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A Directive from God

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As North Texas District Superintendent Rick W. DuBose arrived at the Assemblies of God General Council in Anaheim, California, he vowed to walk through whatever ministry door the Lord opened.

At the August biennial gathering, delegates ultimately elected Doug E. Clay as the Fellowship’s new general superintendent, after incumbent George O. Wood withdrew his name from further consideration. DuBose finished as a runner-up behind Clay.

Delegates subsequently elected DuBose from a field of a dozen candidates to be the new South Central representative on the 21-member Executive Presbytery, to succeed the retiring J. Don George.

However, the General Presbytery later met to submit a list of four nominees to replace Clay as the new general treasurer the following day. That slate designated Jay Herndon, secretary-treasurer of the Northern California & Nevada District Rick Ross, North Carolina District superintendent; Randy Valimont, lead pastor of Griffin First Assembly in Georgia; and DuBose as candidates.

Early the next morning, DuBose went to the outdoor poolside of his hotel for his daily devotional. He enumerated the reasons for withdrawing his name from contention as general treasurer, which would necessitate a move to the AG national office in Springfield, Missouri, as one of the six members of the Executive Leadership Team:

  • He has lived in Texas all of his 60 years.
  • The North Texas District is growing, with various initiatives hitting their stride.
  • He and his wife, Rita, built a new home two years ago.
  • His three children — all involved in church ministry — plus eight grandsons, live nearby.

 “Our life was just about perfect,” DuBose says.

GODLY PERSUASION

DuBose decided to withdraw his name. Just then, Wayne H. Lee Sr., the founder of Church Life Resources, whose materials DuBose utilized to revitalize congregations in the district, walked up to him.

Lee asked DuBose what he planned to do. DuBose told the former Southeastern University vice president that he likely would drop out of the running.

“Didn’t you tell the Lord if He opened the door you would walk through it?” Lee bluntly asked DuBose — who hadn’t revealed such a statement to Lee. “The Lord woke me up and told me to remind you of your promise.”

“That was the turning point,” DuBose recalls. “I couldn’t say no.”

DuBose prayed for the Lord to speak his wife — even more reluctant to pull up stakes than him. When he reached the hotel room, God already had communicated to Rita.

“You’re going to leave your name in, aren’t you?” she asked.

“I think I have to,” he replied.

“You do, and you’re going to get elected,” Rita responded.

Rita’s prediction proved true. DuBose garnered more votes than Herndon or Ross (Valimont withdrew his name from contention.) DuBose considers all three his good friends, and says they would have been worthy successors to Clay.

DuBose begins his four-year term as general treasurer on Oct. 10.

Those Texas roots are deep, including the past decade leading what is now the district with the largest number of churches in the U.S. Assemblies of God. His father, Derwood DuBose, now 81, held the same post earlier.

Early in his tenure as district superintendent, Rick DuBose spent a great deal of time teaching about healthy pastor-church board relationships. The effort resulted in a well-received book, The Church That Works: Democracy vs. Theocracy, written with Mel Surface.

Lately, healthy churches have been a hallmark for the North Texas District, based in Waxahachie. The district has 610 churches now compared to 525 when DuBose came into office. But last year, the district showed a net change of 51 additional churches — compared to 126 overall for the entire U.S. Fellowship. DuBose earlier set a goal of the district reaching 1,000 churches by 2027.

“What God has started, He will finish,” DuBose says. “He doesn’t need me around to do it.”

He says growth has accelerated since the district became less paternalistic and got out of the fundraising business.

“We decided to quit giving money for church plants,” DuBose says. “We declared every church to be its own Jerusalem. We will help with systems and structure support, but we’re not going to pay for it. With that shift, God got to be God.”

DuBose has seen his plans come to fruition at the hands of others before. In 1987, he became pastor of an AG church in Sachse, Texas, which had but 17 attendees. When he left to become district assistant superintendent in 2005, the church mushroomed to 1,000. Now, with Bryan Jarrett at the helm, NorthPlace Church has more than 2,100 weekly attendees.

MINISTERING FAMILY

Rick and Rita Stratton Dubose, who attended Southwestern Assemblies of God University together, have been married 38 years. Rita is the 16th of 17 children.

Her mother, Frieda Stratton, had been diagnosed with lung cancer after giving birth to her 11th child. In an era with no hope for recovery from the disease, Stratton essentially waited to die in a hospital bed. Her mother, Louise Jones, brought her Assemblies of God pastor into the room to pray for her daughter.

The pastor said a simple prayer, asking God to heal Stratton. After he left, Stratton literally coughed up the tumor. She converted from Catholicism and took her children to the AG church the next Sunday. Today, four of Rita’s siblings also are credentialed AG ministers.

The Duboses’ daughter Renee Exley and her husband, Jason, are lead pastors of Life Church in Midlothian. Son Ryan and his wife, Lauren are executive pastors at the growing church, which now has 700 attendees. Younger daughter Rachel Jenkins and her husband, Eric, are executive and youth pastors at Open Arms Church in Lake Dallas.

While he anticipates helping the national office develop better financial systems and procedures, DuBose wants spirituality to have precedence over business practices in his new role.

“My real purpose here is for what God wants to do through the Movement spiritually,” DuBose says. “It’s more about revival than money.”

Nothing is more important than local churches having times around the altar, DuBose believes.

“My goal is to empower the grassroots,” DuBose says. “People seldom get saved at the district office or the national office. Salvations take place at the local church.”

Meanwhile, Rita isn’t dragging her feet.

“God didn’t say it would be easy,” she says. “But obedience is always the right thing to do.”

Rita says she admires her husband because he doesn’t put on airs and he simply tries to live out who God created him to be.

“Whether he is in the pulpit or at home, what you see is what you get,” she says. “He’s led our family and the district in being real, in a world that sometimes is full of fakeness.”

In a special election Sept. 7, Gaylan Claunch was elected as the new North Texas District superintendent to replace DuBose. Claunch had been assistant superintendent.

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