There are a few unspoken rules in the selection process for a General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene:
No Politicking. (yeah right! Well, no visible politicking signs or buttons like Napoleon Dynamite’s VOTE FOR PEDRO).
We expect the Spirit to move (of course).
We believe that General Assembly delegates will discern the Lord’s choice and vote accordingly. (Unless they vote for a university President who discerns that the vote is not the Lord’s will but the result of the delegates’ indigestion from eating too many meals at Indy’s finest restaurants).
We want a General Superintendent to be around 45 years old with 40 years of experience. We want a General Superintendent who understands how to speak to the millennial generation and spends all of their time with the Baby Boomers. They should be a strong Wesleyan in an American Holiness Movement sort of way. We want them to attend all the important functions and meetings 52 weeks a year, yet be a devoted family person. They must be culturally relevant while being true to all of our historical positions. They must like camping in the BIG TENT of the Church of the Nazarene, but only if they are in my corner of the tent. We want the impossible in other words.
Does the way we’ve always picked our leaders provide for the the best candidates?
There are 674,414 Nazarenes in Africa but can you name two qualified leaders from that continent? Surely there are many more qualified African leaders, but do you know them? What about qualified candidates from the Asia Pacific region? Can you name even one person?
How about this novel idea: Let’s move to some kind of vetting process. In the local church, we interview prospective pastoral candidates. We don’t just have the congregation vote until someone gets a required number of votes. More and more districts have the regional director assist in selecting a district superintendent candidate. Why can’t we institute some kind of process that is actually thoughtful and thorough? Why not have the regions nominate a candidate or two? Why does voting for our most important leaders have to be a popularity contest fueled by rumors under the guise of being spirit led?
The coming decade will bring much change in the Church of the Nazarene. With an aging clergy and an aging American church that provides 95% of the funding for the global church, one doesn’t have to be a meteorologist to recognize a storm is on the horizon. We need new ideas, clear vision and a fresh perspective.
I understand that it is too late for this summer’s 2017 General Assembly. The election of our leaders will once again be a popularity contest. Hopefully the most known is also the most qualified. I’m just not convinced that is the case. And I pray that the ones elected will have courage like the university president a few years ago to reject the popularity vote, if she or he is convinced that the popular consensus is not God’s choice or God’s will.
As for me, I’m voting for Pedro.