“When we freeze water, we make ice cubes. When God freezes water, he makes snowflakes – each one different.” Vaughn Roberts (via Justin Long)
Our Lord is infinitely creative (as evidenced in the uniqueness of each snow flake) and able to bring millions of unique members of humanity together in His Global Church to accomplish His cosmic plans for the redemption of this world. Vaughn Roberts, rector at St. Ebbes Church in Oxford, England, shared from Ephesians 4 about the need for unity in the Church within a context of unique gifts and perspectives.
With phrases like, “Unity doesn’t mean uniformity.” He challenged the Church to a standard of Truth but a posture of love and acceptance within that context. See Justin Long’s live blogging of that session for more.
This focus on unity built on the first three days where we were challenged to see our roles in God’s cosmic plan that is based on eternal Truth and manifest in our transformed lives. Ephesians 4 was critical to setting the stage for the focus on 21st Century evangelism and the priorities of our work. Why was this so important? Because the many countries now defining the missions movement and the new generation that is preparing to lead these new efforts are going to come with new ideas, different strategies and unique perspectives. The Church as a whole must find ways to stand on the same foundation but allow for the unique outpourings of God’s Spirit as He seeks to redeem the world.
The key speaker to bring into focus the great challenges facing 21st century evangelism was Paul Eshleman. He shared seven key elements of the Great Commission (via Kris Kidd):
The rest of the day included a focus on oral people, children and youth (see these video interviews about student ministry from a New Zealand delegate ), leadership development. Each of these areas drew attention to the people that most need to be reached and the groups that God is training and equipping to reach them.
It is exciting to see how God is using many new mission-sending countries in strategic ways for His purposes. One of these is the Latin American missionary movement. Harold Segura has been blogging faithfully in Spanish about the challenges and opportunities that Latin Americans have in 21st Century evangelism. Read his posts here (In Spanish).
Then the evening came and it was time to celebrate Africa. Even though there is little snow in Africa, there is no doubt that God has and is preparing millions of unique voices from this continent to impact global Christianity.
One of the gifts that Africa offers to the world is their joy and celebration. Get a glimpse of the African worship today from the camera of Cody Lorance.
Here are some tweets from that evening session:
But the question that is raised as we celebrated Africa’s role in the Global Church is, “What will its contribution be?” Many African believers at Lausanne this year are ready to answer that question as they write that chapter and engage the world in obedience to Christ.
That brings us back to the topic of unity. Will the Global Church accept the new and unique ideas and outreach efforts that believers from Africa, Latin American and other emerging Christian communities around the globe implement and champion? Will we see the many snowflakes falling as God’s blessing for a lost world or will we try and protect what we know and what we find to be comfortable?
And for the young believers and those coming out of new mission-sending countries, will these new communities of believers acknowledge the wisdom and experience of those who have been in influence for so long? Will there be mutual respect and a desire to be mentored and encouraged even as the role of leadership changes hands?
When each of those individual snowflakes falls to the ground, they meld into one blanket of pristine, sparkling snow. That is the ultimate picture of what the Global Church should be; millions of unique and talented believers joining together to present the God of the universe to a fallen world.