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Workshop A2: Global Institute of Leadership Marks New WEA Emphasis on Building Up National Alliances

November 8, 2019

An ambitious new endeavor to strengthen the functioning of the World Evangelical Alliance’s national affiliates was unveiled at a workshop Friday (November 8) during the WEA’s 2019 General Assembly near Jakarta, Indonesia.

The new initiative, called the Global Institute of Leadership (GIL), will integrate self-evaluation with primarily virtual training sessions to provide high-quality peer learning. It was designed in conjunction with Bakke Graduate University, whose president, Brad Smith, presented the workshop.

Smith observed that the WEA has struggled to find ways to build up its national alliances, partly because of the difficulty of bringing people from around the world together conveniently and at reasonable cost. Implementing a rigorous, individualized peer learning model, drawing on Bakke Graduate University’s nearly 20 years of experience as a global institution of Christian education, is the GIL’s answer.

The GIL’s work will align closely with this General Assembly’s emphasis on holistic disciple making. Its stated purpose is to “build global evangelical leaders who effectively proclaim and demonstrate the gospel to transform lives, families, churches, communities, workplaces, and cultures.”

The GIL prospectus states that the initiative will assist national alliances in the areas of board governance, leadership skills, communication, vision casting, financial sustainability, and public service engagement.

Smith described the peer learning community that the GIL will create as containing three components:

  1. Personal profiles in which individual leaders specify their goals, share their experiences, and identify what they can learn from fellow participants. Smith said that in effective peer learning, “You take a lot of time to introduce everyone, because you want people to really understand what others are about. This sharing motivates people with shared interests to congregate.”
  2. A virtual “city,” or an environment for ongoing communication, partnership, and updates.
  3. Learning communities, in which participants build relationships around their common culture, location, or calling.

Smith said that the GIL will seek to capture the five “whole” emphases of the Lausanne Movement (whole gospel, whole church, whole world, whole city, whole person). In his cultivation of holistic disciple making, he particularly stressed redefining our understanding of “church.”

“Our words are weird sometimes,” Smith stated. “If we are the church, why do we talk about ‘going to church’? We are still the church when we interact with the marketplace, the community, or government.”

Smith explained that the GIL will not develop its own curriculum resources and that participation in GIL activities will not be limited to leaders of national alliances. “National alliances should never be competing with other Christian leaders in their country,” Smith stated. “Why would we create a virtual learning community to compete with others?”

Smith offered free resource books as an incentive for leaders attending the General Assembly to go the GIL website ( and complete their profiles.

In the profile, leaders can indicate their organizational and personal leadership goals, as well as personal information that will enable other participants to get to know them. In addition, an organization survey will obtain information on each alliance’s strengths, weaknesses and priorities.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @WEAGA2019 and use the hashtag #jakarta2019 to share your excitement!