [at] live [dot] com

John Swope

Five Stones Community Church

jswope [at] ashland [dot] edu

Youth Advisory Committee

Luke Dowdy

Berlin Brethren Church (PA)

Winter Lawson

College Corner Brethren (IN)

Sara Moore

St. James Brethren Church (MD)

David Miller

Mt. Olive Brethren (VA)