WEA Launches New Network to Strengthen Emphasis on Evangelism
(Bonn, 16.08.2021) The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is pleased to announce the launch of the Global Evangelism Network (GEN) to put a renewed emphasis on its historical role in uniting evangelicals around proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. GEN is part of WEA’s Global Witness department alongside the Mission Commission, each entity focusing on different aspects of God’s mission and working collaboratively to strengthen and widen the Church’s witness in the world. Samuel E. Chiang has been appointed as the inaugural Executive Director of the new network.
“While evangelism has been central to the WEA’s purpose since its founding, the Global Evangelism Network will enable evangelism movements and organizations to better connect with the WEA’s global network of church-focused alliances and like-minded organizations,” explained Dr. Jay Matenga, WEA’s Director of Global Witness.
The GEN serves as a bridging point with the WEA for existing evangelism-focused movements and organizations. It will represent the WEA in the constellation of evangelistic associations and networks; convene leadership roundtables, forums, conferences and other gatherings to cross-pollinate ideas, practices, and collaborative opportunities; and conduct research into evangelistic practice in our contemporary global context. All to affirm a Biblically authentic theology of evangelism and contribute toward more effective world evangelization.
Introducing the newly appointed Executive Director, Dr. Matenga said: “Samuel brings a unique set of strengths, skills, experience and relationships to the new position. His passion to see the perspective of Majority World churches amplified is another great asset. We are delighted that Samuel responded so positively to our invitation, with a deep sense that God was calling him to lead the development of such a network.”
Samuel E. Chiang was born and raised in Taiwan, lived in Canada and worked with Ernst & Young. Now based in North America, he and his family have previously resided in Hong Kong for 25 years and from there Samuel travelled to 88 countries, teaching, coaching, and consulting in nearly 40 of them. He has written and published widely across multiple disciplines. He has been instrumental in co-founding companies including the Global Centre for Giftedness and AI companies. From his corporate work he has assigned profits back into non-profits, especially for Bible translation. He also previously served as the CEO of Seed Company, a Scripture translation ministry. He is married to Robbi and has three adult children.
Upon his appointment, Chiang expressed: “I am humbled to serve in this important focus,” and noted that “globally, we are in between generations, navigating cultural changes, needing to do evangelism theology in real-time that is solidly rooted in the Bible. I am delighted with WEA’s new emphasis on evangelism for this century and look forward to connecting with the leaders, organizations, and movements focused on evangelism and seeing GEN serving the global Church in this way.”
WEA Secretary General Bishop Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher commented that “world evangelism has been with the World Evangelical Alliance since its founding in London in 1846.”
“Already at that time, it was prepared by a large prayer movement and accompanied by its political counterpart – the fight for religious freedom – as evangelism is by nature incompatible with any form of pressure by the state, influence of money or other types of coercion,” Schirrmacher said, and added that “it was always coupled with working for the transformation of society. A good illustration is the famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ that called for witnessing to God’s ‘grace’ on a very personal level, but the song is powerful because of the author’s own experience as a former slave trader who came to faith in Jesus Christ, repented for his sins, changed and turned into a major abolitionist campaigner.”
Furthermore, Dr. Schirrmacher explained that “for many years, evangelism was partially at home in the Mission Commission, while the WEA also left the topic to other global evangelical actors to some extent. But it is time to combine all our efforts into a visible network within the Global Witness department, in order to connect the large number of traditional organizations around evangelism with a growing number of new evangelical actors that are emerging around the world. We hope the launch of the GEN will also convey that, with all that the WEA is engaged in, it was never intended to replace or diminish the importance of the verbal communication of the gospel.”
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