Central European Christian Education Foundation
The Central European Christian Education Foundation (CECEF) is a 501(c)3 organization that was established in July 2014 to support and provide U.S. oversight for the work of Christian higher education in the formerly Eastern Bloc countries, currently focused on the work of the Biblijski Institut in Zagreb, Croatia (BIZ).
Per their charter, CECEF was organized to provide financial and educational assistance in the support of Christian education and training in Central Europe. They work closely with the President of the Institute to help raise funds and determine how best to assist the school on an effective, ongoing basis.
The foundation is supported by several key Churches of Christ across the USA as well as a number of individual donors and has developed educational affiliations with both Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN and Abilene Christian University in Texas. The annual budget for the Institute currently ranges between $250–300,000 USD. CECEF is a Tennessee corporation but does not currently have established offices. The new Executive Director will be its first and only full-time employee.
In a setting that has a 900–year history of university tradition, the Zagreb Institute of Biblical Studies combines high European academic standards with mentor–based instruction that encourages both personal and spiritual growth. Under the guidance of professors who are both credentialed and caring, the Institute’s curriculum challenges the mind, stirs the heart and prepares students for practical service to the home churches and communities.
The work of the Biblijski Institut is both exciting and strategic in building the Kingdom in that part of the world. As one of only two Protestant institutes of higher education in Croatia, BIZ attracts the best and brightest young Christian leaders from across Croatia and the region beyond. Its mission is to help prepare students for life and effective service to others, through knowledge of God and His truths, as these are revealed through the Bible. To learn more about its goals, beliefs and values, click here.
BIZ is housed in three separate buildings near the heart of central Zagreb. They include classrooms, offices, a research library and a lending library of more than 25,000 volumes, which is the largest Protestant library in the city. They have cooperative agreements with Lipscomb University and Abilene Christian University for exchanges of professors and students (for their Masters programs), joint research, development of conferences and symposiums and mission and cultural exchanges.
The school is a candidate for accreditation by the European Evangelical Accrediting Association (expected by September 2016) and has also begun the process of securing full accreditation by the government. The six resident faculty members are from Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Austria – all of whom have either Masters degrees or PhDs and several of whom are former graduates of the Institute – and classes are taught in both Croatian and English. All together, there are 10 full–time, one part–time and one full–time intern on staff.
This is an amazing and unique entrepreneurial opportunity to create and execute a strategy to sustain and grow an important educational ministry in an under-served part of the world…one that could impact generations of Croatians and other Central Europeans for Christ. The good news is that the foundation has built an annual base of more than $250,000 from only 18–20 individual donors and churches with zero full–time or even part–time employees.
Still, there is much work to be done. There is a strong need to raise the annual giving level to $500,000 or more. And there are a number of projects, including facilities that are needed to both sustain and expand the work of Christian higher education in Zagreb and across the region. There is currently no infrastructure to the US foundation (CECEF) and few marketing materials (or even a logo). CECEF has no website or online giving capabilities. The work is known by relatively few, and the story must be told.
The new Executive Director must be gifted in relational sales and/or business development in order to meet and exceed the annual funding needs. He will be able to effectively communicate the current state and story of Christianity in Europe and the importance of the work of the Biblijski Institut in training servants and ministers. He will need to be relational, compelling, motivational, entrepreneurial and self-motivated, able to speak effectively to individuals and to groups and churches, large and small. He may currently be a development officer at a Christian university or another nonprofit organization or come from a strong sales or marketing background in the corporate world who has also led at key levels of the local church as a volunteer. And, because of the nature of the school, he will need to be from a Church of Christ background (or perhaps from another arm of the Restoration Movement). The Executive Director must be someone who can see (and communicate!) the big picture but not be afraid of rolling up his sleeves to handle the necessities of the day-to-day…a strategic thinker and implementer who is also the public face and voice for the ministry. A passionate, self–starter with a servant’s heart.
Title: Executive Director, CECEF
Reports to: CECEF Board of Directors
General Function: Under the authority and direction of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director champions the vision of CECEF and increases its funding base and public profile with potential donors in Churches of Christ and other Restoration Movement churches across the USA through relationship-building, public speaking, writing and by creating other digital and marketing opportunities.
Location: Flexible, anywhere in the USA.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director has overall strategic and operational responsibility for CECEF’s programs, fundraising and execution of its mission. It is important that this person has or develops a deep knowledge and passion for the mission of CECEF, its operations and business plans.
Leadership and Management:
- Ensure ongoing and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising and communication. Recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve strategic goals.
- Actively engage and energize CECEF board members, partnering organizations and donors.
- Develop, maintain and support a strong Board of Directors. Effectively communicate with the Board in a timely and accurate manner.
- Ensure the financial integrity of CECEF, including the submission on an annual budget.
- Responsible for fundraising and developing other resources necessary to support CECEF’s mission.
Development and Communications:
- Primary responsibility for developing and implementing CECEF’s annual development plan.
- Secure financial support from individuals, churches and organizations including building relationships with major donors.
- Oversee all aspects of communications with the goal of creating a stronger brand.
- Be willing to speak at churches, lectureships, workshops, etc. to build and maintain CECEF support.
The Executive Director will be thoroughly committed to CECEF’s mission. This person should have proven leadership and relationship management experience. Other demonstrable experience and qualifications should include:
- A strong background in the Churches of Christ (or other churches associated with the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement).
- Excellence in organizational management with the ability to set and achieve strategic objectives and manage a budget.
- A minimum of five (5) years of fundraising and/or nonprofit leadership experience.
- Ability to collaborate with and motivate board members.
- Strong marketing, public relations and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.
- Strong written and verbal skills.
- Strong public speaking ability.
- Action-oriented, entrepreneurial, adaptable and innovative.
- Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people.
- Integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven and self-directed.
- Ability to travel up to 50%.
To download the full Organization & Position Profile, click here.
For additional information about the Biblijski Institut in Zagreb, please visit the English version of their website at www.bizg.hr or click here to view a 20–minute, locally produced video about the students and faculty at the Institute.