Assemblies of God Elects First Female Leader

The Assemblies of God elected its first woman to the Executive Presbytery during its biennial meeting on Wednesday.

"It's a wonderful moment for the church to recognize God lays his hand on women and say they bring something to the table," the Rev. Beth Grant, who was elected on the second electoral ballot, told The Ledger.

Thousands of ministers and delegates at the 53rd General Council in Orlando, Fla., greeted Grant's election with a standing ovation.

Grant, a missionary in India and coordinator of the Women in Ministry Network, addressed the crowd saying, "We as a movement are who we are because women went to the ends of the earth with nothing more than the call of God. We are here today and we in this vote are saying thank you God for the women in our Movement."

Two years ago, the General Council of the nearly 3 million-member Pentecostal denomination approved a resolution to add two executive presbyter positions for an ordained woman and an ordained pastor under the age of 40.

Although women have been allowed to serve in pastoral roles for decades, female ministers have never taken a seat in the denomination's top leadership.

Even before being elected to the second highest policy-making body, Grant made some history at the previous General Council in 2007 when she advanced to the final rounds of balloting for assistant general superintendent.

She told The Ledger that the executive leadership of the Assemblies of God really believes women in leadership is biblical.

"The call of God is not a gender issue, it's an obedience issue," she told the Lakeland, Fla., newspaper. "Being female is not excuse for not fulfilling God's purpose for your life."

In her brief address at the General Council, Grant declared it time for men and women together to say "Yes, God, we are going to work together for the glory of God and for His mission in our world."

She asked for prayers, noting her new role is unchartered territory.

In other business Wednesday night, R. Bryan Jarrett, pastor of North Place Church in Sachse, Texas, was elected the under 40 years old executive presbyter.

George O. Wood was re-elected as general superintendent of the denomination.

"God has a great future for this Church until Jesus comes. I'm just exceedingly blessed beyond measure to have this opportunity to serve you," Wood said.