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Capetown 2010: The Third Lausanne Congress

Posted by Bob Fetherlin , 31 October 2010 · 1679 views

From Bob . . . at the Third Lausanne Congress in Capetown, South Africa . . .

Here are snapshots from the week here, which included at least 100 other Alliance partner church leaders from around the globe:

• The first night’s theme was “Welcome to Africa” with a 200+ voice choir and orchestra, about 20 great African drummers, about 30 kids who sang and danced with great passion and rhythm, and another adult dance troupe of at least 20 individuals. They rocked the house! The passionate praise and warm welcome in this huge gathering of so many peoples were simply overwhelming!

• There are 4,500 delegates here from over 200 nations, plus over 1,000 support workers serving in various capacities. There are 650 virtual sites in 97 countries where more than 200,000 others are participating. This is literally a representative gathering of the global church!

• Instead of traditional seating in rows, we are seated in a massive hall at tables of six with an intentional mix of people at each table for small group discussion and processing. At my table are a Guatemalan, Slovakian, Indian, Canadian, and Filipino. While my table uses English, there are table groups in each of the eight major languages of the conference.

• Libby Little, widow of one of the ten Christian workers on a mission of compassion who were recently killed in Afghanistan, shared about what happened and her love for the Afghan people. There was no bitterness or anger in what this woman, who had just lost her husband, shared with all of us. Her words were compelling!

• Every morning there is an exposition of a portion of the book of Ephesians. John Piper’s talk was outstanding. Here is a key statement from it: “For Christ’s sake, we Christians are very concerned about human suffering, especially eternal suffering.” This is key . . . our being called to alleviate the temporal suffering so prevalent in this present world (HIV/Aids, human trafficking, poverty, etc.), and to address, with passion and love, the provision of God through Christ to not have to face eternal suffering, but rather eternal life!

The question I have asked myself throughout this week has been, “What difference does God want this to make in our lives and kingdom work?” I would like to highlight four big differences I'm seeking in my life. I encourage you to join me in implementing these:

1) We must never compromise or wane when it comes to Jesus Christ as the only Savior, the only one who can save us from our broken and sinful condition. There is no other redeemer, no other way to have a right relationship restored with God. No matter where we serve, this must be a core conviction that gives urgency to our mission.

2) While great progress has been made in seeing churches established in animistic settings, the work of Christian missions has not been as effective in reaching Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists. We learned that 86 percent of the world’s Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists do not even know an evangelical Christian. Much remains to be done in working respectfully and lovingly with these three, and other major world religions. We must increasingly invest in them.

3) A clarion call was given for Christian leaders to walk in integrity, humility, and simplicity. How are we doing in these key areas in our own lives? The world is hungry for leaders who authentically and faithfully live out these values, and great damage results in the work of Christ when we fail to do so. We must not only live them out, but challenge others to do likewise.

4) May there not be a famine of God's Word in our congregations . . . and in our personal lives. Rather as we read and apply Scripture, may we never lose the wonder as we consider God's redemptive work, when we ponder what Christ has done for us. Never lose the wonder!

I am returning with some new friendships and connections, fresh ideas and new tools, and a deepened vision and greater love for Christ, His church, and lost people. I was challenged, stretched in my thinking and understanding, and built up in Him. I encourage you to learn more from what transpired in Cape Town this week by going to www.lausanne.org.



Greg Kensson
Nov 19 2010 11:21 PM
Bob, it's encouraging to hear the four "differences" that you took from the conference -- encouraging that as the head of International Ministries your are so committed to the core foundations of mission even as you lead our international workers in adapting to a new and changing world.
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