National Leadership | The Brethren Church

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. 

Michael Cook

Office Administrator

michael [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org

Michael Cook serves as the Office Administrator at The Brethren Church National Office. He is a quintessential jack-of-all-trades with a background that includes music education, mechanics, private security, retail sales, higher education and even over the road trucking. Michael came to love the Brethren story after moving back home to Ashland in 2012 and joining Park Street Brethren Church. In his spare time, Michael can be found reading, tinkering on his old pickup truck, or playing (and increasingly, losing to his children at) Mario Kart. Michael and his wife Colleen live in Ashland, Ohio with their daughters Eloise, Coralie, and Magnolia.

Ryan Smith

Director of Ministry Operations & Leader Development

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

Ryan Smith serves as the Director of Ministry Operations & Leader Development. A former Brethren youth pastor, Ryan has a heart to help guide people to greater Kingdom impact through their everyday lives. 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 Ashland, OH, and attend Park Street Brethren Church.

Patrick Sprague

National Communications Director

patrick [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org
ext. 1009

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 Soden serves as the part-time Coordinator of Global Partners. The first person to be hired for this role in as many years. He has been serving with the Global Partners Ministry for over 15 years in various capacities. Previously as a member and secretary of the International Ministries Council and later as the Chair and then as the facilitator of Global Partners. Scott also served 10 years on the Executive Board of the Brethren Church. Scott has a B.S. in Business Administration from Colorado Christian University, an AAS in Business Management from Laramie County Community College and two certificates in Entrepreneurial Studies. Scott and his wife Barbara have been married for 23 years and have three amazing kids. David, Katryna, and Victoria. He loves spending his free time connecting with people in the community and around the world. An avid learner, he is always reading about leadership, culture, ministry, and missions. Scott and his wife currently reside in Cheyenne, Wyoming where he also serves as the Associate Pastor at the Cheyenne Brethren Church.

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.

Regional Resource Coordinators

Dan Acker

West Region

west [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org

Drew Meziere

North Central Region

northcentral [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org

Lee Compson

Midwest Region

midwest [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org

Lee Reams

Southeast Region

southeast [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org

T.J. McLaughlin

Northeast Region

northeast [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org

National Executive Board Members

Josh Coffee

National Moderator

moderator [at] brethrenchurch [dot] org

Gail Heiston

Mt. Olive (McGaheysville, VA)

gail [at] mtolivebrethren [dot] org

Mallorie Dladla

Radial Church (Canton, OH)

dladla [dot] mallorie [at] gmail [dot] com

Jeff Estep

First Brethren (New Paris, IN)

pastorjeffestep [at] bnin [dot] net

Roger Stogsdill

Tucson First (Tuscon, AZ)

roger [at] tfbchurch [dot] com

Tracy McPherson

Gretna Brethren Church

mcphersont63 [at] live [dot] com

John Swope

Five Stones (Ashland, OH)

jswope [at] ashland [dot] edu

Youth Advisory Committee

John Howenstine

First Brethren (Nappanee, IN)

Winter Lawson

College Corner Brethren (IN)

Sara Moore

St. James Brethren Church (MD)

David Miller

Mt. Olive Brethren (VA)