Nominating the general overseer was the first order of business for the ordained bishops’ General Council gathered at the Orange County Convention Center for the 74th International General Assembly. Williams replaces Dr. Raymond Culpepper who was not eligible for another term due to tenure limitations.
“There is no higher honor and no greater responsibility in the Church of God for an ordained bishop than to be called upon to serve in the office of general overseer,” Williams, 48, said as he accepted the nomination. “I pledge to lead from my knees, so that I may hear from God. I commit myself unreservedly to this global (Church of God) family.”
Williams referred to his family, his wife, Sandra Kay, and sons Austin, 16, and Ryan, 11, verbalizing to them, “I will still be your dad,” to which the General Council burst into applause. “I pledge to embrace this generation.”
Williams has served the Church of God in numerous leadership capacities, starting as an evangelist following his graduation from Lee University in 1986. His first pastorate was at the South Cleveland Church of God where he served from 1995 to 2000. The next four years were followed by a pastorate at the Riverhills Church in Tampa, Fla., four years as state overseer for California and Nevada, and for the last four years he has served on the Executive Committee of the Church of God as second assistant general overseer.
The General Council then went on to nominate the four remaining members of the Executive Committee, beginning with David Griffis, who was elevated to first assistant general overseer. Griffis has spent the last four years as third assistant general overseer.
A newcomer to the Executive Committee is J. David Stephens, nominated to serve as second assistant general overseer. Stephens has led the Church of God in numerous capacities, including state director of youth and Christian education, and for the last several years as an overseer in Kentucky, Tennessee and of Florida since 2010.
Returning to the Executive Committee and moving up a slot to third assistant general overseer is Wallace J. Sibley, who has served as secretary general for the last four years.
The final member to be nominated for the Executive Committee was M. Thomas Propes, state overseer of South Carolina since 2006. Propes will be the next Secretary General of the Church of God.
This Executive Committee will be in place for the next four years until the General Assembly of 2016.
Also nominated earlier this week and confirmed today by the General Assembly was Director of Youth and Discipleship Gary Lewis and Assistant Director David Blair. The new director of World Missions is Tim Hill and the assistant director is John Childers.
Elected to the Council of Eighteen, the body of ordained bishops who serve in a role similar to a board of directors, were William Isaacs, state overseer of Ohio; Bryan Cutshall, senior pastor Twin Rivers Worship Center in St. Louis; Victor M. Pagan, outgoing assistant director of World Missions; Mitchell Maloney, senior pastor of the North Cleveland (Tennessee) Church of God; Thomas Madden, outgoing director of youth and discipleship for the Church of God; David E. Ramirez, field director for Latin America; Ishmael Charles, field director for the Caribbean; Jerry Chitwood, World Missions Field Representative; Michael Baker, state overseer of North Georgia; Kevin Wallace, senior pastor of Redemption Point Church in Ooltewah; Gerald E. McGinnis, senior pastor of the Parkway Church of God in Knoxville; Chris Moody, senior pastor of the South Cleveland Church of God in Cleveland; David Cooper, senior pastor of the Mount Paran Church in Atlanta; Niko Njotorahardjo, senior pastor of the Gereja Bethel Church in Jakarta, Indonesia; J. Martin Taylor, senior pastor of the Sumiton, Ala., Church of God; Dwight Allen, senior pastor of the Cooper City Church of God; Daniel Vassell, Sr., overseer of Canada-Ontario; and Oliver McMahan, vice president for ministry formation/director of D.Min. program at Pentecostal Theological Seminary.
The agenda of business for the General Council of ordained bishops included 20 items dealing with a variety of issues and amendments. A church planting strategy was introduced, as well as an item to reduce the time requirement for earning ministry credentials.
The Church of God General Assembly concludes tonight with a Commissioning Service and address by the new general overseer.