I’ve just returned from 12 days in Cape Town, South Africa, where I was attending the Lausanne Congress which brought together 4,300 evangelical leaders from 196 countries. It was a remarkable event, and a beautiful city.
Made some new, and very exciting partnerships for Belhaven University. Will share them with you soon.
During my 25 year involvement in the leadership of the Lausanne Movement, I’ve watched the Church globally shift from deep divisions, mistrust, and infighting, to this Congress, where there was demonstrated an overwhelming spirit of harmony, commitment to evangelism, and care for the needs of a suffering world.
Many of the tensions of the past have been healed, and subsequently, there was a greater urgency than ever for the Gospel because of God’s people coming together to work in cooperation.
The Congress was also a sobering reminder for the western Church that persecution of Christians continues with great intensity around the world, and the challenges are complex for the Gospel to reach through the structural barriers of mega-cities, oppressive governments, and class based economic systems.
In the coming days I’ll write more in reflection about the Congress (right now, getting over the 32 hour trip home). But here are some facts about the Congress to help you get a picture of who attended. (I serve as Treasurer for Lausanne and on the Board of Directors.)
4,250 Participants from 196 countries
· 65% from Africa, Latin America and Asia
· 40% under the age of 50
· 30% women in ministry leadership
150 national and regional selection committees working over the last two years to select participants to represent the demographic, theological and cultural realities of the Church around the world
350 Special Guests from the Vatican, World Council of Churches, the Orthodox Communions, African Indigenous Churches and the China Christian Council
1,150 Staff, Media Stewards and Volunteers
643 GlobaLink sites registered in 92 countries enabling more than 100,000 additional people to participate through the internet links. (The GlobalLink did not work for the first three days because of a cyber attack from an outside source trying to limit the Congress message.)
8 official languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian
240 speakers and presenters in plenary sessions and “multiplex sessions” all simultaneously interpretedion 8 languages—all edited, translated and broadcast to 643 sites within five hours of original presentation. No speaker was given more than 15 minutes to assure that many were heard and that collaborative learning took place in discussion groups.
$16,500,000 – Congress budget (we had $800,000 yet to raise when I left for home).
3,660 Volunteers and Staff have worked on one aspect or another of the Congress preparations over the last three years.