USA (MNN) — A mission organization is getting ready for a major change.
The Mission Society, which deploys missionaries globally in a variety of Christian ministries, has announced the retirement of Dick McClain–its president and longest-tenured member of staff–effective May 2014. Elected to the presidency in 2009, he first came to The Mission Society in 1986.
At its bi-annual meeting, the board also elected a new chairperson and four new members. A special presidential search task force held its first session.
McClain is known by his coworkers for his passion to take the gospel to the whole world, especially the least reached. The son and grandson of missionaries, McClain was born in China and grew up in India and Hong Kong.
Following his education at Asbury Theological Seminary and 11 years pastoring local churches, he joined The Mission Society staff, supervising recruitment and processing of all missionary candidates. He later served as vice president for mission ministries, overseeing The Mission Society's ministries in more than 25 countries, and as vice president for church ministry, developing a unique approach to mobilizing local churches for strategic global outreach.
During McClain's tenure as president, The Mission Society adopted vision and mission statements to guide the ministry's renewed efforts toward least-reached communities. Over his 28 years of service, the number of missionaries increased from 14 to 225, many of whom serve today among people groups identified as the world's least reached with the gospel.
In addition to receiving McClain's retirement announcement, the 19-member board of directors elected Helen Rhea Stumbo as new chairperson. Stumbo, of Fort Valley, Ga., is president of Bristol House Ltd, a publishing company which serves the evangelical wing of The United Methodist Church. She has been a member of The Mission Society board since 2010. She replaces William Johnson of Canton, Ga., who served as board chairperson since 2009.
Newly-elected board members include Katheryn Heinz of Lexington, Ky.; Jay Moon of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Carolyn Moore of Evans, Ga.; and Todd Weeks of Goldsboro, N.C.
To select McClain's replacement, the board of directors has retained Dingman & Company to work with a task force of representatives from the staff, board, missionaries, ministry partners, and pastors of partner churches. A small pool of candidates identified by this group will be reviewed by the board's governance committee, which will then present a nominee to the February 2014 bi-annual board meeting.
The announcement in February 2014 will allow the new president to work with McClain in a transitional period. McClain's retirement is effective May 31, 2014. McClain plans to move to Colorado, where he will continue active engagement in ministry and missions.
"The Mission Society is well positioned and poised for further growth in the next chapter of its life," McClain says. "As long as there are persons who do not know Christ and entire people groups who have little or no access to the gospel, The Mission Society will continue to mobilize and deploy the people of God to join Jesus in His mission."