Lausanne 4’s Collaborative Action Teams

A new initiative for accelerating global mission based on Nehemiah

Jurie Kriel & Ulrich Lombard 26 Jun 2023

Across the world today, men and women are faithfully stewarding God’s call as leaders and people of influence in organizations, churches, schools, and marketplaces. What would happen if these men and women were to gather together to form God-inspired, catalytic connections within and across regions, generations, shared interests, and ideas? This is the unique calling of the Lausanne Movement: to connect influencers and ideas for accelerating global mission together.

As a global church in these times, we are reminded of Nehemiah’s call to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and its gates—to close the gaps that made the city vulnerable to attack. As described in Nehemiah 3, a great variety of people participated in the project, some as individuals, and some as teams. But all were coordinated, and all were prepared to come to one another’s assistance. Nehemiah 4:6 says, ‘So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work’ (ESV).

Some of the people worked on the gaps nearest their own homes. Some families worked as teams. Some teams were from related vocations. There were different ages and different social positions. But all shared a common goal in closing the gaps in the wall for the defense and flourishing of the city.

Just as Nehemiah united Israel to rebuild the wall, the Lausanne Movement seeks to unite the global church for kingdom work through a new initiative called Collaborative Action Teams (CATs), which will launch at the Fourth Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization to be held next year in Seoul, South Korea. Through these teams, Lausanne seeks to overcome the silos we as Christians tend to operate in, that lead to the duplication of work and the waste of resources, by enabling connections that spark strategic collaborations and the sharing of global resources. 

As we look at the state of global mission in the church today, in fulfillment of Jesus’ commission to ‘make disciples of all the nations’, we recognize that there are many ‘gaps’—areas of vulnerability and risk, as well as opportunities not exercised. These gaps and opportunities, identified through the L4 Listening Report and to be refined and summarized through the regional and global synthesis process, are the focus of the collaborative action teams. Such gaps and opportunities might include discipleship and training for workers and leaders in ministry; unity that transcends denominational backgrounds and organizational boundaries; the use of technology in mission and ministry; and the need for empirical research in doing missional theology.

Nehemiah lived in a time that was both difficult and exciting. On the one hand, the wall was in ruins and the Israelites were scattered. On the other hand, this meant the time was ripe for fresh vision and renewal. We, like Nehemiah, also live in increasingly difficult times. But what if we began to see our gaps as opportunities? What if we could accelerate the fulfilment of the Great Commission together like Nehemiah completed the wall around Jerusalem?

Collaborative Action Teams and the Lausanne 4 Journey

The Lausanne 4 journey aims to launch the body of Christ in collaborative action for global mission towards 2050. This process is thus a multi-year, catalytic, global, polycentric process which includes:

  • Listening calls
  • Regional and global synthesis gatherings
  • The Fourth Lausanne Congress (Seoul 2024)
  • Launching thousands of action-orientated Collaborative Action Teams

The Collaborative Action Leadership Forum (CALF), co-led by Jurie Kriel and Jiyoung Yoo, is thus one of the teams launched in relation to this multi-year Lausanne 4 process. This team leads the conceptualization and strategic oversight of the initiation of CATs to catalyze connections and commitments, in order to ‘close the gaps’ identified within the greater Lausanne Movement. In all this, CALF aims to help fulfil Lausanne’s fourfold vision: the gospel for every person, disciple-making churches for every people and place,Christ-like leaders for every church and sector, and kingdom impact in every sphere of society.

In Nehemiah’s day, the gaps were definable and measurable. You could tell when you were making progress, and you knew when the gap had been closed. In the same way, we hope collaborative action teams can address gaps in ways that can be measured, so that we can evaluate progress and celebrate the completion of milestones. One way we hope to do this is through a digital platform that will make it easier for CATs to coordinate with each other and provide visibility for all the various gaps that are being covered.

The Action Teams will focus on assisting both existing as well as potential teams (both inside and beyond current Lausanne networks) to accelerate global missions through collaborative action. Action Teams are not replacing any other teams within Lausanne, but will be working alongside all other teams (issue networks, generations, regional teams, etc.) to empower them to be even more effective and wider-reaching.

It takes an incredible team of selfless individuals to see CATs become a reality. Our CALF team have made it their goal to see this great wall built. Their wisdom, input, and willingness to contribute their gifts and resources to the cause, are irrevocably important. Here’s what CALF looks like at the moment:

As we as a Movement continue toward the Seoul 2024 congress, the CALF team hopes to put collaboration into the heart of people. We hope to find the right specialists to identify gaps and opportunities, and the right ways to mobilize people toward helping fill those gaps. We also hope to work alongside the digital platform team as they roll out a CAT platform.

We invite you to pray with us for God’s Spirit to cultivate unity, humility, and wisdom within us as a leadership team as we prepare and coordinate collaborative work in this L4 process. We need God’s vision and perspective on what collaboration is, looks like, and means in his kingdom. Above all, we pray for a long obedience, a relentless faithfulness to see through what he has started. To God be the glory!