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12 People You Need to Know in 2019: Doug Clay

A Divine Appointment

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There are pastor’s kids, and then there’s Doug Clay. He’s a third-generation “PK.”

Clay was raised in the Christian church, and he feels a divine impression led him to become the leader of the Springfield-based Assemblies of God, the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination with 69 million adherents.

“I have felt for most of my life that I wanted to be involved in church work,” says Clay, who was elected general superintendent in 2017. “I grew up in a minister’s home, so I had an awareness that it’s my purpose. I have a great love and a great passion for the church.”

Raised in Adrian, Michigan, Clay first came to Springfield in the 1980s to study at Central Bible College. After graduating, career prospects took him to Ohio for the next two decades, and he returned to Springfield in 2008 to become general treasurer for the Assemblies of God. 

“I don’t think it was ever my dream or on my radar to be general superintendent,” Clay says of the leadership post with the church that has 13,000 congregations and 3 million adherents in the U.S. “I’m the 13th in our 104-year history. My heart and passion was in pastoring, and I still carry that strong interest in the local pastor.”

As general superintendent, Clay serves as CEO for the 680 employees at the Springfield headquarters, while also developing leadership within the church among its 67 districts. He also has influence globally on the executive committee for the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.

Clay succeeded George Wood, who served in the role for 10 years.

He admits his workload has changed “pretty significantly” since taking on the superintendent role, but he believes his past ministry work has prepared him.

“The weight and the pace are the two biggest things,” he says of the difference between treasurer and superintendent. “It’s a lot heavier, and it’s a lot faster. I feel like all my experiences are part of the journey that’s given me some insight and perspective for this particular position.”

Among his goals, Clay stresses biblical literacy for the Assemblies of God, challenging the next generation in church involvement and a quest to ensure healthy churches.

Calling himself a “church health enthusiast,” Clay wants to see thriving Assemblies of God communities.

“When it’s functioning biblically, it is one of the most powerful influences in a community,” he says, noting he’s more driven by the spiritual health of people than numerical growth. “If we’re healthy, we’re going to naturally grow. Nickels and noses would be a byproduct of how healthy you are.”

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