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  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
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Entries in lausanne (21)

Monday
Oct252010

The task is not complete - beyond the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town

Jon Hirst, who runs the Lausanne Blogger Network, asked me to write a reflection on the closing ceremony of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization.  As soon as he posts it on the Lausanne blog I will put the URL in here.

In the meantime here's what I wrote:

Missionaries from everywhere to everywhere: Reflecting on the closing of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization

The atmosphere in the plenary hall of the Cape Town International Convention Centre was wonderful as the 4300 delegates from all over the world entered to close the congress in worship, prayer and Holy Communion.  After a busy week of sessions, dialogues and parallel meetings, this service of worship made for a fitting conclusion.  Dr Michael Cassidy, one of the South African hosts who was a delegate at the first Lausanne Congress in 1974 began by reminded the participants that they were called to be missionaries who have come "from everywhere being sent to everywhere".  it was a fitting reminder of that central tenet of the Lausanne Covenant to take the whole Gospel to the whole world through the whole Church.

Trevor Sampson, a resident of Cape Town, lead the congregation and a sizable choir through a version of the Kenyan liturgy for Holy Communion that had been scored to a mixed of traditional hymnody, contemporary worship and African rhythms.  The preacher for the evening, Lindsay Brown, had chosen Ex 12.1-3,6-1, 2 Cor 4.1-7, and Jn 1.29-34 as his texts.  Dr Brown's message took the form of a clear charge to the participants at this congress to take the Good News of Jesus Christ into all the world by all the varied means that are necessary for it to transform the lives of individuals and communities.  He emphasized that the message of God's saving love in Jesus Christ is the most important message in history - it is only in God's gracious love for the world that we shall find any true and lasting hope for humanity and the cosmos.  His theme was taken from the Epistle reading, 2 Cor 4.1-7, drawing a strong link between the proclamation of the truth of Christ, and living out the implications of that truth in tangible and practical ways.

One of the most challenging moments of his address was when he challenged the participants of the congress with a direct question: "What will the lasting legacy of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization be?"  It was clear that the intention for bringing together theologians, pastors, missionaries, business people, young people, old people, people from almost every nation on earth was not for the purpose of having a congress, but rather to re-invigorate the Church for mission.  It is every delegate's responsibility to return to their town or city in order to bear witness to God's love in Christ in every sphere of life.

Brown's challenge to the participants was filled with honest encouragement;  the faithful and courageous acts of each person, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can have immeasurable results for God's Kingdom.  It is an unfortunate certainty that some of those in attendance at the congress would face persecution, and even death, for sake of Christ.  Others may labour faithfully at great personal cost for their whole lives and never see any tangible results.  However, what is certain is that obedience to God's call, matched by courage and creativity, can be used by God to transform individuals and whole communities with God's powerful love.  In concluding his address he quoted the worlds of John Wesley who said:

"Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can."

This message was an articulate and passionate call to action - the details of which are contained in 'The Cape Town Commitment - A declaration of belief and a call to action'.

The high point of the service was the celebration of Holy Communion - Archbishop Orombi presided over the table.  The symbolism of this sacramental act was truly powerful - participants from all over the globe united by the shed blood and broken body of Christ.  Each one being cleansed, strengthened and fed in order to go out into all the world as God's mission partners.

As I reflect on the Congress and its closing I am left with a sense of overwhelming gratitude for the many sacrifices that were made to bring together the body of Christ for this event.  At the same time I am mindful of the many sacrifices that will be required in order to take the whole Gospel to the whole world, through the whole Church.  What is certain is that God's Church has a renewed passion for mission - sending people from everywhere to everywhere!  The task is not complete, and so we must go from Cape Town into the world!

Whether you were a participant in Cape Town, or participated offsite, the work of the Lausanne Movement continues.  Your insights, gifts, and encouragement is necessary to continue to support the development of theology and strategy for mission and evangelism across the earth.  Please do join tens of thousands of Christians from all across the globe on the Lausanne Global Conversation site http://www.lausanne.org/conversation

I look forward to interacting with you there!

A partner in mission,

Dion Forster (Cape Town, 25 October 2010)

Thursday
Oct212010

Lausanne Christian conference is targeted by hackers and malicious cyber attack

For the last couple of days we've been running around at quite a pace trying to get all of the rich media contend from the Lausanne Congress onto the Global Conversation site for people across the world to see what is taking place in Cape Town.

The Lausanne Leadership team had negotiated to get access to the same bandwidth 'pipe' that was used for the 2010 world cup soccer in South Africa (if I am not mistaken it is a dedicated 23 megabit pipe out of SA).  This should be plenty of bandwidth to upload video, audio and photos, as well as allowing regular ussage of the internet by the Congress Staff and Participants.

Well, that was not to be!  From fairly early on we started realising that there was something amiss.  It was incredibly difficult to get our content on the servers that would host it, moreover, the internal networks at the Cape Town International Convention Center were so slow, and in fact kept dropping out so much so that they became unusable for both staff and participants.

My social networking team resorted to using BlackBerries, iPhones, 3G data cards and iPads to keep the blogs, twitter and facebook streams up to date.  Most of the photographs and information that we were posting was coming from our cell phones, iPads and laptops...  Not ideal!  We even had a 'sneaker-net' running (in fact we still do). One of our volunteers named Ryan runs to the photographers, videographers and others with his thumb drive to get content that we can upload to the various platforms!

Here's our handsome team ;-)  (you'll notice a few of the blogger network in this picture as well).

So, here's what I think has happened.  There was an external denail of service attack on the hosting servers for http://www.capetown2010.com and http://www.lausanne.org/conversation - a denial of service attack is a simple, but effective, way to bring down a server.  To explain it simply, all one needs to do is direct so much traffic at a web server that it cannot server the page requests quickly enough (if often happens when a page gets on the front page of Digg.com or Slashdot - the request for page views is so high that the server locks up).  In this case I assume that someone or some group got access to a network of compromised computers (zombie machines, most commonly Windows XP and Windows 98 machines that have been taken over with a trojan), and this network of machines started hammering the servers.  This simply 'sucks the air' out of the system and it stops working!

That's what caused the external server failure in my opinion - who did it?  Why did they do it?  I can't say for sure.  But I do think that they did it because they don't agree with the work of the congress and didn't want the message and content of the congress to get out to the open world.

So, we found a way around that by uploading our video, audio and pictures to other servers (even free services like Vimeo and YouTube).

It reminds me a little bit of Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom's book 'The Starfish and Spider' - distributed networks can cope far better with this kind of attack, and they are far harder to target!  I was so pleased that we had suggested this strategy in a meeting just two days before the congress, and that it worked out in the end!  Well done to the Web team!  In effect we made sure that the date was hosted in multiple locations on multiple services, owned by multiple organizations.

The second area of internet failure related to the internal wifi network in the CTICC.  From what I have heard it would seem that someone brought a cellphone with a virus onto the network (probably a participant who accessed the network via the free wifi we provide).  This virus quickly spread through out the network and shut the internal systems down for both staff and participants....

I have one thing to say on this - get a Mac ;-)

In the post from Andrew Jones (one of the members of the Lausanne Blogger Network) on his 'TallSkinnyKiwi' blog you can read more about the two volunteers who helped to solve that problem.  

I have also included the official press release from Lausanne for your interest.

All that I would say is that there are some persons who disagreed with the work and message of the Lausanne movement and so decided to hack the network.  Sad, but true.

Here's TallSkinnyKiwi's post:

Here's the skinny. The bandwidth and internet access problems that have plagued the Lausanne World Congress in Cape Town over the past few days were the result of a malicious virus from a phone brought into the Cape Town International Convention Center. According to unofficial reports, millions of hits from 66 different sites eventually crashed the system.

Which country? Well, one of my strongest theories was that the New Zealand Government was upset at their small representation and were getting back at Lausanne. But now we have heard that 95% of these internet hits came from the country of China, and the 66 locations were also situated in China, and that account of a Chinese fellow taking photos of Congress participants before running away, and this has caused us to consider China at least as a potentially suspicious candidate. And so . . . after weighing the possibities,  well . . . I still think it was New Zealand those cheeky beggers!

Now heres the scoop. Our problems were solved by two Indian cousins from Bangalore who were here as volunteers in the IT department. They came to connect printers and ended up stopping viruses. In fact, they have already solved the problem and we are back on track.

Shout out to our two geeky heros: Unisys Global Services employee Vijay Kumar and Pastor Daniel Singh who has just got figured out why he got a doctorate in computational biology.

Vijay-kumar-and-daniel-singh-460

I took this photo a few minutes ago of Vijay (left) and Daniel (right) during Tim Keller's talk on global cities. Sorry for the flash, Tim.

Offical press release from Lausanne here. Many unoffical releases, like this one, are all over the net. Check out Note on Lausanne live blog at Outreach Mag for a fuller post on this event.

Here's the Press Release from the Lausanne Movement:

Malicious hits from multiple locations crash system

SOUTH AFRICA 20 OCTOBER 2010 Organizers of Cape Town 2010, the widest gathering of Christians in the history of the Church, today announced that their internet communication to the outside world had been hacked. ‘We have 700 GlobaLink sites in 95 countries extending the Congress to 100,000 people’, said Victor Nakah, GlobaLink Chair for the Congress. ‘Finally, after two rough days, they are being served as planned.’

The sophisticated computer network developed for sharing Congress content with the world was compromised for the first two days of the Congress. ‘We have tracked malicious attacks by millions of external hits coming from several locations’, said Joseph Vijayam, IT Chair of The Lausanne Movement, sponsor of the gathering. ‘Added to this was a virus brought into the centre on a mobile phone.’

Asked if he could confirm where the hacking came from, he replied, ‘We have a pretty strong indication, but one can never be absolutely certain, so we prefer not to share our suspicions.’

The Congress has drawn carefully-selected participants from 198 nations representing many of the best minds and the most courageous practitioners in the Church. Joseph Vijayam explained that two cousins from Bangalore had largely been responsible for solving the difficulties, due to their unique expertise in the exact problems the Congress was experiencing. Vijay Kumar, an employee of Unisys Global Services, and Daniel Singh, a pastor with a doctorate in computational biology, came forward to help when they learned of the situation. They had come to the Congress as volunteers to help hook up printers and other basic IT tasks. ‘I believe God in his sovereignty brought them to us,’ Mr Vijayam said

 

PS., of all of the MANY reports I have read on these events, I think this one is the most plausible (and entertaining) ;-)

Wednesday
Oct202010

Nicky Gumbel from the Alpha movement shares his thoughts in the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town

This morning I had the chance of meeting with Nicky Gumbel, the vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton in London, his wife Pippa, Graham Power from the Global Day of Prayer and some other friends.  He is a super nice guy and is truly down to earth.  He has a passion for the Gospel and a real passion to introduce people to the person of Christ in a way that is built around relationship and community - hence the Alpha Course.

In this photo you'll see (from left to right).  Etienne Piek (international coordinator of the Global Day of Prayer), Graham Power the founder of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical Movements, Nicky Gumbel and Pippa Gumbel, Tricia Neill (the international coordinator of Alpha) and myself (@digitaldion).

I recoreded this short video with Nicky (forgive me for not having a chance to edit the start!) - in it he shares his expectations and experience of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town.

We're working really hard to get the videos from all of the sessions at Lausanne onto the Global Conversation website.  So please visit that as frequently as possible - of course those are official videos (properly edited etc.).

Tuesday
Oct192010

An overview of Christian History and the Church (video) from the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town

On the opening evening of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization a superb video overview of the History of Christianity and the shifts of the Christian Church was shown.  It is about 30 minutes in length (if I recall).  This great video from Cape Town was posted on the Global Conversation in two parts.

Here's part 1 (please see the brief description below):

Turning Points, Part 1: After a glimpse of the opening of the Congress, this video traces in two segments the growth of the church from Pentecost to the present in the face of many obstacles. Key movements, nations and figures are presented in this sweeping review of the expansion of Christianity up to the taking of the gospel to China.

 

Cape Town 2010 Opening Session - Turning Points, Part 1 from Lausanne Movement on Vimeo.

 

Here is part 2 (see the description below)

Turning Points, Part 2: This video picks up the history with Boniface taking the gospel to Germany and extends to the present time and the Cape Town Conference

Cape Town 2010 Opening Session - Turning Points, Part 2 from Lausanne Movement on Vimeo.

 

I'd love to hear your feedback on this great video! Please would you also consider leaving some comments on the Lausanne Global Conversation site

Tuesday
Oct192010

First official video from the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town goes live

The first official highlights videos from the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town are going live on Vimeo, YouTube and Facebook - simply follow this link for more. But, the official videos will be posted at http://www.lausanne.org/conversation as soon as we get the front page of the conversation up.

Here is one of the first videos to be realeased -a brief 1 minute highlight of the opening celebration.  What a wonderful event!

Check the link above for more videos from the Congress - soon we'll have the sessions, speakers presentations and other videos up for review. 

So, just a reminder, all of the videos can be directly linked form the Global Conversation site at http://www.lausanne.org/conversation - please share this link widely!!!

Tuesday
Oct192010

tallskinnykiwi on the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization at Cape Town

Here's a short video of Andrew Jones - aka. tallskinnykiwi that I recorded yesterday.  Andrew is one of the best known bloggers on Christianity (and particularly the emerging Church).  He's a super nice guy!  Andrew is also a member of our Lausanne Blogger Network.

Next, here's a video of Aaron Marshall - he's a real expert on social networking and the use of media to get messages out there!  He's been such an incredible asset to our Lausanne Social Networking team here at the Congress.

Monday
Oct182010

98% of people are not equipped for 95% of their lives

Attending an amazing session on ministry in the world of work at the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. Please see http://www.capetown2010.com or search for #lcwework on http://www.twitter.com/search

Why is it that we will pray for our members who go on a mission trip to some far off place, but we do not add the same fervent prayer for the mission they engage in when they go to work or school on Monday?

Sunday
Oct172010

The official press release for the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town

Here is the official press release for the Third Lausanne Congress in World Evangelization that began this evening.

THE THIRD LAUSANNE CONGRESS OPENS

The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization opens in Cape Town this weekend, Sunday 17 October 2010. It draws together 4,000 invited participants from 197 nations, and extends through GlobaLink sites to 90 countries. The Congress theme is 'God in Christ, reconciling the world to himself' (2 Corinthians 5:19) and how to bear witness to Jesus Christ and all his teaching in every region of the world and every sphere of society.

The Lausanne Movement, founded by Billy Graham, is uniquely placed to gather evangelicals for a common purpose. The Congress will reaffirm the primary truths of biblical Christianity, and engage with critical issues set to face the Church over the next decade. These issues have been identified through consultations around the world. Doug Birdsall, Chairman of The Lausanne Movement, said: ‘We have worked to engage evangelical leaders on all continents. This is the first Congress of its kind in the digital age, and we’re praying it will herald a new moment for the Church.’

In this information age, traffic on the eight-language Congress website is expected to be high, and radio networks will relay programmes across Africa and Latin America, on the themes of the Congress.

The 1974 Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization produced The Lausanne Covenant, widely regarded as one of the most significant documents in recent church history. Reflecting on this, Archbishop Henry Orombi, Chair of the Africa Host Committee, declared: ‘Under God, the legacy of The Third Congress is up to us!’ The Cape Town Commitment: a statement of belief and a call to action, will be published out of the Congress. Dr Chris Wright, Director of Langham Partnership International, is the chief architect of the new statement, working in partnership with senior theologians from all continents.

Each of the six days of the Congress will begin with a study in Ephesians, led by pastor-theologians from around the world. ‘We will be studying Ephesians as a global community,’ said Blair Carson, Congress Director. ‘We want it to be a grounding for a whole new movement of communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ.’

John Stott and Billy Graham have sent personal greetings, assuring the Congress of their daily prayer. Both are now becoming frailer, but have lost none of their passion for Christ and his gospel. Billy Graham, reflecting on the huge scale of changes in the world, wrote from his home in North Carolina,   ‘One of your tasks during Cape Town 2010 will be to analyze those changes, and to assess their impact on the mission to which God has called us in this generation.’

John Stott expressed his particular pleasure that the Congress is being hosted in Africa: ‘I pray that you will be able to share richly in the blessing God has poured out on the Church in that continent, as well as sharing in the pain and suffering of his people there.’

Participants in the Congress truly stand on the shoulders of giants.

END

Sunday
Oct172010

The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization starts in Cape Town

I have just taken up my seat in the main hall of the Cape Town International Convention Centre - what a glorious moment! There are more than 5700 persons at this Congress, 4500 of them are participants from over 200 cow tries. The remainder are volunteers and there is a small contingent of staff. The major of the participants are from the majority world!

It is going to be an awesome time together! Please follow the congress on our Twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/capetown2010

I'll also be posting updates here as often as I can find the time!

Please also interact with other persons from across the world at http://www.lausanne.org/conversation

We are called to share the Gospel with all!

Friday
Oct152010

Expectations for the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town 2010

Well, today the registrations started picking up a great deal as friends from all over the world joined us in Cape Town.  The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization has drawn together a wide range of cultures, ages and theological perspectives.  Here are a few short videos from new friends, and some I have known for a while.

What are you expecting from this congress?  Make your voice heard on the many topics under consideration!  Simply sign up at http://www.lausanne.org/conversation

Here's Jason Mandryk from Canada (Jason is the author of the great Operation World book - a wonderful mission resource).

Next we have Daryl from the Philippines.

I just love this 'energetic' video from Anja (pronounced Ansa) from Madagascar / France.

Here's an encouraging video from Mike from the USA.

Friday
Oct152010

How to follow the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town

It is now just 2 days until we kick off with the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)!  We have been working on this congress since early in 2007, and the pace has picked up considerably among our working teams here in South Africa, and elsewhere in the world, over the last few months.

I've been here at the CTICC for the last few days undergoing some orientation and training with hundreds of volunteers, stewards and staff.

I have the great privelage of attending Lausanne as one of the 50 invited participants from South Africa (as a theologian in part, since I serve on the Lausanne Theology working group, but also as a ministry practitioner and new media / social media strategist). 

However, I am also on the Lausanne staff as the Social Networking Manager within the digital communications office.  I'll also be speaking on Friday and participating in two of the 'streams' (the Marketplace / World of Work group and the Resource Mobilization Working Group).

What makes this Congress different from the previous two is that we now have the technology to allow much broader direct participation from all over the globe!  First a one or two points that have stood out for me; among the 4500 participants more than 25% are from Africa.  In fact the majority of participants are from the 'two-thirds' world with a strong emphasis upon younger leaders (headed by Grace Sampson from Nigeria / South Africa), and the input of women.

This is truly the most theologically diverse group of persons I have ever had the chance to gather with.  Among the participants are notable 'conservative' Christians such as Jon Piper, and at the other end of the spectrum on of the best known names in the Emerging Church movement, 'Andrew Jones' (better known as tallskinnykiwi).

So, there is a wide range of culture, a good mix of age and gender, and a great deal of theological diversity.

Back to participation:  I'm not sure if you realise this, but this is the first time in history that we are able to truly contextualise the inputs, discussions and outcomes of a gathering such as this?  No matter who you are, or where you are in the world, your voice can be heard!  You can have a direct input into the plenary, multiplex and discussion sessions through the Global Conversation site.

Moreover, when the Congress is done the conversation is NOT OVER!  In fact, that's when we can truly shape the strategy and theology of the Lausanne movement through our participation.

So, how do you get involved?

1.  Follow the Lausanne Congress on twitter @CapeTown2010 and Facebook.

2.  Join in on the Global Conversation (all of the video, audio and reports will be posted here and you can comment, discuss and engage with millions across the world on the issues and the presentations).

3. Go to a Global Link site (if there is one in your area).

4.  Encourage others to blog, tweet, and post their ideas and feedback on their own sites and feeds.  We would ask you please to consider using the hash tags #LCWE and #CapeTown2010 in your posts so that my team can track what you're saying and highlight it to the rest of the world!

Below is an encouragement from Andrew Jones (tallskinnykiwi):

The global mission event of the century is only a week away! Its the Third Lausanne World Congress on World Evangelization also known as Lausanne 3.

Its HUGE!. We're talking 5000 invited delegates from all over the world.

Its bigger than Lausanne 1 and even bigger than Lausanne 2.

Its bigger than Edinburgh 1910 and 2010

Its the most wired, webbed, blogged, twittered, streamed missions event EVER!

Its also more SOUTHERLY than any missions conference you have ever followed. It happens in Cape Town, South Africa and it starts next week. Like Oct 16 - 25th

Its time to point your computer towards Cape Town for a MEGA MISSION RUSH that's going to:

TURN your tiny view of the global church upside down!
SMASH your small ambitions into pathetic, wriggling inadequacies!
REAWAKEN your inner William Carey into the 21st Century!
REPOSITION your priorities into the groove of what God is doing NOW in the world that He loves!

Here are the links you need:

Official Lausanne Cape Town 2010 website and blog

Tall Skinny Kiwi blog right here for happenings, thoughts, images, trivia, whats for lunch, the coolest haircuts and the dorkiest ties and worthy blog moments in general. I arrive in Cape Town on Oct 14th and leave Oct 26th and I will deliver the congress to you in blog sized bites.

Notes on Lausanne - Outreach Magazine's dedicated blog page for Cape Town featuring ME and my more profound thoughts and responses to the presentations, speakers, events and takeaways for you and your church.

Follow CapeTown2010 on Twitter. Add the column to your Tweetdeck.

Watch these Twitter hashtags: #CapeTown2010 #LCWE #CapeTownIdeas #CapeTownQuotes

Join Lausanne on Facebook

Stay tuned and I will keep you streamed with all the right stuff.

UPDATE: Thanks Jon Hirst for these others links:
GlobaLink locations:

Online Participation:
RSS of CT2010 news (includes Lausanne blog)
Video Podcast which is also on iTunes and an
Audio podcast which you can also get straight from iTunes,
All congress video and an email newsletter (for daily news summaries/highlights):

And here is another one from another one of our Lausanne Blogger Network team, Stephen Murray:

In just over four days time the most significant evangelical congress to ever take place on South African shores will kick into action. Over 5000 participants, volunteers and staff from all over the world will converge on the Cape Town International Convention Center to participate in hearing and adding their many voices to some of the most pressing issues in world evangelism today.

You can follow the events as they unfold through the following links:

Cape Town 2010 official website

Cape Town 2010 blog

The Global Conversation

Alongside this you can follow @capetown2010 on Twitter or join the official Facebook page.

I, along with some colleagues will be onsite observing and microblogging the event live through the official twitter feed and on the Facebook page. The aim of the congress is to truly allow for global participation through technology and various forms of media. So we really want to encourage you to follow the congress and interact with the content through the various platforms.

Finaly!  If you are a member of the Lausanne Blogger Network, a participant or a volunteer at Cape Town 2010, then please make contact with me!  We are planning a tweet-up during the congress!  It'll be great to connect with everyone who's been tweeting and posting about Lausanne.  Please DM me @digitaldion or give me a text message or call on +27834564855.

Tuesday
Oct122010

Welcoming address to the Lausanne Congress Leadership 11 October 2010

Yesterday morning (11 October 2010) the Churches of Cape Town welcomed the leadership of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization to the City.

The Rev Peter Langerman, who is the chairmain of the Consultation of Christian Churches in Cape Town - an eccumenical body of Christian Churches for the City - welcomed Doug Birdsall, Blair Carlson, and Jomo Mchunu at the gaterhing which was held in Brackenfell, Cape Town.

Rev Langerman's superb welcoming address (see below) set the scene for the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization that is set to start on Sunday the 17th of October 2010 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  Rev Doug Birdsall responded to the welcome by sharing his excitement for the Congress and telling the story of how the Third Lausanne Congress came to be held in Cape Town.

At this particular gathering I was one of the representative leaders of the Churches of Cape Town.  Although I serve on the volunteer staff of the Lausanne Movement and will also be one of the 50 South African participants at next week's Congress.  It is set to be an incredible time of interaction, strategy, theological discourse and most importantly worship and prayer as just over 5000 persons from more than 200 countries across the globe gather in Cape Town.

If you would like to follow the events of the Congress we shall have a team of 'social networking' volunteers who will post updates on the @CapeTown2010 twitter feed and the Lausanne Momement Facebook page.  I would encourage you to join the Global Conversation to make your voice heard!  You don't need to be in attendance at the congress to have an input into the discussions!  This photograph shows some of my social networking team (Stephen Murray in green and Aaron Marshall with the white T-Shirt... If you look REALY carefully you'll see me behind the camera ;-), meeting with the head of Digital Communications (Naomi Frizzel) and her team (Andrew Brumme and Casey Newmeyer).

Here is Peter's wonderful address - it scetches a wonderful picture of the relationship between South Africa (Africa), the City of Cape Town and the misisons movement.

Lausanne Church Leaders' Lunch - Monday 11th October 2010

Doug, Blair, Jomo, Cape Town Church Leaders, Friends

On the 14th February 2007, the Consultation of Christian Churches, on behalf of the broader Christian community in Cape Town, extended a formal invitation to Blair and the International Lausanne Committee for the 3rd Lausanne Congress to be hosted in Cape Town. This 3rd Congress follows the 1st held in Lausanne in 1974 and the 2nd held in Manila in 1989. Fortunately, history records that the invitation was accepted and now we stand just days away from the official opening of that Congress.

By hosting the Congress in South Africa in 2010, we will be righting wrongs, correcting errors, and redressing injustices that occurred 100 years ago.

In 1910, there was a very famous and significant mission's conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The organisers of that conference understood the need to hear other voices and they understood that the locus of Christian activity was not confined to the Continental USA or Europe. Consequently, the organisers invited participants from other parts of the world, significantly, Asia and South America to take part. But, they didn't invite a single African. This is the first injustice that shall be addressed as in 2010 Africa will welcome the world.

The year 1910 was also a significant year in that the four semi-autonomous South African republics formed the Union of South Africa, a further step in the disenfranchisement and subjugation of people of colour in South Africa. This was yet another step towards the marginalisation of the majority of South Africa's people which culminated in the scourge of Apartheid and the suffering of millions of people. This is the second injustice that shall be addressed by our hosting of the Congress in the Western Cape in 2010 on behalf of all the peoples of South Africa.

The formation of the Union of South Africa entrenched the seclusion of South Africa from the rest of the African continent that lead to a sense of arrogance and superiority that marked our relationship with our brothers and sisters from other African nations. This is the third injustice that shall be addressed by hosting the Conference in South Africa in 2010 as we will have an opportunity to serve our sisters and brothers from Africa.

Yet, not only will we be privileged to serve our African family. We are conscious that for many years Africa was the recipient of missionaries from many different countries and we can testify that the gospel has borne fruit in this continent. African Christianity is vibrant and strong today partly because of the obedience and sacrifice of missionaries over many years from many different nations. Africa is now in the process of becoming a missionary-sending continent, eager for the opportunity to minister to the nations of the world. This Congress, and the partnerships that will flow from it, are our opportunity to respond by taking the good news of the gospel to many nations, including the nations who served us in the past by bringing the gospel to our shores.

The introduction to the Lausanne Covenant says, "We ... praise God for his great salvation and rejoice in the fellowship he has given us with himself and with each other. We are deeply stirred by what God is doing in our day, moved to penitence by our failures and challenged by the unfinished task of evangelization. We believe the Gospel is God's good news for the whole world, and we are determined by his grace to obey Christ's commission to proclaim it to all mankind and to make disciples of every nation." 

The same document, talking about the role of the church says, "... World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. The Church is at the very centre of God's cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the gospel. ... [The church] becomes a stumbling block to evangelism when it betrays the gospel or lacks a living faith in God, a genuine love for people, or scrupulous honesty in all things ..."

As representatives of the church in Cape Town we must confess that these words continue to challenge us. We are deeply stirred by God's work in these days as we see living evidence of God's kingdom extended to the ends of the earth in the Lausanne Congress participants who will arrive in a few short days in or city from every nation on the earth. We are moved to confess our sins in the light of our failures and inaction, especially in our inward-looking, maintenance-driven focus that characterises much of modern church life. We are challenged by the task that lies ahead for us, even in our own country where there are many thousands who have yet to hear the good news of the gospel. We want to be part of the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole earth. Hosting the Congress is a reminder and a challenge to us. A reminder of the part we are called to play in Godís cosmic purpose and a challenge to our structures and that sometimes become stumbling blocks to evangelism. We trust that we will not forget our responsibility, that we will rise to the challenge. History will judge whether we have been successful or not.

As a token of our appreciation, we would like to present you, Doug, with a small gift and a letter signed by all those who have shared in this event today. This Congress marks another step in a process that began on a mountaintop in Galilee when the resurrected Christ gave his disciples a commission and will be completed when the glorified and ascended Christ returns to stand on the Mount of Olives. This Congress will hopefully stand out as a landmark between those two epochal moments.

Rev Peter Langerman (Chairman of the CCC).

There is great excitement in the air!