Lausanne Movement Taps South Korea for Key Leaders Meeting

May 22, 2009 01:52 PM EDT

The Lausanne Movement will hold its biennial meeting at the Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary (PCTS) in Seoul June 8-12.

The International Leadership Meeting is the last gathering of international leaders to before “Lausanne III: Cape Town 2010,” the third International Congress on World Evangelization, which will be held Oct. 16-25, 2010.

There has been much anticipation ahead of next month’s meeting as South Korea is both a country that has witnessed massive growth of Christianity in the past few decades and also known as the most wired nation in the world –more wired than even the United States. The technological assistance it can offer is expected to contribute greatly in facilitating the movement.

For nearly four decades, the Lausanne Movement has been focused on world evangelization with its celebrated slogan being “The whole Church taking the whole Gospel to the whole World.”

TIME magazine has described the Lausanne Congress as “a formidable forum, possibly the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held.”

The Lausanne Movement officially started in 1974 when the first International Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne I), called by a committee headed by the Rev. Billy Graham, was held in Lausanne, Switzerland. The gathering drew more than 2,700 evangelical leaders from 150 countries.

The movement was the culmination of the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin, organized and sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Christianity Today magazine. It was followed by continental congress in Singapore 1968, Minneapolis 1969, Bogota 1969 and Amsterdam 1971.

The upcoming Congress, Lausanne III, will be held Oct. 16-25, 2010, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa.

Over 4,000 leaders from 200 countries are expected to attend the gathering, which is being held in collaboration with the World Evangelical Alliance. Thousands more are expected to participate online and through other media.

To prepare for the Third International Congress, a 5-day-long planning session for the gathering will be held during the International Leadership Meeting in Seoul.

In explaining why South Korea was chosen as the site of the last leadership meeting, Kwang-soon Lee, a professor at the Presbyterian College & Theological Seminary (PSTS) and director of the International Leadership Meeting, said, "World church leaders want to have deep spiritual influence before Lausanne III."

Secondly, he continued, "[w]orld church leaders feel the necessity of IT development for evangelization."

"We believe that Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary is the best suited for these two conditions," he said after having reported how “[e]veryone unanimously wanted Korea.”

The gathering in Seoul will bring together about 250 church leaders from 60 countries, who will proceed in a similar way to the Lausanne III - 2010 Congress. The leaders will be making important decisions regarding how to engage the 4,000 onsite participants and develop meaningful involvement by potentially tens of thousands of leaders virtually through Cape Town GlobaLink and the Lausanne Global Conversation.

"I take this meeting in Korea seriously," commented the Rev. Doug Birdsall, executive chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization,

“I look forward to Korea churches' passion," added Birdsall, who visited Korea last year October.