It is such an incredible privilege to serve an organisation with 175 years of history uniting the church to serve Jesus. What a moment for many of us to pause and look how far we have come – there is so much to be thankful to the Lord for.
For me personally, the Evangelical Alliance’s history holds a significant place in my heart because both my grandad and my dad led the ministry before me. I’ve known the honour it is to lead but also the huge personal cost involved. As a family, we were not able to spend as much time together as we would have wanted, but through that sacrifice the Lord was strengthening His church, bringing greater unity and salvation.
I have many positive childhood memories of the Evangelical Alliance, including a relaxed kickabout with many members of the staff team and selling cookies to raise money to help free an evangelical church leader who was in prison in the then USSR. I also vividly remember my work experience as a teenager — one week at Wimbledon FC and one week with the Evangelical Alliance, mainly because Wimbledon couldn’t take me for longer.
There have been some amazing, godly leaders serving at the Evangelical Alliance throughout its history, people who have surrendered everything to follow the Lord with endless passion and commitment to His church. One such person was the late Rev Dr Joel Edwards CBE, who sadly passed away in June.
Joel epitomised all that was good about the Evangelical Alliance: he was committed to unity, a wonderful leader, generous with friendship, a wise media spokesperson and a spirit-filled preacher. It’s now my firm desire as CEO to stand on the shoulders of the giants who’ve come before me and push us on into this new season. I do believe that some of the most exciting years lie ahead of us, and we need to do all we can to continue the ministry.
As we look ahead and move forward, we do so underpinned by the sure foundation of the Evangelical Alliance, which will always remain the same. In a rapidly changing technological age, we evangelicals will continue to put the Bible at the heart of all we do; we will not lose sight of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the most important moment in human history; we’ll continue with our heartfelt commitment to lead many to surrender their lives to Jesus; and we will be focused in our desire to see our faith lead us to activism, inspired by the love of Christ, across generations.
This forthcoming post-coronavirus season will be as challenging as any in our history. We are committed to assisting the social and spiritual rebuilding of the UK in whatever way we are able to. We will do all we can to bring about evangelical unity in this season. We will speak up, in truth and love, on the issues that matter. We will seek to be the good news people who are so desperately needed.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey. Thank you for your constant prayers, encouragement and faithful support. We exist to serve the Lord and His church. As we have stood together over decades, the Evangelical Alliance has been deeply blessed through its members playing their part, the volunteers giving generously of their time, every member of staff making wholehearted contributions, and all the churches faithfully seeking to impact their community.
Please continue to pray for the Lord’s direction, His hand on the Evangelical Alliance and the release of His will among us. Let’s believe for an incredibly fruitful future, moving forward by standing together as one, doing all we can to be brave and kind as we seek to make Jesus known.