Skip to content

On Selecting a New Conference President

In the middle of the General Conference Session I was sitting in my hotel lobby talking with the pastor of my church when Jerry Page, our conference president, walked up and joined the conversation. He told us that he had been asked to serve as the new Ministerial Director for the General Conference. He asked that we pray for him and his wife about the decision they needed to make by eight o’clock the next morning.
The next day’s Nominating Committee report included Jerry’s name. He had accepted the move from Central California Conference to Silver Spring. I soon began thinking about who would be the next president and how that process would work.
Each conference determines how the process works and the process for our conference is a bit different from other conferences.
Here is what it looks like in the Central California Conference:
A special committee is formed to select the president. This committee consists of the Union Conference President and the Conference Executive Committee, plus additional members who are a representative cross section of the region based on ethnicity, gender, and conference employment status. The exact number of extra members is determined by the executive committee.
A series of meetings are held in strategic locations throughout the conference. Constituent church members provide input as to the qualities they would like to see in a new president and to select representatives to this special committee.
Exactly how this new committee will function is determined by the committee itself. This committee will select the next president.
Jerry Page is wildly and justifiably popular in this conference and will be a hard act to follow. The conference has more than 33,000 members, almost 140 churches and 25 schools. We are the home of two prominent conservative ministries, Arise and Radiant Living. We are host to one of the granddaddies of campmeetings at Soquel. We are known to be one of the more conservative conferences, yet we have several moderate to liberal churches and members. We are a geographically difficult conference, covering the San Joaquin Valley (the conference office is located in greater Fresno), the San Francisco Bay area, and a number of Central California Coastal cities and towns. This geographic diversity contributes to our educational, economic and racial diversity. We are a conference known for aggressive, but mostly traditional evangelism, many active Bible workers and baptism rates above the North American average.
Here is what I am hoping and praying for:
A president who is in love with Jesus. Someone who points every member to the cross. A leader whose heart’s desire is to have pastors and members who are in love with Jesus.
A president who loves people more than programs, institutions and meetings.
A president who is committed to doing whatever it takes to reach people for Jesus within the context of the Three Angels Message. Someone who is not afraid of new ideas and new methods to reach the lost. I want someone who is focused not just on getting people to move from their brand of Christianity (not a bad thing, in my mind) to our brand of Christianity, but focused on reaching those who do not know Jesus at all.
A president who is a coach and a cheerleader. One who believes his most important job is to inspire his pastors to inspire their church members to seek and love the lost.
A president who understands that nurture of existing members is important and that the best way to nurture members is to equip and inspire them to seek and love the lost. This requires a president who is totally, unconditionally committed to the idea of “the priesthood of all believers”, who believes that individual church members can and will engage in significant activities to further the Kingdom of God.
I want a president who is totally committed to transparency even when it is painful. One who is willing to be vulnerable to share ideas, to make mistakes, admit them and learn from them.
A president who supports women in ministry at every level.
I want a president who is committed to teamwork. A president who will include all sides and all points of views on his team. That he will proactively seek input and consider guidance from people who see Church and ministry and theology differently than he does.
I want a president who believes in this church and we the people not as an institution but as the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth.
Is this to big a dream? Too much to ask? I don’t think so.
Do you have other traits you think ought to be added to my list?
Do you have names of candidates I should bring to the table? And it would not be nice to suggest the name of someone you are just trying to get rid of!
Steve Moran works in Silicon Valley. He is the head elder of his church and a member of the Central California Conference Executive Committee.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Spectrum Newsletter: The latest Adventist news at your fingertips.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.