The 60th GC Session’s nominating committee has elected our president (Ted Wilson), secretary (G.T. Ng) and treasurer (Juan Prestol). They have also selected the undertreasurer, associate treasurers and associate secretaries.

During our church’s founding session 152 years ago, the 20 representative delegates elected as their temporary chair Jotham Aldrich (age 35) and secretary Uriah Smith (age 31). Adventist historian David Trim reports in his article “The Spirit of ’63” that historical records show many of our church founders were young and pragmatic (June 2015 Adventist World, p. 31).

Below are the ages, when first elected, of the first seven GC presidents (yes, four names but seven presidents).

John Byington: 65

James White: 44

J.N. Andrews: 38

G.I. Butler: 37

A recent online article (mixture of satire and seriousness) by Dr. Jack Hoehn “Vote for Jack?” uses Num. 8:24-26 as support for the final item in his eight-point platform: spiritual leadership at the tabernacle was limited to priests between the ages of 25-50.

Should that guideline be applied to church leadership today? Jack thinks so, because he promised that if elected as GC president (sorry, Jack) his first action would be to resign and take all church administrators over the age of 50 with him.

Passing the Baton

He believes the 50-plus crowd should function mainly as mentors and supporters. “I’d let the young and vigorous take God’s work forward for the 21st century and the advancement of truth…I’d ask our children and their friends, to lead us forward into God’s will for today, instead of dragging Adventism backwards to the weakness and partial truths of our past.”

Jack isn’t alone in his sentiments. TheHaystackTV published a lengthy article recently about why the next General Conference president should be in their 30’s (

Statistics clearly show that our church is aging. The question is, What are we doing to prevent the leadership vacuum that will inevitably result if our current administrators retire en masse?

OUTLOOK blogger Ed Dickerson offers timely advice in his current series on Adventist identity. He points out that when our church was first organized we thought we were sprinting toward the finish line. Then we realized we might be running a marathon. Now, over 150 years later, we know that it’s actually a relay race and our job is to pass the baton.

 Photo Credit: Steve Norman III