Changing the World, One Nomination at a Time

A story and a call for your L4 nominations

Justin Schell | 24 Mar 2023

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Nominations can be the gateway to personal opportunities and growth, and consequently the transformation of the world. Who will you nominate?

You can change the world through a nomination.

Does that seem like an overstatement? Think again, though. Have you ever been recommended for a job or a promotion? Perhaps your name was put forward for a scholarship, internship, or other opportunity. We all know how life-changing those experiences can be.

We are currently in the thick of nominations for Lausanne’s Fourth Congress on World Evangelization to be held in 2024. In light of this, I’d like to call you to action. Consider: who might you nominate? Let’s come back to that. First, let me tell you a story.

Ramez Atallah’s Mystery Nominator

Ramez Atallah has been called a ‘mission statesmen’ for his widespread contribution to the Great Commission. He attended the 1974 First Congress on World Evangelization held in Lausanne, Switzerland, when he was only 28 years old. But at the time, he was not a global influencer. He was a young Egyptian living in Canada, reaching university students through IFES. For 49 years, he never knew how he got to be part of that First Lausanne Congress that shifted the trajectory of his life. Who nominated him, and why?

You can change the world through a nomination.

The ‘earth-breaking, radical thoughts’ he encountered from Congress participants had a tremendous impact on Ramez, and he shared that at the Congress, he was ‘struck by the breadth and depth of the church worldwide’ and was ‘impressed by Christian leaders of stature from the four corners of the earth.’

After the First Congress, Ramez says that he was ‘discipled by committee meetings’. He became the youngest member of the Lausanne continuing committee (what would become the Lausanne Movement), invited to work closely with Leighton Ford, the chairman of Lausanne at the time, and to learn from key leaders around the world like John Stott and Gottfried-Osei Mensah.

In 1982 Ramez became the IFES regional secretary for the Middle East and North Africa, a key and troubled region then as now, and then in 1990 Ramez left IFES and became the general director of the Bible Society of Egypt, maintaining that role for over 30 years. He has spoken, taught, and preached around the world. He has served on several international boards of key mission organizations and institutions. He has made a truly global contribution to the Great Commission.

We can look back and see the Lord’s dominoes falling throughout Ramez’s life from 1974 to today. One of the major dominoes
was his being nominated to attend the First Lausanne Congress.

But once upon a time, he was just a 28-year-old campus minister. We can look back and see the Lord’s dominoes falling throughout Ramez’s life from 1974 to today. One of the major dominoes was his being nominated to attend the First Lausanne Congress.

Lausanne 4

L4 Nominations

Powerful things happen when the global church gets together. Submit your nomination today.

Until just a few weeks ago, Ramez never knew who had nominated him. As I began to dig into the history of 1974, I knew I wanted to touch base with as many living participants from that gathering as I could. I reached out to Ramez and asked, ‘Who else can I talk with?’ One name he gave was that of Singaporean Wee Hian Chua, the former general secretary of IFES and church planter/pastor of Emmanuel Church in London.

In fact, Ramez wrote his good friend to introduce me. In response, Wee Hian agreed to meet with me, but also wrote to Ramez, ‘Did you know that it was I who nominated you to be at Lausanne in 1974? I was the youngest member of the planning committee.’

‘God used you to change my life through that recommendation!!!!’ responded Ramez.

I was thrilled to see those words typed out. I wish we could have been in a room together, to see the look on both of their faces. I’m sure there would have been great joy and not a little laughter, and perhaps some tears as well. I’m sure the realization of the impact of that recommendation would have settled over us little by little, and we would have stopped everything to praise God together through prayer and hallelujahs.

A life was changed through a nomination. Ramez might be displeased with me saying it, but the world was also changed.

Your Nominations Matter

Wee Hian thinks he managed to nominate 60 leaders for the First Congress. Of course, not all attended, but many did. The rest is church history.

Wee Hian Chua nominated others, particularly hoping to see more younger leaders participate. These nominees would go on to start Christian magazines, launch schools of theology, teach and write, and lead around the world, including Kwame Bediako, the great Ghanaian theologian, historian, missiologist, and founder of the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission, and Culture in Ghana. Wee Hian thinks he managed to nominate 60 leaders for the First Congress. Of course, not all attended, but many did. The rest is church history.

And that brings us back to you.

Who should you nominate to participate in the Fourth Congress on World Evangelization taking place in Seoul, South Korea, in September of 2024? Let me help jumpstart some ideas for you.

Are you a pastor? If so, perhaps you could nominate:

  • another pastor doing great work in their city or region
  • a member of your church leading the charge for mission within the workplace
  • a seminary professor
  • a denominational or network leader
  • a younger pastor who has been faithful and fruitful

Are you a Christian in the workplace? If so, perhaps you could nominate:

  • a fellow workplace Christian whose witness for Christ has been influential for you
  • a pastor or missionary making a strategic impact in their context
  • a Christian thought leader who is helping the church—clergy and laity—in your context
  • a young professional whom you are mentoring, or who has impressed you by their character, faith, and creativity

Are you a parachurch organization leader? If so, perhaps you could nominate:

  • another parachurch organizational leader who is doing faithful and strategic work
  • a workplace Christian, perhaps one of your board members, who is representing Christ in their sector
  • a former professor or a mentor who has had an impact on you
  • a pastor or mission pastor of a church that is partnering well with your organization
  • a younger leader within your organization, or whom you are mentoring
  • leaders from other parts of the world, perhaps with your organization but perhaps not, who are doing wonderful work in mission

Are you a theologian or leader of an institute of higher education? Consider nominating:

  • a fellow institutional leader who is making an impact for Christ
  • a current or former student leading strategic work in mission
  • a younger theologian or scholar whom you are mentoring

It was a joy recently to recommend a leader for an important program. I thought through the target participant for the program and began to get excited about this person as a potential nominee. What a fun thing to call them and let them know that I believe in them, and that I was going to nominate them.

Will you join me in changing the world one nomination at a time?

They understood the significance of the opportunity as well, writing later, ‘Thanks for inviting me to it—I feel honored! I am trusting God so that I can prioritize it, but my brother said I’d be crazy not to do it. Similar sentiments from a pastor and another elder here! Thank you!’

I can’t wait to see how this life will be changed. And I’m trusting the Lord that he will use it not just for this leader, but for Christ’s church and the world.

I think nominees for the Fourth Congress will respond similarly to our nominations—with gratitude and great expectations for all that will come because of it. Will you join me in changing the world one nomination at a time?

Please read the selection criteria, then perhaps review the questions I’ve posed above. Yes, it will take a few minutes, but it could be the most strategic few minutes of your day, week, or year. And then, with joy, make your nominations.

Justin Schell is passionate about serving God's church and her mission in the world.  He is the director of executive projects for the Lausanne Movement as well as the US director for Union School of Theology ( He studied mission and biblical theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and business administration at EDHEC Business School. He is author of Come and See: A History and Theology of Mission as well as the forthcoming The Mission of God in the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series by Crossway Publishing. He is husband to Megan and daddy to Henry and Evie. They are members at Evergreen Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.