by Xia-Maria Mackay, Christian Today
The Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance has said that the organisation will be “aggressive” in creating new national alliances around the world.
Bishop Efraim Tendero told the WEA’s General Assembly in Indonesia on Friday that his vision for the next decade was to see the organisation be “more focused” on establishing new alliances as well as developing existing ones.
“We are not yet a fully global organisation. While we have national alliances in 131 countries at various levels of maturity, there are 62 countries where we have no alliances or representation,” he said.
He added: “We want to have a national alliance in every country in the world.”
Laying out the strategy, Bishop Tendero said that the WEA was looking to strengthen national alliances to “adopt” countries with smaller alliances or no representation at all.
The WEA has established 12 new national alliances in the Middle East and Central Asia in recent years, and just this week, the Palestinian National Authority granted full recognition to a new national alliance there.
Plans are also afoot to widen training across the alliance in the areas of public engagement, advocacy, working with the United Nations, leadership, persecution and the theology of suffering, he said.
In a wide-ranging State of the Union-style address, Bishop Tendero said that one of the WEA’s most important tasks was to speak up for Christians suffering from persecution and represent them before national governments and the United Nations.
“We pray for the Church around the world and we feel a great burden in relation to those churches that remain faithful under dangerous circumstances,” he said.
“Global advocacy for religious freedom is one of our most important activities. This advocacy is essential in our goal of enabling the Gospel to be preached throughout the world.
“We support religious freedom for all peoples, not only Christians, and by so doing we gain the respect of our partners in this effort.”
A country of particular concern is Algeria, where authorities have closed several churches in recent weeks.
“Our efforts for religious freedom in Algeria, where churches have recently been shut down by government authorities, are ongoing,” he said.
“Authorities recently closed down six churches and our national alliance is appealing for support and prayer at this time.”
He added: “Christians all over the world are suffering for their faith and it is gratifying to know that we play a pivotal role in standing up for and encouraging our fellow believers.”
Read Bp Tendero’s full speech here.