The head of Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism, one of the world's most distinguished mission organizations, announced that he will step down from his position as president of another mission organization to concentrate more on the former.
The Rev. S. Douglas Birdsall, who has led the mission organization Asian Access for 16 years, said Monday that he will officially stop serving as the group's president on Sept. 30 to devote more time to his position as LCWE's executive international chair.
"After much thought and prayer, I realized that I could no longer effectively lead both organizations," Birdsall said in a statement. "I am grateful for the evidence of God's providence in using everything I've experienced up to this point to prepare me for this new role with Lausanne. I want to give it my all.
"I also realize that Asian Access is at a point in its growth where it needs the undivided time and passion of a new leader who can take the ministry forward," Birdsall added.
Lausanne is currently planning for the Third International Congress on World Evangelization in 2010. The first Lausanne Congress in 1974 was convened by the Rev. Billy Graham and is considered one of the most significant world mission conferences in history because it developed The Lausanne Covenant, a declaration that provides the theological groundwork for intentional world evangelization, which is used by hundreds of Christian organizations as their statement of faith
Asian Access has named an interim president, Bruce Johnson, while a search committee finds a permanent replacement. Birdsall is a member of the ministry's board of directors and will continue this position and as an Asian Access missionary.
"The board deeply loves Doug and his wife Jeanie, and we wish them the very best as they follow God's call," said Ron McMahon, chairman of Asian Access' board of directors, in a statement "We appreciate how they have led this mission with progressive vision and untarnished character.
"While we are sorry to lose Doug as our leader, our mission is to 'identify, develop and release kingdom leaders,'" McMahon said. "In keeping with this objective, we feel we are releasing him to purse his expanded passion for the world, since Lausanne is global, extending well beyond Asia."
Asian Access is an evangelical mission organization that develops leaders and seeks to multiply churches.