Background of Singapore ‘87
Singapore ‘87 is a part of the Lausanne movement, a movement with which some readers are unfamiliar. What is Lausanne? It is at least six things:
- Lausanne is a city in Switzerland where many international conferences are held.
- Lausanne is an event, the International Congress on World Evangelization, convened by Billy Graham in 1974. TIME magazine called it “possibly the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held.”
- Lausanne is a covenant. The Lausanne Covenant, drafted at the Lausanne Congress, is a statement on the mission of the Church. All those nominated to attend Singapore ‘87 were asked to reflect their measure of agreement with the Lausanne Covenant.
- Lausanne is a vision—a vision of the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.
- Lausanne is a committee, the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization (LCWE), consisting of 75 men, women, and young people, leaders in evangelism from all parts of the world, who give direction to the Lausanne vision. Leighton Ford is Chairman of the LCWE and Thomas Wang is its International Director.
- Lausanne is a movement of all who are committed to world evangelization in the spirit of the Lausanne Covenant.
A second international congress is planned for more than 4,000 Christian leaders for 1989 in Singapore. Preparatory programs are underway to focus on large urban areas, the Muslim world and other unreached peoples; to mobilize lay ministry; and to equip emerging younger leaders to reach the world for Christ. But for now, we must return to Singapore ‘87.
What would be our specific goals at the conference? How would emerging leaders be challenged and equipped? Our focus at the conference was threefold:
- To provide a place for younger leaders to meet and develop relationships, to sharpen their understanding of the task of world evangelization, and to encourage each other in that task.
- To explore effective models and methods of leadership together, to challenge them to be dynamic biblically guided leaders and to strengthen their confidence in the truth, relevance and power of the Scriptures.
- To equip younger leaders in confronting the spiritual issues, challenges and needs of their regions.
Singapore, the City
Why was the city of Singapore chosen? Because participants can travel freely; Singapore has no visa restrictions. Because it is an excellent hub of competitively priced airline travel to and from many points on the globe. Because the National University of Singapore’s Kent Ridge campus had accommodations costing much less than hotels and conference centers. Because there are many helpful Christian leaders at the university. Because Singapore is a safe city and a clean city. Because Singapore is an ideal middle ground between the West and the Two-thirds World.
Singapore, the Conference
In order to accomplish the goals stated earlier, the conference was divided into two parts: “The Leader as Risk Taker,” with emphasis upon integrity, vision, and family life; and “The Leader on the Cutting Edge,” with emphasis upon such world issues as unreached peoples, the cities of our world, the self-sufficient and the oppressed. In other words, the first half of the conference emphasized the leader, and the second half concentrated on the task.
Singapore ‘87, Its Impact
How did Singapore ‘87 change its participants? How did Singapore ‘87 change me? It gave me a broader understanding of the Christian church around the world. It enabled me to learn of Africa and Asia in particular. It brought me in contact with potential authors of articles on evangelism, material that may one day be published in the pages of this journal. It gave me practical insights and stories for my preaching and teaching ministry. It reiterated the challenge of world evangelization to which I have been previously exposed. It exposed me to various cultures, teaching me to distinguish between biblical principles and church customs.