Our IFES General Secretary


Dear brothers and sisters in IFES,

It gives me great joy to write to share with you the Board’s decision after the recent interviews for our next IFES General Secretary.

The Board has invited Tim Adams to serve as our next General Secretary.

Thank you for standing with us through these past months of discernment. We valued the insights you shared and were sustained by your prayers. We are grateful to God for the calibre of the candidates who were part of the process and the strength of our leaders across the Fellowship. In my last email to you, I asked you to pray for all of us on the IFES Board as we reflected after the interviews. We believe God answered your prayers; he did indeed give us clarity and unity on who to invite to lead IFES at this time in our history and ministry. 

Walking by Faith

The past 18 months have not been easy ones for our Fellowship through the events around the leadership transition at World Assembly last year and in the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We have not been able to see the end and have had to walk by faith in our Lord Jesus, trusting in his plan for IFES.

The Board is very thankful to Jamil for stepping into the acting General Secretary role. IFES needed his pastoral heart and strong peace-building skills at this time. His leadership and wisdom, alongside the experience of our Associate General Secretaries, Martin Haizmann and Tim Adams, and our godly team of senior leaders, have guided us well.

As a Fellowship we have witnessed God at work in us through his Holy Spirit. We have experienced community and shared the joy of students coming to new life through Jesus Christ and growing in their faith. In Daniel Bourdanné’s farewell message to us last year, he spoke of the miracles we are witness to in the universities and reminded us that, “These undeserved graces have been given to stimulate our faith and inspire us to expect new and better chapters that God will write… Let us look forward by looking at Christ who always precedes us, for it is in him that we must place our security.”

Looking Forward at Christ

Following a thorough discernment process, the Board believes that Tim is the right person to lead IFES at this time. Tim’s heart for IFES ministry and our shared vision to reach students with the good news of Jesus Christ is clear. His role in developing and launching some of our innovative ministry projects in recent years is significant. Tim has been involved extensively in IFES global leadership. He has gained a deep understanding of who we are and built strong relationships across the Fellowship.

We all continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and face the wider realities of our changing world. The Board recognises the need to strengthen IFES for the future. We want IFES movements and staff to unite around a shared direction for our ministry. We want to find ways of working that supports strong national movements. We want many more students to hear the life-changing good news of Christ and to grow in him to be bold witnesses to his truth in all areas of their lives. We believe Tim brings the Christian leadership experience, humility and reliance on God to lead us on that path.

Tim shares:

I am humbled and honoured by this invitation from the IFES board [to serve as General Secretary]. I have always believed that Christian leadership is fundamentally about stewardship. Like the servants in Matthew 25 14-30 we have been entrusted by God with an important responsibility, and we want to be commended as “good and faithful” when the Lord returns. As IFES General Secretary this means staying true to the legacy of prayer-fueled, Bible-focused, Christ-centered, locally-rooted student ministry which has been the hallmark of IFES for more than 70 years. It will involve re-energizing the network of national movements and staff that God has brought to this shared task. And it will require us to make bold moves forward so that together we are effective in equipping today’s students to be faithful witnesses and lifelong disciples.

Tim’s appointment as General Secretary will be effective from 1 January 2021. Over the coming months, you will have the opportunity to hear directly from Tim, to get to know him and to hear his plans. There will also be time before the end of the year for us to affirm Tim in his new role and to stand together as a Fellowship as we look forward in expectation. I will share more details about the practicalities of making this happen in the coming weeks.

The Board is keen to hear from the Fellowship as we prepare for our new General Secretary to take up his post. Do email me if you have any questions, or need any clarification, regarding the search and appointment process.

Let us join our voices together in joyful praise of our great and glorious God. He has poured out his grace on us and generously provides when we come to him. Let us continue to hold in our prayers all involved in the leadership of IFES: Jamil, the senior staff team and Tim as he takes on his new role. We want to follow where the Lord is leading us and to continue to place our trust in him.


Septi Bukula
IFES Chair

Tim Adams, General secretary – Profile

Well-travelled across the IFES network, Tim knows many in the Fellowship and has experienced IFES in many contexts, both through more informal visits and larger events, such as World Assembly and the Urbana missions conference. In almost 20 years with IFES, Tim has worked closely with IFES General Secretaries Daniel Bourdanné and Lindsay Brown. He is an effective leader who has developed relationships across our national movements and regional teams and has been central to all IFES major initiatives over the past decade.

In his six years as Associate General Secretary Tim initiated and oversaw several key global projects including Breaking New Ground, Innovation in Evangelism, the Theological Advisory Group, and our growing e-learning program. Tim also led the International Services staff team, launching the Asia office in 2016, and ensuring that the support services are aligned with the ministry vision of IFES.

Born into a Christian family and with a father who was a church minister, Tim made his own commitment to follow Jesus when he was 16. He has a BA in Theology from the London School of Theology, as well as a teaching qualification and, more recently, gained a Masters in Managing Change and Organisational Learning from Oxford Brookes University.

Tim began his working life as a secondary school teacher before joining IFES and working in fundraising roles from 1998-2005. He joined Jubilee Centre (2005-2008) as Director of Fundraising and Communication and from there ran his own fundraising and business planning consultancy. Tim re-joined IFES in 2008 and was appointed as Associate General Secretary in 2014.

Over recent years, Tim has served on a number of NGO boards, including Prospects which at the time was one of the largest Christian employers in the UK with over 500 staff. He is currently a board member of the Jubilee Centre.

Tim met his wife Sophie when they both worked in IFES in the early 2000s. Both were Christian student leaders at university, and Sophie came to Christ through the ministry of Ichtus Belgium. Sophie and Tim have three school-age children: Annelies, Noah and Bethany. As a family they are actively involved in a lively evangelical church, St Andrew’s Church North Oxford.