We publish this with permission from Bill Taylor, the first Executive Director of the WEA MC, as he reflects on a personal transition season.
March 8, 2017
Good friends, global colleagues within the international family of the WEA Mission Commission. Of major changes in my life and ministry, of new dreams and visions, of envisioned mountain ranges and foothills …
The prime reason for these transitions comes from the conclusion last December 31, of 30 years on the staff team of the Mission Commission, World Evangelical Alliance.
The October 2016 Panama celebration at our last global consultation witnessed David’s installation as executive director of the MC. That was the public announcement and it was a good and strong party. I had started in that position (back then it was called executive secretary—and my first duty under chairman Theo William’s was to write the minutes of the MC gathering in Singapore that June 30, 1986) as a naive 46 old with zero knowledge of WEA. I had never heard the terms “network” or “networking” or “synergy partnerships”. But I learned. I was mentored by Dave Howard (Singapore) Theo Williams (India), Wade Coggins (USA), Stanley Davies (USA), Ray Windsor (New Zealand), Reuben Ezemadu and Panya Baba (both from Nigeria). And others.
That season came to its healthy conclusion in June 2006 when Bertil assumed the position, which he held for a decade. And last year’s transition put me at a mature age 76. That’s three decades serving the MC. That a long time! One of the down-sides of this new reality means that I no longer will see most of you face to face, and this may be good for you! But a loss for me. I do continue as an MC Associate, with the privilege of making my annual contribution to keep that unique sea-going, network-alliance afloat, especially with David Ruíz as our skipper. In time he will build his crew to serve with singular creativity into the MC’s preferred future.
As I gaze into my own future I see the Hand of God, I see release, I see a new chapter, I see diminishing strength, I see myself down-shifting, I see medical offices, I see myself on the latter laps of the race, I see naps. God has indicated to me that I will not climb over this last mountain range set before me; rather, I have heard the Voice saying that I will rest at those foothills, for there and then I will have served my generation and then I shall “permanently change my address”.
Thanks be to God, some five years ago we were led to start a wee ministry-non-profit entity called TGC, which would become the platform to carry us through probable transitions and into our own preferred future. The calling (long-term vocation) upon me is to increase my role as mentor, to write (finally released to write my own stuff), to consult, and to teach in seminaries as an adjunct prof (and thanks be to God, that plate is rather full). The gracious God opens doors.
One clear implication of this change calls for me to reactivate the blog as my primary voice-platform. Facebook postings will primarily refer people to the blog. It is here that I will float some of my reflections, and especially the first pieces of my memoirs–reflections of a global pilgrim. I am eager to do this: http://theglobalpilgrim.com/
My kids have been at me for some time to write down the stories of my life, and the stories I have told over the decades. I am eager to engage that project. I have a great section called “Sayings of my father”, who was great at dropping cryptic statements and never explaining them. Great wisdom. I do have the title of two chapters, say Ch. 36 and 37. Chapter 36: “People I have met that I wished I had never met”. And the content of that chapter is this: “That’s all I’m going to write about them”. But Chapter 37: “What I learned from those people”. Not that sounds like a fun task.
One of my dreams, perhaps inchoate for I had a hard time understanding my job (very difficult to explain even to friends, much more on an airplane), but it became a driving, intuitive vision, was that I longed for the MC to become a global community of cross-cultural servants representing all sectors of leadership, ages, women and men, but we would hang together, we would learn from each other, we would stir and stimulate each other, we would become reflective practitioners in a world of extreme bi-furcated specialists. A community of reflective practitioners. Hard to accomplish, but at least I gave it a whack.
So a formal farewell to my global colleagues in the MC’s different layers of leadership. Stay fresh! Keep your vows to God and your family. Stay young. Be curious. Question. Mentor (why is it that relatively few mission leaders mentor? This befuddles me) while you can. Love deeply and well. Finish well.
A personal note. Yvonne and I have just returned from a unique study tour in Israel under the capable hands of Shoresh Tours, with a strong focus on the hebraic roots of our faith. From Dan to Be-er Sheva, from the Jordan to Caesaria Maritima, with our singular teaching-guide, Rev. David Pileggi, rector of Christ Church Anglican, Old Jerusalem, with 36 years in Israel and an MA from Hebrew University.
We continue learning, growing cutting new grooves in our brain. Glory!
Soon, The Global Pilgrim, aka El Vidente
William D. Taylor, Ph.D.
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