Vernon M. Newland, missionary to China and Tibet, founder of five Bible colleges and church planter, was founder and publisher of the first three editions of the Directory of the Ministry in 1955, 1957 & 1958. He passed the important work of publishing future directories on to Ralph and Zella McLean, and their work with the Directory began with the publication of the 1960 edition. Their intent was to give our brotherhood a tool that would keep us "in touch" with each other. It has been published annually since 1963. Since the passing of Ralph and Zella, their daughter Judy Noll, and Judy's five children have carried on the legacy of the Directory of the Ministry.
Here are comments about the Directory from Church Leaders:
In recent years, many of us have come to appreciate more than ever the value of being part of a non-denominational fellowship of churches. The freedom, encouragement, and sharing of resources that we enjoy through this fellowship have facilitated growth both in the US and overseas.
Without a denominational structure to hold us together, we rely on other forms of connectedness, including publications like Christian Standard, meetings like the North American Christian Convention, and resources like the Directory of the Ministry. These brotherhood-wide links facilitate our relationships and our ministries.
2004 North American Christian Convention
From a very practical standpoint, the Directory of the Ministry has become the standard reference book for addresses, names, and phone numbers at both our home where our forwarding agent responsibilities are conducted and at the college where our fund-raising activities and correspondence with churches take place. For preachers especially, this directory is a quick way of directing church members to new churches when transfers and relocations take place. Thanks Judy and staff for a service essential to our ministries.
Larry L. Woodard
Boise Bible College
The Directory is important to us, because it is one facet of our unity as a movement. Churches, missions and para-church organizations send in their information and keep the Directory updated. We have a point of identification as a movement through the Directory. This book is also helpful in a very pragmatic sense in that I personally use it on a regular basis for addresses and phone numbers for people I need to contact. Thank you, Nolls, and God Bless you!
Professor of Christian Ministries
Atlanta Christian College
In 1958, we graduated from Lincoln Bible Institute (Lincoln Christian University) and began our ministry of gospel singing and church revivals. Obviously, there was no internet back then, so finding out about national church locations and information was almost impossible. Then, also in 1958, the first edition of Directory of the Ministry was published, and it revolutionized the way people could obtain information regarding churches and ministries.
The Directory of the Ministry, with their annual compilation of demographics and other church information, was an essential tool for anyone wanting to pursue traveling evangelism. In fact, we felt that their book was second only to the Bible for the impact it had on our ministry. Now, 57 years later, we still rely on the Directory of the Ministry to keep us updated and informed when we begin to book a tour.
We are grateful for the vision and the labor of Ralph and Zella McLean and the Noll family. Without them, our ministry would not have been possible.
The Good Twins
Dwight and Dwayne Good