The Lausanne Movement is committed to energising the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. In this issue, we have three articles on this theme. They are based on the presentations by the authors at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Global Mission Week held in September 2021.
Wonsuk Ma, dean and Distinguished Professor of Global Christianity at Oral Roberts University, in ‘A Radical Vision of the Whole Church: Commissioning all God’s people for mission’ identifies ‘the challenges in today’s mission in fulfilling this novel vision’—only a very small percentage of today’s Christians are directly involved in mission; ‘the specialized and professionalized status of missionaries’; and the ‘resource-heavy mission paradigm’ as a practical obstacle for Global South churches. He proposes three areas in resolving the challenges—shaping ‘Christian mission according to the biblical vision’; discerning ‘the leading of the Holy Spirit in the formation of the missionary movement’; and opening ‘our eyes to see new and creative mission practices across the world.’
In ‘The Whole Gospel and Community Organizing: Transforming life in all its fullness’, Alexia Salvatierra, academic dean of the Centro Latino at Fuller Theological Seminary and associate professor of mission and global transformation, defines the whole gospel as both ‘the proclamation and incarnation of the love of God in Jesus Christ’. She ‘illustrates how different activities can express and communicate the love of Christ,’ using the gifts from God for the transformation and wellbeing of ‘the whole person, in the whole family, in the whole community, in the whole world.’ One powerful example is a joint project with the city and the private sector for homeless people where Christians ‘work side by side with the secular society, witnessing the love of Christ that motivated us,’ she concludes.
‘Do we truly believe that the gospel is meant for the whole world?’ Joshua Bogunjoko challenges us with this provocative question in ‘The Whole World and the Unreached: Practical guidance for decision-makers’. Reviewing the data from various sources, the international director of SIM shows that ‘the actions of the global church and our use of resources have not reflected that Lausanne call.’ Based on an initiative by SIM called ‘Faithful Witness to Forgotten Communities’, he describes the SIM model which ‘aims to place hundreds of more missionaries from around the world over the next few years in a project we believe could advance the gospel in communities where Christ is least known.’ He suggests some practical steps for leaders of churches and organizations who are committed ‘to the urgent and unfinished task of making disciples of Jesus Christ in the whole world.’
The whole world would include the post-COVID world. The definition of world evangelization which requires the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world was taken from The Lausanne Covenant, which emerged from the First Lausanne Congress in 1974. The world now, almost half a century later, is very different, especially after the COVID pandemic hit us in 2020. ‘What has changed?’ asks Kirst Rievan, and will the pandemic push us to address some fundamental issues on how we approach church and missions? In ‘Missions in a Post-COVID World: What has changed?’ Kirst, a leader in Asia and the Pacific for a global, faith-based development organization, highlights some of the significant changes resulting from the loss of life, economic crisis, mental health issues, reduction of expatriate missionaries, work dynamics, and other factors. But the greatest implication is probably the shift in global mission of a ‘West to the rest’ mentality to an ‘everywhere to everyone’ model. In conclusion, the author asks us to ‘reflect and build on our COVID experiences’ and engage wisely with the long-term implications of COVID.
We hope the articles in this issue motivate us to develop new mission models and enhance the reach of churches to where there is no gospel witness.
Lausanne Global Analysis is also available in Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Korean. Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue will be released in May 2023.
Loun Ling Lee serves as the editor of Lausanne Global Analysis. Her previous roles include lecturer in mission at Redcliffe College (UK), training director of AsiaCMS based in Malaysia, mission mobiliser with OMF, and pastor at Grace Singapore Chinese Church.