When asked to write about what I’m thankful for during the past ten years, my mind is flooded with things for which to praise the one who’s brought us thus far.
The Lord has been faithful to us and here, I’ll attempt to name just a few ‘big picture’ things:
From the earliest months, I’m thankful for the smooth leadership transition from my predecessor, Malcolm McGregor. What a privilege to receive the baton from him and carry forward many initiatives that he’d begun with excellence.
Secondly, I’m thankful for the international board of governors. What an honour to work with them. Among other things, they supported the strategic decision to overhaul the global governance structure of SIM. This resulted in greater capacity and flexibility, allowing SIM to grow as a 21st Century mission.
I’m amazed at how the Lord has blessed our diverse organisation with men and women, who are skilled in leadership and sensitive to the Lord’s voice. I’m referring to members of the executive team, International leadership team; regional and country leaders; ministry leaders and members of all boards.
Today, we have more board members worldwide than in 2013, reflecting the blessing of 48 signatories to the SIM Mission Agreement.
The new governance structure gave rise to a new type of event: the SIM Global Assembly (GA) and the first three took place in Thailand (2015), South Africa (2018), and Kenya (2023). These serve not only a governance function, but provide a time for learning through workshops and a space for interaction among workers who’d not otherwise meet.
I believe one reason for the high quality of our leaders is our intentional investment in leader development. So far, 181 pairs of mentors and mentees have walked together for intentional mentoring in leadership.
I’ve seen an increase in local workers who are leading SIM ministries, who are sharing the practice of leadership and in the number of women in leadership roles.
Very early on, I knew we had leaders who exemplified our core value of ‘responsive to our times’.
The Malaysia Gathering in 2014 drew such leaders from across SIM and helped to clarify the why of our existence, with the priority on where Christ is least known, which soon led to renewed purpose and mission statements.
Two historic pandemics happened in the past decade: Ebola and Covid. I thank the Lord for his protection of our workers and that no active mission worker died.
An end to Ebola came in answer to many prayers, including a concentrated week of prayer worldwide in October 2014.
Surely the Lord had gone before us with the timely decision to build a new leadership structure, that infused the mission with more leadership capacity at all levels when the pandemics arrived? For many months, we were able to assist our entities to navigate safely the many aspects of these pandemics.
I’m also grateful for our global workers, who live out our purpose and mission in many difficult places. The Lord is continuing to call courageous workers into SIM, for his glory.
A region that some may consider a ‘hard place’ is the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia (MENACA). Since our merger with MECO in 2016, we’ve more than doubled the number of workers in this region, including many young people and families. The Holy Spirit is moving in the MENACA to draw many more people to himself. What a privilege for SIM to take part in this.
As the International Director and as a father, I thank the Lord for our hundreds of mission kids. How precious they are to our mission family! The Lord is watching over them as they are raised in many unusual environments and situations.
We’re grateful for God’s protection that we know about and all the protection that we’ll never know about. Yet we also grieve the loss of a couple of our MKs; may the indescribable grief of parents be met by the indescribable peace that flows only from the Holy Spirit.
Jesus identified his purpose on earth in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.”
Although we cannot save the lost, we can seek them and introduce them to the one who saves. At the core of each experience, I’m thankful for, is the way it equips us to seek the lost more effectively.
Amidst adversity, pandemics, political upheaval, persecution, limited resources, and many discomforts, we are a people who spend our days seeking the lost. My most profound gratitude over the past ten years is for the salvation of many through the presence of SIM workers and ministries, each salvation story its own miracle.
To our God be the glory! Amen.