Steve Clifford leaving Evangelical Alliance after a decade at the helm

Steve Clifford has announced he is to step down as general director of the Evangelical Alliance at the end of this year.

At present, he has no fixed plans for his next chapter post-EA but said it had been "an honour and privelege" to serve the organisation, where he has been general director since 2009.

He admitted that the last 10 years had "not been without their times of challenge" but that the EA had "come through stronger and with a deep commitment to serve God's church right across the UK". 

During his time at the EA, Mr Clifford oversaw efforts to unite the UK's evangelical churches in mission, and to build relationships and understanding between different ethnic expressions of evangelical Christianity in the UK. 

This included the launch of the South Asian Forum of the Evangelical Alliance in 2010 to support engagement and ministry among the UK's South-Asian Christians, and the One People Commission in 2013 to deepen connections with pastors in the UK's ethnic minority communities.  African and Caribbean, Chinese, Korean and Iranian pastors are among those to have joined the commission since its launch. 

In 2012, the Gather Network was established to identify and catalyse local unity movements in towns and cities across England, and to foster collaboration in mission.

And in 2016, the Great Commission hub was launched to inspire and equip Christians in evangelism through the creation of over 200 resources and video testimonies sharing how people came to faith.

His time at the helm of the EA also oversaw a major relocation from the organisation's headquarters in Kennington, south London, to King's Cross.

Reflecting on his time at the EA, Mr Clifford said: "The great John chapter 17 prayer of Jesus has echoed in my ears as we have sort to express our 'oneness' with the missional imperative 'that the world might believe'.  For me, our strapline says it all: 'Together making Jesus known'," he said. 

"As church leaders from one part of the evangelical community, my wife Ann and I have been both challenged and enriched to experience the incredible diversity of the evangelical church and to see first-hand the phenomenal contribution the church is making to its communities.

"There is a rumour that the church is finished; let me tell you from my experience: the church is wonderfully alive and passionately serving Jesus."

Dr Tani Omideyi, chair of the Evangelical Alliance board and senior pastor of Temple of Praise, Liverpool, commented: "A proof of the changes Steve has brought about over his 10 years as general director is seen in the fact that the Evangelical Alliance looks and sounds different today than when he took over its leadership role.

"His outstanding achievement in deepening unity across church traditions and racial backgrounds provides a sure foundation on which hopefully future evangelicals will build. It has been my joy and privilege to support him during some of this period."

John Risbridger, chair of the Evangelical Alliance council, and minister and team leader of Above Bar Church, Southampton, said: "A bridge-builder, courageous leader and friend to so many, Steve has led the Evangelical Alliance through times both of opportunity and of testing with conviction, wisdom and grace.

"We thank God for him and are deeply grateful to him and Ann for all they have brought to the evangelical community over the past decade."

The Evangelical Alliance said it will soon begin the search for Mr Clifford's successor.