Dr. Alan Anderson is putting the plan of The Gideons International in Canada into action.
Dr. Anderson starts his new role as President of the 108-year-old organization tomorrow.
The hiring of Dr. Anderson marks a new era for the Gideons, says Director of Communications Michelle Peters. "The board initiated an action to search for a new president that would recognize where we have come as an organization - a lot of the changes and the growth that we have gone through - and take us into this next phase of sustaining and internal growth and development"
Peters says the Gideons are, "redefining, innovating, and developing in some exciting ways."
Peters says that Anderson is uniquely qualified for this position as his passion for visionary leadership and seeing people develop will translate into discipling others into evangelism.
Peters says, "Those two components, I believe, will really serve this organization for, again, that sustainability that we are anticipating in the coming years."
The Gideons have been known for their ability to make the Bible available to all people, but Peters says the organization plans to become even more intentional with evangelism. "We come from a history, as many people know, of bible placement ... we really believe in making the Scriptures available to those who are seeking to find it. ... In 2011, we started to strengthen and develop in the area of effective personal evangelism.
"We want to strengthen our ability to have effective, loving, relational, intentional conversations and interactions with the people around us in Canada and around the world."
Peters says that The Gideons plan to begin, "really leaning into training and equipping people, as a community of believers, to effectively introduce people to Jesus through God's Word."
It is also Dr. Anderson's passion for scripture and seeing how it transforms the lives of those who read it, that excites the organization.
Peters says that The Gideons recognize the challenges of discipleship - especially in North America - but they are up to the challenge in this exciting time of growth for the organization.
"We recognize that North America, in particular, is struggling with what it means for Christians to be effective and intentional in their efforts to evangelize to others. It is a really intimating environment and we have fears of how people will receive us ... We as an organization, we recognize that is a challenge before us across this country, but we think that because this is a challenge for us, we have more reason that, as a ministry, we can come alongside, equip, train, and support people to do that well and do that lovingly. It is such a need for us, as Christians to be sharing the hope of the Gospel."