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Chief Executive Officer

Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Salary Range
Posting Date
February 12, 2024
Application Deadline
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Job Description

Ballinger | Leafblad is pleased to conduct the search for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Minnesota Council of Churches, a statewide organization located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


The next CEO at Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) needs to be a thought leader and an experienced activist in the work of racial justice. With the central role that MCC has played in racial justice work in the faith community—particularly post George Floyd—this is a necessity and an expectation. This person should have a mature racial equity analysis, and the relational abilities to have strong connections in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) communities—particularly with Black leaders, organizations, and churches. This is even more true given the development of a BIPOC majority board and staff. It is a test of MCC’s true commitment to racial justice.

The next CEO must have the skills to be a public leader, with ecumenical relational skills and background, and a proven record of interfaith engagement. Also, they should have fundraising aptitude and accomplishment. The next CEO needs to have strong internal facing gifts. They will benefit from staff in Operations, HR, and Refugee Services, but they need to provide leadership for organizational strategic planning, visioning, and culture change. The next CEO does not need to be an expert in refugee services—that is the role of the Division Director—but knowledge of how social services programs work will be an advantage.

The new leader will be the 8th CEO in the over 75-year history of MCC. The Council has been led by women CEOs for close to half of that history. The longest serving CEO was Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin for 22 years (1995-2017). Rev. Dr. Curtiss Paul DeYoung succeeded her and has served since 2017. At the beginning of 2023, he was joined by AME Presiding Elder Rev. Stacey Smith in a unique Co-CEO transitional partnership to prepare the rapidly growing and changing organization for this next season.


The Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) is a 75-year-old ecumenical Christian membership organization with twenty-seven member communions from Historic Black, Mainline Protestant, Pentecostal, Greek Orthodox, and Peace Churches in Minnesota. MCC also has strong interfaith ties. The current program focus of the Council is racial justice, refugee resettlement and services, interfaith bridge building, and respectful conversations.

The Minnesota Council of Churches was formed in 1947. In the first several decades of the organization, its membership was comprised of predominately white Christian communions. In recent years, four historically Black denominations, one Dakota Native American communion, and one Black-led multiracial communion joined MCC. The Board of Directors centered the leadership of historically Black denominations in 2019, electing as President and Vice President the leaders of Black denominations. In 2020, a bylaws change was approved to transform the board to majority BIPOC. Currently the Board of Directors is 60% BIPOC and 50% women, with an Executive Committee that is 90% BIPOC. A Black President and a Native American Vice President lead MCC in 2023-2024.

There are approximately 75 full-time employees at MCC. The MCC staff is 55% BIPOC, with a senior leadership team that is 60% BIPOC, and religiously diverse. The MCC Church Center is located at 122 Franklin Avenue West in Minneapolis, MN and the majority of staff are housed in this location, including the CEO. There is a second smaller office located in Mankato. The budget for 2024 is $11.637M.


Unity Built on Justice


We connect with:

  • Christians, congregations, leaders, and congregants from our member denominations, which represent a million Minnesotans.
  • Statewide leaders and congregants beyond our membership from Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Unitarian, Jewish, Muslim, Native spirituality, and other faith communities.
  • Refugees and others in need of immediate and sustaining social services support.
  • Community-based leaders and organizations working for social change.
  • The public life of Minnesota: legislators, businesses, foundations, and government.

We engage in:

  • Prayer and worship together.
  • Convening leaders and networks in unified action.
  • Public witness and social justice advocacy.
  • Service and resourcing that includes finding housing and employment, maintaining health, and building community.
  • Shared meals, life changing conversation, and learning together.

We transform:

  • Churches and individuals, with meaningful ministry opportunities and deepened faith.
  • Refugees, with assistance to achieve self-sufficiency and pursue their dreams.
  • Communities, with strong relationships increased empathy.
  • Social structures, with truth-telling and just public policy.


MCC believes in and is committed to the core values of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Therefore, it pursues its mission by creating ecumenical and interfaith programmatic partnerships that work toward a vision of racial and social justice lived out in diverse communities throughout Minnesota.

MCC understands the importance and significance of recruiting, employing, and retaining a workforce that reflects the populations served and the demographics of Minnesota. MCC is committed to ensuring that employees work in an environment where they feel included, respected, and recognized for the distinct talents they contribute to MCC. Diverse teams that work in an inclusive environment spur creativity and innovation.

MCC is committed to demonstrating that it is a diverse and culturally competent organization in the following ways:

  • MCC’s policies, practices, organizational values, and behaviors will align with equitable and culturally competent principles and practices.
  • Our leaders will be trained in cultural competency practices and will share what they have learned with our fellow churches and the community.
  • MCC will work to address deeply entrenched practices, cultural norms, and decision-making structures that have perpetuated inequities. These inequities have severely impacted large groups of people in our society. We will approach this work with courage and determination—knowing that it will require a sustained commitment.


Racial Justice Racial Justice programming became central for the MCC Board of Directors in 2017 with discussions of white supremacy and the centering of historically Black denominations in the leadership. Following the death of George Floyd, the Board approved a 3-point action platform of truth telling, education, and reparations. The purpose of this platform is to build a structure for racial equity in the church and the State of Minnesota through initiating a process of truth-telling about racism in Minnesota and investing in repairing the damage done by racism in Black and Indigenous communities. Addressing the pre-existing structures that created inequity for Black and Indigenous communities should benefit immigrants and refugees from Latin American, African, Asian, Arab, and other countries. A tool MCC utilizes in this truth-telling and education arena is the Healing Minnesota Stories (HMS) program. HMS brings forth the silenced and often hidden historical narratives of Indigenous people in Minnesota using lecture, group discussion, and placed based storytelling, HMS has a well-established history and impact in the state of Minnesota. The focus of MCC’s racial justice work names the history and addresses the systems that have made Minnesota rank as a state with some of the highest racial disparities in the United States. The Racial Justice Program has facilitated truth telling events in the Twin Cities, Duluth, and is currently working with congregations in Greater Minnesota.

Refugee Services Since its start at MCC in 1984, the programs of Refugee Services live out a mission to “Welcome persecuted persons from around the world into new lives of freedom, hope and opportunity in Minnesota.” In the Twin Cities area, the programs serve over 1,500 individuals annually, including in 2024 over 850 newly arriving refugees from around the world. Served are those with refugee status–along with others with a humanitarian protection immigration status–in an individual holistic approach that embodies the vision that “Refugees are abundantly supported as they move from addressing basic needs to achieving their dreams.”

MCC ensures that individuals and families can secure stable housing, access basic needs resources, gain transportation independence, secure employment, connect with health and support services, and achieve U.S. permanent residency and citizenship.

In 2012, in response to a growing refugee population and need for services and community connections in the Mankato Area, MCC opened its Mankato Refugee Services office. By the end of the first quarter of 2024, Refugee Services will employ a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-faith and multi-national staff of over 50 in 18 distinct direct service programs. The programs have grown in recent years, to the point that the 2024 Refugee Services budget of just over $9 million–predominantly funded through federal contracts–accounts for over 3/4ths of MCC’s overall budget.

Respectful Conversations Respectful Conversations is MCC’s peacebuilding, conflict-depolarizing, love-your-enemy program. Through trainings and facilitated, structured conversations designed not to change minds, but soften hearts, Respectful Conversations seeks to build empathy, strengthen communities, and affirm democracy.

In 12 years, over 8,000 Minnesotans have participated in over 300 conversations in congregations, on campuses, in boardrooms, within public schools and in municipalities. Respectful Conversations have been featured in Conflict Resolution Quarterly, USA Today and The Fulcrum. While the program was funded in its first two years with a six figure-grant, it has for the past 9 years been led by staff at 0.25 FTE.

Respectful Conversations are offered on a fee-for-service basis. We have been building our national network since January 6, 2021 and as of late 2023 the program has fresh momentum with a focus on training BIPOC lead facilitators, expanding its activities into neighboring states, and being awarded a competitive Strengthening Democracy Field Test Grant.

Interfaith Relationships MCC has a long history of building interfaith relationships through networking, events, and programming. This has primarily been done in Jewish, Muslim, and Unitarian communities. More recently these networks have broadened to include Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Native spirituality, and others. Two programs have become annual events. For over 15 years, MCC has partnered with the Muslim American Society—Minnesota (MAS-MN) to offer the Taking Heart program that brings Christians and members of other faith communities together with Muslims for food, conversation, and education about Islam during Ramadan. Typically, nearly 30 mosques around the State of Minnesota participate hosting over one thousand attendees. In response to the bombing of the Dar Al Farooq Mosque and growing hate in the State of Minnesota, five years ago MAS-MN, MCC, and the St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation launched the yearly Countering Hate summit for the philanthropic community in Minnesota. Most years over 100 staff and board members from foundations come together to strategize how to address hatred and polarization around religion, race, and ethnicity.

POSITION PROFILE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER This position is the chief executive officer of the MCC, providing for the general oversight and implementation of the mission as articulated by the board and in the articles and bylaws of the council: To manifest the unity of the Body of Christ and build the common good in the world. Provides overall management, planning and leadership of the organization.

MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES The CEO reports to the MCC Board of Directors with direct reporting to the Board President. Positions currently reporting directly to the CEO are Chief Operating Officer, Division Director of Refugee Services, Director of Strategic Relationships, Co-Directors of Racial Justice, Human Resources Manager, and Executive Administrative Manager. There are approximately 75 full-time employees. The 2024 budget is $11.637M.


Constituency Development:

    • Expand and nurture the ecumenical commitment of MCC members with special attention to heads of communions.
    • Expand the ecumenical commitment among non-member Christian judicatories and the unity commitment among interfaith partners.
    • Expand the ecumenical and interfaith unity mission in Minnesota.
    • Expand partnerships with social justice and racial justice organizations in Minnesota.


    • Provide for board and administrative committee oversight and development, providing for the staffing needs of the board of directors and administrative committees.
    • Assure alignment between board mission and the work of the commissions, their committees, and staff.
    • Assure compliance with the standards of good governance and the legal requirements of the council’s non-profit, tax exempt status.
    • Work with the Board, Commissions, and Committees to establish policies and programs.

Program Oversight and Development:

  • Develop, maintain and support programming by the council which: is in alignment with the mission as articulated by the board, manifests the ecumenical vision, responds to the needs of the people of the state of Minnesota, reflects the priorities of the participant denominations, and builds the role of the religious community in other sectors.

Staff Oversight and Development:

    • Provide oversight for the building of staff relationships of accountability and commitment to, and alignment with, the mission of the MCC and the ecumenical and social justice vision.
    • Provide leadership to the Executive Management team.

Financial Oversight:

  • Provide oversight of financial management of the council with the Chief Operations Officer.

Fund Development:

    • Maintain financial capacity for council work and building longevity.
    • Direct, strategize, and oversee fund development for programs and general operating support.
    • Sustain fundraising for racial justice programming, in partnership with co-directors.
    • Develop a plan for fund development, and for staffing fundraising.

Communications and Public Relations:

    • Expand visibility of MCC and the ecumenical movement in congregations, denominations, and general public.
    • Interpret the organization’s purpose and programs to outside organizations and the public.
    • Prepare, distribute and maintain a variety of reports.

Ecumenical Relations and Racial Justice Leadership:

  • Provide Twin Cities, Statewide, and national leadership for the ecumenical movement and for racial justice, which reflects the Minnesota Council of Churches’ commitment.


  • Member in good standing of one of MCC member constituent judicatories.
  • Experience working in diverse faith settings, within communities of color, and with strong cultural competency and a passion for racial justice.
  • Experience working with nonprofit boards.
  • Experience providing personnel oversight and management.
  • Career history of building and developing a strong management team.
  • Demonstrated ability to articulate from a theologically sound basis.
  • Strong external presence with demonstration of excellent communication skills – both written and oral.
  • Profile needs to be good match with current executive management team.
  • Travel throughout Minnesota and the nation.


  • Educational background and knowledge in operations, general management or other related discipline.
  • Accomplished Executive and Civic Leader
  • Experience managing similar sized organization.
  • Knowledge of financial principles and experience in fund development and fundraising tools, including grant writing
  • Demonstrated ability to lead complex, non-profit organizations with vision in service to an ecumenical mission
  • Knowledge of refugee resettlement and services, or similar social services work.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead, inspire, and develop an inclusive, high functioning team culture among groups of diverse, talented individuals.
  • Dedicated to leading, with the board and key stakeholders, in a way that manifests the organization’s narrative for excellence, purpose and promise.
  • Proven strength in building collaborations among diverse groups.
  • Acknowledged sensitivity to cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity.
  • Courageous and Integrity-filled.
  • Engaged, committed and passionate leader.
  • Theologically trained / Ordained.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the ecumenical movement.
  • Excellent communication, planning, project management, collaboration and teamwork skills.


Cultural Competence, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion. A commitment to the values and best practices that inform and influence the core purpose and values of the organization.

Racial Equity Analysis. A background of study and action that informs racial justice leadership.

Teamwork. Comfort with and enthusiasm for working in a team and contributing to the generation of new ideas while also maintaining an effective autonomous workflow.

Partnership Building. Enthusiasm for and ability to build and maintain strong interpersonal relationships and partnerships with outside organizations and individuals to inform and improve internal work-product.

Project Management. Demonstrated effectiveness in organizational and time management skills.

Program Evaluation. Solid experience with and understanding of program evaluation methods, including quantitative techniques.

Emotional Intelligence and Humility. Ability to acknowledge the achievements of others, to share credit, and to welcome feedback.

Empathy and Respect. A high degree of awareness for the immense challenges facing people experiencing poverty, poverty-fighting organizations, and social services work, and respect for the individuals dedicated to those important efforts.

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS Salary: $165,000-$180,000 commensurate with experience. In addition, MCC offers a generous benefits package (healthcare and retirement benefits).

TO APPLY Inquiries may be directed to Damon Shoholm: Applications will be accepted until March 22, 2024 or until the position has been filled, which may be earlier. There will be an immediate and ongoing review of candidates, so we encourage and appreciate early applications. All inquiries will remain confidential.


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