The World Evangelical Alliance, which represents over 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide, has announced the appointment of Thomas Schirrmacher, who studied theology in Switzerland and the United States, as its next secretary-general and chief executive officer.
The WEA’s International Council unanimously affirmed Schirrmacher, who lives in Germany, as the group’s next leader, the WEA said in a statement.
Schirrmacher, who is currently the WEA’s Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns, will replace Bp Efraim Tendero, on March 1, 2021.
“I am humbled that so many esteemed leaders are putting their trust in me,” said Schirrmacher, who was earlier a member of the Religious Liberty Commission and helped develop the International Institute for Religions Freedom. “Having been part of the leadership for a long time, I already feel very much at home in the WEA.”
The Rev. Ioan Sauca, the World Council of Churches interim general secretary, congratulated Schirrmacher. “I have had the pleasure to meet and work with you and other representatives of the World Evangelical Alliance at several occasions as we explored possibilities of working together facing developments in society and churches,” he said, according to Ecumenical News.
“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,” IC Chair Goodwill Shana said. “He is committed to building partnerships and seeing WEA contribute to the development of the global Christian community.”
Shana said Schirrmacher’s experience will be valuable for the WEA. “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.”
Tendero, the outgoing general secretary, said he will hand over the group’s stewardship with “great joy.”
“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,” Tendero said. “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.”
Schirrmacher, who is chair of WEA’s Theological Commission and the group’s Ambassador for Human Rights, said more than his 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.”
He added that he sees “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.”