Daily updates were made throughout the 2004 Forum in Pattaya, Thailand. These updates were made available online as well as in print to the forum participants. They have been made available on the Lausanne website to convey the progression of thought and events at the 2004 Forum. In addition, a Daily Blog was posted online, providing one individual’s personal reflections throughout the Forum. A number of Photos from the Forum have been made available online as well.
The Work Begins…
First meeting of issue group participants brings sharing and strategy.
Today the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization Issue Groups met face-to-face for the first time. Though many of the members of the 31 groups have never met personally, they have been actively corresponding for months via the Internet, telephone and mail. Many groups used their first meeting in person as a chance to get to know one another – with members introducing themselves, sharing the particular challenges they face in ministry and how God has been working through their ministry toward advancing the gospel.
Members of the Reconciliation Issue Group (IG #22) revealed personal stories of hurt or discrimination or experiences as victims of conflict. (pictured) Testimonies of personal tragedy as the result of genocide in Rwanda, Burundi and Cambodia were shared, as a bond of fellowship and prayer developed among members.
In the two subsequent sessions of the day, Issue Groups transitioned into the next phase of strategy development. Guided by the 2004 Convergence Team, several Issue Groups defined why their issue is important to the task of world evangelization. They also addressed what they felt were the most important ideas for action or understanding that Christian leaders should implement or influence others to implement in the cause of world evangelization.
Listening for Emerging Trends
The 2004 Forum Planning Committee has appointed a seven-member team of ministry leaders and theologians, led by Dr. Paul Eschleman (JESUS Film Project), to “listen” to the emerging trends and commonalities among Issue Groups. (pictured)
On Thursday morning at the opening Convergence session, Paul identified four categories that each of the 31 Issue Groups fall into in their common call to advancing the gospel:
Mobilizing the Church to
- Share a Clear and relevant Message
- Using a variety of Methods
- To reach the Most-neglected, resistant or distinct groups
Paul then identified 12 aspects of evangelism that are being addressed at the Forum that the Convergence group will monitor:
- Prioritizing the unreached people groups of the world.
- Accelerating church-planting initiatives in the most neglected areas.
- Emphasizing the building of prayer movements
- Developing new approaches to Bible translation – especially for oral learners.
- Increasing the use of media – and preparing the next generation to be “storytellers.”
- Translating training and discipleship materials.
- Creating micro-economic structures to ensure the church is financially independent everywhere.
- Accelerating the training of younger leaders and empowering women.
- Facilitating the Two-Third’s World vision of sending 100,000+ new missionaries to the world.
- Cooperating – especially in reaching the cities.
- Focusing on the most open people group – children and young people.
- Living and preaching a holistic gospel.
The 2004 Forum Convergence Team will continue to visit individual Issue Groups over the next few days and provide reports each morning to participants to help track the progress of groups meeting at the Forum.