Bill Dickson, a servant leader and mission collaborator
We first met in 1996, when I visited GMI’s office at Mike’s invitation. That week, Bill introduced me to geo databases and Atlas GIS, a geographic information system. I recall he had explained various features in considerable detail. Bill also explained how GMI was helping God’s people to see the world more clearly through the use of information resources and mapping.
Bill was a humble servant leader, often serving others quietly but effectively in the background. We catch a glimpse of Bill’s humility in his Skype profile: “technology cook and bottle washer at GMI”. Of course, he was more than that! He was Vice President for Research and Development (1991-2011). He enjoyed helping others. Bill used his vast knowledge of computers and information technology to facilitate countless Christian leaders in their ministry. Bill worked not only with computer networks and databases; he was also committed to human networks and relationships.
Bill was a mission information collaborator. He understood the value of working together with others to acquire and share strategic information for Christian ministry. Bill developed good relationships with key information workers at several international mission agencies in the USA and beyond. This resulted in significant collaborative projects such as Language Mapping Project, Global Ministry Mapping System, and Mission Infobank, a library of research resources from and for Christian leaders. I am grateful to have worked with Bill and others at GMI on a few projects. As a project manager, Bill had the knack of knowing where various pieces would fit together, and he always acknowledged the work of each person in the team.
Our last conversation was on Skype in June this year. With GMI closing, we reminisced the long time focus and “old” core values. For many years, GMI’s highest priority had been to serve evangelical mission leaders in the developing world through partnership with like-minded organizations. The 2009 annual report had described GMI core values as follows: “With a heart focused on God’s mission in the world, guided and empowered by his Spirit, GMI produces and presents applied research, serving others with excellence through respectful partnerships”. That was how Bill (and Mike) had served God’s people around the world.
Bill walked in a manner worthy of the calling to which he was called, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”. (Ephesians 4:1-2, ESV). By God’s grace, may we also live a life worthy of our calling.
— Valerie in Singapore