De Jesús, Burleigh Returned to Office
ORLANDO, Florida — Assemblies of God General Treasurer Wilfredo “Choco” De Jesús and U.S. Missions Executive Director Malcolm P. Burleigh will continue serving in their posts after being elected to four-year terms by General Council voters Aug. 5.
De Jesús, 57, is the first Hispanic member of the six-member AG Executive Leadership Team. After his election, De Jesús personally thanked the other members of the ELT on stage. His wife, Elizabeth, joined him at the platform.
The General Presbytery recommends candidates for the general treasurer’s office. Candidates must receive 10 percent of votes by secret ballot. De Jesús represented the only candidate recommended with such a threshold. He received an 86.6% affirmation from the General Council. The General Presbytery, a 360-member body made up of representatives from the 67 AG districts and networks, is the top rule-making body when General Council — which meets once every other year — isn’t in session.
This is the first time delegates elected De Jesús following his appointment to the post two years ago by the Executive Presbytery appointed De Jesús.
De Jesús succeeded Rick DuBose in the treasurer’s role after DuBose’s elevation to the Fellowship’s assistant general superintendent. De Jesús began his role in November 2019.
In the past year, De Jesús has organized national summits bringing together AG missionaries, ministers, and laypeople engaged in fighting human trafficking as well as those involved in providing foster care and adoption services.
Before accepting the national treasurer’s position, De Jesús spent 19 years pastoring New Life Covenant, which became a Chicago megachurch during his tenure. New Life Covenant operates more than 110 outreach programs to minister to drug addicts, prostitutes, the homeless, gang members, and other disenfranchised people. The church offers not only the basic human necessities of shelter, food, and clothing, but also community-based programs providing mentoring, educational, and job-training opportunities. New Life Covenant operates a medical clinic, clothing store, homeless shelter for men, and the Chicago Dream Center for homeless women. The church also operates the innovative New Life for Women.
Burleigh, 70, likewise represented the only name moved forward to delegates as receiving the necessary 10 percent of votes by secret ballot for nomination. Voters at General Council confirmed his reelection as U.S. Missions leader by 90.2%. He first took office in October 2017. His wife, Maria, addressed the assembly in Spanish and English after the election.
The reelected leader leads a team of more than 1,000 nationally appointed U.S. missionaries and over 600 endorsed chaplains. They serve in six departments: Adult & Teen Challenge, Chaplaincy Ministries, Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, Church Mobilization, Intercultural Ministries, and Youth Alive.
Burleigh succeeded the retiring Zollie L. Smith Jr. as U.S. Missions executive director in 2017. In the post, Burleigh is a part of the six-member ELT. Before becoming U.S. Missions executive director, Burleigh spent eight years leading one of the ministry’s six departments, Intercultural Ministries. Burleigh earlier served as president of the AG’s National Black Fellowship.