NASHVILLE, Tenn. Oct. 10, 2013 /Discipleship Ministries/ – The board of directors of Discipleship Ministries on Thursday elected the Rev. Dr. Timothy L. Bias, senior pastor of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, to be the agency’s new General Secretary (top executive).
Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky of the Denver episcopal area and Discipleship Ministries president, who announced the election during the board’s regular meeting, said Bias is “distinctly gifted to lead the whole church – from top to bottom – in a movement of renewed discipleship and to lead the agency through a season of change.”
Stanovsky said the Search Committee was impressed by the transformational leadership of Bias at First UMC in Peoria, Ill., from 1999-2009, and since then at Hyde Park UMC in Cincinnati.
“Dr. Bias leads people into small faith formation groups where they experience a Wesleyan model of discipleship that integrates inward faith and outward mission,” the bishop said. “Under his leadership both churches grew in all measures of vitality: membership, participation, stewardship, spiritual practice and transformational mission with their local communities and globally.”
Bias, who becomes general secretary on Jan. 15, will take over from Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, who retires Dec. 31 after serving 13 years as Discipleship Ministries's chief executive. Current Associate General Secretary at Discipleship Ministries, MaryJane Pierce Norton, will be acting General Secretary from Jan. 1-15.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the United Methodist Church in this capacity, and I am excited about the possibilities that are before us as the Discipleship Ministries and as a denomination,” Bias said. “I look forward to working with the staff and the directors in building the disciple-making systems that will, indeed, change the world.”
Bias has served the denomination in three Annual Conferences – West Virginia, Illinois Great Rivers and West Ohio – and was Discipleship Ministries's director of proclamation evangelism from 1995-1999, where he was instrumental in convening the Large Church Initiative. He also served the general church as a member of the Board of Directors for The General Board of Global Ministries from 2004-2012. His ministry has been rural and urban and led him to Russia, West Africa and Appalachia.
A local church pastor for 36 years, Bias is the author of numerous books and articles about faith and the church.
Since 2010, Bias has been director of the Appalachian Local Pastors School, a ministry of Red Bird Missionary Conference in southeastern Kentucky that offers training for local pastors from 18 annual conferences in Appalachia. He has taught preaching, pastoral care, evangelism and theology at the school since it opened in 1991.
Bias is a graduate of Marshall University and received his Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 1980 and his Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in 1991. He was ordained as an Elder in 1981.
A native of Ashland, Ky., Bias and his wife, Kimberly Raynes, have two children and three grandchildren.