Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization Commences
Bi-Annual Leadership Meeting in Budapest
Doug Birdsall, Executive Chairman of Lausanne, challenged the attendees during the opening plenary session to, like King David, fulfill the purposes of God in their generations. Birdsall also said that this conference is about much more than sharing statistics and data, but rather about gaining wisdom and vision from church leaders around the world in relation to global evangelization.
While the program officially began yesterday, the Lausanne Administrative Committee started its sessions on Sunday, 17 June, to initiate discussions about participant selection and themes for Lausanne III; Cape Town 2010. This International Congress on World Evangelization, announced last month, will be the first in the third millennium.
“This is the first real opportunity for international input into the planning process for Lausanne III: Cape Town 2010. Perhaps the most significant outcome of the meetings so far has been the overwhelming sense of unity,” said Steve Woodworth, Chairman of the Lausanne Communications Working Group.
This gathering in Budapest combines alumni from Lausanne I (1974), Lausanne II (1989), Singapore Conference of Young Leaders (1987), Younger Leaders Conference in Malaysia (2006), and many other leadership meetings over the course of the last 33 years.
Rev. Billy Graham referenced this intergenerational aspect of Lausanne in a letter greeting the participants in Budapest. He wrote, “The world has changed, the church has changed, younger leaders have been raised up, but the Gospel has not changed, and the need for evangelism is more urgent than ever before.”
Noting that the world has become a place increasingly hostile toward evangelical Christians, Birdsall quoted the hope-filled statement of Adoniram Judson, late 18th century missionary to Burma. After having lost his wife and children, Judson was asked about the future of Christianity, to which he replied, “It is as bright as the promises of God.” Birdsall echoed that sense of hope noting that the participants are at “home” together in their agreement with the Lausanne Covenant. However, he cautioned that the sense of hope must be tempered with humility, and that their joyful expectation of the outcomes of this meeting must be anchored in the work of the Lord, and not of men and women.
The Lausanne Bi-Annual International Leadership meeting continues through Friday, 22 June. The schedule includes Bible exposition, prayer, group planning sessions, training, and leadership appointments in addition to evening plenaries.
The first International Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne I) was held in 1974 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The gathering was convened under the leadership of Rev. Billy Graham and drew more than 2,700 evangelical leaders from 150 countries. The focus of the meeting was both practical and theological, producing The Lausanne Covenant, a document that provides theological underpinnings for intentional collaborative world evangelization. The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization grew out of the 1974 Congress, and has remained a movement in world evangelization since that time.
In 1989, more than 3,600 leaders from 190 nations attended Lausanne II in Manila, Philippines. The resulting Manila Manifesto reaffirmed and expanded upon The Lausanne Covenant and the call to “Proclaim Christ Until He Comes.” Subsequent Lausanne gatherings have helped unite Christian leaders worldwide by providing a place for theological and practical discussions on the salient issues impacting the urgent task of reaching people with the love and grace of Jesus Christ.