The board of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) on Wednesday May 1 voted to move its headquarters from California to Washington, D.C.

After relocating to Azusa, California from Carol Stream, Illinois in 1999, the NAE will consolidate all functions into its office in the nation's capital by July 1, NAE President Leith Anderson told Christianity Today.

"The advantage is that this is a very strong office and a very strong presence," Anderson told CT at the Second Summit of Christian Leaders on Religious Persecution in Washington. "The two pillars of NAE are the association of churches, denominations and individuals, and the other is our relationship as the evangelical voice to government, and this way we can do it together instead of seeing each other a few times a year and doing it by electronic communication."

The NAE has had a presence in Washington for more than 50 years, he added. "We are increasingly convinced that we can do a better job having everything here as it once was."

Humanitarian organization World Relief, a subsidiary of NAE, last year moved to Baltimore. Being closer to World Relief will bring the NAE "wonderful leveraging opportunities," Anderson said.

The board also elected William Hamel, president of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as chairman. In the past the board has discussed changes in the leadership structure of the NAE, but Anderson said it took no action on Wednesday.

"There is not an immediate change in the structure," Anderson said. "I continue to serve as the interim president and CEO, while also serving as the senior pastor at Wooddale Church, a suburban church in Minneapolis. That will continue at least until later this year."

He said the board is considering new bylaws as well as changes in structure. "There are multiple documents, many of them are outdated, and our goal is to have at least a preliminary proposal for that at least by the fall board meeting," he said.

John Mendez, NAE Vice President for Ministry Development, said Anderson has been fulfilling the primary function of fundraising for the association. He added that membership has stabilized since Anderson took over following the resignation of Kevin Mannoia last July 7, but he said he preferred not to state specific numbers.

Jeff M. Sellers is associate editor for Christianity Today.

Related Elsewhere

Yesterday, Christianity Today posted a dispatch from Jeff M. Sellers on the Second Summit of Christian Leaders on Religious Persecution in Washington.

The NAE's Web site has extensive information about the organization.

Earlier Christianity Today articles about the NAE include:

NAE President Resigns in Wake of Financial Woes | "In the process of change, you also create friction," says Kevin Mannoia. (June 15, 2001)
What Are We For? | The president of the NAE argues that a new day has arrived for the movement. (May, 21, 2001)
Time to Kiss and Make Up? | The financially strapped NCC reaches out to evangelicals and Roman Catholics. (July 18, 2000)
Power in Unity | President of NAE embraces new strategy. (March 28, 2000)
NAE Mulls Move to Azusa (September 6, 1999)
NAE Selects New President (April 5, 1999)
NAE Rethinks Mission (April 27, 1998)