Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As I hear about the vision and the plans for Lausanne III in Cape Town in 2010, I am greatly encouraged. I thank God that He has given our new generation of Lausanne leaders a fresh vision for world evangelization just as He laid a burden upon many of us more than thirty years ago.
It is hard to believe that so many years have gone by since Lausanne '74. How many changes we have seen since then! The world has changed, the church has changed, younger leaders have been raised up, but the Gospel has not changed, and the need for evangelism is more urgent than ever before.
As I reflect on the historic 1974 Lausanne World Congress on Evangelization, I can think of no better description than to repeat here what Bishop Jack Dain and I wrote following that Congress:
"God called us to repentance for our failures and lack of vision. He encouraged us, He sobered us, and He called us to prayer as we considered the hard places of the world and the many yet unreached with the Gospel. Our vision was expanded, our hearts were melted together in love, our minds were stimulated to face issues squarely in the light of His Word, and our wills were moved to enter into a solemn covenant to be instruments in the hand of our Sovereign Lord so that the Congress theme, 'Let the Earth Hear His Voice,' might become a reality."
Approaching ninety years of age, I will likely be in Heaven by the time Lausanne III is convened in Cape Town. But I trust that God will use the congress to unite the church in its commitment to the gospel and in its engagement with the world – for the hope of the world and for the glory of God. I am praying that God will bless all those who are involved in leading and planning this congress in Cape Town. We pass the baton to a new generation.
As you pray, plan and work together concerning Lausanne III, it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will clearly lead and guide you in all your decisions, and undergird all the preparations that must be made in the coming years in the huge task that you have undertaken to call the world Church back to the urgent task of evangelization.
Yours in Christ,