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WEA Unite: Internal Newsletter 2021/1

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From the Desk of the Secretary General

We are united by the Holy Spirt speaking through and in line with Scripture

During the handover ceremony inaugurating my term as Secretary General, I referred to Holy Scripture as the constitution of Evangelicals. Here is a slightly edited excerpt from my remarks:

We are deeply convinced that the Bible is the confession of the Church. But the idea of a paper document that would rule the people comes from the Old Testament. For the ancient Hebrews, the Torah was above the king and everyone else. Some people mock us and say the Bible is our ‘paper Pope’. We are proud to have a paper Pope, because it assures us that none of us, including me, are above the Word of God.

The Westminster Confession of 1647 states, ‘The supreme judge by whom all controversies of religion are to be determined and all decrees of councils or opinions of ancient writers and doctrines of man and private opinions are to be examined and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other…’—and now you would expect it to say ‘than the Scriptures’. But no! In 1647, they said the supreme judge ‘can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in Scripture’. We believe the Holy Spirit is ruling His Church, but this is not in opposition to Holy Scripture. Rather, the Spirit is the author of the Holy Scriptures and is using His constitution, the Scriptures, to rule the Church. That for us is the DNA of Christianity and it is what evangelicals are all about.

The World Evangelical Alliance is complete only if the World Reformed Fellowship sits alongside the Pentecostal World Fellowship under our umbrella—just to mention two close friends of the WEA. It is complete only if Bible-believing Anglican bishops sit with the modern apostles of the independent churches. It is complete only if the enormous emphasis on Bible and the church inherited from Reformation times 500 years ago, which preserved the faith of the early church, kisses the ever-new revival movements inspired by the author of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost changed the world thanks to a sermon by Peter on a text from Holy Scripture, which the Holy Spirit powerfully used to initiate world mission. In the same way, let us seek our unity in Christ with the Bible in hand and with our eyes and ears open to the move of the Holy Spirit.

Thomas Schirrmacher
Secretary General / CEO
World Evangelical Alliance

Read the full speech 

Ministry Highlights

Alliance Engagement Department: Strengthening Our Relationship with Member Alliances

At the core of the WEA are 140+ National Alliances that support, resource and speak for the international evangelical community. The WEA department that specifically focuses upon our Alliances is the Alliance Engagement Department, led by Brian Winslade, Deputy Secretary-General (Ministries).

AED exists to serve member Alliances through liaison, communication, resourcing and collaboration with other departments and ministries that make up our global family. They are the “how are you doing?” and “how can we help?” face of the WEA.

Several key initiatives that make up AED:

The Global Institute for Leadership (GIL) focuses on leadership and skill development. They ‘scratch’ where Alliances are ‘itching’ in terms of capacity building. Responding to requests for assistance, GIL has been helping Alliances develop financial sustainability, relief and development strategies and disaster relief mitigation. They bring leaders with expertise around the table with specified felt needs that Alliances have expressed. GIL invites Alliances to ask for resourcing and training, and they will broker the best-practice skills to help.
The Decade of Disciple-Making (DoDM) task force is giving ‘legs’ to the emphasis embraced at the Global Assembly (2019) that the years 2020-30 focus on disciple-making. The task force has been clarifying the theological imperative for disciple-making and providing resources, stories, models and prophetic challenge for Alliances as they work with their member churches.
The Communication department is the relational glue that holds WEA together, and has exciting plans for developing our modes and media for connecting together. The Communications department is part AED and part “operations” as it manages WEA data, releases information, and tells the stories that build our global community.
Roadmap 2030 is a document that defines WEA’s big-picture collaboration across our networks and how we can align together as a global movement. Less of a programme, and more of a philosophical modus operandi, the Roadmap 2030 will increasingly guide and shape WEA’s development. Helping monitor its implementation and applications is a part of AED’s responsibility.

Watch this space for further ideas and initiatives that the Alliance Engagement Department will bring to the fore. In the meantime the Director of AED (Brian Winslade) is seeking to connect personally with as many National Alliance leadership teams as possible. If you’d be keen for a call/visit, please get in touch.

New Resource from Church Engagement Department

The Church in Community department, now called The Church Engagement Department, has a number of commissions, taskforces, initiatives and partners who serve the Evangelical Alliances and the broader WEA family in developing healthy disciple-making churches that express the kingdom of God in their communities. There are many resources that have been developed by the ministry leaders, which can be found on the WEA website.

Recently, the women’s commission launched their book “Co-workers and Co-leaders: women and men partnering for God’s work”. The book explores what healthy partnerships can look like in different contexts and how we can overcome barriers of tradition or misunderstanding that hinders us. Providing a global perspective, this book has 20 contributors from across the globe with chapters on biblical and theological exploration, as well as current practical insights from women and men across generations and cultures. Download a copy of this book here: https://women.worldea.org/resources/

Stay tuned for a webinar on partnership between men and women that will happen in the coming months.

Download eBook

Staff Spotlight

– Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa to Portuguese immigrants and grew up and studied in Pretoria. Raised in a very conservative Catholic family and began attending church, catechism and praying the rosary from a young age. I was a devout Catholic and It was not until my university years when I can say that I met the Lord Jesus Christ, accepted Him as my Lord and Savior and embarked on a personal deeper relationship with Him.

Looking back, I can testify of God’s miraculous work as He prepared a foreign missionary to come to my university to teach me the Bible so that I may come to know His deep love and purpose for my life. Then I devoted my life to the work of God and served as a full-time missionary for 4 years in various countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe. Following my years in full time mission I spent time serving ministries in financial roles before joining the WEA in 2011.

My favorite bible verses come from Proverbs 3: 5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

The precious time the Lord has given me on earth, I wish to live for His glory and His Kingdom. He is the one who has faithfully delivered me through hardships and difficulties and led me by His love and grace. I will always trust Him with all my heart and do my very best to not fall into my own personal thinking.

I am married to Peter (former full time missionary) and have 4 sons: Abraham 10, Aaron 7, Victor 5, Michael 2. I thank God for all the grace and blessings He has so mercifully bestowed upon my life and wish to be continually used by Him as His Gospel of truth transforms this world.

– How long have you worked at WEA? What do you do?

I have been with the WEA for 10 years and am the Director of Finance for the organization. This work involves several functions from day-day financial transactions to the monthly financial reports, audit and tax filing preparation.

– What do you like about the WEA? How do you think your role contributes particularly to the vision of the WEA?

I like the diversity of WEA! Evangelicals from all four corners of the earth with varying ethnicities, backgrounds and languages all come together under the WEA umbrella sharing the common love for Jesus Christ and passion for His Gospel.

I believe my role in the area of finance makes a significant contribution to the vision of the WEA in the way that when the WEA is able to raise enough funds to send to the nations in need, the financial resource will help them purchase the services / products they need to do the required work in the region. The work of facilitating the transfer and disbursement of funds is essential. There are unfortunately many instances where work cannot progress/ be completed due to lack of funds.

– Any other thoughts?

I am thankful to be here in the WEA and a part of this team to serve you. To God be the praise and glory always!

 Purpose of UNITE

We hope you have enjoyed reading our first issue of this newsletter! Unite is our new quarterly newsletter from the central operations of the WEA. We would like to keep you updated with the key highlights from the WEA. In each edition, there is something straight from the desk of the Secretary General, highlights from Alliance Engagement Department as well as pertinent news from one of our other ministries. Additionally, we would also like to take this opportunity to introduce the different faces of WEA. In the future, we plan to add tailored information for our different members: alliances, affiliates and church networks. If you have any suggestions what else you would like to see featured, or any other questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact us.