Greetings from Cape Town!
It was just two years ago on a Sunday evening, 24 October, that the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization came to a close. I have been here in Cape Town to celebrate with our friends and to thank those colleagues who helped to make the vision for the Third Lausanne Congress a reality. Esme Bowers, chair of the Cape Town 2010 Participant Services Committee, hosted two wonderful gatherings to celebrate the two year anniversary. People like Michael Cassidy, Graham Power, Peter Tarantal, Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg, Chris Lodewyck, Dick Miles, Tricia Sampson, and many other African leaders played major roles in the success of Cape Town 2010. Thanks to their partnership and the outstanding leadership of Congress Director, Blair Carlson, and his team, the Congress was an overwhelming success to the glory of God.
Last Saturday, Miles Giljam drove me to the Cape Town International Convention Centre. For nearly an hour, we walked the halls of that great facility and reflected upon what God did during those 10 days as 4200 participants and 1200 staff, volunteers, media, and stewards met together. I walked up to the third floor veranda to get a view of Table Mountain, and remembered the joy and the energy of the many meetings that took place. Down the long hallways, I could hear the beautiful sound of various languages as multiplied thousands of conversations took place among leaders from 198 nations.
Outside the Convention Centre, I remembered the production facilities with the most sophisticated media truck in Africa surrounded by 24 trailers that served as home for 10 days for several hundred volunteers. The trailers were packed with high-tech equipment and talented people who were editing every presentation into 18-minute bundles for distribution to over 600 GlobaLink sites around the world. These teams also helped us understand what the participants, and other global leaders not in Cape Town, were saying through the Lausanne Global Conversation, and other teams were preparing video and audio reports for media outlets around the world. Never in history has a global Christian gathering been so meticulously planned and effectively executed.
In the main plenary hall, I was reminded again of the wonderful worship we shared together and the Ephesians Bible expositions by Ajith Fernando, John Piper, Ruth Padilla-DeBorst, Vaughn Roberts, Ramez and Rebecca Atallah, and Calisto Odede. I remembered the moving testimony from Gyeong Ju Son, the young woman from North Korea, Os Guinness speaking on Truth, the moving video tributes to Billy Graham and John Stott, the Palestinian Christian and the Messianic Jew standing side by side, Libby Little sharing her story, Chris Wright on H.I.S. Church, the power of Princess Zulu speaking on HIV/AIDS, and Tim Keller challenging us to reach our burgeoning global cities with the reconciling gospel of Jesus Christ. Who can forget our table groups - 700 "communities of six" - that enabled global friendships to form?
As I stood in the hall, the memory of the glorious Closing Ceremonies was poignant. I pictured the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi, leading the recessional march with banners waving as God’s pilgrim people exited the hall for the four corners of the earth. As the symphony played and the choir sang, we all joined in lifting our hearts and voices towards Heaven. The words and music of the closing hymn, "Crown Him with Many Crowns", rang joyfully in my ears and reverberated deeply in my soul. We praise and give God thanks that truly this Congress was a testimony to the truth of Christ and the reconciling gospel of peace.
We are still discovering and discerning what God was doing in our midst in and through the Congress. It is too soon to fully assess the impact of the Congress, and only time and eternity will tell. However, I frequently hear people talk about the impact of the Congress in terms of:
"A strong re-affirmation of Truth, moving from ambivalence to confidence."
"Strength for what lies ahead through the articulation of a theology of suffering."
"Returning the Bible to its proper center in the work of world evangelization."
"The introduction of a new century of global partnership."
"Connecting and empowering a new generation of younger leaders."
“A movement towards humility and unity, and a call to integrity and authenticity.”
“The Congress provided a shared experience and a historic point of reference.”
The Cape Town Commitment (CTC) is now in some 25 languages. Last week I was in Nairobi with 200 seminary presidents and deans from around the world for the triennial gathering of the International Council of Evangelical Theological Educators (ICETE). They focused on the Cape Town Commitment as they worked to integrate it into their curricula. Likewise, mission and church leaders are engaging their organizations and churches with the implementation of the priorities of the Commitment.
This is what Chris Wright wrote about the Commitment:
“The Cape Town Commitment is not the memorial of a moment. It is the conviction of a Movement and the voice of multitude. It distills a vast quantity of input from the global Church. We profoundly hope and pray that we are hearing not just the voice of Cape Town 2010, but the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ who walked among us there.”
I'm frequently asked, "What’s next for Lausanne?" The real question is “What’s Now?” Our challenge is to translate the ten days of vision from the Congress into ten years of solid progress in world evangelization. But, there are four things “next” things that I will mention:
I'm also asked, "How can we be involved?" Lausanne is not an organization to join. It is a global Movement, a thought leader for world evangelization, and a catalyst for new initiatives and partnerships. The most effective means for involvement is to implement the vision and priorities of The Cape Town Commitment into your immediate ministry context. This will be enriched as you freely take resources from the Lausanne website, as you stay in touch with the Lausanne International Deputy Directors (IDDs) who give leadership in each of the 12 regions of the world, and as you identify with one of the 36 Lausanne Senior Associates, each of whom is an expert on one of the CTC priorities. (More information on Lausanne resources and Lausanne leadership is below.)
Another question is, "What is Lausanne’s financial situation?" Nearly US$20million was raised from around the world for The Lausanne Movement in preparation for the Congress between 2007 and 2010. This covered 96% of the costs for all pre-Congress consultations, the development of the Lausanne Global Conversation, the GlobaLink, and the Congress itself. Fortunately, all of the Congress bills were paid. However, this was made possible through loans from two of our strongest supporters. We have a responsibility to repay loans for the US$800,000 Congress shortfall. Our Board of Directors and our support staff is fully engaged and committed to raising the funds between now and the end of the year to repay the loans for the Congress, and for the operational support of the Movement. I invite you to join in praying for God’s provision and to give a gift as the Lord leads. (More on how to give a financial gift to Lausanne below.)
On my way from Boston to Cape Town this month, I made stops in India, Seoul, Singapore and Nairobi to meet with Lausanne national and regional leaders, to strategize with Senior Associates, and to meet with ministry leaders who are committed to the vision of Cape Town 2010, and to the "spirit of Lausanne". From Cape Town, I’ll travel to Nigeria to meet with our national committee there and to meet with Christian leaders who have suffered so much and who have seen colleagues and fellow Christians martyred in the midst of violence as recent as last week. Then, I’ll go on to Ghana to meet with our IDD for Anglophone Africa, Nana Yaw Offei Awuku and our IDD for Francophone Africa, Emmanuel Ndikumana, from Burundi. I’ll also meet with Board member Femi Adeleye, and with Dr. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, a member of the Lausanne Theology Working Group and the newly installed Director of the Centre for the Study of African Christianity.
In the following week, I’ll participate in the annual, national gathering of the U.S. Lausanne Movement (Mission America Coalition) in Denver.
We are propelled forward with the vision to be a part of God’s redemptive work. Our heart’s desire is to be obedient to his call to, "the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world." Please pray that God would bless The Lausanne Movement. Pray that God would provide for all that is needed by way of financial provision. Pray that he would give wisdom to our leaders. Pray that we might experience greater unity in the global church, greater courage and conviction. Pray that we will be a people of hope and a reconciling influence for peace with God through Jesus Christ, our one and only Savior who came to bring “peace on earth, goodwill among men with whom he is pleased.”
Thank you for your partnership in the gospel. God bless you!
1. Resources from The Lausanne Movement
a. Lausanne Connecting Point ENewsletter. If you are not already a subscriber to our monthly enewsletter, I encourage you to sign-up here. This is one of the best ways to stay current with the Movement's emphasis on world evangelization, learn about gatherings you can be involved in, access resources, and connect with other leaders.
b. The Cape Town Commitment (www.lausanne.org/ctcommitment) has now been translated into 25 languages. You may join the Conversation on the issues highlighted in the Commitment by participating in the Lausanne Global Conversation, http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/topics.
c. Lausanne Library books are now available. "Christ our Reconciler: Gospel, Church World" (IVP/Lausanne Library) is the official record of The Third Lausanne Congress and contains some of the sharpest thinking the evangelical world has to offer. Each section begins with an exposition of Ephesians, and then engages with issues relating to the six most critical areas facing the Church today. The first of these is our battle for Truth - in the Church, in the world of ideas, and in the workplace. The book concludes with Lindsay Brown's stirring Closing Address to the Congress.
"The Cape Town Commitment Study Edition" (Hendrickson/Lausanne Library) has been masterfully crafted by Rose Dowsett for individuals or for group study. It is thoughtful, intelligent and theological, with searching questions of application. We offer these books to the Church as it gathers on Sunday; to Christians in the professional and public arenas; and to the global Missions community. We trust they will inform discussion and strategic planning. To purchase these and other resources, please visit our bookstore.
d. Lausanne Global Analysis (LGA). The purpose of the LGA is to deliver strategic and credible information, analysis, and insight from an international network of evangelical analysts for policy makers and leaders of Christian organizations committed to the work of world evangelization. The November launch issue will be announced in the Lausanne Connecting Point ENewsletter and our Facebook page.
f. The Music CD from the Congress will be available for purchase shortly. We will send you an email when it's available for purchase online.
2. Giving. You may make a gift online by visiting the Lausanne Website (www.lausanne.org/give). Information on other giving options are availabe here. If you need details on bank/wire transfers, please email [email protected].
Let me provide some additional information to help you understand the factors that contributed to our Cape Town 2010 shortfall: 1) The cyber-attack from China cost $200k to resolve; 2) The South Africa Revenue Service reversed a decision to make a US$500k VAT refund, reducing it to US$80k, an effective income loss of US$420k; 3) The US dollar hit a three year low against the South African Rand during the month of the Congress. The currency loss from 1 September to 31 October resulted in additional dollar costs of nearly US$500k; 4) Nearly 300 invited participants from financially disadvantaged Francophone Africa countries arrived in Cape Town without having registered. We needed to provide housing and meals for them at a cost of nearly US$300k. You will be pleased to know that all of the funds used to repay the loans to our Congress donors will then be re-distributed by those donors to other ministries after the first of the year.
3. Leadership. God has raised up a remarkable group of men and women who are providing leadership for The Lausanne Movement. They include: