Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I have been amazed and humbled to connect with Christ-centered younger leaders through my travels these past few months. 150 high school students of Muslim background coming to Christ in northern Ghana; a 30-year-old younger leader being appointed executive secretary of a network of 500 churches in France; a young Brazilian couple involved in a dynamic church plant reaching indigenous Italians in Rome; a 17-year-old gypsy brother leading lively worship in Budapest; a young South Sudanese leader bringing hope and reconciliation to refugee camps in Uganda; and in Chiang Mai, over 1000 young leaders making fresh commitments to reaching the world with the gospel—sharing personally in these experiences has deeply encouraged me, as I witnessed God’s work in raising a new, diverse generation of younger leaders for the sake of his global mission!
Many of these young men and women were present last August at one of the most significant global gatherings for the next generation. The Third Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering (YLG2016), held in Jakarta, Indonesia, convened more than 1,000 younger leaders and mentors from over 140 countries to connect, pray, and discern God’s leading of their generation for global mission. What an amazing, Spirit-filled time it was!
This August, we celebrated the first anniversary of YLG2016. I am glad to announce that, as part of our celebrations, all 38 session videos are now available in the Lausanne Content Library for you to watch and enjoy. Centred around the theme of God’s redemptive story, you’ll find videos of compelling speakers like Os Guinness, Marina Silva, Ravi Zacharias, and Anne Zaki—as well as moving testimonies from believers around the world. I have heard incredible stories already of how younger leaders are using these videos to further God’s mission globally. And I pray that you also will be encouraged and renewed in zeal for the nations through these videos.
The exciting connections made at YLG2016 have not ended with the gathering. Instead, the connections made are growing into an engaging community of younger leaders and nearly 250 mentors. Represented are nearly 140 countries, 12 geographic regions, and hundreds of churches and mission agency networks. Collectively, this vibrant community that arose from YLG2016 is called the Younger Leaders Generation (YLGen).
If you aren’t familiar with YLGen, it is a ten-year commitment to walk alongside younger leaders, with the goal of nurturing experienced, godly leaders who are passionate about advancing God’s global mission and are marked with the Spirit of Lausanne (humility, friendship, prayer, partnership, and hope). YLGen hopes to accomplish these goals by connecting them more intentionally to five areas: Lausanne issue networks, regions, resources, and mentors, as well as to one another through peer groups.
Michael Oh, my dear friend and Global Executive Director of the Lausanne Movement, puts it well: ‘YLGen is not just a commitment to younger leaders but a commitment to building connections across generations . . . generations is one of the three main areas where collaboration takes place within the Movement (the others being ideas and regions).’ Indeed, YLGen is not an isolated initiative for younger leaders, but a vital, indispensable link both in the Lausanne Movement and the future of global mission.
I invite you on behalf of the Lausanne Movement to pray with us in accord with the Cape Town Commitment, that through YLGen, God would ‘raise up a new generation of discipled servant-leaders whose passion is above all else to know Christ and be like him’.
Nana Yaw Offei Awuku is the director for the Younger Leaders Generation (YLGen). He was the Lausanne Regional Director for English, Portuguese, and Spanish speaking countries in Africa (EPSA) until September 2016. Nana Yaw has been on staff with Scripture Union Ghana for over 20 years and currently serves on the Senior Management Team as the Director for Field Ministries. Nana is married to Beth and they live in Ghana with their three children. He is currently on a two-year study break at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston.