San Antonio, Texas— The nominee for World Missions Director for the Church of God was just a young boy, sitting in a Church of God pew in Nicholls, Ga. for a missions service. This South Georgia son couldn’t know it at the time, but he was catching a glimpse of his future.
M. Thomas Propes remembers it like it was yesteryear.
“Our missions rep would bring in missionaries and they would tell the stories of world missions,” Propes said. “It was always heart gripping. For all of these years, I grew up around world missions, loving missions, supporting missions. This is all I know.”
Propes was nominated as World Missions Director during the General Council business session Wednesday morning inside the Gonzalez Convention Center, six years after he was elected as Assistant Director to World Missions. He replaced David Griffis, who completed a six-year term as World Missions Director.
The Church of God is meeting this week in the Texas city for their 78th International General Assembly.
Propes will be joined by Dr. John D. Childers, the nominee for Assistant Director to World Missions. Dr. Childers has served as Secretary General for the past six years. The International General Assembly will vote on their positions during Friday’s closing session.
For Propes, who honored his wife LaQuita for 46 years of marriage during his speech, his nomination was akin to PGA golfer Bubba Watson winning The Masters in his native state.
“They asked him this was ever in his wildest dreams,” said Propes. “He said he couldn’t dream that big. It’s a be-still-my-heart moment.”
His transition comes at a time when global travel has finally recovered after so many closures during a global pandemic. As much as Propes enjoyed the use of technology, there is no replacing passport stamps and boots on the ground.
“We capitalized on Zoom and FaceTime, but our people want to see us and we want to see them. There’s something about the ministry of presence.”
Childers is no stranger to World Missions. He served as Assistant Director from 2012-16 alongside current General Overseer Dr. Tim Hill, when they set world mission giving records across the board as the Church of God expanded to 7 million members in over 180 nations.
“I come back today, honored again that you would allow me to serve the church,” said Childers, a South Carolina native who thanked his wife Debbie for serving by his side. “My whole life, I’ve tried to be a servant. I want to go on record that I’m here to serve.”
The General Assembly concludes Friday, July 29, following a closing commissioning service. The next Assembly has been set for July 8-12, 2024 at the Indianapolis Convention Center.