The election comes as the conservative denomination tries to turn around declining membership, church attendance and baptisms. It also faces increasing conflict with mainstream culture, especially over its conviction that gay sex is immoral.
Also on Tuesday, the nation's largest Protestant denomination approved a resolution opposing the idea that gender identity can be different from biological sex.
The group declined to consider a motion made from the floor by one delegate asking that a Southern California church be disciplined for perceived support of homosexuality. Denomination officials ruled the motion out of order.