David Olson Nominated for CG&E Leadership Role

Post a Comment » Written on January 14th, 2009     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (January 14, 2009) – David Olson has been selected as the nominee for the position as executive minister of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), it was announced today.

Olson, who currently serves as the department’s director of church planting, will stand for election during the 124th Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, in June. If elected, he would assume his new responsibilities September 1.

The executive minister position became vacant when Gary Walter was elected president of the denomination during last June’s Annual Meeting in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Following Walter’s assumption of his new duties last September, retired Pacific Southwest Conference Superintendent John Notehelfer assumed the role as interim director of the department, a position he will continue to serve until a new executive minister is in place this fall.

Olson“Dave is a person of genuine spirituality,” said Walter in making the announcement. “He works hard at cultivating a deeper life in Christ – that is what undergirds the mission.” Walter also cited what he calls Olson’s “unique breadth” of experience. “He grew up in small towns as the child of a pastor, has planted churches, has been instrumental in a number of our large churches, understands the challenges of established churches, and has been heavily involved in our multiethnic advances. He cares about the entirety of the ECC and all of our regional conferences.”

Olson’s work in helping build momentum in church planting and ethnic diversity also were key in his selection, Walter says, noting that 50 percent of Covenant church plants have been ethnic or intentionally multiethnic over the last decade. “That doesn’t just happen,” Walter stresses. “It happens because church planting leaders are committed to it.” Olson is a member of Sanctuary Covenant Church, a five-year-old multiethnic church plant in Minneapolis where Efrem Smith serves as pastor.

“Dave has provided great leadership in the area of church planting and will bring this experience into his new position,” says Jane Matheson, who served as a member of the search committee. “The committee was unanimous in our decision to present Dave as the nominee,” she says. “We believe that God will greatly use Dave to lead the denomination further in the mission of bringing our world to Christ through more church planting initiatives and the revitalization of established churches. Dave’s heart is for the lost to find Christ and then, through the church, to become faithful followers of God.”

The theme of continued momentum under Olson’s leadership was echoed by North Pacific Conference Superintendent Mark Novak, who also served on the search committee. “Dave has a brilliant mind with significant insights regarding church planting and vitality. We anticipate increased momentum in these strategic areas under his departmental leadership.”

The nomination process is conducted under the direction of the Executive Board. The pool of potential candidates for the church growth position reflected both gender and ethnic diversity, says Walter, who noted that the committee was impressed with the caliber of the nominees. In addition to Matheson and Novak, other members of the search committee include its chair, Alynne MacLean, Kim Carlson, Sam Chang, Mark Eix, Donn Engebretson, Carol Friar, Lisa Hutcherson, Carla Thelander, 
Dan Wickman, and Walter.

“I love the Covenant, and to be able to help the Covenant minister well in our world is a great joy and privilege for me,” says Olson, who has served nine years in the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism. He served for six years as director of church planting for the Pacific Southwest Conference before accepting his current call.

“I am enthusiastic about helping all of our Covenant churches to be as effective as possible and fruitful in our shared ministry for Christ,” he adds. “My work gives me the opportunity to work with great teams of people – Covenant staff, superintendents, other Covenant leaders, pastors and lay leaders throughout the Covenant.”

Olson and his wife, Shelly, have four children ages 28, 24, 22, and 16. They currently reside in Minneapolis, but plan on relocating to Chicago if he is elected in June.

“Most of all, what I would want people to know about me is my joy in serving Christ,” Olson says.

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