The Pandemic context is definitely shaping our new context of mission. Organisations, church networks and theological institutions are all adapting to this new missional context. But one of the things I am discerning that God is doing in this season is a change in leadership. Firstly, we are loosing some significant leaders. Only this year we have lost the Latin American mission theologian, Rene Padilla (1932-2021), Joel Edwards (1951-2021), who is an eminent and renown evangelical, ecumenical African Caribbean senior church leader. Lastly, is Andrew Walls (1926-2021), the doyen of World Christianity. These three leaders are global leaders who have all been at the forefront of change within the global church. As we lose these significant leaders, a question that runs through my mind is, who are the leaders in the next generation whom God might be calling?
Added to this is the fact that in the last three years there has been a change of leadership from several church denominations, para-church organisations and mission agencies. Two of this change in leadership that I will focus on in this brief article is Langham Partnership and Global Connections. This is of course because the new leaders of these two organisations are good friends of mine and directors at Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World (CMMW).
Langham Partnership recently had a change of global leadership from Chris Wright to Tayo Arikawe. This might sound casual, but anyone familiar with the history Langham will recognise that this is a massive shift as Tayo will be the first black African to held the post of Langham International Director. This change is quite significant because it is a pioneering role. It is also significant because current analysis are suggesting that Africa now has the largest number of Christians and that this is set to continue. Tayo Arikawe is one of our directors and we applaud Langham for taking this step and rejoice with Tayo and trust that the God who has called him will anoint him for exploits. Here is the press release for Tayo Arikawe’s appointment
Another significant appointment is that Global Connections now have a new CEO in Harvey Kwiyani. Again, Harvey is one of our directors and we rejoice at this bold move from Global Connections. This appointment is equally significant because Harvey will be the first black African to be appointed to this role in Global Connections 80 years history (if counting from 1941 when the International Missionary Fellowship was formed). This appointment is also important signalling currents and trends in terms of the global nature of diasporic mission. Here is the press release for Harvey Kwiyani’s appointment
In concluding, I believe this two appointments are signalling something of a paradigm shift in western global dominance when it comes to leadership. It seems that God might be doing something new in this pandemic season.