For more than three decades, Bishop J. Drew Sheard has served as senior pastor of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ (COGIC), located on Detroit’s west side. Bishop Sheard has been lauded for his leadership in facilitating a “ministry of excellence.” The church is now recognized as one of the largest and most progressive COGIC congregations in Michigan.
Bishop Sheard’s indelible fingerprints can also be found on other spiritual and kingdom building endeavors, broader empowerment of communities, and numerous humanitarian missions across America and on foreign soil. In his quest to further advance the Church of God in Christ on multiple levels, Bishop Sheard is seeking re-election to COGIC’s General Board.
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the Church of God in Christ – with 6.5 million members in approximately 100 countries – will hold its Quadrennial Election to fill numerous positions. In addition to the General Board, other positions on the ballot are for Financial Secretary, General Secretary, Treasurer, Trustee Board, and Judiciary Board (General Assembly).
According to the Church of God in Christ’s official website, the role of the General Board, comprised of 12 bishops, is to establish and execute policies for the COGIC membership, as well as sustain and perpetuate spiritual order within the Church.
Bishop Sheard brings much experience to the General Board. He was first elected in 2012 and again in 2016, both times serving four-year terms.
“Every assignment that I’ve been given as a General Board member, I have always left the assignment better off than I found it,” said Bishop Sheard. “As a General Board member, I will continue to serve with integrity, humility and dedication to ministry.”
The Bishop’s accomplishments as a two-term member of the General Board have been rooted in his commitment to God, dedication to Church, a commitment to elevate women to leadership positions in the church, and the commitment to reach and maintain fiscal and financial responsibilities.
As chairman of COGIC’S Auxiliaries in Ministry (AIM) Convention, the Bishop helped boost attendance, and demonstrated fiscal and financial responsibilities by sending an unpreceded amount of money back to the National Church. He facilitated the same level of fiscal and financial acumen as president of COGIC’s International Youth Department’s Music and Youth Convention.
Bishop Sheard is known among his peers as someone who respects the past, can lead in the present, and has great vision for preparing for the future.
“I’m a bridgebuilder between the generations,” said Bishop Sheard. “We need to demonstrate that our seniors are not to be forgotten, and at the same time we must make room for the next tier of leaders because they are critical to the future of our church.”
“I am grateful for the chance to publicly affirm my support and commit my vote to the candidacy of Bishop J. Drew Sheard’s re-election bid to the General Board of the Church of God in Christ,” said Pastor Marcus R. Ways, Sr., Elected Vice Chairman of the General Counsel of Pastors and Elders. “We grew up together as teenage preachers. I have observed Bishop Sheard’s leadership develop and continue into his adult years. I believe Bishop Sheard is a leader that will take our great church to the next level of its existence.”
In looking to COGIC’S future, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., senior pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles, announced last year that he would not seek-re-election as a member of the General Board or Presiding Bishop. His decision means that the Feb. 23 Quadrennial Election will vote-in a new Presiding Bishop.
While Bishop Sheard is a strong candidate for a third term on the General Board, he has expressed a great interest in the position of Presiding Bishop. The next Presiding Bishop, said Bishop Sheard, will be elected from members of the next General Board.
“If I’m blessed to be re-elected to the General Board, with support, I will submit my name for Presiding Bishop,” he said. “I know in my heart and spirit that I can provide the leadership that the Church must have to move forward in bold ways.”
“Real Times Media and our historic Black newspapers – the Michigan Chronicle, Chicago Defender, Pittsburgh Courier, and Atlanta Daily World – fully endorse Bishop J. Drew Sheard for re-election to COGIC’s General Board,” said Hiram E. Jackson, CEO, Real Times Media. “Bishop Sheard has proven himself to be a true man of God and a cross-generational thinker and leader in the Church of God in Christ locally, nationally, and internationally. And if Bishop Sheard chooses to pursue the position of Presiding Bishop, our emphatic endorsement will follow his pathway through the entire process.”
Bishop Sheard’s vision, if elected Presiding Bishop, would mirror the leadership, commitment and dedication he has shown as pastor of Greater Emmanuel in Detroit, and the contributions demonstrated over the last eight years as a member of the General Board. His focus of leadership is on COGIC reclaiming its spirituality and spiritual heritage, financial restructuring and economic empowerment, shepherding the growth and infrastructure of the church, and strengthening marriages and families.
“I strongly believe that the family is the cornerstone of the church, and there must be a restored focus on marriage,” said Bishop Sheard, who with his wife, Karen Clark Sheard of The Clark Sisters, are the parents of two adult children and have two grandchildren. “My plan is to facilitate a renewed commitment to marriage and families, by establishing ministry leadership to strengthen marriages based on biblical principles, while refocusing on training and educating our children. However, as we work to empower families, we must also ensure that the church is a refuge for the fatherless and offers healing for broken families.”
Bishop Sheard is also a major proponent of education.
“As a former schoolteacher, it is important that the Church of God in Christ has educational components that are competitive,” said Bishop Sheard, who holds both a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in mathematics from Wayne State University. “We want to make our learning institutions stronger. I want our students who attend COGIC learning institutions to be right at the top and not be subserviate to any other educational system.”
Often called a difference maker, Bishop Sheard’s relief efforts has been greatly received by communities in crisis in Michigan, Texas, Louisiana, and internationally. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bishop’s STRETCH Ministry has secured funds to render technical support to pastors and their respective churches surrounding the issues of presenting virtual church services and other events.
As the Feb. 23 Quadrennial Election draws closer, Bishop Sheard continues to work steadfastly in leading his own church, but first being obedient to God’s call. The Bishop knows, however, this is a pivotal election of great magnitude for COGIC and people of all dominations around the globe.
“I feel that Bishop Sheard is the best candidate for re-election to the General Board of the Church of God in Christ because his leadership has been proven and trusted,” said Dr. Dorinda Clark Cole, Elect Lady, COGIC’s Department of Evangelism. “My vote is secure with him because I trust the God in him, his vision and his ability to teach and lead our people in this hour.”
“Just to be able to say that I know a man like Bishop J. Drew Sheard is a blessing,” said Nicole Black of the Michigan Chronicle. “Being a young woman in the faith-based community, I can truly say that Bishop Sheard is a true man of faith, who I have great admiration and respect for. He has served his family, his church and the community with class, poise and dignity and has proven that he is what the world needs as a global leader.”
As the Bishop prepares for the Election, he prays that he will be re-elected to the General Board, with the strong possibility of submitting his name for COGIC’s Presiding Bishop. Bishop Sheard knows whatever happens, his spiritual mantra remains the same – “It’s Still a God Thing!”
For more information on Bishop J. Drew Sheard’s candidacy, log on to www.sheard2021.com.