The Whole Church to the Whole World
More than 4,000 Christian leaders from around the world gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, for the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism, Oct. 16-25. They discussed the critical issues facing the church today, such as other world faiths, poverty, HIV/AIDS and persecution and how these issues relate to evangelism specifically. Among those in attendance was the Rev. Johnnie Moore.
“This is the most diverse gathering of evangelical, missions leaders in the history of Christianity. It will have a number of effects, the fullness of which will only be known well after the Congress has concluded,” Moore said.
The goal of the Cape Town 2010 conference is “to re-stimulate the spirit of Lausanne represented in the Lausanne Covenant: to promote unity, humbleness in service and a call to action for global evangelization,” according to the Lausanne website
Moore said that he sees the conference impacting the church by being the launching point of a renewed commitment to the gospel and the lordship of Jesus Christ, as well as resulting in a more unified global church.
The theme of the Lausanne movement has been “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.” The original Lausanne Congress impacted modern missions and evangelism in a profound way. Not only was it the most diverse gathering of evangelicals to take place, ideas such as the term “unreached people groups” were introduced, changing the approach to missions.
“As the world’s largest Christian university that is fanatical about missions, I hope that Liberty’s expansive missions efforts can be more closely married to local churches in every country of the world. In the end, I hope that Liberty proves to be a substantial part of the history of the church in the next generation,” Moore said.
Moore also said that missions trips are an important part of missions, but they are not the only part.
“We have to get the body of Christ to take missions to another level even while the modern missions trip movement continues. Missions trips are primarily a first step of missions commitment that should lead to subsequent steps. I think everyone should go on a missions trip,” Moore said. He also said the Liberty will keep doing what its doing, and trust that students will continue to nurture a passion for the gospel, regardless of their career aspirations.
The uniqueness and strength of the Lausanne Movement is that it is not about an organizational agenda, according to a video by Paul Eshelman on the Lausanne website. Eshelman said it is about the agenda of the scripture interpreted in the terms of taking the gospel to the whole world.
The Lausanne Congress first met in Switzerland under the leadership of the Rev. Billy Graham in 1974. Prominent Christian leaders from all over the globe met for 10 days of worship, prayer and discussion. According to the Lausanne Movement website, Time magazine called this meeting “a formidable forum, possibly the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held.” The response to this Congress was so great that the movement was kept alive by those who caught the vision. There have been dozens of global, regional and topical conferences held around the world in the same spirit as the original Lausanne Congress.
For more information about the conference or the Lausanne Movement, visit www.lausanne.org.