The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World elected Bishop Charles H. Ellis III as its presiding bishop last week during the organization's annual convention in Minneapolis.
Ellis, pastor of 6,000-member Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, succeeds Bishop Horace Smith, M.D., pastor of Apostolic Faith Church in Chicago.
"I'm truly humbled and honored to follow in the footsteps of some legendary clergymen who brought this organization from humble beginnings to where it is today," Ellis said in a statement. "With God's help, I'll work to continue in that tradition of excellence as we reach for higher heights in Kingdom work."
Ellis previously served two terms as assistant presiding bishop of the Oneness Pentecostal denomination and oversaw churches in Ghana. He became pastor of Greater Grace Temple in 1996 after the death of his father, Bishop David Ellis.
Named Michigan Pastor of the Year by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Ellis is known for his work to revitalize Detroit through dozens of outreach ministries, including youth sports camps, low-cost housing units and two charter schools. He recently opened the 120-acre New Rogell Golf Course, which is believed to be the only golf facility in Michigan owned and operated by African-Americans.
As presiding bishop of the Indianapolis-based denomination, Ellis said he hopes to reunite some of the Apostolic organizations that have broken away from the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW). In addition to healing old divisions, he said the move would better position the congregations to access grant funding for community-development initiatives.
With more limited resources, funding organizations increasingly are looking to support groups that represent a conglomeration of churches rather than lone congregations, he said.
"I believe that they're getting away from entertaining single-church grants, and they want to see individuals working together because the dollars are so competitive now," Ellis told Charisma.
He also plans to focus on outreach to help the church grow. In recent years, membership has dropped from 1.5 million members to 1.3 million today.
Founded in 1906 out of the Azusa Street Revival, the PAW currently includes 2,000 churches in the U.S. and 2,200 worldwide.