GMI Connection

Getting to Know our New CEO Jon Hirst GMI Connection - Issue 8 : Article 1

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nl8-1.jpgGet to Know our New CEO Jon Hirst

Jon Hirst is a young leader with a rich background in mission communication and technology. The GMI board and staff know Jon well because of his past work with Mike O'Rear in developing GMI's social media strategy.


Now, it is time for the larger GMI family to get to know Jon, too. GMI Connections interviewed our new leader to help you learn a little about what drives Jon and how he views the opportunities and challenges ahead for GMI.


GMI Connections: You grew up as a missionary kid in Latin America. How did that experience shape your view of the world and of global mission?

Jon Hirst: Growing up as a third-culture kid has given me the ability to see different perspectives and take the posture of a life-long learner. I learned to be a bridge between cultures, ideas and generations. I also learned how to step into the shoes of others and empathize with their situation. This has taught me to value humility and listening. All these lessons have challenged me as a Western believer with a "Latino heart" to appreciate the great contributions of mission movements that have emerged in recent decades as well as in generations past.


GMI Connections: Your past roles have included directing marketing for an Asia-based kingdom tech business (Olive Technology), overseeing communications and rebranding for a mission agency (HCJB Global) and launching a technology innovation and consulting group (DEVTECH). What are one or two key lessons from those experiences that you expect to draw on in leading GMI?


Jon Hirst: In all the projects and efforts I have contributed to over the years, I have seen that nothing is more important than leading people "onto God's mission," as Henry and David Blackaby have said. That trumps fancy vision statements and thick strategic documents every time. Secondly, I have learned that to stick to God's mission on this earth takes great courage that only comes from the Father. His direction in our lives and work will often go against the conventions of the day and the best advice that gurus and consultants can offer. We therefore must be willing to listen to the Spirit and do things His way even when the world tells us that we are foolish or naïve.


GMI Connections: What are some challenges and opportunities in global mission for which research and technology can play a key role?


Jon Hirst: I think that every area of global mission is struggling today with an overload of information and an inability to discern a way forward. I believe that Spirit-led research and the use of technology to present and curate that information has the potential to be used of God to bring clarity. The clarity that comes from humble, thoughtful insight will generate amazing new opportunities for ministry, as people rethink how they are serving and come alongside others on similar journeys of discovery.


GMI Connections: How would you describe your leadership style?


Jon Hirst: I love discussion and interaction. I love to facilitate, draw people into dialogue and then gather insights that lead to decisions. I believe that leadership is about focusing our attention on what God wants to see happen and then having the courage to make decisions based on what we hear together.


GMI Connections: As you step into leadership for GMI, what do you see as you look to the future?


Jon Hirst: At the most basic level, I see GMI continuing the legacy that Mike O'Rear established over years of faithful service. I was blessed to work alongside Mike and he was a great encouragement to me. His passion for research, his commitment to serving the whole church and his insistence on excellence need to be central to everything GMI continues to do. That said, I think you will see GMI move aggressively towards leveraging the research we do on our own and with partners by creating innovative new products and services that utilize technology that empower Kingdom leaders.


GMI Connections: You have often worked closely with your wife Mindy, whose background is in editorial communications. What are her role(s) now, and how will that relate to GMI's ministry?


Jon Hirst: Mindy and I were called into Christian ministry as communicators focused on resourcing others in Kingdom work. That has taken many forms over the years—from working together to launch one of the first interactive youth evangelism websites, to mentoring authors and thought leaders, to raising three young communicators with much to offer their generation and the world. She is my lifelong partner in ministry and will be helping with communications and editing as GMI seeks to effectively engage our partners in ministry.


GMI Connections: How can mission leaders and other friends of GMI stay up-to-date with you?


Jon Hirst: I am committed to engaging the mission community in a transparent and consistent way. The best ways to connect are through my blog and through my Twitter account I will be interacting regularly with partners and leaders through these two channels.


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