Abuja, October 2013
To the glory of God, the Nigeria Lausanne Congress 2013 has ended with a fresh emphasis and unified resolve by key church, mission, political, educational and other marketplace leaders to diligently pray and work in unity and in the power of the Holy Spirit toward national transformation and fulfilling the missional mandate of the Nigerian Church in world evangelization.
The congress was organized by the Nigeria Lausanne Committee under the chairmanship of Rev Prof Yusuf Turaki, to bring the thrust of Cape Town 2010 (Lausanne III) to bear on the life and witness of the Church in Nigeria under the theme, ‘World Evangelization and National Transformation: The Role of the Nigerian Church’. The goal of the congress was to challenge the Nigerian Church to release her full potential toward national transformation and world evangelization beginning from our ‘Jerusalem’.
Over 350 Nigerian Christian leaders representing strategically identified denominational churches, mission agencies, government officials, market and workplace believers converged at the beautiful All Christians Fellowship Mission in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, from 15-19 October 2013. Rev Gideon Para-Mallam, former Lausanne International Deputy Director for English, Portuguese and Spanish-speaking Africa (EPSA) and IFES Regional Secretary said, ‘God has blessed this meeting with significant leaders with strategic and critical influence in Nigeria and beyond’.
This truly historic gathering has been a conscious response to the challenge of The Cape Town Commitment to ‘respond in Christian mission to the realities of our own generation and the mission of the Church to take seriously both the unchanging nature of God’s word and the changing realities of our world’. Toward this end, highlights of the congress included the release and official launch of the Hausa edition of The Cape Town Commitment, SA KAN da aka dauka a birnin Cape Town, and a ground-breaking publication by the Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI) on the remaining 81 unreached people groups in Nigeria. The congress was full of joy and a beautiful expression of authentic African mission partnerships arising out of Cape Town 2010.
At the heart of the congress programme was a carefully designed structure for participants to engage in and come up with action plans on 13 carefully identified issues of national relevance in response to The Cape Town Commitment. The message of the congress was clear, ‘The agenda of the national transformation of Nigeria can ONLY succeed if the Nigerian Church lives in accordance with kingdom principles in the power of the Holy Spirit. As believers, the supreme lordship of Jesus Christ must be seen in every sector of our national life as ambassadors of Christ living without compromise, and promoting peace and reconciliation in a hurting nation’.
The 13 issues that groups worked on diligently:
- Unity of the Nigerian Church
- Engaging Unreached People Groups in and outside Nigeria
- Emerging Leaders and World Evangelization
- Mobilising Women as a Mission Force in Nigeria
- Promoting Effective and Efficient Children Ministry in Nigeria
- Integral Mission
- Top Theological Issues among Nigerian Christians
- Values Modelled by Christ: Truth, Simplicity, Humility and Integrity
- Values, Stewardship and Wealth Creation
- The Need for a Definite Proactive Response by the Church to Muslim Evangelization in Nigeria
- Agenda for Authentic National Transformation: Prophetic Impact on Political Development in Nigeria
- The Impact of Technology in Propagating the Good News
- The Role of the Church in National Reconciliation
The congress has provided a unique and unifying platform for the Nigerian Church to collectively listen, deliberate, discuss, strategize, pray and come up with action plans to addressing these issues toward the goal of national transformation and world evangelization.
The Nigeria Lausanne Congress ended with a symbolic communion and commissioning service and a covenantal charge in a joint statement, which among other highlights, brings to the Nigerian Church a clarion call and challenge to:
- Discern and know adequately the current national burden and communicate such burdento all congregations and networks and thereby engage more in contemplative and reflective united prayer for national transformation.
- Think strategically and come up with credible action for unity and thereby overcome the challenges of denominationalism, doctrinal differences, tribalism, and commercialization of the gospel, corruption, and unhealthy competitions.
- Become more committed to solutions that promote unity among Nigerian churches and allows for collaboration between church organizations, common resources, improvement in pastoral and missionary trainings and hence remain as true ambassadors of Christ that advocate for peace and unity.
- Birth Holy Spirit inspired ideas that will enable the Church to reduce violence and conflict in the society as a way to further combat terrorism.
- Work closely with The Lausanne Covenant and The Cape Town Commitment toward national transformation and global evangelization.
- Deliberately disciple and mentor young people who are the rising demographic.
- Enabled by the Holy Spirit, unleash full mission potential in reaching the remaining 81 unreached people groups in Nigeria and global evangelization.
The congress was fully financed and resourced through the gracious generosity of the leadership and churches in Nigeria.
Remarking on his personal experience at the congress, Nana Yaw Offei Awuku, the Lausanne International Deputy Director for EPSA said, ‘The Nigeria Lausanne Congress has given the global church an excellent example of how national leadership can strategically and relevantly respond in mission to The Cape Town Commitment.
With the strength of consultative engagement on key mission issues, the significant resolve on the unity of the Church in mission, the strategic involvement and participation of younger leaders and women, emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit, historic launch of the Hausa edition of The Cape Town Commitment and publication of the remaining unreached people groups in Nigeria, I pray that this congress will bring a fresh witness to JESUS CHRIST and a new surge of momentum in mandate of the whole Nigerian Church toward national transformation and world evangelization’.
To God be all the glory!