The National Association of Evangelicals has formally named the Rev. Leith Anderson as its president nearly one year after a sex-drug scandal forced its former president, Ted Haggard, to resign.
Anderson, who serves as senior pastor at the 5,000-membered Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., was unanimously approved by NAE board members on Oct. 11 during their fall board meeting held in conjunction with the NAE-Micah Challenge USA “Global Leaders Forum.”
“Leith Anderson is a man of astute mind and has a wealth of experience the NAE needs,” said Israel Gaither, National Commander of the Salvation Army and NAE Executive Committee member, in a statement.
“I highly regard and value Leith’s intellectual strength, godly manor, and impact on evangelicalism in America,” Gaither added.
Anderson had stepped in as the NAE interim president after the sex-drug scandal of former NAE president Ted Haggard forced his resignation in November 2006.
During that difficult time, Anderson reportedly offered stability to the NAE. He has been with the same church for over 30 years and has been married since 1965 to his wife, Charleen, who he has known his whole life.
“The reason they asked me to be the interim president is that I represent stability and continuity,” said Anderson, 62, to The Associated Press last November when he first assumed the position.
It was the second time in six years that Anderson had served as the NAE’s interim president. The first time he came in was during a major repair of the group’s finances and management.
Now, as president, he again finds himself leading the group as it repairs its image.
Anderson has supported the NAE’s movement towards greater social involvement on issues such as global warming, torture, and Darfur.
In March, the NAE board – under Anderson’s leadership – affirmed creation care as an important moral issue deserving the group’s support and commitment. The board also approved a statement on terrorism and torture.
This past week, the Global Leaders Forum, which brought together evangelical leaders from the United States and the Global South, focused on educating evangelical leaders on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals and spurring discussions among leaders on the global social issues. U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon gave the address on the MDGs on the forum’s opening night Thursday. It marked the first time a U.N. head has attended an NAE summit.
Personally, Anderson is a signer of the Evangelical Climate Initiative along with 111 other prominent evangelical leaders including Pastors Rick Warren and Bill Hybels. The ECI statement proclaims global warming is real and mainly human induced. His church is also highly involved in helping HIV/AIDS victim.
Anderson has also authored eight books and is regularly featured on the radio ministry Faith Matters which can be heard on Christian stations across the United States.