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Thank you and goodbye from Steve Clifford

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This is the last letter that I will write to you as general director of the Evangelical Alliance, as I will be stepping down at the end of 2019.

As I write, I do so with a whole mixture of emotions. It’s now 10 years since I took on this role, and I regard it as an amazing privilege to have been called by God to serve Him and His church within the Evangelical Alliance.

I’m incredibly thankful to God for all that has been achieved over the last ten years. I’ll always remember the 2012 Council meeting which birthed the One People Commission, a wonderful example of Christians coming together to celebrate the diversity of the UK church and bring change to our nation. A year later we were blessed to move into our new central London Resource Centre, opened by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, during a wonderful time of celebration. 

I’ll never forget seeing former Prime Minister Theresa May commend Speak Up in parliament, which has gone on to equip tens of thousands of Christians with confidence and knowledge to share their faith. Likewise it’s amazing to think that church leaders still talk to me about the value of our Talking Jesus research, published in 2015 to explore the UK’s understanding of Jesus and the church’s commitment to making him known. 

In the last few years, it’s been a privilege to witness the significant growth of our Great Commission web hub, an amazing resource inspiring and equipping the church every single day, alongside our Public Leadership training course, which has equipped 100 young adults across the UK to lead faithfully in their context of influence. Most recently I’ve been honoured to be involved in creating a pivotal new role to reach the missing generation” of young adults in the UK church. All the while our advocacy team has been briefing politicians and key advisors on legal and political issues that are important to you. 

Yet one of the greatest delights of my time at the Evangelical Alliance has been the privilege of working alongside an amazing team of people that God has brought together from across the UK. Their commitment, energy and passion is extraordinary and together they hold a remarkable set of skills. I’m convinced that in the coming years, their work in serving and representing you will become even more important. 

It is as vital now as it has ever been that the voice of evangelical Christians is heard in government and the media. We need to be working together in our mission to make Jesus known, collaboratively sharing our resources and learning from each other. 

As I step down as general director, I am absolutely delighted that Gavin Calver, currently our director of mission, will be taking on the role of leading the Evangelical Alliance. I believe Gavin has been called by God and is uniquely equipped to fulfil this key post. He will build on what has been achieved over the last ten years and take the Evangelical Alliance into what God has planned for its future.

While I am stepping down from the role of general director, let me assure you that I will not be stepping away from my support of this wonderful organisation as it champions the work of the UK church. I will, of course, remain a member, a supporter and champion of the Evangelical Alliance. And my legacy gift will continue to give financial support, even when I am no longer here.

So, as my final letter comes to an end and I say my goodbyes, may I say a heartfelt thank you for your generosity and support over the years, both prayerfully and financially. I truly am so grateful.

And may I also ask you to consider giving a gift to the Evangelical Alliance so the team I’ve worked with over the last ten years across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will know your commitment to their ongoing work. 

The challenge of giving every person who walks the streets of the United Kingdom an opportunity to encounter Jesus for themselves is enormous. Yet with God’s grace I’m convinced that the UK church can rise to the challenge, and that the Evangelical Alliance has a vital role to play in serving God’s people in this wonderful task.

Yours with respect and appreciation,

Steve Clifford

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