The National Association of Evangelicals named its first president of color Thursday when its board of directors elected Korean American Virginia pastor Walter Kim as the next head of the 45,000-church network.
Kim, who serves as pastor for leadership at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, will continue serving in that role even when he takes over as the head of NAE on Jan. 1, 2020.
“As a proven pastor, scholar and thought leader, Walter brings an incredible combination of skills to lead the National Association of Evangelicals into the next decade,” Roy Taylor, the chair of the NAE Board of Directors, said in a statement.
“His ability to think critically and engage charitably has garnered respect and enthusiasm among our leaders as we consider the future of the NAE and evangelicalism in America and throughout the world.”
The NAE is an association of 40 denominations with millions of constituents along with dozens of schools and nonprofits. The association provides resources for ministry leaders and advocates for issues of “justice and righteousness.”
At a time in which many Americans view evangelicals through a political lens thanks to the media’s focus on the strong white conservative evangelical support for President Donald Trump, NAE has been at the forefront of pointing out that “evangelical” is a theological term that encompasses a politically diverse group of people.
The NAE seeks to unite the “many voices of evangelicals together to be more effective for Jesus Christ and his cause.”
Anderson, the former senior pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, served as NAE president since 2006. He regularly advocated for things like immigration reform and criminal justice reform. He has also been strong in his support for the continued resettlement of refugees in the U.S.
After 13 years at the helm of NAE, Anderson announced in February that he would retire after the conclusion of his term.
Anderson praised Kim’s “passion to see the Gospel impact lives, transform communities and change culture,” adding that it “is contagious.”
Kim’s election drew the approval of Johnnie Moore, an evangelical media relations executive who frequently engages in an informal capacity with the Trump administration.
“Walter Kim is a respected and thoughtful Christian leader who defies evangelical stereotype and I look forward to working alongside him as he leads our great association at a time of exponential growth in the global, evangelical movement,” Moore, an NAE board member, told The Christian Post.
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Source: Christian Post