The Rev William Henry, 50, is minister of Maze Presbyterian Church in County Antrim.
Mr Henry received the most votes of the Church’s 19 presbyteries, which met independently across Ireland on Tuesday evening to elect a successor to the current moderator, Dr Charles McMullen.
Mr Henry will be formally elected Moderator by the Church’s General Assembly in Belfast in June.
He said he was “deeply honoured” and the experience of “enjoying God” could become his theme for the year ahead.
He said: “Encountering God is always radical and disruptive.
“However, the Church can become casual and forgetful of the presence of God; and wider society has a tendency to be self-contained or self-reliant, the effect for both is that they attempt to live without a recognition of dependence upon God.
“I would wish to use the year ahead that I have to speak about this message and explore with people what it means to ‘Enjoy God,’ both to the Church and wider society.
“I want to bear witness to what I might call the surprising and unsettling presence of God, the one who offers fullness in Jesus.”
The election takes place on the first Tuesday of every February and out of this year’s four nominees, Mr Henry received the most presbytery votes to become moderator-designate.
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The next Presbyterian moderator will be the youngest in living memory.