After 12 remarkable years of outstanding, Christ-honoring, creative, and compassionate leadership, Cullen Rodgers-Gates (pictured), the Executive Director of Congo Initiative USA, is passing on the baton of leadership. On behalf of the CI-USA Board of Directors and the entire Congo Initiative family across the world, I want to express our profound gratitude to Cullen for all that he has accomplished. I also want to publicly express my deep thanks to God for the person He has made Cullen to be. Cullen has led us forward in some very important, mission-critical ways and has done so as a servant leader. Cullen has been a channel through which the love of Jesus has flowed. His leadership has transformed the CI-USA Board and Staff and has impacted the work in Congo in profoundly positive ways. As we reflect on the legacy of Cullen’s leadership, we do so with gratitude to God who loaned us this wonderful brother in Christ for this season of ministry. Our mission has expanded and deepened because of his leadership in so many ways.
As of July 1, Cullen will assume the role of Director of Development and Membership for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). Of his new position and transition, Cullen writes:
Although a daunting role, this is one to which I hear God clearly calling me and my family, and an opportunity for which I feel profoundly grateful and excited. The mission of the NAE is “to honor God by connecting and representing evangelical Christians.” I’m looking forward to applying the experience and skills gained while at Congo Initiative to a national organization whose role and impact on the landscape of North American Christianity is rapidly becoming more critical by the day. In a highly polarized and divisive context, the NAE seeks to be a thoughtful, winsome witness to Christ and to the far-reaching implications of a Kingdom marked by shalom. I’m humbled to step into this next “chapter” of my journey. At the same time, this is an exceedingly bittersweet transition for me, as I have loved my work and colleagues at CI very much, and believe just as much today as I did 12 years ago when I first joined the organization, that CI is one of the Holy Spirit-led beacons of hope in the midst of an unimaginably difficult and challenging context. It has been my honor and privilege to participate in Congo’s transformation alongside remarkably dedicated colleagues in the U.S. and in Congo.
Thank you, Cullen, for your partnership in the good work of the Gospel. We are excited for you, Mandy and your family as you open a new chapter of what I am sure will be fruitful ministry with the NAE.
The CI-USA Board of Directors is actively at work, seeking a new Executive Director for CI-USA. Many very important conversations are underway between the Board and with our partners in Congo. At the heart of Congo Initiative is this core conviction, “Tuko Pamoja”, which means, “We are Together.” That remains the beating heart of our ministry. We are moving forward, together, in unity.
The CI-USA Board has formed a Transition Committee comprised of seven board members and led by Chelsie Chan, the Vice-Chair of the Board. We are in the process of finalizing our interim leadership strategy for CI-USA and will announce those plans shortly. We have had very helpful discussions with Cullen about the work he has done as Executive Director. We are in regular conversation with CI Founders Drs. David and Kaswera Kasali and Paul Robinson, as well as the leadership team of CI in Congo. These discussions have been extremely helpful and heartwarming as, together, we look to the future.
Fifteen years ago, a group of friends had a dream for the Democratic Republic of Congo, a land that they loved. That dream is becoming a reality. We look back over these years with gratitude to God for His faithfulness and for giving us an opportunity to be a part of His vision for this nation, together with you. And as we look ahead to all that He has planned for Congo Initiative, we do so in great hope that He will lead us right into the heart of His good will.
Chair, CI-USA Board of Directors