Commissioning Service of the new SIM International Director Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko
11 June 2013
CHARLOTTE, USA: The public commissioning of the new International Director Joshua Bogunjoko took place Sunday afternoon, 9 June 2013, at the chapel of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, USA. This is an historic moment for SIM as Joshua comes from the ECWA Church in Nigeria, a church of six million people that God used SIM to help plant. SIM began in what is now Nigeria more than a century ago. Dr. Bogunjoko is SIM's first non-Western International Director.
"I feel ECWA is giving a daughter away to SIM and to the rest of the world," said Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gado, President of ECWA, referring to the metaphor of a family giving their daughter away in marriage. Mirroring the words of God the Father to Jesus at his baptism Dr. Gado said, "Joshua, we are pleased. And we offer you to the world. Go and live out your name: Joshua. May God bless you."
In attendance were members of the International Board of Governors, as well as the International Leadership Team who will assist Joshua to lead the mission during his five-year term. Staff from the international and USA offices of SIM was present, as well as representatives of other missions and many local pastors and friends of SIM, and family and friends of the Bogunjokos.
Chair of the Board of Governors, Dr. Stephen Roy of Canada, gave the first charge to the mission's Board, leadership team, staff and members worldwide, who gave a collective response of "we will" to several questions. The second charge commissioned and installed Joshua into his new role.
Dr. Jim Plueddemann, SIM International Director from 1993 to 2003, gave an exposition on Psalm 67. "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing," he said. And the main thing is found in Psalm 67:3, "May the peoples praise you, O God. May all the peoples praise you." He added that when we keep the vision of the peoples praising God as our "main thing", then we are free to innovate in any way, from generation to generation, to accomplish this vision.
Joshua received the charge with tributes to the many who have encouraged and mentored him and Joanna during their 20-year journey in cross-cultural missions. “I have been amazed by the gift of people who think outside the box, because I never fit the SIM box,” he said. “SIM UK took a risk on myself,” he said, referring to his first acceptance as an associate to serve at Galmi Hospital in Niger. “And there are other leaders who took a risk on us.”
He reiterated his and Joanna's life verses in Psalm 67 and Isaiah 43:10-12, and recalled the mission's origins in Nigeria. "The journey that brought us together today started many years ago, in fact, 120 years ago when God laid a burden on the heart of a godly woman, Mrs. Gowans, to pray for those who live and die in the Sudan "without having the gospel ever preached to them." Her son, Walter Gowans, and his two friends, Thomas Kent and Roland Bingham, the oldest aged 25, sailed for Nigeria in 1893. Although two of the three men died, the vision did not die, "but was fanned to flame by prayer and the commitment of God's people. As a result of their pioneering spirit, obedience, and the obedience of others who followed them, the gospel reached many parts of Nigeria, including my own village."
Joshua noted that it was the work of SIM pioneer Guy Playfair that reached Joshua’s village, and which would lead to the salvation of his family years later.
"No one can do it alone," Joshua concluded. "No one country will win the world for Christ. Not one office will send enough missionaries. Not one church will ever be able to put the resources into the gospel that will win the world. It will take all of us working together."
Following the event, guests enjoyed a reception.
For more biographical information on Drs. Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko, please visit here.