Interview: New Evangelical Missions Head on Engaging Next Generation

The Rev. Steve Moore, newly installed president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies (EFMA), spoke to The Christian Post on Oct .12 about his upcoming plans for the organization and how he plans to apply his knowledge as founder of a leadership training ministry to engage the next generation of mission leaders.

CP: Can you tell us briefly about the purpose and mission of EFMA?

Moore: EFMA started in 1946 as an extension of the mission commission of the National Association of Evangelicals. It had 13 charter members that publicly affirmed their commitment to work together in global missions in the framework of the evangelical community. It had a unifying function when it started, but that quickly morphed into an additional function that I would describe as a credentialing function. EFMA began to serve as the ‘good house-keeping’ seal of approval for mission agencies.

The credentialing function has been the primary identity of EFMA. What we are recognizing now – and this is not unique to us; many associations are facing the same kind of challenges and opportunities – is in addition to a unifying and credentialing function, EFMA needs to add a developing function. In other words, we need to provide practical, value-added kinds of investment in our members in order for them to justify a continued association with us.

Our refocus for EFMA has simply been to facilitate relational and developmental initiative that increase the effectiveness of missions organization by adding value to their leaders and stimulating partnership in the missions community. So we want to help our members do what God has raised them up to do even more effectively.

We have recognized that the two most universal ways that we could help our members be more effective would be leadership and partnership. So if we can add values to the leaders of our member organization and if we can help them partner with other like-minded organizations within the evangelical community then we can help them be more effective.

So the unifying function has not gone away and the credentialing function has not gone away, but we have very intentionally added an additional function that I would describe as a developing function that is focused on the organization’s effectiveness.

CP: What made you want to take the role of leading the agency?

Moore: My background has been in the area of young leader development with a focus on international ministry. So I have been involved with developing young leaders globally for more than 10 years and EFMA through its board approached me about this role. Probably what attracted me the most was the combination of a very clear commitment to engage the next generation of mission leaders and their commitment to move in this direction of organizational effectiveness – helping members do what God has raise them up to do more effectively.

I would say if it wasn’t for the clear focus on engaging the next generation of mission leaders this role probably wouldn’t have captured my heart in the same way that it did.

CP: You’re also the founder and president of Keep Growing Inc. What skills and knowledge from your experience with Keep Growing do you plan and hope to share with members of EFMA?

Moore: My experience with Keep Growing has defined and redefined in me coaching and mentoring skills, in particular leadership coaching. We have come to believe that one of the ways we can add value to the leaders of EFMA member organization is through coaching.

CP: What are some of the plans or upcoming conferences or events for EFMA?

Moore: Based on our commitment to engage the next generation, our September 2007 Executive Retreat is going to focus very specifically on that subject – engaging the next generation of donors, workers, and churches. We are already gearing up very specifically for that event even though it’s a year away.

In addition, we have an annual event – a tax and finance seminar – for the business side of our agencies such as for the CFO, accountants, etc., that will be held in Dallas in Jan. 19-20.

CP: Do you have anything you would like to add?

Moore: I am very encouraged about the momentum that came out of our annual Executive Retreat this past September. Our members enthusiastically affirmed the direction of EFMA and were extremely gracious of their support of me personally. I feel like we have a tremendous window of opportunity and momentum going into 2007 that I’m really excited about.