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Steve Moore, Board Chair, Sees a Bright Future for World Relief

As World Relief prepares to announce our new President and CEO, we thought you might like to learn more about some of the people who are playing a critical role in the transition process. Today, we are sharing an interview we conducted with Steve Moore who chairs World Relief’s Board of Directors. We hope you enjoy getting to know Steve as much as we enjoy having him as a part of our leadership team.

To start off, tell me a little bit about yourself. What would you like people to know about you?

Steve: I joined the World Relief board in 2006. That was at the beginning of a nine-year journey as the president and CEO of a network of mission agencies and other Great Commission-oriented universities, churches and training centers. I knew of World Relief, but didn’t have a real understanding of the scope and breadth of what the organization did, so it’s been a phenomenal experience for me to really get a deeper understanding of the organization and have the chance to interact with some really amazing people.

My passions include leadership development with a real focus on next-generation leaders and then also the great commission. In 2015, I really wanted to get back to my roots of engaging with next-generation leaders, so I stepped away from Missio Nexus, and started a new organization called nexleader. In addition to serving as president of nexleader, I’m also the president of Growing Leaders. My wife is a school teacher and we have four adult children that are scattered around the U.S. and Canada. 

As the Board Chair, how would you describe what you do?

The work that the board does falls into four categories. The first is strategic formation. We don’t set the strategy for the organization, but we interact with the leadership team and affirm and provide input to the strategy. 

The second is capital allocation. It’s our responsibility to approve the budget and that budget should be shaped and informed by the strategy.

The third is risk management. A part of that strategy conversation and the capital allocation process is discerning what appetite for risk do we have and what are the areas that we need to be paying attention to? 

Then the fourth area is executive talent management. It’s our responsibility to hire the senior executives, provide support for them, conduct performance evaluations for them and make the appropriate investments in their talent development journey.

Give me your best elevator pitch for World Relief. What do you love to tell people about this organization?

Steve: This is how I love to explain World Relief to people. I say we are a “here” and “there” organization that is uniquely focused on working through the local church. 

What I mean by “here” is the work we do with refugee resettlement and other immigrant-related services. “There” means the work we’re doing in a number of countries that revolve around the other technical programs that we implement through the local church.

I know there’s a lot of other groups who talk sincerely about their connection to the local church, but I think World Relief occupies a space that is very unique. 

What has been the best part of your time on the board and what’s been the most challenging?

Steve: I think that the best part for me is the relationships with the other board members and our amazing staff. I have grown to love and respect these smart, godly, wise peers and I absolutely love the opportunity to sit in a room with them. 

Every board meeting I am personally enriched and I go away with a new insight,  which has really been amazing. On top of that, I have found a deep sense of fulfillment in the fact that, as board members, we get to make decisions and reflect on issues that are part of the amazing work World Relief is doing. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to God for the opportunity when I look at our annual report and I see the millions of people whose lives have been positively influenced by this. I know that we have a tiny little small part of it, but it’s a part of it. That’s incredibly rewarding for me. 

In terms of the challenging side of it, clearly, the last four years were among the most difficult. It was bad enough to have the presidential determination number go down so low, but then the impact of that on the organization – having to close offices and lay off staff who were making such profound sacrifices and serving in such meaningful ways – was heart-wrenching.

What would you want to share with donors & churches about World Relief’s direction, strategic direction over the next five to ten years, and how the new President/CEO will impact this?

Steve: I think that we, by God’s grace, have emerged from this desert kind of season and it feels like an oasis has come up in the middle of this desert. At the Board level, the conversation that we’re having now is about scale, impact, and really building on the competencies that we’ve worked so hard to develop both here in the U.S. and in our international work. I’m extremely bullish about the opportunities that I think God is giving us in this next season.

This might not be the most helpful metaphor, but all of the ingredients for a really amazing meal are on the counter in front of us, and we’re about ready to mix those together. The appointment of the next leader is a really critical part of that.

I’m looking forward to the new president and CEO taking the ingredients that are right there, ready to be assembled and make something delicious.

Good things happen in those tough moments and in those dark places. What good things have you seen come out of the last four years, that intense time where it felt like a constant struggle? 

Steve: On the board, I’ve been able to be part of a group that is willing to make some really hard choices but do it with a sense that we’re still safe in God’s hands. On top of that, I’ve watched some amazingly gifted, high-capacity World Relief staff members embrace those hard choices and affirm them, even when it meant they were going to have to leave the organization. That was beautiful in its own difficult way. I also feel like I’ve been able to watch a new group of leaders come behind those people and step up and rise to a really challenging set of circumstances. That’s been a really beautiful thing.

In the midst of all that, the combination of those hard choices and the setting aside of self-interest and the willingness of a new group to step up, it forged a level of cohesion and a strengthening of bonds that I think really helped us move into this new season. It’s that really difficult set of experiences that forged us through these fires to a point where we’re able to actually now begin to dream again.

Because we’re doing this interview close to the announcement of the new President/CEO, is there anything that you would like for our donors and partners to know about how that new leader is being set up for success?

Steve: Well, first, I feel like the process that we’ve gone through has been amazing. The commitment to diversity in every step of this process has been phenomenal. We’ve had passionate voices from the very beginning saying we need a diverse group of voices that are a part of this. On top of that, we made a commitment as a board to support this process in prayer.  Walter Kim, the President of NAE, and I committed to meeting monthly to pray for the search team, the search process, the new leader and the organization. That has infused a sense of confidence in me that God is guiding us through this journey.

I feel like the next leader is going to be positioned well because we’ve had a really good, thorough process that’s been bathed in prayer. 

You were talking about prayer. How would you like people to be praying for the organization during this transition, and even in the years to come?

Steve: Well, Walter and I are not just praying for God’s clear choice for the next leader but for this transition process to be rocket fuel in that person’s tank. I’m not really praying for a honeymoon period for this next leader. I’m really praying for an accelerated momentum kind of season. 

We’re also praying for the next leader’s family to be able to make this transition in a way that is grace-filled. We want there to be no distractions to this new leader’s ability to move into this role.

We also are praying that the confirmation in this person’s heart that God has called them to this will be 10 times stronger than the first big crisis that they experience. So when that happens there will be no questions because the clarity of God’s call will be so real that there’s just no possible way they could doubt that. All their energy can be focused on, “Okay, God, I know you put me here. Therefore, I know you’re going to help us navigate this next crisis.” 

In addition to that, we’re really praying for favor for that leader with all of the key World Relief stakeholders, the executive team, the office directors in the U.S. and around the world, the whole continuum of private-public funding relationships for favor from God.

Mary Milano serves as the Director of Fundraising Content at World Relief.

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