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Job Description: General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries


General Board of Global Ministries
The United Methodist Church

475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115

Contact: Elliott Wright
Tel: 212-870-3921

The General Board of Global Ministries (Global Ministries) is The United Methodist agency for mission, connecting the various parts of the global church in witness and service. Global Ministries' foundations are biblical, the spirit is Wesleyan, and the context is global.

Over the past 180 years, through its predecessor agencies, Global Ministries' mission work has taken many forms and strategies including missionaries, mission volunteers, disaster relief and rehabilitation, health institutions and community services, education, and church development. The General Board of Global Ministries fulfills its mission responsibilities and objectives as defined by The Book of Discipline and assigned by the General Conference.

The Board of Directors, under the direction of President Bishop Bruce Ough, has designated a search committee to undertake a global search for the next General Secretary. The Board of Directors is seeking an extraordinary leader who has commitment and passion for the church and mission and understands global needs and partnerships. The new General Secretary will lead an organization of personnel, projects, and partners in 136 countries with its major role to "connect the church in mission." He/she will serve as chief spokesperson and chief representative for Global Ministries throughout The United Methodist Church and ecumenical areas. In this capacity the General Secretary will articulate the vision, values, and work of Global Ministries.


Global Ministries, one of the 13 agencies of The United Methodist Church, seeks to serve and facilitate the work of five jurisdictional conferences and sixty-three annual and missionary conferences in the US and seven central conferences. Global Ministries works directly and indirectly with all other agencies of the church. Global Ministries is governed by directors who are selected as representatives from the Council of Bishops, jurisdictions, Central Conferences, the Pan-Methodist Commission, and Women's Division and based on expertise or background.

The Board of Directors elects the General Secretary, who reports to the Board and provides the leadership for a management team, a cabinet, whose responsibilities are to plan, coordinate, and implement the policies and procedures of the Board. The General Secretary serves as chief executive officer of an organization complex in scope, program, and services, with a staff of 288 and a missionary community of almost 400. The agency currently has annual expenditures of $170 million, inclusive of all entities except the Women's Division.

Current Situation

During the first year of the 2009-2012 quadrennium, Global Ministries has been engaged in aligning its work around the four focus areas assigned through the collaborative process with the Council of Bishops, the Connectional Table, and the heads of general agencies. These four focus areas to guide the church are:

  • Church Growth. Creating new places for new people and revitalizing existing congregations.
  • Leadership Development. Developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world.
  • Global Health. Combating the diseases of poverty by improving global health.
  • Ministry with the Poor. Engaging in ministry with the poor.

According to President Bishop Ough, emphasis on these four foci put into perspective the Christian mandates to love God and neighbor. While all these foci are important, Global Ministries has major responsibility for focusing the church's work on ministry with the poor. Leading this work with general agencies and developing and implementing strategies and vision are the fundamental responsibilities of Global Ministries as the new General Secretary is required to take the helm. The General Secretary will know how to work in the church context to develop collaborations. As mission spokesperson, along with the President, he/she will need to be a person who can build trust and confidence within the connectional church and at the Connectional Table.

The new General Secretary will be expected to meet the major challenge of operating within the context of a global economic downturn and diminishing resources within the general church. During this past year, Global Ministries found it necessary to reduce its operating core budget significantly, leading to an agency restructuring and reduction in staff. Global Ministries receives its core revenues from apportioned World Service; designated gifts for missionary support; and trust and investment income. The next General Secretary will need to understand and be comfortable with complex budgeting; to be able to work closely with the Treasurer; and to be creative and aggressive in seeking new sources of funding to support mission.

A major operational audit leading to institutional restructuring was undertaken this year to provide for greater efficiencies and effectiveness and a more flexible organization to carry out mission. A provisional new structure was approved by the Board of Directors with a new organization chart that reduces the number of units. Global Ministries will consist of five major components: Mission and Evangelization; UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief); Women's Division; Communication and Development (including the work of The Advance, the official designated mission giving program of The United Methodist Church); Financial and Administrative Services.

Through the new Mission and Evangelization component, the mission mandates described in The Book of Discipline will incorporate missionary placements and support, mission education, and congregational development and support, analyzing the contexts in which the church is called to mission and relationships with mission partners. Several board task forces were set up with staff to implement various components of the audit. For the overall operations of Global Ministries, the next General Secretary will need to think and plan mission and ministries strategically, and as a visionary leader he/she will need to embrace strategic planning.

Ideal Candidate

Since Global Ministries is a complex organization, the General Secretary will need to be an exceptionally strong leader with superb management skills. He or she will need to know how to delegate and build a team in order to accomplish the broad agenda. In addition, with a diverse staff, global partners, and cultural differences, the General Secretary must be a culturally sensitive leader. The General Secretary will need to feel equally comfortable in Russia or Rwanda, California or Cambodia, and feel equally comfortable sitting with the Council of Bishops or in a local church. Moreover, the General Secretary will need to be comfortable with opposing views and be generous and welcoming in extending invitation to all voices.

The General Secretary will need to be proactive in building connections and interpreting mission. For both internal and external constituents, it is expected that he/she is an excellent communicator with a genuine understanding of Methodism and the Board's mission and ministries. The CEO must value and be capable of effective communication within the organization so that the staff has a shared understanding of the agency's priories; he/she must be able to engage and motivate partner agencies and congregations.

The ideal candidate for General Secretary will have the opportunity to lead and inspire an agency dedicated to making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. To undertake this position, he/she will need to possess many of the qualities and demonstrated experiences listed below:

  • Genuine love of Christ and desire to serve.
  • Strong dedication to The United Methodist Church, capacity to make a strong witness for Christ and mission, and an understanding of the denomination, its connectional structure and current leadership.
  • Commitment to ecumenical and interfaith relationship and work.
  • Prophetic vision and voice that seeks justice, freedom, and peace.
  • Strong leadership and interpersonal skills, with the ability to forge consensus and a sense of common purpose among people with competing points of view.
  • Excellent managerial capacity that can grasp the complexity of the agency, be tough yet accessible, maximize the gifts and graces of staff, delegate responsibilities, and mobilize all talents in a manner that inspires all.
  • Demonstrated management experience leading a large diverse staff working within a complex organization with multiple mandates. Ability to ensure that all staff feels a part of the spirit and mission of the Board's work.
  • Demonstrated understanding of sophisticated financing and budgeting within organizations of scale.
  • Ability to think and plan strategically, to set goals, and to be held accountable.
  • Superb communication skills to articulate vision in many settings and with different constituencies and audiences.
  • Understanding and experience in managing relationships within the church and among its mission partners.
  • Skilled judgment and negotiation skills to advocate for Global ministries and its programs and services.
  • Experience in and understanding of the global nature of the church and changing context of mission.
  • Experience and understanding in multiculturalism. Familiarity with another language is desirable.
  • Capacity to listen carefully and willingness to learn from others and to admit strengths and weaknesses in knowledge.
  • Impeccable ethics and integrity.
  • Capacity to manage and balance time effectively in order to respond to enormous demands of domestic and international travel, denominational and other meetings, and work with partner agencies.

To Apply

Inquiries, nominations, cover letters, and resumes may be sent to:

Joyce Lapenn
PO Box 368
Hillsdale, NY 12529
(518) 325 1655

Email submission is strongly encouraged.

>> Global Mission Agency Seeks New Executive


Date posted: Oct 05, 2009