Douglas E. Clay is the new general superintendent-elect of the U.S. Assemblies of God, elected Wednesday afternoon subsequent to George O. Wood, who has held the post for 10 years, withdrawing his name from contention.
Wood asked General Council voters in Anaheim to no longer consider him for office after a series of ballots failed to produce the necessary two-thirds majority for re-election.
“It’s been my wonderful privilege to serve 24 years,” declared Wood, who served 14 years as the Fellowship’s general secretary prior to his election as general superintendent. “It’s been the privilege of a lifetime.”
After four rounds of voting narrowed the list of candidates to the top three vote getters, Wood still didn’t have the 1,865 votes necessary for election.
That’s when Wood stepped to a microphone with his announcement, saying he believed the Holy Spirit prompting him to step aside.
“There is a sense in the room a new direction is needed,” said Wood, who turns 76 on Sept. 1. “I don’t take that as a personal affront. In the course of wisdom, I ask you to look in another direction for general superintendent. I respectfully request my name be withdrawn.”
The five other members of the AG’s Executive Leadership Team — including current General Treasurer Doug Clay — hugged Wood on stage as the crowd gave him a lengthy standing ovation accompanied by applause and cheers. Clay, at 54, is the youngest current ELT member.
Wood has served as general superintendent since the General Council in Indianapolis in 2007. He succeeded Thomas E. Trask, who chose to step down midway through his term. Wood was assistant superintendent of the Southern California District from 1988 to 1993, and pastored Newport-Mesa Christian Center in Costa Mesa, California, for 17 years before that.
Under Wood’s leadership as general superintendent, a number of new initiatives started, including AG Trust, which has raised over $23 million for church planting and revitalization, scholarships, and multiple new initiatives and resources. The Church Multiplication Network also began, leading to 3,307 new churches added to the Fellowship over the past decade. Over 25 percent of churches in the AG have been started during Wood’s tenure.
Wood has been a champion of religious liberties. As an attorney, he provided expertise to the defense of religious liberties and the attacks against the Church throughout his tenure.
In his acceptance, Clay's wife, Gail, joined him on stage. Clay immediately turned the attention to Wood, requesting that attendees honor Wood and his wife, Jewel, for their contribution to the AG worldwide.
“I will never fill the shoes,” Clay said, addressing Wood, “but build on the great foundation you and others have built.”
As general treasurer, Clay initially filled the unexpired term of James K. Bridges, who resigned in 2008 after 15 years in the office. He previously served as executive presbyter from the Great Lakes region, superintendent of the Ohio Ministry Network from 2004 to 2008, national youth director (1995-97), and Ohio youth director (1989-95). He also was senior pastor of Calvary Assembly of God in Toledo, Ohio, from 1997-2004.