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New CEO Gavin Calver promises a 'braver' and 'kinder' Evangelical Alliance

by Sam Hailes

Speaking to Premier on day three of his tenure, Mr Calver said: "I'd like to think the Evangelical Alliance would be braver and kinder. And I'd like to think that lots more people will come to know Jesus through what we're doing. But more than anything, I would like Jesus to be famous, not the EA."

Calver, who was national director of Youth for Christ before joining the EA in 2015, added that he wanted his legacy to "be around confidence in the gospel". The 39 year-old added the UK Church has been "full of pessimists" for too long.

"What other group in the UK produces research on itself, gives it a negative title then does a press conference to tell the secular media how badly we're doing? It makes no sense! We need to start being more hopeful, because the grave is empty and Jesus is alive!"

"I wholeheartedly believe in my lifetime we're going to see a major move of God in the United Kingdom...The only other option I have is, I'm going to die today believing it was coming tomorrow. I believe in a God who can move mountains."

When asked whether spiritual opposition had increased since taking the role, he replied, "Of course, the target on my back has quadrupled in just 3 days, I've no doubt about it."

Calver succeeds general director Steve Clifford, who announced in April that he would be stepping down, after 10 years in the role. When asked how long he would be staying in the job, Calver replied: "It's an old person's job. So I'd better wait until I'm an old person!

"Being realistic, this is at least a 10 year job. You have to get your head down. We need to weather some of the secular tsunami and the choppy waters ahead of us. We need to be realistic and we need stickability, and no one does this job for less than a decade."

To hear the full interview listen to Premier Christian Radio at 4pm on Saturday, or download The Profile podcast.

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