Christian leaders in South Korea are hosting this week a key gathering of leaders from the Lausanne Movement, which birthed a document more than three decades ago that has served as the basis for hundreds of ministries’ statements of faith throughout the world.
Starting Monday, some 200 Lausanne leaders will gather from 60 countries for the movement’s biennial meeting at the Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary (PCTS) in Seoul.
While leaders hope to maximize the fellowship of the international Lausanne constituency during the June 8-12 meeting, most pressing on the agenda will be the confirming of plans for Cape Town 2010, the third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization.
“Many key details of Cape Town 2010 will be finalized in Seoul,” reported Dr. Michael Oh, president of Christ Bible Seminary in Japan and a member of the Lausanne Administrative Committee.
“It’s certainly our hope and prayer that the Lord will use Cape Town 2010 to impact to the very ends of the earth,” he added in the Lausanne Movement’s official weblog.
Though more than a year away, Cape Town 2010 is building up much anticipation for those familiar with what’s come out from past gatherings.
Called by a committee headed by the Rev. Billy Graham, the Lausanne Movement officially started in 1974 when the first International Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne I) was held in Lausanne, Switzerland. The gathering drew more than 2,700 evangelical leaders from 150 countries and resulted with the Lausanne Covenant, an evangelical manifesto considered to be one of the most influential documents in Christendom.
Time magazine described the Lausanne Congress as “a formidable forum, possibly the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held.”
“There is a great sense of anticipation and excitement growing about Cape Town 2010 among Christians around the world. Tremendous investments in prayer, finances, energy, and hope are fueling the preparations for CT2010,” commented Oh.
When the upcoming congress, Lausanne III, opens next October in Cape Town, South Africa, over 4,000 leaders from 200 countries will be gathered while thousands more are expected to participate online and through other media.
Aside from praying, worshipping, and learning, the leaders will be engaging new ideas, strategies and resources to share Christ.
“That's what Cape Town 2010 is all about,” says Lausanne spokeswoman Naomi Frizzell. “Coming together as the body of Christ (in person and virtually).”
To prepare for the Third International Congress, a five-day-long planning session for the gathering will be held during the International Leadership Meeting in Seoul.
This week’s biennial gathering will bring together about 250 church leaders from 60 countries who will be together making important decisions regarding how to engage the 4,000 on-site participants and develop meaningful involvement by potentially tens of thousands of leaders virtually through Cape Town GlobaLink and the Lausanne Global Conversation.
In his report, Oh asked for prayers for wisdom, unity, humility, and faith.
“200 leaders having one mind and heart is a humanly impossible task,” the Lausanne leader admitted. “But in the most powerful and enduring way we already are one in Christ, and that is our greatest hope and confidence as we look to the Spirit of God to unite us practically as we already are spiritually.”
According to the movement, this week’s gathering of international leaders will be the last before Cape Town 2010, which will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre Oct. 16-25, 2010.
Starting this August, official invitations to next year’s congress in Cape Town will go out to prospective attendants, each of which had to be nominated by the selection committee of their region and approved by the International Participant Selection Committee, which reviewed applications received until May 31, 2009.
The last congress, Lausanne II, was held in 1989 in Manila, Philippines.