USA (MNN) — The Lausanne Movement for World Evangelization has named InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Tom Lin as new International Deputy Director for North America. Tom serves InterVarsity as Vice President for Missions and Director of the Urbana Student Missions Conference and will continue in that position. Tom succeeds Jim Tebbe as Deputy Director; Jim also was Tom's predecessor as InterVarsity Missions Director and Urbana Director.
"The Lausanne Movement connects those who are most passionate for God's mission around the world," Lin says. He highlighted the role of students in accomplishing the global evangelism goal of the Lausanne Movement. "Today's students think globally, engage inter-racially, cross cultures more easily, and reach across the old sacred-secular divide… The future looks bright because of what God can and, I believe, will do through this generation."
InterVarsity's historically strong programming on world missions, as exemplified by the Urbana Student Missions Conference, fits well with Lausanne's missions focus. InterVarsity leaders have played important roles in the Lausanne movement ever since former InterVarsity Evangelism Director Paul Little served as Program Director for the first Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in 1974. A number of InterVarsity leaders, including Tom Lin and president Alec Hill, participated in last October's Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, which was held in Cape Town, South Africa.
Referencing the focus on Gospel partnerships in The Cape Town Commitment issued from last October's Lausanne Congress, Lin says, "It gives a keen sense of urgency for the work to be done in North America. Many of us lament over today's staggering biblical illiteracy and exodus of young adults from the Church. There are reasons for concern, but I'm hopeful about the future of the North American Church."
MNN spoke with Lin in Boston as he is participating in the Lausanne Leadership meetings this week. He says, "Now we're looking for the future. What next? There are some exciting initial conversations happening and some structural changes in terms of how do we sustain the future of Lausanne. These are being talked about, and those changes are being made right now."
In addition to Lin's responsibilities with InterVarsity and the Lausanne Movement, Lin serves as Vice-Chair on the board of Wycliffe Bible Translators. He is a 1994 graduate of Harvard University. Prior to becoming InterVarsity's Vice President for Missions, Tom served InterVarsity as Regional Director for the Central Region. Prior to that, he and his wife, Nancy, lived in Mongolia where they helped establish an evangelical student movement.
Lin has high hopes as he works with Lausanne and InterVarsity. "My hope is that we'll engage the church in North America in global missions more effectively. I'm particularly passionate about the next generation–the young leaders, the students of today and leaders of tomorrow–being engaged in global missions."
InterVarsity's next Urbana Student Missions Conference will be held December 27-31, 2012, in St. Louis, Missouri.