South Africa (MNN) — In 1974, leaders in the world of
missions gathered from across the globe in Lausanne, Switzerland for the first
mission conference of its kind.
"Billy Graham and several other leaders got together
and thought it would be great to have a diverse gathering of believers to
discuss how they could finish the task of global evangelization," said
Richard Coleman of The Mission Society.
Nearly 2700 people were at this conference, representing 150
countries. Not only was this the most diverse gathering of its kind, but important
framework for missions the future of missions was established.
For example, while Ralph Winter gave one of his speeches, he
introduced the term "unreached people groups" to represent the
millions who still had yet to receive the Gospel.
Before they departed from the conference, the mission
leaders established the Lausanne covenant. Coleman said this was more than just
a belief statement: "A covenant implies not only do we believe similar
things, but we plan to take action based on what we believe."
Then, fifteen years later, in 1989, the leaders reconvened in
Manila, Philippines to continue to strive toward their goal. However, between
conferences, they did not remain idle.
"They didn't simply want to have these giant mission
conferences that took place, and then you hear crickets. They wanted it to be a
continual process of engaging the world in missions," Coleman said.
Throughout the years, the conference attendees have
discussed evangelizing to Jews, involving younger leaders, and reaching out
uniquely to each people group.
This year, leaders will join together yet again for
Lausanne III from October 16 -25, 2010, which will take place in Cape Town, South
Coleman said they hope to hold the conference in the same
spirit of the Lausanne I when it took place 36 years ago, though the conference
has expanded to involve more people and countries. "There will be 4000
participants from over 200 countries with one focus, and that's to make sure
the name of Jesus is proclaimed in all four corners of the earth," said Coleman.
In addition to topics addressed in the past, participants
will also discuss some of the injustices plaguing the globe today such as sex
trafficking and extreme poverty.
Involved in the planning of the conference, Coleman will be
attending Lausanne III as a small group leader and is excited to glean new
missions knowledge from it.
As these leaders prepare to come together, please pray for
them to gain a spirit of unity and humility. Pray that leaders from majority nations
will not run over smaller nations, but that they will listen and learn from what these
people have to say.
Visit Lausanne.org to learn more about this global mission
conference, its history, and papers it has produced. When the conference is
underway, visit the site for broadcasts of the various events taking place.