In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
Efraim Tendero told Evangelical Focus that challenges for the Gospel include “secularism and humanism dictating the agenda in today's society” and the “progress of Islam”.
“I will seek to establish links with other Global Evangelical Initiatives so we can see how to have greater collaboration for effective Christian witness,” new World Evangelical Alliance secretary general Efraim Tendero told Evangelical Focus.
Two weeks after his appointment was made public, Tendero is working on his transition after leading the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches for more than 20 years. This national alliance unites more than 30,000 Evangelical Churches in a country in which the Gospel message is growing fast.
REACTIONS: “GLOBAL SOUTH PERSPECTIVE” MUCH APPRECIATED
When Tendero’s name was made public, the acting secretary general, Rev. Ndaba Mazabane said: “We are not only pleased, but confident that Efraim is the right person to take WEA into the future,” and asked to “uphold him and his family in your prayers and support him in every possible way as he makes this leadership transition and prepares for the task ahead.”
Reactions from Europe were also very positive. Frank Hinkelmann, president of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) said he was “thrilled” about the appointment and thought Bishop Tendero’s “huge experience and his Global South perspective” will help “lead WEA into its next step of its development”. Thomas Bucher, EEA’s general secretary added: “He is a man of vision and also somebody who can make things happen. A great choice for the further development of the WEA.”
CHALLENGE: AGENDA OF SECULARISM AND HUMANISM
Efraim Tendero responded to Evangelical Focus’ questions and gave some hints about where the WEA could be working towards in the coming years.
Question. Thinking of the gospel’s impact worldwide, what challenges do you see you for God’s mission in the next few years?
Ansawer. We face the challenge of secularism and humanism dictating the agenda in today's society. We also see the missiological progress of other world religions particularly Islam.
Q. What will some of your first priorities be as you take charge?
A. We want to establish the baseline of the Evangelical Alliance, identify our strengths, limitations, opportunities, and challenges.
I want to build on what has been done by the previous leadership, intensifying the best practices, reviewing those that do not work well, and identifying with the existing leadership team what new initiatives to focus on.
I will work with existing leadership on how to strengthen Regional Networks of the WEA so they can in turn minister to their respective National Networks.
I will seek to establish links with other Global Evangelical Initiatives so we can see how to have greater collaboration for effective Christian witness.
"INTEGRAL MISSION" IN ALL OF SOCIETY
Q. The Philippines is a place where more and more people are coming to Christ, with a growing Evangelical church. What encourages you about the situation of the churches in your countries?
A. We have seen significant growth in the Evangelical Churches both in numbers and quality. I am encouraged by the missiological advances done even in creative access countries, and the rise of appreciation and practice of doing Integral Mission.
Q. Many are happy to see that the new leadership of the WEA has been given to someone from the so-called “Global South”, were the Church is growing. What new perspectives can we learn in Europe - and the rest of the Western world?
A. We are grateful to the Church from the Global North for their missionary endeavors that reached the Global South. We from the South want to work with the Western Christians as partners in the ministry.
We need to identify the best practices that bore great results, and develop greater networking so we can avoid duplication, eliminate competition, and enhance greater collaboration.
Q. We read about your personal interest in connecting with the social and political areas of life. How should the Gospel impact on our social and political decisions?
A. We are called to be the salt and light in our society. We need to be the salt that preserves and the light that improves our society. The Good News must be able to interact with our socio-political arena in order to bring the transformative values of the Gospel that we proclaim and live out.
Efraim Tendero will start in his new role in front of the World Evangelical Alliance in March 2015. The WEA represents 600 million Evangelicals worldwide and unites 129 national Evangelical Alliances.