BMS appoints new General Director
BMS World Mission is pleased to announce that Dr Kang-San Tan will take up the role of BMS General Director after David Kerrigan retires from the role in the summer
Dr Tan is currently Executive Director for AsiaCMS, an Asian indigenous mission network in relationship with Church Mission Society, and will join BMS in the autumn.
Dr Tan is presently based in his home country of Malaysia, where he is a life member of Trinity Baptist Church and Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church. He and his wife Loun Ling Lee, together with their daughter Chara, also have the active and ongoing support of Grace Chinese Christian Church in Singapore.
Having gained a Doctor of Ministry degree from Trinity International University in the United States of America, Kang-San also completed a PhD in the Theology of Religions, with special reference to Buddhism, at Aberdeen University.
Maureen Russell, Chair of BMS Trustees, said: 'Everyone on the search committee was very impressed by Kang-San’s missiological experience, insight and vision for BMS. The Trustees are unanimous in our welcome to him, as he takes us into the future, building on David Kerrigan’s very successful period of leadership.'
The retiring General Director David Kerrigan added. 'We have worked hard over recent years to learn from the World Church and to internationalise our leadership.
'I’m delighted that that commitment has come to very significant fruition with the appointment of Kang-San, who will have my full support as he prepares to take over the leadership of this wonderful organisation.'
Lynn Green, Baptists Together General Secretary, spoke of her excitement at the appointment of Dr Tan, adding, 'This is a bold and creative appointment and one that I believe will also impact Baptists Together as we seek to engage in mission in the UK in the future.
'It was a privilege to be part of the discerning process for this appointment. I have really enjoyed working alongside David Kerrigan and appreciated his support in so many different ways and I look forward to welcoming Dr Tan in the same spirit.'
Kang-San Tan: where he comes from, where he’ll take BMS
Dr Kang-San Tan will take over as General Director of BMS World Mission in October 2017. His roots in Malaysia and his experience of leadership and mission all over the world have given him a unique perspective, as he leads an organisation with over 200 years of history and an exciting future.
“From a non-western perspective I want to encourage British churches that God is still working through mission. Although the Church is declining in the West it is on the rise in South America, in Africa, in Asia and around the world,” he told Christian Today recently. “Often the best evangelists are already in context. But in terms of training and in terms of partnership there is still a great need for workers from Britain.”
UK Baptist churches will already be familiar with BMS’ support for indigenous Christian movements and with our work alongside local Christians and bodies of believers, and will be encouraged by the impressive breadth of experience Kang-San brings with him.
Kang-San was born in Malaysia in 1962 and has since lived in Canada, the USA, Singapore and the UK. He speaks four languages and holds two doctorates, focusing on dialogue with and understanding Islam and Buddhism. He has served all over the world, training leaders, mobilising mission and pioneering better understanding of intercultural dialogue and outreach.
Most recently, he has served as Executive Director for Asia CMS, setting up a mission training network for indigenous mission networks. He has also served at Redcliffe College in Gloucester, where he pioneered the first MA in Intercultural Studies in Asian Contexts. He is highly respected in the field of Christian intercultural engagement worldwide, serving on several high-profile panels and boards, and he will soon become the first BMS General Director not born in Europe.
In a world where long ago mission ceased to be a simple question of Christians from the powerful West and the wealthy North taking the gospel to places where no Church existed, this is significant. Kang-San’s professional, cultural and academic insights will play a crucial role in helping UK Baptists to reach out to a world in need of Christ’s love.
Kang-San also brings with him an understanding of Baptist church life, not just in Asia, but in Britain. Churches that have nurtured him on his journey so far have included Trinity Baptist Church in Malaysia, First Baptist Church in Vancouver, Canada, and Kendall Road Baptist Church in Gloucester, UK. He also enjoys strong relationships with Grace Chinese Christian Church in Singapore, Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church of Malaysia and Gloucester Chinese Church in the UK.
“The Church in the West has much to learn and receive from the Asian Church, who for hundreds of years have learnt to live sensitively hand in hand with other religions and yet bear witness to Christ,” he says. And while sensitivity and cultural humility are essential in contemporary mission, bearing witness, in Kang-San’s view, remains crucial. “Other religions are good and yet not salvific,” he says.
Kang-San and his wife Loun Ling Lee will be moving to Britain in the summer. Please pray for them and for Kang-San’s vision for BMS.