Welcome to the May issue of Lausanne Global Analysis. We look forward to your feedback on it.

In this issue we focus on the spread of anti-conversion laws from India and the threat they pose to the religious freedom of minorities; the Paris climate change agreement and what it means for the evangelical church; Movement Day Global Cities 2016 which will take place in New York City on October 25-27; and the ageing church and its implications.

‘In spite of a rich tradition and legal framework supportive of freedom of conscience and the right to practise, profess, and propagate the religion of one’s choice, religious minorities in India find themselves frequent victims of religiously motivated violence’, writes Tehmina Arora (Senior Counsel, South Asia, ADF International). Anti-conversion laws foster hostility against religious minority communities. Primarily motivated by a religious ideology, they provide an opportunity for divisive forces to target the constitutionally protected rights of minority groups and pose a serious threat to the free practice and propagation of religious beliefs. In spite of the effect of these provisions, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar have enacted similar laws. ‘[This] is a disturbing trend and requires the attention of the international community, as they stand in direct contrast to the rights and liberties guaranteed under international law’, she concludes.

‘The United Nations’ 21st Conference of the Parties, commonly known as COP 21, produced one of the most important international agreements ever’, writes Ed Brown (Executive Director, Care of Creation, Inc). Some 197 nations agreed unanimously in December 2015 to take concrete steps to reverse centuries of damage to God’s creation and the Earth’s climate system by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases. The final Paris Agreement is based on a genuine concern for the poor of the world who are most at risk. One of the major factors is that faith communities generally and evangelical Christians in particular made their presence known and their voices heard at COP 21. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the human race has faced. ‘However, let us not forget that we, as God’s people, can face this as we face every other challenge, with confidence in the One to whom ‘all authority in heaven and on earth’ has been given, and who has promised that He will be with us ‘to the very end of the age’, he concludes.

‘The greatest demographic reality in human history is happening right now’, writes Mac Pier (founder and CEO, New York City Leadership Center). A new San Francisco or Singapore is being birthed every month. The majority of the people in the world today are urban, poor (living on less than $2 a day), and young (under 25 years of age). Movement Day began as a one-day gathering to focus on three themes—the gospel, cities, and movement acceleration. Its convictions are simply: cities shape culture, gospel movements shape cities, and leaders catalyze movements. Eight Movement Day gatherings have happened in the past five years. More than 11,000 leaders have participated from 360 cities worldwide. Movement Day Global Cities 2016 will bring together leaders from 100 cities globally in collaboration with the Lausanne Movement. ‘Movement Day Global Cities is an opportunity to gather to worship, learn, strategize, and collaborate for the increased impact of the gospel in cities globally’, he concludes.

‘The ageing problem is similar in most of the world, and for mostly the same reasons: people are living longer and the numbers born are too few to keep the balance level’, writes Peter Brierley (Lausanne Catalyst for Church Research). One consequence is that the proportion of older people in church increases. One obvious implication is the age of retirement for ministers, elders, trustees, and others. Should the age be extended to be more in line with the age of congregations? The impact of many older people will affect the church in a variety of ways. For example, some churches are already appointing a Minister for Older People. Also, the older people get, the less easy it is for them to travel. Can churches help by providing some kind of transport rota? ‘Proportionately more elderly go to church than other age groups, but there are yet many who do not go to church at all, and still need to be reached with the gospel’, he concludes.

Whether you are planning to read the full articles or just the executive summaries, we hope that you find this issue stimulating and useful. Our aim is to deliver strategic and credible analysis, information, and insight so that as an influencer you will be better equipped for the task of global mission. It’s our desire that the analysis of current and future trends and developments will help you and your team make better decisions about the stewardship of all that God has entrusted to your care.

Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue of Lausanne Global Analysis will be released in July.

David Taylor serves as the Editor of the Lausanne Global Analysis.

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