The 2004 Forum for World Evangelization came to a conclusion Tuesday night in Thailand, marking the end of the seven-day gathering of over 1,500 Christian leaders from 115 countries. The gathering, convened by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) in partnership with the Great Commission Roundtable, was the fourth time in the past thirty years that Lausanne has called such a comprehensive global gathering.
During the gathering, themed "A New Vision, A New Heart and a Renewed Call”, the leaders addressed a number of specific issues based on thirty-one significant roadblocks to evangelism that had been identified through a comprehensive worldwide research effort.
After a year's worth of work, the thirty-one Issue Groups, which fall into three major categories ("The Whole World", "The Whole Church", and "The Whole Gospel"), addressed world globalization as it reaches marginalized people groups (“The Whole World”), sought ways to empower the Body of Christ to participate in reaching out to everyone with the Good News groups (“The Whole Church”), and tried to find ways to meet the needs of people and share Christ through all appropriate and available means (“The Whole Gospel”).
Although Tuesday marked the conclusion of the Forum, Rev. Doug Birdsall, Executive Chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization encouraged Forum participants to continue pressing forward toward the vision of "The Whole Church taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World," proclaiming that the Spirit of Lausanne is alive and well.
Similarly, Dr. Paul Cedar, Outgoing Lausanne Executive Chair, challenged participants to not only personally reflect on Forum activities, but also to take up the banner of world evangelization by encouraging, motivating and mobilizing others for the task.
In addition to concluding the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization, Tuesday's final service also marked the "passing of the baton" of Lausanne leadership from Dr. Cedar to Rev. Birdsall and from Dr. David Claydon, outgoing International Director to new International Director Dr. Tetsunao (“Ted”) Yamamori.
“These past six years have been times of prayer, transition, blessing and growth in the Lausanne Movement, leading up to the 2004 Forum,” Cedar said upon announcing the leadership transition last week. In reflecting on the impact of Lausanne over the past 30 years, Cedar affirmed that he believes the most significant contribution of Lausanne to the cause of global evangelization has been the Lausanne Covenant. The Lausanne Covenant, a declaration agreed upon by more than 2,300 evangelicals during the 1974 International Congress, has challenged churches and Christian organizations to work together to make Jesus Christ known throughout the world and to be more intentional about world evangelization.
Cedar added that the LCWE Working Groups have also impacted the mission of world evangelization especially the Theology and Strategy Working Groups and the various Lausanne Occasional Papers. He also recognized the contributions made by the many international consultations and convocations.
During the course of the Forum, Lausanne also announced the appointment of several Regional Deputy Directors.
- East Asia: Dr. Paul Choi (Korea), Seoul Theological Seminary.
- South Asia: Rev. Adrian de Visser (Sri Lanka), Kethusevana National Church Planting.
- Eastern Europe: Dr. Fiodor MoKan (Russia), St. Petersburg Theological Seminary.
- Latin America: Dr. Norberto Saracco (Argentina), Pastor and Seminary President.
Francopone Africa: Mr. Kadebe Daniel Bourdanne (Ivory Coast), International Fellowship of International Students.
- English-speaking Africa: Dr. John Azumah (Ghana), Presbyterian Minister.
Final reports and reflections from the Forum will be available soon on the Lausanne web site - www.lausanne.org.