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Assemblies of God Elects First Woman to Top Leadership

A historic vote for Donna Barrett as general secretary “has been meaningful for many women who feel God’s calling on their lives.”

For the first time in its 105-year history, the Assemblies of God (AG) General Council has elected a woman to its executive leadership. Ohio minister Donna Barrett was voted in as AG general secretary during its biennial gathering last Friday.

Barrett had been appointed to the post last year—the third-highest position in the denomination—after her predecessor resigned in the middle of his term. She is now both the first woman to fill a seat on the AG’s six-person executive leadership team and the first woman elected by its ministers to such a position for a four-year term.

As general secretary for a denomination that claims 3.2 million adherents and over 13,000 churches in the US, Barrett oversees the credentialing of ministers, church chartering, church statistics, and the world’s largest Pentecostal archive, located at AG national headquarters in Springfield, Missouri.

Her nomination at age 59 comes as the denomination grows younger and more ethnically diverse. According to its own statistics, over half of AG adherents are under 35, and more than 43 percent ethnic minority.

“The gifts God gives sometimes end up in a container [that looks] different from what people are used to seeing and different than history,” Barrett said in her acceptance speech. “And the gifts that I have seem to be aligned with this position greater than any other ministry assignment I’ve had from the Lord in my past.”

Barrett’s nomination came from Doug Clay, the AG general superintendent. In a statement emailed to CT, Clay said, “Through her service as a church planter, district leader, and general presbyter, Donna Barrett has shown humility paired with a special gifting for leadership.” …

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