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EFAC Australia

Evangelism

Stephen Hale presents his package of Cape Town highlights.

The Lausanne Movement had a stunning beginning in 1974, followed by a difficult mid-life around the time of the Manila Congress in 1989. The Movement seems to have re-invigorated itself to play a key role in being a catalyst for world evangelisation. Cape Town 2010 was a remarkable gathering with 4000 delegates from 198 countries.
Cape Town didn’t just talk about the big shifts in global Christianity, it captured and represented them. There was a strong and continuing presence upfront of speakers and presenters from the majority church. The big shift from North to South, West to East was visible and obvious. When people talked of mission being ‘from everywhere to everywhere’ you could really sense that God is at work in all sorts of remarkable and surprising ways.
The genius of Cape Town 2010 was the decision to share the study of the Word and major themes in Table Groups. Over four thousand people met each morning in more than 800 table groups of five or six people. I had the privilege of leading one of these groups. In my English-speaking group were two from Europe, two from North America and one charming young Indian evangelist. It meant that a significant chunk of time was set aside for interaction and consequently there was a pervasive sense of community.
One of the surprising sub-presentations was on the Anglican Communion. I went along mainly to meet people, but I was deeply moved to hear Archbishop Robert Duncan—Anglican Church in North America—talk of how God was greatly blessing an amazing new church planting movement coming out of the wreckage of the dispute within the Episcopal church. His four themes were:
1. Standing in God’s truth raises God’s allies.
2. Humility builds God’s partnerships.
3. God does lift up the lowly.
4. Personal conversion deepens Gospel suffering and sacrifice.
His overall thrust is that God is scattering the proud and lifting up the lowly.
There were too many strands and ideas at the Congress to capture here, but some highlights for me were:
We live in an ABC culture, ‘Anything But Christianity’ (Oz Guiness).
To hear God speak we need to share the Word of God together. It needs to be read, taught and shared together.
Mission energy and initiative now lies in the global South and East.
God seems to be raising up a new generation of evangelists in Australia. They are mainly young and mainly Asian.
Discipleship should be our number one priority. This is just as big a challenge in Australia as it is in Africa, South America and Asia.
The evangelism and social concern debate is no longer the major issue. We need to be involved in both, with evangelism as our major priority.
Worship is more pervasively charismatic seemingly everywhere. At the same time there is a re-discovery of liturgy, the arts and drama.
If we are going to reach Australia for Christ we will need to partner with people of other nations to help us to connect cross-culturally.
Leadership development is still critical and has re-invigorated my commitment to Arrow Leadership Australia and the Arrow Alliance.
Overall it was a great blessing to be at Cape Town. God is at work in our world and we have much to be thankful for and to be challenged by.

Stephen Hale is Senior Minister of St Hilary’s and St Silas’ Anglican Church, Kew. He was previously the Bishop of the Eastern Region of the Diocese of Melbourne. Stephen is also Chair of the Australian Board of Arrow Leadership.

Wei-Han Kuan introduces this Special Edition of Essentials.

You can’t go to Lausanne and not have your ministry changed. Or so I was told by one of its leaders. This edition of Essentials carries several reflections from EFAC members who attended the Third Congress on World Evangelisation, or Lausanne III, in Cape Town, South Africa. It is my hope that you will be encouraged to engage with the Lausanne Movement and appreciate the major role it plays in world evangelicalism.
Stephen Hale gives us his highlights package and pithy overview of what it might mean for evangelism in Australia.
David Williams brings his interest in holistic mission and missionary training to bear on his two reflections: one deals with the persistently vexed relationship between evangelism and social action, and the other with the notion of the shifting centre of global Christianity.
I asked two evangelists, Julie-Anne Laird and Eric Cheung, to respond to their Cape Town experience for us. So we have two perspectives: from a woman and a man, a lay person and a cleric, a university student worker and a parish minister.
Gordon Preece focuses on the ‘evangelism–social action’ chestnut, bringing his passion for workplace ministry to the fore.
Our national chairman, Glenn Davies, blogged during the congress. We carry an edited version of his final day’s reflection. You might be interested to read the entire blog at: www.sydneyanglicans.net
Congress sessions, testimonies, documents, plenary sessions, Bible studies, dramas—the whole lot!—are all available at the Lausanne Movement’s web site: www.lausanne.org

Wei-Han Kuan pastors young adults at St Alfred’s, North Blackburn, and is the editor of Essentials.

One of the trade-offs of living this close to shrubbery and paddocks and endless stretches of rough-hewn bushland is that you settle for bad coffee. The spectrum of what constitutes 'adequate arabica' becomes embarrassingly broad, when it once was unswervingly narrow (read: I used to live on Lygon Street, inner city Melbourne).

And so the thought of converting such baristas and/or café owners (those ones who touted their substandard wares) was not unproblematic. Did I have the requisite patience, and more to the point did my tastebuds have the requisite stamina, to withstand the onslaught? Would I be able to look a non-Christian friend in the eye again, when he'd clearly conflated the quality of the gospel with the quality of coffee I'd just bought him? Could I debase myself by chugging down litres of bad coffee, all in the name of Christ? Surely St. Paul's “libation” in Philippians 2:17 meant something else? And these were just the reasons not to evangelise.

As an evangelist I am always on the lookout for useful tools to helpfully explain the gospel. But there are some that just make me cringe! In a recent catalogue there was the "Eternity is Forever Pen”:

'The ultimate carry anywhere evangelism tool! Pull out the spring-loaded hidden sheet printed with the Evangecube images to 'Simply Share Jesus' with anyone, anywhere. This incredible pen, starts with a 'wow' and ends with a gospel presentation.'

I can't even begin to describe my horror that people would think this was a good idea. BUT I can understand WHY they produced it. The designers recognise that telling the gospel should be a joyful priority for Christians, and that most people can't do it in any coherent way. So they have a meeting and someone says, "I know!!! We'll make a pen with a scroll out gospel presentation and then Christians will just be able to explain it."

Let me offer something else. I've had the opportunity to tell people the gospel hundreds of times, and so I developed my own gospel diagram. The idea is that I can explain the gospel in under a minute (see Bill Hybels', Just Walk Across the Room) and I just need a serviette and a pen.

You might not have come across the term 'multi-level marketing', but you have certainly had it inflicted on you. The term specifically refers to business structures where the seller is compensated not just for the sales they make, but the sales that your contacts make too - the 'downstream effects'. This will be familiar to most people through networks like Amway or Tupperware, where people involved try to both sell their products to friends and convince them to become sellers, too. Multi-level marketing has been challenged, both morally and legally, for the way in which may sometimes be used to exploit small operators to generate profit. My own concern however, and the focus of this article, is not so much the 'multi-level' aspect as the 'marketing' strategies employed, particularly the implicit concept of using existing social networks to drive sales.

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you heard any of these lines recently?

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