Wednesday Business Sessions: Elections Begin
Business for the 48th General Council of the Assemblies of God convened at the call of General Superintendent Trask, following the Sacred Gathering that began the day's activities (see article on page 5). According to the Roster Committee, 3,172 ordained ministers and 626 local church delegates comprised the voting body of 3,798. Total registration at the beginning of the afternoon session was 10,248, including auxiliary programs such as the Youth Congress and visitors to the Council.
Among the first actions of the Council was receiving the Spiritual Life Report, presented during the Tuesday evening service. In recognizing the generational, cultural, organizational, and spiritual transitions facing the Fellowship, the report focused on core values that must be maintained by the church. These include the centrality of Christ, His Second Coming, the reality of the supernatural, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the altar, and biblical preaching. It called for "biblical preaching as the primary means" of the corporate communication of the gospel. It called for ministry that is culturally relevant, but not compromised. Standards of holiness must be maintained however immoral and unethical society becomes. Compassion for people in all needs and concerns of life and awareness of impending future developments call for the Fellowship's full commitment. "The challenges we face can be met in the power of the Holy Spirit," the report assures.
In the General Superintendent's Report, Thomas Trask asked that as a church we "pause to look back, look inward, and look forward." "Spirit baptisms have shown marked increase" during the biennium, he reported. Significant gains were also noted in persons receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and following Him in water baptism.
Reflecting over the biennium, Trask gave tribute to several persons who retired during the biennium, having served in vital Headquarters' ministries of the Fellowship. He especially noted the loss of Philip Wannenmacher as non-resident executive presbyter of the South Central area. Ministries such as the Foundation of Leadership Institutes, led by Dr. Ron McManus, and the Ministerial Enrichment Office under the direction of Dr. Wayde Goodall are among the ministries that continue to enrich the Fellowship.
Programs such Convoy of Hope and "We Build People," the discipleship program, assure the Assemblies of God will continue on the cutting edge of ministry today.
The General Superintendent's Report was received with great appreciation.
Reports from Assistant General Superintendent Charles Crabtree, General Secretary George Wood and General Treasurer James K. Bridges were also received with commendation. Highlights of Wood's report included the new Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, dedicated January 19, 1999. Among its features will be the entire 85 years of the Pentecostal Evangel soon to be available by Internet. Bridge's overview of the audit report of General Council finances showed strong financial health.
In old business, Resolution 10 from the 47th General Council meeting in Indianapolis, Ind., concerning sexual deviancy was reviewed. Following study by the Executive Presbytery and legal counsel, the Presbytery recommended that the resolution not be accepted. By vote the Council in session agreed.
The afternoon session opened with the introduction of the electronic voting system adopted for this Council's balloting. Balloting then proceeded.
First in the balloting was the office of assistant general superintendent. Charles Crabtree was returned on the nominating ballot. He pledged to assist the general superintendent and the Executive Presbytery toward assuring the spiritual agenda for seeing God break through in revival.
Balloting continued with George Wood returned to the office of general secretary on the nominating ballot. James Bridges, presented as the nomination for general treasurer by the General Presbytery, was returned to office on the first elective ballot. L. John Bueno, nominated for executive director of Foreign Missions, was returned to office on the first elective ballot, as was Charles E. Hackett as executive director of Home Missions.
Brad Trask reported the outstanding response in Detroit to the recent ministry of Convoy of Hope, followed by a video of the ministry and an appeal by Steve Donaldson, director of Convoy of Hope. General Superintendent Trask urged the delegates to respond in support of the Convoy of Hope ministries.
Balloting then resumed for the nonresident executive director for the Northwest Region. At the meeting's recess this office had not yet been filled.