General Assembly Leadership Survey: Who Gets It?

As mentioned in the other post, “Five Questions to Ask Potential COG Leaders,” we now need to determine the scope of solicitation. “Who do we send the questions to?”

The following questions are close to being the ones asked. I think they embody the “spirit” of what others have suggested. The last one is still uncertain (#5)…and then, I would like to add a #6 as shown below.

Here they are:

#1. What do you see as greatest opportunity for the COG now that will affect the next decade?

#2. What do you see as the greatest challenge for the COG presently?

#3. What is your opinion on the “Tithe of Tithe” reduction?

#4. In light of the fact that for the first time in the history of the COG (2006 to present) there more churches closing than opening in the U.S., what would you do to reverse this trend?

#5. Do you feel the present expressions of financial disclosure and accountability in the COG are adequate? (International General Executive, World Missions, and subordinate departments)

#6. What do you want written on your grave stone?

This will be a MissionalCOG initiative and it must not be “political” or biased in anyway in order to preserve an objective “informational” value.

We will obviously include the current Executive Committee and the current Executive Council. After that where do you draw the line? (That’s 23 people by itself)

Every state overseer?
Every department head?
Every assistant department head?
Every pastor?
Everyone and anyone?

If the document/report becomes so lengthy that the sheer volume is overwhelming I am concerned it will substantially reduce “readability.”

Recently I received an incredible email from a person in an international leadership position who observed: One of the greatest problems we have in terms of leadership selection in the COG is “knowability.” This aspect of the process is very vague. We really know very little about those we vote for and choose – in terms of specific leadership giftings, administration skills, or vision.

I hope this initiative provides some help in that regard.



17 Responses

  1. Make sure you send one to the overseer of California and one to the overseer of Florida.

    Is this the kind of help you were looking for?

  2. Yeah Jon…personally I think we probably have to send to every AB if we send it to one.


  3. Tom,

    There is lot of merit in the idea of including division and department heads and their assistants.

    But having said that, I also don’t know where one should draw the line. You mentioned the problem of “knowability”.

    What is even more amazing than not necessarily knowing the strengths/giftedness of potential members of the executive committee (except that they’re usually pretty good in public speaking) is that we don’t even know what portfolio they will assume once elected into office. (Okay, I know there is a flow chart somewhere. But I’m under the impression that the new GO/PB divides the portfolios out to the other members of the EC at the Assembly.) Correct me if I’m wrong.

  4. Tom, I think the ‘administrators’ is a natural place to begin (AB’s, EC members, Department Heads, etc.). However, I would like to also see a process by which any qualified individual could submit a response to these questions. That could help with some of the ‘knowability’ issues. Of course, some will hesitate, not knowing how such a move might be perceived by others (no one wants to appear to be ‘campaigning’ for this). But I think we need exactly such a process if we want to see some new streams of ‘candidates’ be given serious consideration.

  5. Tom, also, is there a way to open this up to international leaders that are not on the EC?

  6. Jonathan and others,

    The one draw back to the concept is that it favors those who can “sell themselves” well. Theoretically, Pastor John Doe could make a good “sell.” But shouldn’t there be a way of checking his “track record” and make sure that it aligns with his answers to Tom’s questions. And just what kind of scorecard should one use?

  7. Jon,

    You said:

    Of course, some will hesitate, not knowing how such a move might be perceived by others (no one wants to appear to be ‘campaigning’ for this). But I think we need exactly such a process if we want to see some new streams of ‘candidates’ be given serious consideration.

    Tom and I have discussed this and know that this is potentially an objection. I think in total that was verbalized to each of us nearly 5 times or more by members of the current executive council. But, they all said they would participate if everyone was given the opportunity to participate.

    If someone chose not to respond (everyone we’ve asked has responded that they would definitely participate), we would simply indicate in the compiled responses that they chose not to respond.

    This is in no way an attempt to get particular individuals elected. It is just a project which will educate the General Assembly on the leadership perspective of probable/potential leaders.

    This initiative is a beautiful step forward. To the gentlemen who have already committed to participating, thank you. Undoubtedly, you are making history within the COG.

  8. Tom – the job/task that the various elected leaders will assume is great information to make available…I will research that.

    Jonathan – International leaders – absolutely. If they have an email address it of course makes the window of time inconsequential. I realize that there may be some who do not. I did mention the use of traditional mail…but was actually hoping not to have to use it.

    Tom – Presumably if Pastor John Doe is able to make that great of a “sale” it would have had to manifest itself somewhere…and there will be a circle of influence who will attest to the same.

    The concern I would have with the scorecard is that it may tend to overshadow (what appears to be) as witness of character . There is a segment that will include age, number of years in pastoral ministry, other COG leadership positions, etc….and perhaps it will provide enough initial information for people to exchange further information informally.

    But this first stab will at least create some talking points.

  9. Since you’ve opted to include department heads and assistant department heads, perhaps you’d be more specific in calling these people “members of the Board of Church Ministries.”

    Keep in mind that some of these people are not eligible for election to the Executive Committee because of their credentialed status (or lack thereof.)

  10. While this may apply more to future Assemblies, I would like a list of those top 20 or so who didn’t quite make it to the EC to be considered.

  11. Just a thought on the list of the “top 20 or so who didn’t quite make it to the EC…”

    Don’t know how this would be possible with the constant support of cutting every vote to the top “40”, “30”, “10”, “2”, etc. Those who have 1 or 2 (or 10) in the beginning rounds are quickly cut off, not for the culling out of only “viable” candidates as some would argue, but simply for the sake of time.

    There is no way to know who “just missed it.”

  12. Bobby,

    I totally understand what you are saying, but what I am getting at is somehow keeping track of those who had the highest votes at and after the cut off. This is not because I don’t think those below the cut off are less qualified, but I think it goes back to the “knowability” issue that Tom mentioned. Those who consitently come close to being elected to the EC must have some level of “knowablility” and should be looked at more in depth.

    As I understand it, all ballots cast are on file. Accessing those files is not allowable after the Assembly, but during the Assembly the results are supposed to be posted. If someone were to then look at those lists, (top 20, 30, 40…whatever) that would be what I’m referring to. It would not work for all ballots after the cut off, but it gives an idea of who has the “knowability” to move up in the future.

    As I said, this wouldn’t apply to this Assembly as much as future Assemblies unless someone out there kept track from two years ago.

    In addition to this, it would be a good idea to submit the survey to those who have served in the past and may have a chance at serving again.

    I know these ideas make for a huge pool of potential candidates, but to me it is better than just simply re-electing the same ones after they’re off for 2 years.

  13. While I think the concept is workable and has merit, as with all such ideas, in my mind, it will take time to develop a way to really get to the point of your inquiry. Some people articulate well and others don’t. I can think of one or two of the EC who will excel in this format, if they join in and a couple others who will struggle and depend on someone to help them. Does that make them less “leadership” or “potential”? Also, as you expand the scope of your study, you will find the diversity will challenge the process in some ways. By that I mean, what is important to some will not be important to others. There are always strong opinions in the Church of God, especially in local churches where new pastors are selected, for example. What one feels is a high leadership potential is viewed by others as insignificant. Let’s face it, most people choose by “feel” or what I call the “peace-factor”–they view a candidate for pastor, president or presiding bishop and they get a “feel” as to whether they have peace with that leader, asking “can I see that person as my pastor?” If they feel “peace” about it, they vote yes. I’m not against the initiative, it is long overdue but I just counsel patience and a couple of cycles through to perfect the process in order to get an intended result.

  14. Really great observations Bill.

    As you’ve pointed out…this is a starting place. It will at least provide some measure of “knowability” that we don’t presently hold.

    At a minimum I think it will be reflected that these are issues they have given some thought to…or not.

  15. Somone may have mentioned this and I missed it, but what about a website where those who may not be in the current ranks of highly visible leadership can feel free to download/answer the questions? has a nice ring to it….

    With all the blogs and Actscelerate, it should not take long for the word to get out. And I’m sure that there’s a computer whiz out there somewhere that can setup a transfer of everything to a database for easy distribution. This would also cut down on the amount of paper required for full distribution.

    More importantly, that way I can put my name in for PB and still feel humble, meek, and anonymous 😉


  16. You’ve got my vote Keith.

  17. as far as some things we could begin to explore as a denomination, I would say we could bring in some guys like Neil Cole and Hugh Halter and begin to invest in leaders who might go in an “organic” or house church path. It feels like that pastors who are thinking in this direction are not valued because we might not have a building or other things that have traditionally denoted a “church.” This would TOTALLY turn the modern way of doing church on it’s head, but it might stem the flow of post moderns leaving our churches, or never coming for that fact.

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