Reflecting the Global Body of Christ

Four years ago, when I became the Chairman of the Lausanne Movement, we made the commitment that the leadership for Lausanne would reflect the demographic, theological, and cultural realities of the global church.  In order to accomplish this, it was obvious that we needed to be intentional about making appointments to the Lausanne leadership that would include leaders from the majority world, that would involve women from all parts of the world, and that would be focused on involving younger leadership.

I am very pleased with the progress that has been made in this direction.  Recently, when our international leadership met in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this was clearly evident as we had International Deputy Directors with us from twelve regions of the world.  The international executive team for Lausanne and the Lausanne Movement and the leadership team for the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town 2010 also reflect this richness of the global body of Christ.

While in Latin America, we also made an intentional commitment to become more thoroughly familiarized with what God is doing in the church throughout that region.  We asked our International Deputy Director for Latin America, Dr. Norberto Saracco, to invite twenty leaders from across Latin America to be with us for the first part of the week.  We also asked him to invite church leaders from Argentina to be with us each morning to lead us in our time of Bible reading and worship.  Norberto did a masterful job in coordinating our meetings.  On Monday morning we were led in study by the leader of the Brethren Church in Argentina; Tuesday morning we heard from the Catholic Cardinal of Argentina; the next morning the Methodist Bishop spoke; the following day the Anglican Bishop was with us; on the final day the leader of one of the strongest Pentecostal churches in the country shared with us.  It was a biblical feast and a great experience of the body of Christ to meet with these Christ-centered leaders who stand on the authority of God’s word and who are committed to the vision and ideals of the Lausanne Covenant.

However, it is interesting to me that there are some who still have lingering notions that the Lausanne Movement is dominated by Europe and North America.  Recently I received a letter from a pastor in the States with concerns about Cape Town 2010.  He was completely eager to make sure this would not be a congress planned by white Westerners for the rest of the world.

I wrote back to him to say that I appreciated his concerns and resonated with them.  I went on to tell him how pleased I was to share the composition of the leadership for Cape Town 2010:

  • The Honorary Chairman for the Congress is Rev. Dr. Henry Orombi, the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda.
  • The Programme Chairman is Mr. Ramez Atallah, the Director of the Bible Society in Egypt.
  • The Programme Director is Mr. Joshua Wathanga from Kenya.
  • The Chair of the Participant Selection Committee is the Methodist Bishop of Malaysia.
  • The Chair of the Advisory Council for the Congress is Dr. Samuel Escobar of Latin America.
  • The Chair of the Intercessory team for the Congress is Rev. Sarah Plummer from Australia.
  • Our International Director for Lausanne is Mr. Lindsay Brown from Wales.

This friend wrote back to me and told me how pleased he was to hear about the new leadership of the Lausanne Movement.  He went on to say “This makes me more excited about Cape Town 2010: Lausanne III than ever before.”

I hope and pray that you share this same excitement with us in regard to the Lausanne Movement and Cape Town 2010 and ask that you would hold up the leadership team as it continues to make plans for the Congress and beyond.

Next time in my blog, I’ll share more about the Cape Town 2010 Participant Selection process.

S Douglas (Doug) Birdsall, Honorary Chairman of The Lausanne Movement, served as Executive Chairman from 2004 to 2013. He led the Movement through a process of global revitalization, culminating in the convening of Cape Town 2010: The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Harvard University, and the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, UK.