VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS) — At the November 2019 meeting of the Board of General Ministries yesterday, the Board voted to approve the nomination of Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods as Acting General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA).
Woods has served in the role of Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries with ABCUSA since 2003. In this role, Woods is responsible for encouraging the health and vitality of the 33 regional judicatories coast to coast throughout the United States. He previously served as Acting General Secretary from September 2018 through February 2019.
In March 2019, our current General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, announced he would be retiring by year’s end. In appreciation for his decades of service to ABCUSA, the Executive Committee has gifted him with several extra weeks of vacation. “I am so thankful to God for having the privilege of serving our ABCUSA family. I am most pleased that the BGM has called Dr. Woods to be the Acting General Secretary going forward.”
ABCUSA President Josué D. Gómez-Menéndez said, “It is with much rejoicing and hope that we announce the appointment of Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods, and we join in embracing him as a concrete expression of our commitment to walk together in solidarity in this new time. We have, in Jeff, a person of deep convictions, unquestionable talent and love for our Baptist family and the gospel.
We are sure that he will provide much help and stability in this transition process. It will be our prayer that God will continue to strengthen the hands and feet of the ones that always carry his seed.”
ABCUSA President Elect Karen Podsiadly said, “The Board of General Ministries is excited about the experience and stability that Jeff Woods brings at this time in our rich Baptist history. During this transition in leadership we are confident that Dr. Woods’ diligent service and experience will contribute a steadiness and ingenuity as we discern those things that the Creator is calling us to as we come together to do mission and ministry together in the distinctness that is American Baptist Churches USA.”
Woods’ other denominational positions include serving as the Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio and four pastorates within the ABC Region of Indiana. While serving as a church pastor, Woods was a member of the American Baptist Churches USA General Board and the General Board Executive Committee. He chaired the Board’s Committee on American Baptist Policy Statements and Resolutions and served on the Board of National Ministries’ Division of Program Services Committee and Violence Task Force, among other positions. More recent service includes chairing the Transition Team on Denominational Structure, the denominational initiative, “Seek It,” and the Professional Ministries Team (the successor to the Commission on the Ministry).
Dr. Woods earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1987 majoring in both higher education administration and educational inquiry methodology. He also holds a M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a B.S. from Purdue University in Management and Statistics. Scholarships and fellowships allowed his entire education to be tuition free. Over the years, he has furthered his education with additional courses and training at various institutions including the renowned Tavistock Institute in Leicestershire, England. He holds a certification as a master facilitator and several other certifications in personality and organizational assessment.
Also an author, his formal publications are comprised of seven books with publishing houses that include Judson Press, Chalice Press, and the Alban Institute and over thirty articles in both popular and refereed journals in the areas of leadership and organizational development, and research design.
As an academic, he has taught and supervised masters and doctoral students at universities both nationally and internationally. He has received numerous research grants and worked on a variety of study groups and think tanks, including his recent service on the Pulpit and Pew Project, a ten million dollar Lilly Endowment sponsored research project, exploring the status of clergy in North America.
He and his wife, Kandy, reside in Newark, Ohio.
“American Baptists are uniquely positioned to advance God’s mission and ministry during these times,” said Woods upon his nomination. “I cherish the relationships that we have in the American Baptist Churches family and I pray that these relationships can be made even stronger during this transitional period. I am honored to serve this adventurous ABC family during this transitional period.”
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.