Gil Odendaal, Ph.D, D.Min, most recently served as Vice President of Integral Mission at World Relief (www.worldrelief.org.) From directing global initiatives for Saddleback Church to building innovative programs for other reputable global ministries, Gil has dedicated more than 30 years to empowering the church around the world to seamlessly integrate word and deed ministries that transform communities, especially through health-related initiatives.
He currently spends his time as a consultant innovating ways to empower the church to serve the most vulnerable in both the Global South and North. Whether that church consists of 2 Christ-followers gathering in a basement in a restricted access country or a church of 20,000 in an open Christian country – the goal is the same - to serve them so that that their gospel proclamation has social consequences as they call people to love and repentance in all areas of life. And their social involvement has evangelistic consequences as they bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. Prior to his work at World Relief, Gil served as Global Director for PEACE Implementation with Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California and as Global Director for the HIV/AIDS Initiative under Kay Warren assisting and facilitating the deployment of more than 10,000 short term missionaries. For the past 15 years he has progressively immersed himself in community development and the church’s call to integral mission focusing on the least, the lost and the last, especially those working and living in difficult places where persecution for following Christ is par for the course. Convergence of those demographics’ centers on unengaged people groups. He regularly speaks and lectures on this topic in the USA and in global settings.
Other professional positions held by Gil include Regional Coordinator for Africa with Medical Ambassadors International. He also served as Regional Coordinator for Russia and Eastern Europe for a period of two years.
Deeply committed to unleash the untapped human resources latent in the church worldwide and to see health equity become a reality in the southern countries, Gil is committed to mobilize the global church to serve the most vulnerable effectively, spiritually and physically. He has developed innovative programs, projects and campaigns that empower the local church globally towards integral mission.
Gil and his wife, Elmarie, were born and raised in South Africa. They have been married for 38 years. They have three adult children and four grandchildren.