Church Leadership Roles and Responsibilities to Fulfill God’s Purpose.

  • Stewards and Trustees
  • AME Polity and Christian Ministry
  • A Conversation with Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr.
  • Eleventh Episcopal District
  • African Methodist Episcopal Church

A Basic Proposition about Church Administration: Necessary, Biblically-based, Utilizes Available Talent and Gifts, Intended to be Efficient and Effective – to the end that God in Christ will be Glorified, the Kingdom Enlarged, the Church Expanded, and Each Participant is Empowered to be Productive and to Feel Valued and Appreciated.

The Church As A Business

“He who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys.” (Proverbs 18:9)

Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism. (The Message)

“Whenever two or three are gathered together in the Lord’s name,” and the two or three people contribute two or three dollars or two or three cents, someone in charge is then under obligation to meet the demands of customary business practices; accounting for funds and providing certain services. This is especially true in light of a growing public awareness (suspicion), increased governmental scrutiny, increased litigation against churches, and the recognition of church leaders that improvement in the management of people and resources is vital and necessary.”

The operation of a church, though its product is different, is essentially the same as operating a commercial business. Though it is not in the business to make a profit (though each church like all not-for-profit organizations must still be concerned about profit and loss in daily practice), it is still a business with a status to accommodate the government and constitution call 501(c)(3). There are business practices that government agencies expect for the church to follow. The moment money is involved, it becomes a business. Thus, to maintain community confidence and respect, and to have a winsome testimony, it is critical that church administrators and leaders, as evidence of their collective integrity, demonstrate the highest standards and best practices in all matters related to the business of the mission.

What do we mean when we say, Administration? Simply, but comprehensively put, administration is the supervision, management and coordination of the affairs of an enterprise, institution, business concern, organization or group by means of the development and implementation of (by oversight or delegation) the plans, policies and procedures of said entity, for the purpose of the effective an efficient operation of the same. This is what we are called to do in the Lord’s name. The apostle Paul gives us an admonition regarding administrative diligence in his exhortation found in Romans 12:11, that we “Not be slothful in business…”. In 1 Corinthians 14:40 Paul states: “Let all be done decently and in order.” This seems apropos not only to matters of worship procedures, but to the congregation’s temporal concerns as well.

The Planner

A High Expectation of Leadership

One reason for greater diligence on the part of serious church administrators is that in recent years we have had attention called by national media to the malfeasance of “prophets for profits.” These charlatans have been maligned in the press, devalued the influencing power of their witness of Jesus, making local ministries suffer the brunt of their shenanigans for “giving them the business.”

Since a leader is, by definition, one who leads, conducts, precedes, or occupies a chief place, having priority or influence, we should expect our leaders and administrators, as well as potential leaders and administrators, at all levels of governance to be:

  • Consecrated
  • Called
  • Committed
  • Christ-centered
  • Caught
  • Holy Ghost-filled
  • Taught
  • Bought
  • Saved
  • Sanctified
  • Serving
  • From Church Membership
  • To Christian Discipleship
  • Heaven-bound
  • “Talking the talk AND walking the walk”

The Business of the Church

The business of the church is to be found in the continuing mission of the church from its very inception. It is a continuation of the work and ministry of Christ. Jesus said that He had come “…to seek and to save the lost.” In what has been termed is Manifesto of Luke 4, we find an all-encompassing mission and ministry that include matters theological, economic, sociological, psychological, political and educational.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and to recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Thus, our business is to be found in the fulfillment of ministry in the following categories:

  • Evangelism
  • Edification
  • Equipping
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Exhortation


The Church of the New Testament

Christ’s Establishment of the Church; Head of the Church; Promises Perpetuity and Blessing:

  • Matthew 16:18
  • Matthew 18:12
  • 1 Corinthians 12:28
  • Ephesians 5:23
  • Colossians 1:18

The Church under the Leadership of the Spirit; its authority to receive members; withdraw from those who are disorderly, and to restore to the fellowship those who repent:

  • Matthew 18:17
  • 1 Corinthians 5:3-5
  • Acts 15:22
  • 2 Cor. 8:19
  • Romans 14:1
  • 1 Thess. 3:6
  • Galatians 6:1

The Church: a Body of Baptized Believers

  • John 4:1
  • Matthew 28:19
  • Acts 2:47
  • Acts 5:14
  • Acts 14:23
  • Acts 15:41
  • Rom. 16:16
  • Revelation 1:4

Sacraments/Ordinances, The Great Commission, Christ Exalted

  • Matthew 28:19, 20
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
  • Ephesians 3:21

Optimizing the Ministry of Helps

“A single bracelet does not jingle.” (Congo Proverb)

A Biblical Paradigm:


Every judicatory has its local church leadership among the laity. They range in name from the Vestry and Warden, in the Anglican and Episcopal Church; Session and Elder in the Presbyterian; Deacon in the Baptist Church; and Steward among black Methodists (AME, AMEZ, and CME). Many have thought that only the position of Deacon had biblical roots. Bible students, however, know this to be a gross error, and an assumption made in prejudice and biblical ignorance.

Unlike the Deacon of the Baptist Church tradition, the Steward is not ordained to the office. Though it can be perpetual, the appointment is annual. In the Methodist tradition, the Deacon is a preacher who, according to biblical definition is a helper. The Deacon is to assist the Elder in the function of ministerial and priestly duties. Upon the occasion of ordination, the officiant settles the matter of ministerial function: “Take authority to read the scriptures and to preach the same in the Church of God…” On the matter of its more precise biblical definition, the Book of Doctrine and Discipline established the Deacon’s role as an assistant, by saying:

“The duties of a Deacon are to preach the word of God, assist the Elder in distributing the Communion, and, in the absence of the Elder, administer the Sacrament of Baptism and solemnize matrimony, and be the guardian of the church’s laws.”

The Office of Steward in the Methodist church has a long and distinguished history of service. Yet it is an office that has fallen in recognition and lack of definition and scope of responsibility through the years. I think this is largely because of the lack of understanding of the importance of the office and a diminishing of responsibility while unknowingly empowering other groups and individuals without regard for Methodist polity and order. In 1816, when Bishop Richard Allen and the members of that organizational meeting in Philadelphia adopted the Methodist Book of Discipline, the office of Steward was among the offices to be utilized, with certain duties assigned.

The late Dr. J. M. Granberry, serving as secretary-treasurer of the Department of Pensions, wrote a series of booklets on the offices in the AME Church. Dr. Granberry provided the following etymology.

“The word steward comes from the Anglo-Saxon stigeweard, which is derived from stigu, a sty or pen, and weard, a guard or guardian. While it seems probable that the term ‘steward’ was never specifically given to the servant who tended livestock, the figure is deeply suggestive. The steward was the person in charge of the affairs of the household of another; the keeper of the estate, Steward of the manor, or a holder of a position of public trust.”

The term steward, or its equivalent, however, had a meaning long before the appearance of the English language. In Greek, the word is oikonomos, that is, a manager, a fiscal agent (treasurer) as in Luke 12:42 and 16:1ff, and even a preacher (1 Cor. 4:1). In the Jewish New Testament, the term Steward is consistently rendered manager or trustee. The implication being, one who looks after the affairs and property of another.

Dr. Granberry’s work correctly places the function of a steward in the context of steward in the context of the Bible, but falls short of providing a range of specific duties for the work of the church in its modern context.

The United Methodist Church, from whose ancestry we derived the concept of Steward for our purposes in the AME Church, has long since abandoned the office and has opted to develop another stratum of position, such as membership on the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, et al.

Process, Role, Scope, and Duties

(See 2012 AME Book of Doctrine and Discipline, pp. 61 – 63)

Organizing the Stewards

  • Pastor’s Compensation and Perquisites
  • Before the Worship Service: Weekly Briefs; Prayer
  • Altar Duty: Attentive and Alert; Proficient and Spiritual
Record Keeping
  • Attendance
  • Baptisms
  • Marriages
  • Births
  • Deaths
  • Probationers
  • Affiliated
  • Associate
  • Communion
Benevolent and Outreach

Sick and Shut-in and Liaison to all outreach committees, commissions and ministries.

  • Steward Board Projects, Quarterly Conference
  • Liaison to Commission on Stewardship and Finance
Membership Education
  • General Information: circulars or newsletters regarding coming events
  • Encouraging support; money matters
  • Appeals regarding Worship Experiences; Class Leaders


Diligence: The Mother of Success

Process, Role, Scope, and Duties

(See 2012 AME Book of Doctrine and Discipline, pp. 63 – 66)

Organizing the Trustees

  • Acquisitions
  • Emergency
  • Resolutions
  • Policies and Procedures
Internal Maintenance
  • Plumbing
  • Painting
  • Minor Repairs
  • Cleaning
  • Supplies
  • Employee Policies
External Maintenance
  • Lawn and Shrubbery
  • Glass Replacement
  • Window Cleaning
  • Facility Exterior
  • Paved Parking
  • Marquee Upkeep
  • Copying and maintaining all pertinent papers
  • Develop Congregational Archives
  • Deposit all pertinent papers in Safe Deposit Box
  • Review ALL Contracts and Other Legal Instruments
  • Maintain buses and/or vans
  • Develop Maintenance Schedule
  • Develop System for Refueling
  • Report and Repair Mechanical and Upholstery Problems
  • Make sure Applicable Vehicle Taxes and Fees are Paid
  • Make sure vehicle insurance is current and drivers are registered with proper licensing.
Special Projects
  • Develop innovative program to augment Trustee budget
  • Develop supervise, and advertise Trustee project

Bishop Richardson


Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. was elected and consecrated the 115th Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1996 at Louisville, Kentucky. He was assigned to the 14th Episcopal District which includes six countries in West Africa. In the 2000 – 2004 quadrennial, he served as chair of the Lay Commission and as a member of the World Methodist Council. He has chaired the Health Commission and twice as chair of the Commission on Seminaries, Universities, Colleges and Schools. In 2002, Bishop Richardson served as President of the Council of Bishops and the Presiding Bishop of the 19th Episcopal District with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. Beginning in 2004, he served as the presiding bishop of the Second Episcopal District which includes North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. For eight years, the Second District saw phenomenal growth in membership, educational support, missions-related ministries, and ministry to men, health, prisons, the advancement of women in ministry, and a commitment to social and political action. Bishop and Mrs. Richardson took great pride in the District’s embrace of ministries to youths and young adults. At the 2012 General Conference, Bishop Richardson was elected president of the General Board and was assigned to the Electrifying, Empowering Eleventh Episcopal District which includes Florida and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Prior to his election as a Bishop, he was senior minister of the Bethel A. M. E. Church, Tallahassee, Florida. For eighteen years his leadership and teaching skills produced a major ministry of growth in membership, new and expanded facilities, outreach to the poor and dispossessed, with an active presence in the community. Bishop Richardson began his educational pursuit in the public schools of Tampa, Florida. He received the B.A. degree from the Florida A&M University (where he was noted as the head drum major of the famed Marching ‘100’ Band). He received the Master of Divinity degree from the Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta and the Doctor of Sacred Theology degree at the ITC through the Atlanta Theological Association.

His ministry has included teaching at the Interdenominational Theological Center and Morris Brown College in Atlanta, and an adjunct instructor at his alma mater, Florida A&M University. He has received recognition from the City of Tallahassee, the State of Florida and the many places he has taken his message of hope and encouragement. In 1994, he was cited by Tallahassee Magazine as one of the most influential people of that city in the past fifteen years. Bishop Richardson has contributed articles or chapters in several books, including: “The Great High Priest” in the African American Devotional Bible, 1997 (Congress of National Black Churches); “Courage to Face the Battles of Life” in Ain’t That Good News, 1984 (the Rev. Gregory G. M. Ingram, ed.); “An Introduction to the New Testament” and “Pastoral Care” in The Pastor’s Manual of the AME Church, 1976 and 2000 (Dr. George L. Champion, ed.); and has written several instructional manuals for discipleship training and spiritual formation for churches he has served and for use on the lecture circuit, which include Take Me To The Water: A Manual For Christian Baptism, 1996; African Methodism 101, 1996; Traditional and Charismatic Styles of Ministry, 1996; The Wedding Manual, 1994; The Funeral Manual, 1995; and Headlines to Homilies: Sermons on Political, Commercial and Other Popular Annoyances, 2000. His most recent publication is “Let the Church say Amen: Liturgy, Litany and Homily,” published in 2012. His travels outside of the United States have taken him to 30 countries, commonwealths and nation states. He and his wife of 46 years, Dr. Connie Speights, are the proud parents of two adult children, Monique (an attorney), and Trey (a certified radiographer and recipient of two Master’s degrees in music theory and classical saxophone).

Supervisor Richardson


Mrs. Connie Speights Richardson, Episcopal Supervisor Mrs. Connie S. Richardson was born and raised in Marianna, Florida where she was an active member of St. Luke Baptist Church, with Christian experiences also gained at St. James A.M.E. Church. She is the second of three daughters born to the late Sarah L. and Cleaster Speights. She attended Jackson County Training School and not only graduated without missing a day of school for twelve (12) years but was also valedictorian of her class. She graduated from Tuskegee Institute (University) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree; graduated from the Medical College of Georgia with a Master of Science degree in Nursing and completed post-master’s work at the University of Florida where she became licensed as a Nurse Practitioner. She is a national board certified Adult Nurse Practitioner. She is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center of the American Nurses Association. She is licensed in Florida as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. In 2010 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree. Her professional life has been dedicated to caring for critically ill patients and teaching students majoring in nursing. Mrs. Richardson affirms that her career has been challenging, yet rewarding. Beginning as a Coronary Care Unit Nurse at Crawford W. Long Hospital in Atlanta, her entire professional life totaling 35 years have been devoted to instructional experiences at St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Atlanta, Grady Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Atlanta, Kennesaw College Nursing Program, Kennesaw, Georgia, Florida State University School of Nursing and Tallahassee Community College Nursing program in Tallahassee, Florida. Mrs. Richardson is a member of the American Nurses Association, the Florida Nurses Association, the Association of Critical Care Nurses, the Big Bend Council of Advanced Practice Nurses, and a member of Sigma Theta Tau (National Nursing Honor Society).

She served as a board member of Big Bend Hospice, Inc. She is a board member of the Black Women’s Agenda and a member of the Potomac Chapter of Links, Inc. She has served as Supervisor of the Women’s Missionary Society in the Fourteenth Episcopal, West Africa and the Nineteenth Episcopal District, South Africa. While serving in South Africa she was robed by the Women’s Missionary Society and named Masechaba, “Mother of the Nation.” While serving in South Africa, she pursued one of her interests, studying and facilitating educational programs and discussions on health related problems with an emphasis on HIV and AIDS. She most recently spent eight years in the Second Episcopal District comprised of Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia and North Carolina. She championed such issues as Domestic Violence, Women’s Health issues, hand washing, other health related issues, recruitment of young women, support of the Second District Incentive Shelter in Raleigh, NC, support of smaller congregations and support for pastors traveling long distances. Mrs. Richardson now serves in the Eleventh District which is her home District. She looks forward to a fruitful ministry. She is married to Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr., the 115th elected and consecrated bishop of the A.M.E. Church. They have two adult children, Monique a practicing attorney and Trey (Adam, III) who was awarded two degrees in 2004. He holds the Master of Music degree in Saxophone Performance and a Master of Music degree in Music Theory. He is also a certified radiographer. To God be the Glory! She enjoys quiet time and spends time reading, listening to music and watching almost all sports.

Presiding Elders

Florida Conference

Marianna District
The Rev. James H. Davis
4799 Hosea Drive
Vernon, FL 32460-0250
786-586-6986 (Cell)
850-535-4924 (Fax)
Email: peiamesdavis2@gmail.com

Tallahassee District
The Rev. Dr, Carlton L. Taylor
10378 McArthur Lane
Pensacola, FL 32534-1353
850-384-8023 (Cell)
Email: taylorclev@bellsouth.net

Quincy-Monticello District
The Rev. Lee Ernest Plummer
8782 Gamble Road
Monticello, FL 32344-0004
850-524-0201 (Cell)
850-577-1732 (Fax)
Email: leeplummer@centurylink.net

Pensacola-Panama City District
The Rev. Rhillip Russ, IV
2314 Tally Lane
Navarre, FL 32566
850-582-6438 (Cell)
Email: preachman77@mediacombb.net

Central Conference

Daytona Beach District
The Rev. Hartford Lee
2450 King Richard Road
Melbourne, FL 32935-2931
321-480-2079 (Cell)
321-254-5933 (Fax)
Email: lhartford43@att.net

North Orlando District
The Rev. Henry L. Postell II
6423 Jackwood Court
Orlando, FL 32818-5303
407-295-0307 (Cell)
Email: henpst@aol.com

Orlando District
The Rev. Valarie J. Walker
P.O. Box 3615
Winter Haven, FL 33885
863-287-6978 (Cell)
Email: peviworlandodist@aol.com

South Conference

Central District
The Rev. Vincent Floyd Mitchell
10829 Camino Circle
Wellington, FL 33414-8184
561-398-6236 (Cell)
561-798-9461 (Fax)
Email: vmitchell4@comcast.net

South District
The Rev. Milton Broomfield
881 Bartel Lane
Rockledge, FL 32955-4107
Email: revbroomfield@yahoo.com

North District
The Rev. Jessie Harvin, Jr.
20040 NW 13 Court
Miami Gardens, FL 33169-2722
786-853-1903 (Cell)
Email: harvini@bellsouth.net

West Conference

Lakeland District
The Rev. Jimmy James Thompson
3319 Barley Lane
Lakeland, FL 33803-5995
863-738-9162 (Cell)
863-682-3557 (Fax)
Email: pejimmythompson53@verizon.net

Tampa District
The Rev. James Oscar Williams, Sr.
P.O. Box 2338
Windermere, FL 34786
800-517-4621 (Fax)
Email: williams2083@bellsouth.net

St. Petersburg District
The Rev. Joyce J. Moore
3761 42nd Ave. South
St. Petersburg, FL 32170
386-801-8020 (Cell)
Email: jmoore4611@yahoo.com

East Conference

Alachua-Cnetral District
The Rev. Elizabeth Elaine Yates
3003 Donna Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32208
904-386-6500 (Cell)
Email: alachua-central@comcast.net

Suwannee-North District
The Rev. Tony DeMarco Hansberry
101 East Union Street – Suite 103
Jacksonville, FL 32202-60001
904-545-3734 (Cell)
Email: elderhansberry@aol.com

South District
The Rev. Eugene Moseley
12313 Flynn Road
Jacksonville, FL 32223
904-613-6945 (Cell)
Email: emoseley@bellsouth.net

Bahamas Conference

Freeport District
The Rev. Dr. Ranford A. Patterson
P.O. Box N-8947
Nassau, Bahamas
242-422-5722 (Cell)
242-341-0809 (Fax)
Email: instposs@yahoo.com

Eleuthera District
The Rev. Howard F. Williamson
P.O. Box B-50420
Nassau, Bahamas
242-356-2347 (Cell)
242-422-5346 (Fax)
Email: robinsonmorris@hotmail.com

Eleventh Episcopal Officers

Dr. Nathaniel Glover
President, Edward Waters College
The Rev, Howard Franklyn Williamson
Vice Chair, Presiding Elders’ Council
The Rev. Marvin C. Zanders II
Treasurer, Episcopal District
The Rev. Mark L. Griffin
Accountant, Episcopal District
Mrs. Bettye D. Bryant
President, Women’s Missionary Society
Ms. Sanjena Clay
Director, Young People’s Division
Mr. Jamarien P. Moore
President, Young People’s Division
Mr. Charlie Nichols
President, Episcopal District Lay Organization
The Rev. Julius H. McAllister Jr., D. Min
Chair, Board of Examiners
The Rev. Waymon T. Dixon
District Continuing Education Coordinator

Vice-Chair Board of Examiners

The Rev. Robert L. Mitchell, PhD
Chair, Commission on Colleges and School
The Rev. Angela Bess, Ed.D
Co-Chair, Commission on Colleges and School
The Rev. James T. Golden, Esq.
Director, Social Action

Alternate, Judicial Council of the AME Church

The Rev. Jeffery Dove
Coordinator, Voter Education, Registration, and Mobilization
Mr. Marlowe Smith
Music Director
The Rev. Kevin DeSire
Associate Music Director
Sis. Cynthia Griffin, PharmD
President, Episcopal Clergy Family Organization
The Rev. Bettye J. Watson
Coordinator, Episcopal District Women in Ministry
The Rev. Joy Lynn Gallmon
Episcopal District Director, Christian Education
Bro. Samuel Hunter, PhD
Superintendent, Church School
Mrs. Faye Diamond
Director, Allen Christian Fellowship
Ms. Karen Richardson
Chair, Media Ministry
Presiding Elder Jessie Harvin, Jr.
Coordinator, Disaster Relief
The Rev. Mark Crutcher, PhD
Director, Worship and Evangelism
The Rev. Kenneth F. Irby
Coordinator, Sons of Allen Men’s Ministry
Mrs. Sharon Sheffield
Commissioner, DMC
The Rev. Clarence Williams
Chair, Nehemiah Ministry
The Rev. Karl V. Smith
Vice-Chair, Nehemiah Ministry