Tebbes Change Neighborhoods

February 11, 2010

On the evening of December 30th, as he delivered the call to commitment at Urbana 09, Urbana director Jim Tebbe announced a commitment of his own. Next June he will be leaving InterVarsity to return to a part of the world where he was born, grew up, and worked earlier in his life.

“My wife Beth and I are saying yes again, one more time, because of the message of Urbana,” he announced. The message of Urbana 09 was based on John 1:14, God has moved into our neighborhood.

Back to Pakistan
Jim Tebbe has been appointed rector (president) of Forman Christian College (a Chartered University) in Lahore, Pakistan. Established in 1864 by a Presbyterian missionary, Forman has educated many of Pakistan’s top leaders. It was nationalized almost 40 years ago, but in 2002 the college was returned to the Christian community to operate.

Just before it was nationalized, Jim Tebbe’s father served as president of Forman for a short time. Jim was not living at home by that time. But later when he did live in Lahore for three years he pastored the international church that met in the chapel at Forman.

Time for a Change
Jim Tebbe joined InterVarsity in 2002 and led InterVarsity through three Urbana Student Missions Conferences. “In many ways it’s been the most content we’ve been, in terms of work,” he said. But the Tebbes eventually felt a call to start looking for a new ministry challenge.

It was Beth who suggested checking with Forman, which it turned out was actually looking for a new rector. Jim was offered the opportunity to lead this important college as it nurtures the next generation of leaders for Pakistan. He will be hired by the university, reporting to the local governing board.

“It just happens that the things that I’ve done in my career and my background fit this job very well,” he said. “I love the culture. I’m now reading the Bible in Urdu again.”

In an earlier era Christian missionaries were known for providing education and health care, as well as the gospel. Although health care remains a part of Christian cross-cultural work, Jim would like to see education become a more prominent Christian contribution once again.

The Search for a Replacement is Underway
InterVarsity president Alec Hill said, “We cannot thank Jim and Beth enough for their service to InterVarsity. We send them off with our love, prayers and profound respect.”

The search for a new vice president for Missions and director of Urbana is now underway. Alec acknowledged that it’s not an easy job to fill. “Please pray that we will identify the right person for the role. This will require godly guidance, wisdom, and discernment. Second, please nominate anyone you think should be considered for the role. This includes self-nominations. Third, please forward this information as widely as possible.”

The position description and a search announcement are posted at http://www.intervarsity.org/jobs/nationaloffice. Nominations can be sent to the president’s chief of staff, Chuck Hohnbaum at chohnbaum@intervarsity.org.