(Port Dickson, Malaysia) “Live and Lead Like Jesus” was the theme of the 2006 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering (YLG-06) in September in Malaysia. YLG-06, which drew 550 young leaders from over 100 countries, was the second major meeting of young Christian leaders called by the Lausanne Movement to focus specifically on global evangelization. The 1987 Conference of Young Leaders was held in Singapore.
Throughout the week-long YLG-06, leaders learned more about opportunities and barriers to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and were urged to make the most of God’s calling on their life. “I have a dream that a new generation of leaders will love God whole-heartedly and will love their neighbors and the world sacrificially,” said Doug Birdsall, Executive Chair of the Lausanne Movement. “I have a dream of the greatest mobilization of Great Commission Christians that the world has ever seen. Will you answer the call for your generation? Will you fulfill the purposes of God for your generation?” he asked the leaders.
Small group discussions with mentors, workshops, regional meetings and challenges from leaders to live a life of biblical holiness and humility in service to God and man, were highlights of the YLG-06. Speakers included Peter Kuzmic (Croatia), Ajith Fernando (Sri Lanka), Mutua Mahiaini (Kenya), Becky Pippert (USA), Ramez Atallah (Egypt), Birdsall and others.
Mutua Mahiani, National Director of The Navigators for Kenya, urged the leaders to live a life of servant leadership, as exemplified by Jesus. “We need to ask ourselves, ‘Are we servants who lead or are we leaders who serve?’” he said. Ajith Fernando, National Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka, stressed, “Leaders should stay in God’s word and apply God’s truth in every situation.” Peter Kuzmic, founding President of Evandjeoski Teoloski Fakultet in Osijek, Croatia, lamented the prevalence of “half-gospels” that do not take seriously the cross or human pain. These half-gospels, he said, lead to self-sufficiency, competition, duplication, and an “emotionally-driven Christianity that has no transformative effect.” Kuzmic added that the world’s complex problems require a whole gospel. The power of the cross was emphasized by Rebecca Pippert, founder of Salt Shaker Ministries. Pippert expressed concern that too many Christians do not understand the depth of their own sin and thus do not appreciate the wonder of Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. “We all have the problem and the same cure,” Pippert concluded. While Christianity has just barely kept pace with world population growth over the last century, evangelicalism is the fastest growing major religious movement in the world today, according to Jason Mandryck, co-author of Operation World. Mandryck reported that evangelicalism is growing at twice the pace of Islam, and three times as fast as overall world population. Brazil, China, Bangladesh and Nigeria have exploding Christian populations, with the Mongolian church now the most efficient missions force, sending one missionary for every 222 Christians.
Paul Stanley, YLG-06 Program Committee Chair, said leaders were called “to love and live and lead like Jesus and to move the gospel.” “The YLG-06 helped leaders develop in their ministries, informed them of the state of the gospel and connected them with each other and with mentors. Our hope is that the peer relationships started at YLG-06 will last far into the future, to the glory of God,” he added.
YLG-06 provided the first in-depth introduction to the global movement of Lausanne for many younger leaders. “The vision of Lausanne has finally come together!” Tamra Maddox, director of TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission) in Australia, exclaimed. “I’ve spent more time with people from other countries at this conference than I have from Australia and I praise God for that. I now need to go back (into my ministry settings) and proclaim that the kingdom of God is bigger than Australia.” Birdsall is pleased with such enthusiasm, “The YLG-06 was a tremendous event. Hundreds of younger leaders from around world embraced the spirit of Lausanne and its vision to help ‘the whole church take the whole gospel to the whole world.’ The Lausanne Movement has been revitalized.”
The vision and passion of the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering will now be spread internationally through YLG Global Connections, meetings being planned in 33 cities worldwide between now and 2008.
In addition, Lausanne will host a meeting of Christian leaders in Budapest, Hungary in June 2007 and has begun plans for the 2010 Third Lausanne World Congress on Evangelization.
The Lausanne Movement grew out of the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland, convened by Rev. Billy Graham and Bishop Jack Dain. That meeting of 2,700 Christian leaders from 150 nations produced the Lausanne Covenant, which has been hailed as perhaps “the most significant ecumenical confession on evangelism the church has ever produced.” The Lausanne Covenant drafting committee was chaired by John Stott. The unifying theme of the Lausanne Movement and the Lausanne Covenant is cooperation in holistic world evangelization.