For decades, the National Association of Evangelicals and its members have made a huge contribution to the advancement of the gospel to every continent of the world. For one, tens of thousands of missionaries and aid workers have served under the auspices of the NAE-founded Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (now Missio Nexus).

During my tenure as the World Evangelical Alliance secretary general, the WEA worked closely with the NAE on key issues that impacted millions around the world, including religious persecution, creation care, human trafficking, nuclear disarmament and the illegal arms trade to name a few. Engaging with evangelical leaders from other national alliances, the NAE has been able to communicate a broad and well-informed evangelical perspective to U.S. policy makers on issues that affect so many lives around the world.

With the impact of globalization and the center of gravity of Christianity shifting from the West to the Global South, the NAE will continue to play a critical role in the work of the kingdom of God around the world.

First, the NAE can make a major impact by serving as a catalyst for engaging and building bridges with Christian leaders from around the world. Amplifying their voices and perspectives to U.S. evangelicals and policymakers is vital. Second, the NAE can also counteract the negative narrative that evangelicals are primarily a political movement — a message that has spread and has been having an impact internationally.

I am grateful for the role the NAE has played in the global movement and recognize that its role has never been more vital than it is today.

This article originally appeared in Evangelicals magazine.