As he departs the chair, Doug Birdsall reflects on the Lausanne Movement.
These are encouraging days for the Lausanne Movement, as we see the momentum from Cape Town 2010 continue. Let me tell you why I am bullish on Lausanne, why I believe it should command the respect of Christian leaders around the world and why I believe The Lausanne Movement should attract the generous investment and financial support of churches, foundations, ministries, and individual donors.
1. Legacy of truth and trust. Billy Graham and John Stott were two of the greatest evangelical leaders of our time. They shaped the Lausanne Movement and have personified its vision and values. They summon us to be our best selves.
2. Authoritative documents that provide wisdom for the global church: The Lausanne Covenant; Manila Manifesto; and The Cape Town Commitment.
3. Grandeur of vision: The whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.
4. Spirit of Lausanne: Humility; Study; Prayer; Partnership; and Hope.
5. Breadth of impact of Cape Town 2010: (a) Christianity Today: ‘The most representative gathering of Christian leaders in church history.’ (b) The Cape Town Commitment (CTC) in 25 languages. (c) Five major publications in the last year based upon the CTC. (d) Thirty-five Lausanne Senior Associates, each with a global network and taking responsibility for one of the CTC Calls to Action. (e) The Lausanne website (www.lausanne.org) which hosts online conversations about each of these themes.
6. Depth of Global Leadership: (a) Board of Directors chaired by Ram Gidoomal and comprising 21 thought-leaders of global influence. (b) International Deputy Directors. Twelve exceptionally capable people who advocate the cause and lead the Movement. (c) Theology, Strategy, Communications and Intercession Working Groups comprised of leaders of missions, seminaries, churches, and businesses.
7. Strength of thought-leadership. Launch last year of ‘Lausanne Global Analysis’. This a new publication is patterned after ‘Oxford Analytica’ and is edited by David Taylor, Senior Editor at ‘Oxford Analytica’ and former diplomat with the British Foreign Service.
8. Convening power. When Lausanne leaders call a meeting, you can expect that the leaders in any given field will be there. They will come with invaluable information and leave with vision and strategies to make a difference in the world. In this season we have convened consultations on: Islam; truth and the media; peace and the witness of the gospel in the Middle East; dialogues on world evangelization with Catholics and Orthodox leaders; Creation care; and nominalism.
9. Younger Leaders. The thing that causes me to be most bullish on Lausanne is the fact that in its younger leaders it is blessed with a deep reservoir of talent and energy. Lausanne has a history of developing young leaders. Just six years ago we convened a gathering of 550 young leaders from 115 countries. That investment is producing very significant dividends for the cause of world evangelization. They have brought a surge of energy and creativity into the Movement.
10. Compelling nature of the Lausanne Global Leadership Forum. The Forum that will be convened next June is fully subscribed with 350 global leaders. We will come together to assess global developments since Cape Town 2010, progress and obstacles in world evangelization, and to refine our priorities as we move forward.
Many people compared Cape Town 2010 to the Olympics. Such a gathering creates great excitement, visibility, impact, and inspiration. The Olympics athletes only come together for two weeks for competition. They return to their homes around the world to train, to coach, and to move ahead with the benefits of having been an Olympian. The levels of global visibility and excitement are adjusted to proper levels, but the global impact continues.
The same is true with Lausanne. The Congress was a once-in-lifetime experience for most of us who were there. But the real work is now taking place through relationships, partnerships, ideas, resources, and the inspiration generated by ten days at a Lausanne Congress: Cape Town 2010.
These are great days for Lausanne. But, the best is yet to be. Be certain that I am praying for the Movement and continue to be involved in the work of Lausanne. It is a movement and a global community of friends that I love so much.
Twenty-five years ago I came into Lausanne through the Younger Leaders Conference: Singapore 1987. I thank God that my life has been wonderfully enriched through my involvement in Lausanne.
Now it is time to entrust the movement to a new leader who will be able to take it higher and further to the glory of God. I look forward to being part of it and urge you to continue your involvement.
Douglas Birdsall resigns as Executive Chair of the Lausanne Movement this June to become President of the American Bible Society.