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Taking on a New Challenge in International Leadership

After eight years leading the Serve Asia programme internationally, Andrea Roldan has a new challenge: leading New Horizons, our venture to partner with churches and Christians in new places for us.

We caught up with her to find out what brought about the transition, excites her about her new role and how we can pray for her.

What do people find most surprising about you?

I’m an extreme introvert. I’ve been surprised that people are surprised that I am. I am Filipino and Filipinos are culturally extroverted and so I guess our values as a people keeps my introversion in check.

What led to the transition to New Horizons?

It’s always good to know when it’s time to hand over. I know that the Lord called me to help serve East Asia’s peoples. With Serve Asia, that was by laying the foundations for an approach to short-term mission that would not only be strategic to long-term mission in East Asia but also transform lives and churches.

By centring Serve Asia on mission discipleship, building a stronger sense of community and trust, and ensuring that the programme is light and flexible I think I’ve been able to set the stage for someone else to take the lead and bring the programme to another season of creativity. I’ve deeply valued the community and enjoyed working with everyone involved in moving the Serve Asia programme forward.

The invitation to take on New Horizons came months after the decision to hand over the leadership role of International Facilitator for Serve Asia. I  am most thankful to God for Jonathan and his wife Jocelyn who stepped up up to take on the role in Serve Asia.

Approaching the handover, I began applications for doctoral studies and had no plans to take on any leadership roles. Of the different leadership roles coming vacant I saw none that I felt I would remotely consider taking on if asked, except for New Horizons. I thought to myself, ‘That would be interesting.’

I didn’t think I would be asked though, as there were so many others
I thought God would call and are more qualified. When I was eventually asked, my heart jumped and I said ‘yes’! I’m not sure why that heart jump happened, maybe a prompting from the Holy Spirit? Of course a hundred-and-one doubts came in after!

Transitioning to lead New Horizons makes sense to me in terms of all that God has allowed me to be involved in and the friendships I’ve enjoyed from working with Serve Asia and the Lausanne Movement as well as the opportunities to live and study in diverse cultural contexts.

Experiences serving in a sensitive context in East Asia, my sending church, the Philippine home council, as well as in Japan has helped grow my passion to see mission movements across East Asia and beyond. I believe that our mission to share the good news of Jesus in all its fullness to East Asia’s peoples needs to involve the fullness of the Church and I see that New Horizons is a great channel for East Asia’s peoples to learn how big and wide God’s family is. 

What do you anticipate being the best thing about leading New Horizons?

Seeing how God will work and make the seemingly impossible, possible, and then done. New Horizons faces immense opportunities to partner with growing mission movements as well as catalysing creative initiatives to reach East Asia’s peoples. It also faces immense challenges, but these excite me because they will help us to exercise faith, find and implement creative solutions, and depend on the Lord more.

What do you anticipate being the hardest thing about leading New Horizons?

Personally, I think the hardest thing will be learning what it means to lead a diverse but mostly Western team as a Filipino. It will be interesting to also see what being a woman in a mostly male international leadership will look like. And, as New Horizons is an international team seeking to come alongside individuals, churches and mission movements, there will be much to work through in terms of what team dynamics and ministry approach look like. Just finding the right time for everyone to meet will be hard!

I also know it will also be difficult to work through the complexity of partnership, determining focus and strategy, and the ways by which God will provide for New Horizons financially. But let’s see what ‘new things’ God will have in store. I think our job is to keep focused on where and how his Spirit is moving and respond to him.

How can we pray for you and for New Horizons?

  • Pray for a special abiding in Christ that will help me to discern his leading and direction.
  • Pray that we grow as a team in friendship and fellowship with one another. That we will also grow in sensitivity and responsiveness to how God is at work through New Horizons.
  • Finally, pray not just for dependence on God’s provision for ‘what needs to be done’ but that we will respond to ‘what needs to be done’ in ways that are relevant and responsive to a rapidly changing world and Church in mission.

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