Planning Started for ‘Cape Town 2010:
The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Nov. 20 – Following meetings of several dozen international Christian leaders here in South Africa at the end of October, international planning efforts officially have begun for the upcoming global congress, “Cape Town 2010: The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization.”
The Congress, announced in May, will be convened by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization in partnership with the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). A biennial Lausanne leadership gathering held last June in Budapest, Hungary, helped to determine the focus of the upcoming Congress. The recent October meetings in Cape Town began the actual planning process for 2010.
“Cape Town 2010 will be the third Lausanne congress and the first of the 21st century,” said Doug Birdsall, the executive chair of Lausanne. “This first gathering of the leadership team provided clarity for the planning process and a strong sense of collegiality for the Congress leadership team. We have a growing sense of enthusiasm for the potential and promise for the 2010 congress.”
Director Blair Carlson likened the Congress to a huge table around which the world church gathers to grapple with the issues of world evangelization. “To serve such a large table, we need a commensurate planning team to guide the volunteer, multi-national committee,” Carlson said. “In Cape Town, we recognized God’s sovereign hand in bringing such a strong team together and we experienced His very real presence and help. The benefits of getting input from a broad cross-section of leaders from every continent at the outset provides a healthy connectedness with the very world we are trying to reach.”
Participants in the recent Cape Town planning meetings included prominent African leadership and chairs of several key congress committees, including:
- Moss Nathla, general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance in South Africa;
- Isak Burger, world president of the Apostolic Faith Mission, from South Africa;
- Rev. Ndaba Mazabane, president of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa and international chair of the World Evangelical Alliance, from South Africa;
- Gideon Para-Mallam, international deputy director of Lausanne for Anglophone Africa, from Nigeria;
- Bishop Hwa Yung, Methodist bishop of Malaysia, chair of the Cape Town 2010 Participant Selection Committee;
- Sarah Plummer, chair of the Cape Town 2010 Prayer Intercession Committee, from Australia; and
- Ramez Atallah, head of the Bible Society of Egypt, chair of the Cape Town 2010 Program Committee
“Cape Town 2010 provides a unique and historic opportunity for the global church to focus this generation on the need to take the ‘whole gospel to the whole world,’” added Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the World Evangelical Alliance. “WEA will work closely with Lausanne on the executive leadership team, program committee and participant selection for the congress.”
“During our meetings in Cape Town, I was profoundly moved by the warmth of the welcome, the passion for mission and the vision for the world expressed by the African leaders present,” Tunnicliffe added. “We believe this depth of partnership will increase the global impact for the Gospel and ultimately bring glory to God.”
Leaders expressed a unity of spirit and purpose for Cape Town 2010, along with great hope of sharing the Gospel message with the entire world.
“The Cape Town 2010 Congress will remind us of the oneness of the Body of Christ,” said Femi Adeleye, International Fellowship of Evangelical Students regional general secretary for English- and Portuguese-speaking Africa. “God will bring us to this sense of unity as we harness the gifts each region of the world brings.”
Peter Tarantal, national director of Operation Mobilization, South Africa, believes that “the energy and momentum of what God is doing on this continent will energize the global church.”
Birdsall explained that the Cape Town meetings laid the groundwork for the next two years leading into the Cape Town 2010 Congress. By the numbers, the Congress will last for 10 days and include 4,000 participants – including at least two from every country – who will work for 18 months prior to the meetings on the six key issues that will be the focus of the program.
“This is a congress, which implies that people will have been working prior to the gathering,” Birdsall continued. “And when together, they plan to develop strategies, create documents, and strengthen partnerships that will help establish the priorities for the global church for the next generation.”
Birdsall envisions that the Congress will serve to shape the ethos and establish the priorities for world evangelizaton for the decades to come. “With the internal challenges we face coupled with the external pressures that are upon the church, we pray for nothing less than a 21st century reformation of the church..” he concluded.
The first International Congress on World Evangelization was held in 1974 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The substance of the congress was both strategic and theological in nature, producing The Lausanne Covenant, a declaration that to this day provides the theological underpinnings for intentional world evangelization.
In 1989, more than 3,600 leaders from 190 nations attended Lausanne II in Manila, Philippines. The resulting Manila Manifesto reaffirmed the Lausanne Covenant and the call to “Proclaim Christ Until He Comes.”
The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization seeks to serve leaders worldwide by providing a place for theological discussion and development of practical strategies to address formative issues facing the church and world today with respect to global missions. By holding gatherings that equip Christian leaders, Lausanne seeks to encourage and stimulate the involvement of churches, denominations, ministries, networks and individuals in the cause of world evangelization.