Assemblies of God bloggers have been talking for weeks about the state of our church, the national gathering in Indy, the aging of our clergy, emergent versus traditional church, and so on. A number of younger ministers feel disenfranchised, and not without reason. This was sadly clear during the business sessions.
For now I will say that my heart was heavy at many moments during our General Council, but all in all I am rejoicing. One reason is that Dr. George O. Wood was elected our new General Superintendent. I am thrilled about this. He is not young, and many felt we needed a younger leader, but he is articulate, an excellent expositor of the word, and a man of great humility and kindness as well as intelligence. He is a strong proponent of including women in all levels of church leadership. Here is an article he wrote from a Pentecostal perspective, about women ministers. How refreshing!
I vividly recall his words at a national AG conference for women in ministry in 2001. He stood at the podium and wept, as he said (my paraphrase) "I apologize to you, on behalf of the Assemblies of God, for how we have ignored or negated the callings of a generation of women. I am grieved, and I am sorry."
NO ONE in our top leadership had ever said anything like that! I sensed a great shifting. It was almost physical it was so clear, and I came home and told my daughter, "I was part of something major. I don't know what, but something changed on a deep level during that conference." As another AG blogger commented, "The AG is a big ship, and shifts in direction do not happen quickly." Sigh...but they do come.
I believe Dr. Wood, perhaps most of all the executives, understands the direction of society and the changes that must come in order to more effectively reach a new generation. He has served for some time as the Executive General Secretary, so he is not new to "headquarters," but I believe we did have the direction of God's Holy Spirit in the elections.
Besides, he greatly reminds me of my dad, only with humility! ;-) More later.