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Council of Elders Names Rick Shabi President

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Council of Elders Names Rick Shabi President

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After weeks of prayer and periodic fasting, the Council of Elders selected Rick Shabi to serve as the next president of the United Church of God, an International Association. Mr. Shabi’s three-year term began on May 18. The Church’s home office staff in Cincinnati looks forward to serving under the leadership of Mr. Shabi and his wife, Deborah.

Rick and Deborah both grew up in the Greater Chicago area, where his parents (Paul and Lela Shabi) and her parents (Glenn and Betty Metz) were active members of the Church dating back to the 1960s. Mr. Shabi attended Ambassador College briefly, but left in order to pursue a degree at Indiana University, where he graduated with a bachelors’ of science degree in business with a major in accounting. While at Ambassador, he met his wife Deborah, and the two were married.

He led a successful and rewarding career with a CPA firm, where he got to grow in experience beyond only the finance aspects of running a business. He then went on to work in corporate healthcare, working for companies that own, manage and administer hospitals. He held various titles and responsibilities over the course of several years that continued his exposure to the operations of an organization at its highest levels. And for the last 12 years before being hired by the Church as a pastor, he ran his own firm that managed specialty units in hospitals.

In 2011, when then-operations manager for ministerial and member services Roy Holladay called to ask if he’d consider being hired as a full-time pastor, he had already become somewhat disenchanted with the healthcare field and was ready to make the jump (he’d been ordained an elder in 2000).

“The past 10 years as a pastor has been the most rewarding part of my life. I’ve loved every single minute of it,” he says. “When this opportunity for president came up, I wasn’t looking for it, because I love the role I’m in; I love the people, I love working with them.”

Len Martin, Council chairman, said of his time working with Mr. Shabi as treasurer, “I would describe Rick as thoughtful, introspective and a listener. He likes to ask questions to gather the facts and understand a matter before making a decision. I have every confidence in his ability to lead the Church forward in the years ahead.”

Darris McNeely, associate media producer, also noted Mr. Shabi’s proven approach of wise stewardship: “In the early days of UCG Rick and Debbie were original members of the Indianapolis congregations. For several years Rick served as chairman of our board and was instrumental in laying down a solid financial position of the local congregation. The fruit of those years resulted in the purchase of their own building which now serves many needs for the congregation.”

Assuming the office of president, Mr. Shabi’s vision is to above all seek God’s will and direction for the  path forward.   “Jesus Christ knows exactly where He wants the Church to go and how He wants the gospel preached to the world.   We will seek His will and follow Him.  The Church has a tremendous foundation of literature, video, sermons, and a strong web presence—we have amassed a fount of knowledge and truth that is unmatched anywhere else in the world today. Anyone can come to our website and listen to, read, and find the truth.  The only place there’s more truth is in the Bible!”

He continues, “Our churches are strong, we have pastors who are committed to the truth of God, who teach from the Bible in their congregations and who are dedicated to shepherding the people who God calls to His body.  We have a state-of-the art video and recording studio where we can produce any  number and type of videos we need, so that door’s wide open to us.  We have dedicated elders and members whose hearts are with God and who are willing to serve however they are asked.  Physically, the groundwork has been laid and we appear to have what we need in order to get the Work of God done.  Now, we need the spiritual leadership and direction of God to lead us, inspire us, and give us the words to preach to this dying world.”

Outgoing president Victor Kubik said, “Bev and I wish God’s favor on Rick Shabi as he steps into the responsibility of leading the United Church of God. I believe that the future of the Church is in his best interest as he seeks God’s guidance and direction. The Church has been blessed with good income, strong membership and dedicated co-workers along with a strong media presence.

“My prayer and hope are that peace, goodwill, success and charity continue in the same spirit providing positive outcomes in proclamation and care for transformed lives in what may be the most challenging years ahead.”

Mr. Shabi expressed his desire for all to strive toward the vision that God has for the Church: “Jesus Christ said that His will for the Church is that we become one. Let’s grow closer to Him, and more diligently, carefully, and earnestly seek, preach, and live the truth, asking God to hone His vision in us.  When we grasp that vision, the zeal to do the Work will increase. Jesus Christ is returning and as we see events in this world leading toward His return in a way we haven’t seen as clearly as we have the last few years, that should motivate us. God has called us to a great purpose. Never forget it or neglect it. Let’s embrace it and become “one” with each other and Him, as He desires.