General superintendents set to retire at General Assembly 2013
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Global Ministry Center
By NCN News Staff
The Church of the Nazarene will bid farewell to two general superintendents at the denomination’s upcoming General Assembly and Conventions.

Jesse C. Middendorf and Stan A. Toler announced their respective retirements and will be recognized at General Assembly for their years of service to God through the Church of the Nazarene as members of the Board of General Superintendents.

The 28th General Assembly will take place June 19-27, 2013, in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

The Board of General Superintendents is comprised of six leaders elected by the denomination’s General Assembly. This is the highest elected office within the Church of the Nazarene.

The assembly will elect two new general superintendents in June to join Jerry D. Porter, J. K. Warrick, Eugénio R. Duarte, and David W. Graves as members of the board (if re-elected).

Middendorf was elected the denomination’s 34th general superintendent at the 25th General Assembly in Indianapolis in June 2001. He served for 10 years as senior pastor of First Church of the Nazarene in Kansas City, Missouri, prior to his election as general superintendent.

A pastor at heart, Middendorf served churches in Clarksville, Tennessee; Ashland, Kentucky; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Richardson, Texas; and Kansas City.  He was superintendent of the Northwest Oklahoma District from 1985 to 1991.

Middendorf received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Trevecca Nazarene College (now university) in 1965 and his Master of Divinity degree from Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1968. In 1989, Southern Nazarene University conferred upon him the Doctor of Divinity degree. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1999.

"The past 12 years have been a wonderful experience," Middendorf said. "The honor of serving the church in this capacity is one that I will remember for a lifetime. Susan and I have cherished the relationships that we have developed with the board of General Superintendents, and with the people of the Church around the world. I am grateful beyond words for the confidence placed in me. I now look forward to another phase in our ministry in service to Christ and His Church."

Middendorf celebrated his 70th birthday this week. The Church of the Nazarene Manual states, "No person shall be elected to the office of general superintendent … who has reached the age of 68 years" (Paragraph 305.2).

Toler was elected the 39th general superintendent at the 27th General Assembly in Orlando, Florida, in June 2009. Prior to the election, Toler served as pastor of the Oklahoma City Trinity Church of the Nazarene for 12 years.

He was elected Southwest Oklahoma district superintendent in the weeks prior to General Assembly 2009. He also served as pastor for First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville, Tennessee, and First Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma City.

An accomplished teacher and author, Toler announced his retirement after one term as general superintendent, citing his desire to dedicate the rest of his life to his passion of training, resourcing, and encouraging pastors.

"My election to the role of general superintendent has been the highest honor of my ministerial career," Toler wrote in a letter to the Board of General Superintendents. "I was humbled at the time of my election to know that the Church of the Nazarene was placing such confidence in me as a leader. The love, encouragement, and support that has been given to Linda and me has been incredible. We deeply appreciate the church and the opportunity to serve in this role as well as the many years in pastoral ministry."

Toler told his fellow board members it was a "delight" to serve with them. 

"I value each one of you as a friend, and I deeply appreciate the brotherhood and encouragement that I have received," he wrote. "Indeed, it has been a most enjoyable experience to work together with each of you. I love, respect, and hold each one of you in high esteem. Thanks for the opportunity to learn, grow, and serve with all of you."

Toler is a graduate of Ohio Christian University (Bachelor of Theology), Southern Nazarene University (Bachelor of Arts), Florida Beacon Bible College (Master of Theology, Doctor of Divinity), and Marantha Seminary (Doctor of Ministry). In 2009, Southern Nazarene University conferred upon him the Doctor of Divinity degree.
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  • I appreciate both of these men for their sincere attempts to make our church better for the sake ... MICHAELTALJ on 12/10/12
  • There is an assumption in this article that 4 of the current General Superintendents will be re-e... SMJWALSH on 12/07/12
  • My thanks to both Jesse and Stan for their leadership! THOMASJAYOORD on 12/07/12