Deerfield, IL – October 29, 2020
The International Council (IC) of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Thomas Schirrmacher as the next Secretary General / CEO. Bringing many years of experience serving in various roles in the WEA, Dr Schirrmacher was recommended by the Search Committee from among more than a dozen candidates, and unanimously affirmed by the IC on a conference call on October 27. He will assume leadership of the WEA on March 1, 2021.
In a letter announcing the appointment to WEA’s constituency, Dr Goodwill Shana, Chair of the International Council, said: “Thomas will be known to many of you, as he has served in the WEA for many years. He enjoys working with groups of diverse people and seeing people work together to advance the aims of the WEA. He is committed to building partnerships and seeing WEA contribute to the development of the global Christian community.”
“He has a great deal of experience that we believe will benefit the WEA and we are very happy to appoint such a gifted person,” Dr Shana continued and added: “We have every confidence that Thomas is able to lead WEA at this point in our life and history and with great vision for the future. We will continue to covet your prayers and support in ensuring that this very significant step proceeds smoothly and results in the strengthening of the WEA and the proclamation of the gospel around the world.”
Outgoing Secretary General Bp Efraim Tendero commented: “It is with great joy that I will be handing over the stewardship of the WEA to Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher early next year, the person who is best prepared to lead the global body of evangelicals into the future. As we have partnered together in the WEA Senior Leadership Team for several years, I saw in him the charisma, competence and capacity that is matched by the character, conviction and calling from God that are needed for such a global task. I have full confidence that he will lead the WEA as empowered by the Holy Spirit in advancing the Good news of the Lord Jesus Christ to all nations, and effecting personal, family and community transformation for the glory of God.”
Upon his appointment, Dr Schirrmacher said: “I am humbled that so many esteemed leaders are putting their trust in me. Having been part of the leadership for a long time, I already feel very much at home in the WEA. Beside all my academic and socio-political involvement, the center of my convictions has always been the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for each individual and the whole world. And I see WEA as the best place to serve the Church. I feel safe in the assurance that I am carried by the prayer of millions of believers and knowing that I am standing on the big shoulders of my predecessors.”
About Dr Thomas Schirrmacher:
Dr Schirrmacher has served in various roles in the WEA since 1999, and is currently the WEA’s Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns. Prior to this, he was a member of the Religious Liberty Commission, developed the International Institute for Religions Freedom, built up WEA’s Office for Intrafaith and Interfaith Relations, is Chair of WEA’s Theological Commission, and WEA’s Ambassador for Human Rights.
Dr Schirrmacher studied theology at colleges in Switzerland, the United States, Netherlands and also received a degree from India. He holds several degrees in various disciplines and a number of earned doctorates to his name. He was pastor and co-pastor of local churches in the Bonn area from 1982 – 2000 and, in 2015, was consecrated as an episcopal leader serving the Communio Messianica, a global body of believers from another faith background. He also taught theology and trained future pastors from 1982 – 2018.
As a strong advocate for religious liberty for all, Dr Schirrmacher has a great concern for the persecuted church and has been a promoter of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) that was founded by the WEA more than two decades ago.
Dr Thomas Schirrmacher is married to Dr Christine Schirrmacher. Together they have two adult children and currently live in Bonn, Germany. Christine is a professor of Islamic Studies at the Universities of Bonn and Leuven as well as serving WEA as Commissioner for Islamic Affairs.
Over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of those, serving more than 600 million evangelicals. Launched in 1846 to unite evangelicals worldwide, the WEA continues to be a dynamic movement with 9 regional and 134 national Evangelical Alliances, and over 150 member organizations. WEA’s mission is to establish and strengthen regional and national Evangelical Alliances, who in turn enable their national Church to advance the Good News of Jesus Christ and effect personal and community transformation for the glory of God. For more information, visit Worldea.org.