The 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering (YLG2016) was held on 3-10 August 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Occurring once a generation, this was the third such gathering that the Lausanne Movement has convened. Previous gatherings held were in Singapore in 1987 and Malaysia in 2006 which mobilized and connected emerging evangelical influencers for global mission. They also led to many lifelong friendships and ministry partnerships.
YLG2016 convened more than 1,000 younger leaders and mentors from over 140 countries to connect, pray, and discern together God’s leading of their generation for global mission.
YLG Selection Process
Thousands of nominations were received for this gathering, and participants were invited through a prayerful, regionally based selection process that took more than a year to complete.
This included extensive statistical work and data analysis to ensure that younger leaders from various fields were invited—the church, mission organizations, business, government, media, the academy, and more. The number of participants invited per country was determined to depict an accurate representation of the global church and ensure that certain regions were not under or over represented.
A Year of Preparation and the Connector
The invitation to YLG2016 included committing to a year of preparation starting in August 2015. Every month, participants were introduced to a new programme element of the YLG or missional content from Lausanne. They were asked to connect in national/regional calls, and with participants in similar fields of work and interest.
These connections were cultivated primarily through a secure website and app that was developed specifically for the YLG called the Connector. The Connector app was also used throughout the gathering to communicate up-to-date information and announcements, allow interactivity in sessions, search profiles, and connect with each other.
Grassroots communities formed on WhatsApp and Facebook, and stories of participant connections started to emerge.
In a survey taken at the YLG, it was found that 87 percent of participants had made friends or connections amongst themselves prior to the actual gathering.
Seven Official Languages
Languages played a tremendous role in YLG2016. There were seven official languages of the YLG—Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
In the year leading up to the YLG, the Connector website and app, and all pre-gathering communications and materials were prepared in seven languages. During the YLG, simultaneous interpretation was provided for main sessions and select workshops, and participants volunteered to help with daily translation needs during the gathering.
This was Lausanne’s most comprehensive effort to create a multilingual experience for a Lausanne gathering.
‘United in the Great Story’
The theme of YLG2016 was ‘United in the Great Story’. God’s Great Story stretches from Creation to New Creation via the cross, a story in which every continent and people group across history takes part. Each day of the gathering focused on a specific aspect of this Great Story and invited younger leaders to take part in it for the great task of pointing the nations to Jesus Christ.
Some highlights of the YLG programme included globally diverse small groups, leadership panels, issue-based workshops and regional groups, strategic brainstorming ‘labs’, and one-on-one mentoring meetings with senior leaders. There were at least 864 known one-on-one meetings held in the course of the week.
The YLG programme was also designed to provide ample free time every day for ‘divine connections’. Some of the most unexpected but potentially most fruitful connections happened in times like these.
Younger Leaders Generation (YLGen)
More than a one-time event, YLG2016 served as a springboard for the Younger Leaders Generation (YLGen). YLGen is a ten-year commitment to walk alongside younger leaders and to connect them more intentionally to Lausanne issue networks, regions, resources, and mentors, as well as to one another through peer groups. YLGen is not just a commitment to younger leaders, but to building connections across generations. Through YLGen, Lausanne seeks to faithfully steward the connections and fruit of the YLG for greater missional impact.
Over 90 percent of YLG participants have accepted the invitation to YLGen, and we are praying for the capacity and resources to extend YLGen to even more younger leaders.