International (MNN) — Last month,
more than 4,000 evangelical Christians from 198 countries converged on Cape
Town, South Africa for The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization.
Some of the delegates on the
convention floor may have been overwhelmed by the size of the gathering, but
not its purpose.
Evangelist Billy Graham's
original Lausanne conference in 1974 changed the way evangelicals thought,
acted, and shaped their mission.
That meeting produced the
Lausanne Covenant, which argued for a more holistic approach to evangelism, a
global scope, and an intentional approach to social justice. In other words, it told the church to "preach
the Gospel, and if necessary, use words."
Fifteen years later, delegates
built upon the Manila conference to create over 350 outreach partnerships
around the world.
Cape Town 2010 clarified things a
bit more. David Shibley with Global Advance
was a delegate who felt the flow of history behind him. "One of the phrases that came out loud and
clear was ‘missionaries FROM everywhere TO everywhere.' That, I believe, is going to be a ringing
note over the next several months as we begin to process all that we've seen
The global church in a technical
age means that the task of taking the Gospel unto the"uttermost ends of the earth" is doable in this generation. As that
idea emerged, delegates got more excited. "We came away with a fresh call to obey and
complete the Great Commission — to disciple the nations as well as to evangelize
For those who train and teach the
evangelists, Lausanne's call is just the encouragement needed. "Certainly after
the first Lausanne Congress, there was a massive new missions surge worldwide. There was a strong resurgence again, after
the '89 Congress in Manila. I'm very
confident as a new generation goes FROM everywhere TO everywhere that we're going to see a great advance for
the Gospel worldwide."
Groups like Global Advance are
seeing exponential growth. Frontline
Shepherds Conferences and Marketplace Missions events doubled in 2010, with conferences taking place in some of the far flung
regions of the world, including southern Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Keep praying for the church
leaders they will be resourcing. "There
will be, and there is, enormous hostility as we continue to advance the Gospel.
We certainly continue to pray with our brothers and sisters in Iraq as they are
under increasing persecution, and that could be echoed in many areas of the