Lausanne’s New Regional Directors

Expanding leadership in preparation for Seoul 2024

Lausanne Movement | 18 Aug 2022

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The Lausanne Movement has doubled its leadership in almost all 12 regions of the world in preparation for the Seoul 2024 gathering.

In the past year, the Lausanne Movement has nearly doubled its leadership in almost all 12 regions of the world. Before 2021, each of the regions had one regional director, but over the past year that number has grown in most regions to two. Each region now also has a full regional team exercising team leadership.

‘The expansion in regional leadership is the outcome of two things,’ says Las Newman, global associate director for regions.

‘First, the Lausanne board strongly recommended it in keeping with The Cape Town Commitment, which emphasizes the importance of both men and women serving together in leadership. Second, there is a huge task ahead in mobilizing the regions for 2024 and beyond. This will require strong regional teams and effective team leadership.’

The most recent co-regional directors to join the Lausanne team are Serge-Armand Yao for Francophone Africa, Andrew ‘Andy’ Cook for North America, and Julie-anne Laird for Oceania.

A time of prayer for Lausanne regional directors in June 2022.

‘For me, the Lausanne Movement is a legacy that I carry with great joy,’ says Serge-Armand Yao, academic dean for the Institut Supérieur de Théologie de l’Alliance Chrétienne in Côte d’Ivoire and assistant professor of Old Testament at Université de l’Alliance Chrétienne d’Abidjan. ‘There is a legacy of connecting leaders from all regions, opinions, and generations to work together in prayer for the advancement of the gospel.’

Julie-anne Laird has been the chair of Lausanne Australia for the last 12 years. She currently works for City to City Australia as a specialist in outreach and evangelism, and as the Canon for Church Planting for the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.

‘I’ve loved the concept of Lausanne for a long time,’ she says. ‘I love the fact that it’s not an organisation but an acknowledgement that it’s good to know each other and good to be working towards the same goal. Lausanne gathers people who need to know each other to do their particular part better. We’re working together with the best minds and the best practitioners.’

Andy Cook, co-director of the North America region with Ed Stetzer, is also the managing director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center.

‘We are praying for God to unite Christian leaders in shared mission to show and share the love of Christ,’ he says. ‘As we engage pastors, evangelists, and Christian leaders from Canada and the United States, we are eager to see renewed focus on the gospel and its transformative power to impact our region. We are excited to learn from our global sisters and brothers in advancing the Great Commission.’

Lausanne gathers people who need to know each other to do their particular part better. We’re working together with the best minds and the best practitioners.

In addition to Serge-Armand, Julie-anne, and Andy, five other regional directors were appointed in the past year—I’Ching Thomas, co-regional director for South East Asia in July 2021, Esther Chengo for English, Portuguese, and Spanish-speaking Africa (EPSA) in October 2021, and in January 2022, Analia Saracco for Latin America and Jim Memory and Usha Reifsnider for Europe.

‘As a first generation convert from Hinduism and a second generation migrant, as a missionary, and as someone with an academic interest in cultural anthropology, Lausanne’s voice of theological and missiological reflection has been a source of inspiration for me on multiple levels,’ says Usha. ‘To be able to contribute from a Majority World, convert, and migrant perspective to the Lausanne Movement is a tremendous honour and responsibility.’

The appointment of the new regional directors comes as the Lausanne Movement gears up for the next major global congress in 2024. Seoul 2024 will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Movement.

In preparation for Seoul 2024, many of the regions will be holding large-scale gatherings in the coming months.

‘In Australia, we’re going to meet in almost every capital city,’ says Julie-anne. ‘Plus we’ll run an Oceania event. We’ll be gathering the key influential leaders so they can get to know each other and work out how we’re going to love and serve those in the Oceania region and help them know Jesus. This will then help us work out who needs to be in Seoul 2024 to think and contribute globally.’

Serge-Armand, who is from French-speaking Africa, is looking forward to a continent-wide gathering in 2023 in coordination with the Lausanne regional directors of the Middle East and North Africa region as well the EPSA region.

‘The objective is to think about the challenges of evangelization from a global African perspective,’ he says. ‘My prayer is to see key leaders from Francophone Africa take an active part in this African conversation, and subsequently, contribute to the global conversation that will take place at Seoul in 2024.’

Lausanne regional directors from across the African continent. (Left to right: Stephen Mbogo, Serge-Armand Yao, Emmanuel Ndikumana, Esther Chengo, and Michael El Daba)

Esther Chengo, who co-leads the EPSA region, adds, ‘Because of the centrality of Africa in global missions, and the continent being the largest and most dynamic in sending out missionaries, this gathering will aim to encourage wide consultations, deep reflections, and further analysis toward our role in global mission, as well as the needed collaborations within the continent.’

She continues, ‘I am excited by the multifaceted nature of the Lausanne Movement, as we seek to engage all people groups, across all generations, and in all spheres of society toward global mission!’

In addition to regional gatherings ahead of Seoul 2024, the directors will also work to build prayer support for each region and strengthen relationships with the Lausanne issue networks and the Younger Leaders Generation (YLGen) team.

Photo credits:
Photo by Monstera