Getting Christian Leaders Around the Same Table

October 12, 2010 — 1 Comment

What if the entire evangelical church were to gather 4,500 key leaders from 200 countries and all walks of life who minister to rich and poor, educated and illiterate, widows and orphans, politicians and generals, and put one question in the center of the table?

Well, it is happening next week.

The question: What will it take for the church to finish the task of Jesus’ Great Commission while living out the Great Commandment? That is an important question because ultimately God’s purposes will be fulfilled. All of history is heading in this direction. We know that some generation will actually witness this fulfillment take place.

This Thursday I fly to Cape Town, South Africa, to join the 3rd Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. It’s a huge deal because many missions leaders believe with deep conviction that we may be within a generation’s reach of completing the church’s global task. I am also growing to believe this. It’s a privilege for me to attend, as only 400 invitations were offered to North Americans. My confirmation letter urged me to arrive a bit early to the opening session, as we will be seated in 759 tables of six. Conversations, not just presentations. Cool.

The Lausanne Movement traces its roots to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in the late ‘60s. Graham perceived the need for a larger, more diverse congress to reframe the Christian mission in a world rife with political, social, economic and religious upheaval. The first Congress was held in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1974 with 2,700 participants from 150 countries. From this gathering the soul-stirring Lausanne Covenant was forged, unifying key doctrinal and visionary elements of Christ’s global church. Manila hosted Lausanne II in 1989, and various working groups have carried missional partnering forward over the last two decades. This week begins Lausanne III.

If you want some fresh wind in your sails, read the Covenant or engage in the Cape Town conversation here. You may be surprised to discover that the conversations you’re having with friends about social justice, kingdom partnering, emerging leadership and balancing the Great Commandment with the Great Commission actually started before we were born. It’s a healthy reminder that missional church didn’t just begin a few years ago with guys who wear distressed jeans, heavy black shoes, horn-rimmed glasses and untucked shirts.

Jesus’ church is an unstoppable movement. If you’re a praying person, please pray that Jesus would do far more abundantly than we can ask or think. Also pray for my personal networking with other missions experts who share my burden for college students and for internet evangelism and discipleship. Thank you.

One response to Getting Christian Leaders Around the Same Table

  1. I’m sure you will do us proud by your representation in Cape Town.
    A word on “balancing the Great Commandment with the Great Commission”. Balance is not required – it’s like comparing apples to oranges. The (Pharisees’) question was actually about the “greatest commandment”. The answer was simple: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) Jesus then reminded them that the Law had another important commandment which came in at number two – and it was “Love your neighbour as yourself”, (Leviticus 19:18)
    Both of these commandments are therefore part of the mandate to all men, most especially to those who claim to be God’s people. When Christ himself spoke of charitable works he spoke in terms of “when you give to the needy”, not if you give (Matthew 6:2). Hence Galatians 6:10 teaches, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
    The difference in direction in the New Testament is Christ’s command: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:43,44).
    The execution of the Great Commission has been so powerful that it has led directly to the relief of suffering and the development of a better life for the poor for 2000 years. Let’s not get deflected now.

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