Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization Hosts Meeting in Budapest for Global Church Leaders to Exchange Ideas and Viewpoints
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, 22 June – More than 360 Christian leaders from over 60 countries participated in the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) Bi-Annual International Leadership Meeting, a week-long planning session that ended today in Budapest. The meeting was an opportunity for leaders to pray, plan and work together toward Lausanne III: Cape Town 2010, the Third International Congress on World Evangelization to be held 16-25 October 2010.
The Budapest meeting of global Lausanne leadership discussed the potential barriers and opportunities of global evangelization, and how the Church can share the hope of the Gospel to every nation on earth. Rev. S. Douglas (Doug) Birdsall, LCWE Executive Chair, urged the leaders to work together for the cause of Christ, “Because there is so much at stake. The task is bigger and the urgency more obvious.”
Throughout the week, plenary and breakout discussions tackled fundamental questions related to opportunities, challenges, priorities and organization – including the differing connotations of the term Evangelical. Leaders agreed that some of the most significant challenges facing the church include maintaining the importance of evangelism; increased involvement by leaders from the Global South; reaching the next generation; marginalized people and children at risk; the importance of urban evangelists; hunger; poverty; and HIV/AIDS.
The Church also faces significant opportunities such as coaching and mentoring young, emerging leaders; ministry to and with students; leveraging technology; pioneering reconciliation between different groups; encouraging more women in leadership; and greater inclusion of the broader body of Christ.
David R. Young, managing director of Oxford Analytica, encouraged leaders to be true “Men of Issachar, who understood their times and knew what to do.” Young also shared his analysis of the current global landscape within the framework of three priorities highlighted from the Lausanne Covenant: the need to emphasize the uniqueness of Christ; the need for unity; and the need to closely link theology and mission within the strategic framework of evangelization.
An important tool in facilitating discussions among the participants was the “Lausanne Café,” in which table leaders moderated and captured comments from small groups of five to six individuals. Focusing on one question during each session, but switching tables every half hour to cross-pollinate the conversation, participants engaged in candid and often spirited exchanges about issues important to the church. A final report on the small group discussions will be distributed in the next few weeks.
“The focus this week has been on listening, and we have heard many new things, that – to our shame – we haven’t even thought of before,” said Ramez Atallah, Chairman of the Lausanne III: Cape Town 2010 Program Committee during a summary session Thursday. “A real surprise was the emphases on HIV/AIDS and the environment, some issues that were not dealt with prior to this [conference].”
In addition to the Lausanne committee members participating in these informal brainstorming sessions, they also broke out into formal working groups to address the pragmatics of a worldwide conference, such as leadership development, funding, communications, theology, participant selection, technical support, participant services and programming.
Rev. Blair T. Carlson, Congress Director for Lausanne III, said the conversations begun in Budapest will continue after the leaders return home. “We’ve taken the time to listen and learn from each other this week. Now we want to move forward together with a united focus on evangelization.”
In his closing remarks, Birdsall encouraged the leaders to take with them the “spirit of Lausanne,” a spirit of fellowship, study, prayer, humility and hope. He reiterated his opening remarks about the common grace experienced within this committee. “ Lausanne is home – a safe place,” he said. “As you go back to your families and areas of influence, I want to send you out with a sense of love, a message of hope and a spirit of humility. We commit ourselves afresh for the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.”
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. In 1989, more than 3,600 leaders from 190 nations attended Lausanne II in Manila, Philippines. 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.
NOTE: For more information or to request an interview with Rev. S. Douglas (Doug) Birdsall, please contact Whitney Kelley at 1.214.457.1398 (US) or [email protected] or RoeAnn Estevez at 22.214.171.12413 or [email protected] For more information on Lausanne, please go to www.lausanne.org.
HERE’S WHAT DELEGATES ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BI-ANNUAL LAUSANNE LEADERSHIP MEETING IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
This week has been very refreshing, provoking me to think about critical issues in Africa. Of particular interest is the mass immigration of Africa due to the unbearable social conditions – in some cases war and violence as well as persecution – which has led many “believers” to flee the continent to greener economic pastures in the western world. Lausanne 2010 will provide a platform to address such missiological concerns, as well as give the Church opportunity to see what God is doing in Africa.
Gideon Para-Mallam, International Deputy Director, Anglophone Africa ( Nigeria)
This week, we focused on vision – thinking strategically about where we are as a movement and how we can make God’s message more relevant and applicable to people. I’m especially pleased to see more women involved in Lausanne. Women add a great dimension. While women are great visionaries, just as importantly, we understand the process and we bring the softness, the sensitivity, and the heart.
Vonette Bright, Member of original LCWE, Co-Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International (USA)
I believe that God is doing something that is absolutely unstoppable; it is like a spiritual tsunami of reformation in the Church, of which the Lausanne movement is a part, and I am privileged to be here.
Mark Kolo, Mobilization and Media Director, Missions Support League ( Nigeria)
As I reflect over this past week, I see the truth of the scripture that ‘God in Christ is reconciling the world.’ It has been encouraging to hear the stories of how God is working in all these regions. We must remember that Lausanne is not the story… Lausanne is the storyteller.
Dr. Leighton Ford, Honorary Lifetime Executive Committee Chairman ( USA)
The term ‘whole church’ is a challenge because it is not just about denominations or generation. We have to have representation that is bountiful and meaningful. And we must continue to focus on what unites us – Jesus.
Grace Samson, member of the Younger Leaders and the Communications Working Group ( South Africa)
One of the goals I see for Lausanne 2010 is to create a platform for new ideas, that a redefinition of core concepts can be presented – such as environmentalism, HIV/AIDS, globalization – that are usually tackled by the secular world, and the WCC, can now come from solid, moderate evangelical voices reintroducing concepts in a unique way.”
Andrea Stephanous, International Deputy Director of the Middle East and Northern Africa ( Egypt)
The significant outcome of this week was a sense of greater ownership by African leaders of 2010. This cannot be a continental event – our goal is to get everyone involved from the broader church.
Peter Tarantal, Global Leadership Working Group ( South Africa)