Stephens’ Honored by Executive Council

Cleveland, TN–Dr. J. David “Jim” Stephens and his wife, Joyce, were honored earlier this week for his tenure as Second Assistant General Overseer for the Church of God.

A special dinner was held in recognition of Stephens’ ten years on the Executive Committee, which will end at the upcoming General Assembly. The event was attended by members of the International Executive Council, in town for their regularly scheduled April session. Also in attendance was the Stephens family, including son Brent and daughter Jeanna, their spouses, and seven grandchildren.

Stephens was elected to his first four-year term on the Executive Committee in 2012 and was re-elected to the same post in 2016. Tenure limitations would have mandated completion of his term at the 2020 Assembly, which was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The extra two-year period (2020-2022) qualified Stephens’ service as the longest continuous tenure as Second Assistant General Overseer in the history of the Church of God.

L-R: Joyce Stephens, Paula Hill, Raymond Culpepper, David Ramirez, Tim Hill, John Childers, J. David Stephens (click photo to enlarge)

Stephens has served the Church of God for 53 years in numerous key roles during his ministry. Credentialed in 1968, he began his ministry in 1969 at the age of 22, as an evangelist for the state of Virginia. Following their wedding, Jim and Joyce Stephens planted a church in Stafford, Virginia where they served for the next four years.

In 1976, the Stephens’ accepted the first of seven appointments as a state Youth and Christian Education Director, beginning with Arizona (1976-1978) and ending with South Carolina (1994-1998), serving a total of 22 years in youth ministry. Additional states/regions included Washington (1978-1980), Indiana (1980-1982), South Georgia (1982-1985), North Georgia (1985-1990), and Tennessee (1990-1994).

In 1998, Stephens was appointed state overseer of Northern New England. In 2002 they moved to Kentucky as state overseers and after four years, their appointment was to Tennessee from 2008-2010. A final appointment as overseer was to the state of Florida for two years.

During the 74th Church of God International General Assembly, J. David Stephens was elected to serve as Second Assistant General Overseer. During his ten years, he led many initiatives, including transition of USA Missions to Mission North America, Division of Education (2012-2016), Division of World Evangelization (2016-2022), Top 200, Historical Commission, Doctrine & Polity Committee, and Virtual Evangelism Source.

Stephens earned degrees from Lee University (B.A.), and Pentecostal Theological Seminary (M.A), and was presented a Doctor of Divinity degree from South American Ministerial Seminary (SEMISUD). He was elected a member of the Council of Eighteen, serving from 2004-2008 and 2010-2012.

During the recognition dinner, the Stephens’ were presented commemorative watches and a resolution of honor and appreciation. Listing Stephens’ accomplishments in ministry, the resolution stated, “that the members of the Church of God International Executive Committee and International Executive Council express profound appreciation to Jim and Joyce Stephens for exceptional leadership; and that Jim Stephens be commended for commitment and devotion to Spirit-empowered influence and leadership excellence in the Church of God across many areas and around the world; and be it finally resolved that the Church of God gives highest honor to Dr. J. David Stephens for his lifetime of ministry, contributions, and accomplishments that have, and will continue to impact the Church of God for generations to come.”

The event honoring the Stephens’ preceded the April session of the Executive Council where the agenda for the upcoming General Assembly was finalized. The Council met for two solid days, adjourning on Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 pm. The agenda will now be prepared for release to the General Council prior to the Assembly scheduled for July 25-29, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas.

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