Kim Cape Elected General Secretary of GBHEM

Date Posted: 3/21/2011

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Board of Directors unanimously elected the Rev. Kim Cape to lead GBHEM as its new general secretary, Bishop Marcus Matthews announced Friday. The directors voted during their March 17-19 spring meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

Cape, the former executive director of New Church Growth and Transformation for the Southwest Texas Annual Conference, said GBHEM’s job as the leadership agency is to “help folks see where God is leading” and that one challenge is to be clear about the difference between management and leadership.

“Management asks, are we doing things right? But leaders ask, are we doing the right things? The people in Egypt might have been making bricks for the Egyptians the right way, but the leadership question is, ‘Are we doing the right things? Is it God’s purpose for us to be slaves?’”Cape said.

“Leadership means influencing our community to face its problems. My prayer for the Board, is that we name and face our problems and model for the church the leadership to live into God’s future,” Cape said.

Cape said adaptive work is not action, it is learning. “As leaders, we don’t have all the answers, but we must ask the right questions, and the right question for us as a denomination and as the agency that equips leaders is: What do we have to learn to lead our church into God’s future? Thank God it doesn’t all depend on us.”

Matthews, who is president of GBHEM, said he does not take for granted Cape’s decision to accept the difficult assignment as general secretary.

“For all its honor, the job is surely one of the most challenging positions in the church,” Matthews said. “Yet it is also one of the most strategic and influential in terms of our ministry – which is leading and serving The United Methodist Church in the recruitment, preparation, nurture, education, and support of Christian leaders - lay and clergy - for the work of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Matthews said the Board of Directors has strengthened the denomination by electing Cape. “I am grateful as the Board’s president for her willingness to serve in this capacity,” he said.

Cape said she believes The United Methodist Church has what people are starving for: a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

“In our faith and practice, we combine head, heart, and hands better than anybody. Last night as Anderson Cooper was reporting from Japan, there was a 30-second UMCOR appeal. Want to help? Contact UMCOR, and their contact information. It brought me to tears of pride,” Cape said.

Cape said she is delighted to join the competent and committed staff of GBHEM and looks forward to working with the Board of Directors and Bishop Matthews.

Cape expressed gratitude and thanks to John Lesesne, GBHEM’s chief financial officer and treasurer, for the exemplary job he did as interim general secretary. “I am grateful, too, for the confidence of the Search Committee and the affirmation of the Board of Directors in my selection as general secretary,” she said.

The Rev. Ken Carter and Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, chairs of the Board’s two divisions, praised Cape as a well-respected, experienced leader in The United Methodist Church.

"Kim Cape has deep and broad experience in leading a changing church to think about its mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world. She will help GBHEM in its critical role of calling forth the gifts of a new generation of Christian leaders," said Carter, chair of the Division of Ordained Ministry.

Kuan, chair of the Division of Higher Education, called Cape “a well-grounded person with a deep sense of spirituality and a healthy perception of herself. She will bring her strong pastoral presence to the significant leadership role as general secretary,” he added.

“She listens to people intently and is a team builder. She has a vision for GBHEM and is the kind of adaptive leader we are looking for,” Kuan said.

Cape has a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree with Leadership Focus from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. As executive director of New Church Growth and Transformation for the Southwest Texas Annual Conference, she has worked to help recruit and train new church pastors.

Her previous experience includes serving as superintendent in both the Austin and McAllen, Tex., districts, and working for the General Board of Discipleship with the Upper Room Development staff. She served the Texas Methodist Foundation and was senior pastor of four churches in Texas.

She has served on the conference Board of Ordained Ministry, taught the Perkins Course of Study, represented the Southwest Texas Conference on the Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee, and served as an elected member of GBHEM. She was chosen to lead the Southwest Texas Conference delegation at General Conference in 2004 and 2008.

*Brown is associate editor and writer, Office of Interpretation, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

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