The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has formally welcomed its new Secretary General & CEO, theologian Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, in a ceremony live-streamed on Saturday from Bonn, Germany.
Evangelical leaders representing 9 regional and 140 national Evangelical Alliances around the world joined the event online with greetings, prayers and blessings to induct the new leadership.
Beginning the ceremony, WEA's Chair of the International Council, Rev. Dr. Goodwill Shana led attendees with a devotion from Acts 2:42 and 2:45.
"As WEA enters a new era, may the Lord grant that we see continuity, renewal and transformation through our new leadership," he said.
WEA's Vice Chair of International Council Rev. Dr. Frank Hinkelmann welcomed the new Secretary General in the studio near Bonn. An introduction was shown via a short video clip that featured Dr. Schirrmacher's expansive library as a backdrop, from which he gave a brief introduction and background about his family, education, faith, passion projects and ministry works.
Congratulatory greetings were also sent by Rev. Dr. Casely Essamuah (Secretary - Global Christian Forum), Dr. Billy Wilson (Chair - Pentecostal World Fellowship), and Dr. Michael Oh (CEO -Lausanne Movement).
Next, Dr. Schirrmacher was formally commissioned to the role of Secretary General with blessings from WEA leaders around the world. He was presented with a globe and a Bible in Chinese from his predecessor Bishop Efraim Tendero, symbolizing the heart of God for the world and the Word of God as a guide for his leadership of the WEA.
Prayers and blessings for Dr. Schirrmacher were given by Dr. Goodwill Shana, Dr. Reinhardt Schink (General Secretary of Germany EA), and Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau, (General Secretary of South Pacific EA).
Two new deputy secretary generals (DSGs) were also introduced - Dr. Peirong Lin and Rev. Dr. Brian Winslade, who will join Dr Schirrmacher's leadership team. Prayers for the two DSGs were given by various regional Evangelical Alliance leaders.
In his inaugural speech, Dr. Schirrmacher thanked the contributors for their well-wishes and touched on some of the cornerstones of what it means to be an evangelical and the characteristics of evangelicalism. He went on to describe the Bible as the "confession of the Church" that stands above everything, stating the foundational principle that no one is above the Word of God.
Schirrmacher also highlighted religious freedom and concern for persecuted believers as something that has been integral to WEA from the very beginning. He acknowledged that the task of leading the WEA goes beyond the ability of any one person, stating that it is only by the prayer of millions around the world that he will be able to take on this new role and lead the WEA into the future.
Following his inaugural address, further prayers and words of encouragement were given for the new leadership team. WEA members from Trinidad and Tabago, Argentina, Switzerland, Angola and the United States spoke about unity, mission religious freedom, creation care and the gospel for all nations.
To bring the event to its conclusion, a closing prayer and benediction were given by Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, who served as the former WEA Secretary General from 2005-2014.
"We want to thank you for the smooth transition of leadership to our friend and brother Thomas Schirrmacher. I pray that you will give him much wisdom, guidance, strength and protection," prayed Tunnicliffe.