David Guiles, executive director of Grace Brethren International Missions, sends his final report about the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization meeting October 16-25 at Cape Town, South Africa. This was written Tuesday, October 26 upon his return home.
On this last day of Cape Town 2010, the focus was on partnership.
The day of looking for the new evangelical ‘leader’ is done. This is the age of partnership.
The era of missions from the west to the rest is finished. Welcome to the era of missions from anywhere to anywhere.
Does evangelical = entrepreneurial? If so, that may explain why working together in partnership isn’t easy for many of us!
A few more of the many comments worth quoting from the last day…
Please do not give us money, for money will divide the church – a Chinese leader
Some are mistakenly saying that the 21st century will be the century of the Asian church – that we will carry the church forward. Is this not falling into the same error as in the past century – of thinking that the gospel spreads best from the centers of power and finance – strong to weak, rich to poor? God is not a tribal God, and no ethnic group can claim that it will fulfill the Great Commission – Patrick Fung
Some Final Reflections
Nothing is better than to return home after a long trip to a supportive and loving spouse. Thanks, Sue, for keeping the home fires burning! After 24 hours of flying I arrived home Monday night with many great memories, a backpack full of materials, and lots to think about. While digesting Lausanne III will require a few months, I want to make a preliminary attempt to summarize a few thoughts
- To borrow a title from a well-known book, the church is bigger than you think! To meet with representatives of the Body of Christ from over 190 countries – and only God knows how many people groups – is nothing short of a paradigm-breaking, faith-strengthening, passion-increasing experience.
- And in spite of rumors to the contrary, the evangelical church is healthier than one might think. Certainly problems and challenges abound. But having talked personally with leaders from 37 countries, I am encouraged that we remain committed to the fundamentals – the authority of Scripture, the absolute uniqueness of Christ, the necessity of righteous living, the responsibility of social engagement and the urgency of clearly proclaiming repentance and faith in Jesus.
- Under the broad umbrella we call evangelicalism are 420 million Christ-followers that will never completely agree on everything, but our commitment to the Great Commission opens doors for collaboration and partnerships. Such cooperative ventures serve as a strong apologetic for the power of God to ‘create one new man in Christ,’ and are indispensable if we are to make significant progress in reaching the world for Christ.
- It might be worth clarifying that I was not invited to Cape Town as an official representative of GBIM or of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, but simply as an evangelical leader. Lausanne is a movement that seeks to network evangelical leaders for the sake of the Great Commission. At Cape Town, we were 4000 participants, not delegates, and as such were not called upon to join an organization or endorse a statement.
- Finally, a big word of thanks is in order for the GBIM Board of Directors, who not only encouraged me to accept the invitation to Cape Town 2010, but also believed that it was both right and important for me to participate in this global dialogue. This is consistent with a recent board statement:
- We will occupy our place as part of a global evangelical movement. We embrace the reality that we form part of the global body of Christ. While we remain firmly committed to our heritage and distinctives, we celebrate the fact that Christ is building his church through the efforts of many brothers and sisters outside our family of churches. We commit ourselves to seeking authentic partnerships with like-minded followers of Christ for the fulfillment of the Great Commission in our generation.
If you missed a daily post from Cape Town, wish to review the entire week or simply want sign up to receive future posts, feel free to visit my blog, Relentless Pursuit, at http://rpofthegc.blogspot.com.
And thanks for praying.