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A New Vision, A New Heart and a Renewed Call

At a recent Forum for World Evangelization in Thailand, hundreds of Christian leaders met to exchange information and ideas on crucial issues facing evangelism.


The 2004 Forum for World Evangelization recently held in Thailand was sponsored by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. Participants were encouraged to continue pressing forward toward the vision of "The Whole Church taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World."

The 2004 Forum for World Evangelization brought together hundreds of Christian leaders from around the world to focus on the task of global evangelism. The Forum was a working consultation as leaders exchanged information and ideas on crucial issues facing evangelism. More than 1,600 people, representing nearly 130 countries and 58 languages attended. Fifty-one percent of participants were from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America while 49 percent were from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Western Europe.

Through a world-wide research effort 31 issues were identified as roadblocks to evangelism. Demonstrating a continued commitment to Lausanne's mission statement "The whole Church taking the whole Gospel to the whole world," the 31 issues were divided into three key categories:

A. The Whole World —addressing the changing nature of the world from globalization to reaching marginalized people groups.

B. The Whole Church —empowering the Body of Christ to participate in reaching everyone with the Good News.

C. The Whole Gospel —meeting needs and sharing Christ through every appropriate and available means.

Click here to see a list of all issue groups.

Leaders participated in the 31 Forum Issue Groups (IGs) including:

  • Globalization: Opportunities and threats to the Gospel generated by globalization.

  • The Persecuted Church: The why, how and when of Christian/church intervention in human rights issues and political change that prohibit or limit evangelization.

  • Holistic Mission: The imperative of caring as well as proclaiming-the importance of holistic mission including AIDS, rural poverty and the consequences of natural disasters.

  • Future Leadership: Developing future leadership for world evangelization-equipping, mentoring and training.

I had the opportunity to serve as an advisor to the Partnership and Collaboration track. It was encouraging to connect with more than 60 people who are passionate about developing the partnership movement around the world.

The good news is that partnership has become integrated into almost every aspect of global mission strategy. There is a growing group of individuals around the world who have gained significant experience in the last decade in figuring how partnerships work best. However, developing best practices and sharing lessons learned are still critical needs.

  1. The Gospel is first Good News of restored relationships. In this context, God considers the restored, open relationship among His people to be the primary sign of His finished work (see John 17:23, Psalm 133, etc.).

  2. The divisions in the Body of Christ are a primary roadblock to seeing major breakthroughs in world evangelization.

  3. The natural tendency of Christian ministries, organizations, institutions, etc. is toward disintegration and fragmentation. As a result, any effort seeking to encourage collaboration must be intentional and pro-active.

  4. Responding to these realities, it is a primary obligation of those committed to world evangelization to find ways to initiate and strengthen partnerships, networks, and other forms of cooperation.

Based on these assumptions we met and discussed how to encourage the widespread adoption of a paradigm of kingdom collaboration and identify the elements/steps necessary to encourage the launch and maintenance of effective kingdom partnerships and networks. Through this process we:

  1. Identified current trends in partnerships and networks at six levels: city, country, linguistic, regional, functional, and international.

  2. Identified case histories of effective collaboration at the six levels identified in #1.

  3. Identified primary roadblocks facing current and needed partnerships and networks.

  4. Identified means to link the growing global "company of the committed" who are committed to, and working toward, kingdom collaboration.

If you are committed to kingdom partnership, and want to connect with others and find partnership development resources, you can go to the following website: Power of Connecting.

What will be the overall impact of this conference on World Evangelization? Time will tell. Certainly significant networking took place and new kingdom partnerships began. Some of the issue groups will be providing significant resources that, if used, will have a profound influence on our engagement in mission. The challenge, as always, will be how to connect all these wonderful resources to the "person in the pew" and with local community Christian leaders who are seeking to live out transformational lives.

Geoff Tunnicliffe is the director of global initiatives with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

 

 
 
 
 

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