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Doug Birdsall Update

Doug Birdsall

Dr. John R.W. Stott personified The Lausanne Movement and the spirit of Lausanne.  Just last month, I joined with hundreds of his friends and colleagues at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to honor and celebrate the life of Uncle John.  We came from around the world to pay our respects, to share stories, and to draw inspiration from the life of this great man of God. 

The tribute that I prepared for The Times of London is available here.

My frequent visits with Uncle John over the last six years allowed me to keep him current on Lausanne developments, and also receive his wise counsel and encouragement.  I thank God for Uncle John’s life and the many things he taught me about leadership, and about living a life of integrity and commitment to the gospel.   

Let me share with you Lausanne news that I think would have made Uncle John happy.  I trust you will be encouraged as well.

1.  Not “What’s Next?” but “What’s Now?” 

During my first full month back to work following sabbatical, the most frequently asked question I hear is, “What’s next?”  I always answer by saying, “There are many exciting things on the horizon but the most compelling thing is, ‘What’s Now!’”

As Evangelicals, we must resist the temptation to always be looking forward to the next big event.  Instead we should discipline ourselves with a sustained and intensive commitment to the work of world evangelization that has been entrusted to us. 

Cape Town 2010 ushered in a Century of Global Partnership.  Every week I learn of new initiatives under way as a result of connections that were made, and the ideas that were shared in Cape Town.  African leaders are building on the Congress as they encourage unity, bring hope, and strengthen the witness of the Church.  Next month, Lausanne leaders in the Middle East and North Africa will meet in Cairo for the same purpose.  Last month, several of us met with Orthodox bishops and missionaries who want to be more involved in The Lausanne Movement for missiological and doxological purposes.  Last week, leaders from Southeast Asia and East Asia met in Seoul, Korea.  Younger leaders in the Western World are meeting together to share vision and ideas they have received from leaders in the Majority World. 

God is on the Move! 

Currently we have leaders working on new mission partnerships and consultations on the following issues: Islam; Theological Education in the 21st Century; Nominalism; Prosperity Gospel; Ethnicity and Identity; Gospel and Media; Theology of Work; Creation Care; Global Executive Leadership Forum (GELF); and Scripture Engagement.

Details on these initiatives and more will be posted and updated regularly on the Lausanne website - www.lausanne.org.

In May at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 54 seminary presidents, representing top schools globally, will deal with the topic, “The Changing Role of American Seminaries in Global Theological Education”.  This consultation which is sponsored by the Lausanne Theology Working Group is being convened in collaboration with Langham Partnership, Overseas Council, The International Council for Evangelical Theological Education, The Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents, and the World Reformed Fellowship.

2.  The Power of Clear Vision 

The Cape Town Commitment (CTC, www.lausanne.org/ctcommitment) is gaining ownership around the world.  Great progress is being made on two curriculum projects.  The first is being developed for seminary and graduate school levels.  The second will be for local churches, and for adult study groups.  Both will be available later this year.  They will provide an amazingly rich resource of videos, papers, study guides, and bibliographies for studying and engaging in world evangelization priorities for the coming decade. 

We’ve also begun a monthly Communications focus on the CTC issues.  Our emphasis during February is on the Diaspora, and CTC Part II Section C5, Love Reaches Out to Scattered Peoples, with Dr. Sadiri Joy Tira, Lausanne Senior Associate for Diasporas.  I encourage you to join the conversation today at www.lausanne.org/conversation.

3.  Great Ideas Attract Exceptional People

In the year following Cape Town 2010, one of the most encouraging developments I have witnessed is the caliber of people who have been drawn to work with one another in the Movement.

The twenty-two men and women who serve on The Lausanne Movement Board of Directors represent a virtual “Council of Elders” for global evangelicalism.  These leaders represent influence for the cause of Christ from every region of the world and from the major streams of world mission, the church, and the academy.  Please be praying for me and for these leaders as we seek the wisdom of God on our priorities for the years ahead.

4.  Bangalore 2013 

Next June, Lausanne will convene a meeting of 350 world evangelism innovators, scholars, and strategists for five days in Bangalore, India.  The purpose will be to assess progress in world evangelization with respect to The Cape Town Commitment.  This select global gathering represents our commitment to hold ourselves accountable for priorities and goals articulated at Cape Town 2010.  It also acknowledges our need to continually identify emerging leaders, discover new resources, and learn from each other as we wrestle with new challenges in a world of dynamic change.

Mrs. Grace Mathews, Lausanne’s Vice Chair, serves as the Consultation Director.  Dr. Ivan Satyavrata, International Deputy Director for South Asia, along with our South Asia Lausanne leadership, and the Regional Advisory Council, will be our hosts.

5.  Lindsay Brown – Sharing Life and Celebrating Life

Lausanne International Director Lindsay Brown served for 16 years as General Secretary of IFES.  During this period, IFES work grew from 100 to 150 countries.  Lindsay, at heart an evangelist with a passion for the gospel, has recently returned from three weeks of university mission and meetings with Lausanne leaders in Australia.  Currently, Lindsay is in the midst of university mission in the U.K. joined by Cape Town 2010 plenary speaker Tim Keller, and Lausanne Senior Associate Becky Pippert. 

We are pleased to announce that Lindsay and his wife, Ann, became grandparents recently when their son, Owen, and daughter-in-law, Rhian, had a little girl.  She was born twenty-five years after Lindsay and Ann lost their only daughter.  You can imagine that she has been welcomed with great joy as a gift of God. 

Congratulations!

6.  Cape Town 2010 Impact – Report from the CEO of World Vision Canada

"As the President of World Vision Canada, I would like to express my appreciation to the Lausanne leadership for the impact of Lausanne Cape Town 2010.  The quality and substance of presentations, the music, the worship, the diversity and breadth of the speakers and the overall organization was an experience of a lifetime.

Most of all it engaged us so vibrantly as an organization with our evangelical foundations and the ongoing vitality of the evangelical movement.  As an organization with a broad Christian humanitarian mandate there is always substantive pressure from the secular world to bifurcate our Christian message from the actual work we do.  It was a wonderful affirmation to be with Christian sisters and brothers who embrace both social action and the public witness of our faith in Christ.  My own spirit was provoked and strengthened by the daily sharing in my small group.  

Finally, I feel honored to have been selected to be part of this extraordinary event.  It was such an encouragement to see WV colleagues and Board members attending and presenting.  May God help me to continue to reflect this experience and make it an ongoing contribution to my daily life and ministry.”  David Toycen

Thank you once again for your partnership in the work of “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world”.  May God continue to bless you!


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