Over 4,000 Christian leaders from 198 nations gathered at the new convention center in Cape Town, South Africa October 16-25. The occasion was the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (LCWE) – the first such worldwide meeting in 21 years, the third in 36 years since the movement began in 1974 in Lausanne, Switzerland under the initiative of Dr. Billy Graham and the Rev. John Stott. Besides those who attended, 100,000 more watched on 650 Globalink sites in 91 countries during the week-long conference.
I was privileged to be one of 400 invitees from the West to attend. Click here to read details and papers from the meeting at (www.lausanne.org) All papers, videos of talks, etc. are available there.
We gathered each morning around 700 table groups in the cavernous hall to begin the day studying the Book of Ephesians. Five enormous screens projected the worship group and speaker platform.
My table group included an Anglican bishop of Uganda, pastors from Bangladesh, Papua-New Guinea, and Hungary. We grew close over the week as we shared deeply around God’s Word and prayed for each other. The morning was filled with plenary speakers, drama and testimonies. Each day had a theme such as Truth, Reconciliation or World Faiths. While English was the official language of the Congress, simultaneous translations into eight other languages went on throughout each session. Each afternoon 90-minute long Multiplex sessions covering 24 topics were offered as well as smaller Dialogue sessions of reports and resources.
The Rev John Atkinson
CMJ South Africa Director
at LCJE-SA conference in Cape Town
Hearing stories from leaders from around the world was the most exciting part for me. While we were reminded of the billions who have not heard the Gospel, there were many encouraging stories. A young Vietnam pastor told me he was interested in working with Jewish people in Australia where his family now lived. A woman from a Central Asian country told me over dinner that she was the daughter of an imam but that Jesus revealed himself to her when she prayed. A man from a country in the Balkans said his father was a mullah and now all his family are Jesus-believers.
Over 30 of us workers among Jewish people were present from many countries, and we participated in four “dialogue” afternoon sessions around the topic of our work worldwide.
From l to r: Imbu of Papua-New Guinea;
K.L. of Bangladesh; Theresa;
Bp Joel of Uganda; and, Endre of Hungary
The message coming from the Congress which emphasized biblical truth and the mission of the Church proclaimed that the goodness and mercy of God must be shown in practical ways to all areas of society. Works of compassion as well as involvement in government, business and educational areas were called for in order for the Church to be a credible witness in the world.May it be so!