Lifeway director Ed Stetzer to head Billy Graham Center for Evangelism

Ed Stetzer is to move to Wheaton College.Ed Stetzer/Facebook

Ed Stetzer, currently executive director of the Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay Research, has been appointed to lead the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism (BGCE) at Wheaton College.

He has been appointed to the Billy Graham Distinguished Endowed Chair for Church, Mission and Evangelism and will also serve as publisher of Evangelical Missions Quarterly. According to the college, Stetzer will also spearhead new iniatives including the creation of a National Evangelism Leaders Fellowship.

Stetzer is a prolific author and well-known conference and seminar leader who has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches and trained pastors and church planters. During the 2015-2016 academic year, he was an Adjunct Professor of Evangelism for Wheaton College Graduate School and Senior Fellow of the BGCE.

He is also been serving as Teaching Pastor of Grace Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, a church he founded in 2011.

Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said: "Ed Stetzer is a dynamic communicator and brilliant researcher who brings a genuine knowledge of the gospel and a deep understanding of contemporary culture to his new place of service. His work at Wheaton College will help raise up a new generation of passionate, generous-hearted evangelists who make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ. It will also help Wheaton build stronger networks with churches across America and around the world."

His appointment was also welcomed by Will Graham, grandson of Billy Graham and BGCE board member. Graham referred to Stetzer's "rich background and selfless service", saying: "The spiritual climate of the United States is much different than when my grandfather began his evangelistic ministry in 1947. We are now a post-Christian country, one in which an increasing number of people consider themselves atheist or "unaffiliated." More than ever, it is imperative that we be strategic, focused and intentional in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to a world that has lost its way and is yearning for hope in the midst of despair and chaos."

Stetzer said: "It is a distinct privilege to be part of the Wheaton team. This newly created Billy Graham Chair, combined with the convening power of the Billy Graham Center, will provide us a unique opportunity to serve the Church, helping Christians know and engage their culture in the name of Christ. I look forward to being part of this family and serving the Church together."