Search Process

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Search Process

What is the process for selecting a General Secretary?

The ABCUSA Board of General Ministries is given the responsibility to form a search committee to conduct the search for a General Secretary.

The search committee consists of representatives from the denomination, including:

Rev. Dr. James Wolfe (President/Chair)
Karen Podsiadly (Past President)
Dr. Louis Barbarin, representing American Baptist Home Mission Societies, International Ministries, and MMBB Financial Services
Rev. Dr. Emmett Dunn, Board of General Ministries (District of Columbia)
Katharine Hsiao, representing the ABCUSA Intercaucus
Kurt Kaufman, Board of General Ministries (Wisconsin)
Rev. Dr. James Kelsey, Regional Executive Ministers Council (New York State)
Rev. Kathryn Ray, Board of General Ministries (Metro Chicago)
Rev. Jacquline Saxon, Regional Executive Ministers Council (Mid-American)
Shawna Simmons, Board of General Ministries (Greater Indianapolis)
Rev. Dr. Daryl Ward, Board of General Ministries (Ohio)

The search committee is charged with vetting and recommending a candidate to the Board of General Ministries.


How are the chair and the search committee members selected?

As stated in our bylaws, the search committee is to consist of the ABCUSA Nominating Committee and a representative appointed by the National Executive Council (American Baptist Home Mission Societies, International Ministries, and MMBB Financial Services).

The ABCUSA Nominating Committee consisting of the ABCUSA President (who shall chair the Committee) and Immediate Past President, three persons appointed by the Regional Executive Ministers Council (“REMC”), the Inter Caucus president and six representatives from the Board of General Ministries (three clergy and three laity).

How is the search conducted?

Preparation for the Announcement:

  • Gather input for qualities desired in next General Secretary
  • Prepare the position announcement
  • Prepare a website with information about search
  • Open the process for applications and/or nominations

Deciding Who to Interview:

  • Request additional materials to discern who meets minimum qualifications
  • Decide whom you will interview
  • Send additional information about position
  • Conduct reference checks
  • Prepare interview questions
  • Set up the interviews

Conducting the Interviews and Vote:

  • Conduct the interviews and discern a candidate
  • Present the candidate to the Board of General Ministries for vote


  • Announce the new General Secretary
  • Arrange for an installation service
  • Dismiss the committee
  • Consider forming a transition committee

How long will the search take?

The schedule and duration of the search will be determined by the Board of General Ministries and Search Committee Chair. Searches typically take 18-24 months to complete.

What is the approval process after the search committee discerns name of candidate?

The General Secretary shall be elected by the Board of General Ministries for a term of four (4) years (or such shorter term as the Board of General Ministries may specify) and may thereafter be reelected to such office by the Board of General Ministries for any number of additional terms.

How do I ask questions about the process, send nominations, or apply?

The search committee welcomes questions about the process. The time period for nominations and applications was January 17 – February 24, 2023, and this period is now closed. If you have questions, please email


Return to the General Secretary Search page.