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Cape Town 2010 Reflections on Lausanne Congress on Global Evangelization

Cape Town 2010 Reflections on Lausanne Congress on Global Evangelization

November 22, 2010

It is far too soon to fully assess the significance of CT2010. Indeed only the Lord truly knows how CT2010 will impact his church and the world in the years to come. As I reflect on the Congress, read blogs, emails and articles from participants, I am in awe of God's blessings on this gathering. Please join me in praising the Lord for the following:

* Sense of wonder at God's people coming together from nearly every country and corner of the earth - joy that the Majority World Church was the actual majority at CT2010.

* Global community of men and women who worked tirelessly to plan and serve CT2010.

* Powerful testimony by an 18-year-old North Korean girl. Unforgettable. (http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/11671, posted with permission)

* Glory of the gospel expounded daily from the book of Ephesians. May the message of Ephesians reverberate around the world.

* Miraculous provision of stewards from India, cousins Vijay and Daniel, who took just two hours to solve sophisticated cyber attacks on our websites.

* Unity of speakers whose presentations provided a "ringing endorsement for truth."

* Significant impact of the Table Groups.

* Timeliness of Libby Little's presence with us honoring Christ as she also honored the life of her recently martyred husband.

* Stories and images of "God on the Move" in every region of the world.

* Significant media coverage of CT2010, from 100 onsite media and many more offsite receiving reports from our Communications team.

* Creativity and growing energy around issues like Diaspora People, Mega-Cities, Children, Orality; developments in the Global Anglican Communion; Ziya Meral's fresh thinking with respect to Islam; an eagerness for a global Kingdom equilibrium as articulated by David Ruiz and Patrick Fung; and a meeting with World By Radio leadership.

* Beauty and vibrancy of worship as a global community, the pageantry of the Opening Celebration and the foretaste of heaven experienced in the holy and majestic celebration of the Lord's Supper during the Closing. Personally, the Closing Ceremonies were the most glorious experience of worship I have had anywhere and at anytime. (http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/11010.)

Additionally, each time I joined the Global Executive Leadership Forum and the Government, Business and Academia Think Tank, I sensed excitement as these leaders were finding one another and finding their voice in the work of world evangelization. Similarly, I enjoyed visits to the Women's Global Café, where hundreds of women and men who share passion for the gospel and bearing witness to Christ were able to connect.

Perhaps the most exciting meeting I participated in was with the Younger Leaders. Organizers had planned on 250 people for the Friday evening gathering. However when I arrived in the ballroom a half an hour after it started, there were nearly 900 younger leaders there. The vibrancy and enthusiasm in the room was electrifying. I stayed until I could barely stay awake, talking with leaders keen to learn how they could be involved in the future of Lausanne.

Certainly the most surprising meeting was with the official observers from the Vatican, the Orthodox Churches and the World Council of Churches. After expressing appreciation for being invited to the Congress, they wanted to know how to continue their involvement, conversations and friendships begun during the Congress. When I asked what had captivated their imagination, three things were mentioned: first, they were impressed by the intellectual vigor of the discussions; second, they were moved by the personal stories shared by the North Korean girl and by Libby Little; third they found the worship and fellowship with such a vibrant global community to be a source of personal and spiritual renewal.

It is encouraging to know that their responses are being replicated around the world as leaders who met at CT2010 are eager to continue their association with one another and with Lausanne. The memories of Cape Town and the friendships started or renewed there will be with us for the rest of our lives. Treasuring those memories, we also nurture the dreams that God is birthing in our hearts and minds of moving from an "event experience" to the dynamism and unfolding impact of an ongoing Movement.

And, that is already happening.

To keep us connected and to highlight resources and research related to world evangelization, plans are underway for an expanded Lausanne website (www.lausanne.org) and Lausanne Global Conversation. Please check the website regularly for Congress resources, videos, photos and meeting notices and join in the Conversation (See videos by CT2010 schedule: www.lausanne.org/cape-town-2010/schedule.html or by filters: http://www.lausanne.org/conversation). Meetings are also being held on the regional and national implications of CT2010. Lindsay Brown will soon be going to Kiev for a Eurasia Consultation. I am looking forward to participating in several such meetings including a meeting with the U.S. Lausanne Committee in April.

Please be praying for these gatherings as well as for a meeting of our Congress Executive Team in December and a January meeting of the International Deputy Directors and a small group of Lausanne Board Members to plan the future of Lausanne.

Please also be praying for Chris Wright and his global team working on the second and final part of the Cape Town Commitment (Read the first section here: http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/11544). We'll send word in the coming weeks when the second part is available. The Cape Town Commitment represents the input of hundreds of people in consultations around the world over the last four years and through the Lausanne Global Conversation. We thank God for the exemplary leadership of Chris and his team who have prepared the Cape Town Commitment as an expression of the affirmations and aspirations of those who participated in CT2010, in the GlobaLink and in the Lausanne Global Conversation. We trust that many organizations, churches and individuals will embrace and live out the Commitment in the years to come.

Our prayer is that all that was invested in the Congress and in the ongoing work of The Lausanne Movement will be multiplied and bear much fruit as we seek to be responsive to God's call. Let's continue to live, demonstrate and proclaim the Gospel as the reconciled and reconciling community. May we develop a culture of grace as a community of joy so that we might be people of hope in our world.

Thank you for your faithful partnership in the gospel.

Yours in Christ,

Doug Birdsall
Executive Chairman,
The Lausanne Movement

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