Christian Research (CR), a non-profit organisation based in the United Kingdom, was asked by the Lausanne Administrative Committee to undertake a world-wide search for the most important issues impacting world-wide evangelisation. The desire was to use these issues as topics of discussion for the 2004 Forum for World Evangelisation.
In order to do this, CR was given the mandate to contact Christian leaders throughout the world for their input. A list of senior church leaders of all denominations across the world was drawn up to include Anglican Bishops throughout the Communion, Baptist leaders in the Baptist World Alliance in the different countries and key Methodists in the Methodist World Federation. CR was then provided with lists from a number of organisations with access to key Christian leaders involved with running church agencies such as the Mission America Coalition and the Lausanne International Network. Certain leaders in more sensitive countries were also approached individually under the auspices of some of these Christian organisations. Altogether some 4,000 senior leaders across the world were involved in the consultation process; names on more than one list were de-duplicated.
These leaders were sent, either by postal mail, email or fax, a form that asked what they considered to be the most important issues concerning world evangelisation at the beginning of the 21st Century. Respondents were asked not only to give topics they felt were important, but also on a scale from 1-10 to rank the importance of the topics. The form gave space for five topics to be written in, together with a name of a potential speaker/leader on each issue.
A huge variety of topics were suggested which were then sorted into suitable groupings by Christian Research. CR then presented the Lausanne Administrative Committee information on not only how many leaders had suggested specific topics, but also an indication of the average importance ranking. This allowed the Administrative Committee to choose not only topics that commanded the greatest numbers in response but also those that were deemed to be especially important even if only supported by a minority of respondents.
Naturally there has been subsequent “tweaking” of the list, but the above mechanism is the method by which the majority of issues that are due to be discussed at the Forum were chosen.