The Lausanne Movement’s most ‘connected’ gathering, the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, came to a close last night. More than one thousand younger leaders and mentors convened for a week from over 140 countries to connect for global mission, in Jakarta, Indonesia, at the Global Campus of Universitas Pelita Harapan.
The vision for YLG2016 was rooted in the same conviction out of which Billy Graham started the Lausanne Movement, namely to help influencers of global mission, who were often working in isolation, to meet and collaborate. Participants for this gathering have been invited through an extensive, prayerful, regionally based selection process after receiving thousands of nominations. About two thirds of the participants were from the Majority World, and about one third were women.
‘I’ve never seen the mission of the Lausanne Movement—connecting influencers and ideas for global mission—more powerfully displayed than during this amazing week’—says Michael Oh, Lausanne’s Global Executive Director/CEO.
Connections took various forms during the programme, such as the 160+ mentoring groups where participants connected their personal life stories to God’s grand narrative of the world. In addition to regional gatherings and 35 workshops focused on many of the most significant missiological issues set forth in The Cape Town Commitment, there were also hundreds of pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings between senior and younger leaders throughout the course of the carefully crafted programme. To emphasize the importance of connecting at YLG2016, the planning team put significant amounts of free time into the week which was key in making space for numerous divine appointments.
Building connections, however, began long before the gathering itself. In perhaps the most ambitious effort in the Lausanne Movement’s history to prepare participants for a gathering, participants had to commit to an entire year of monthly preparation. This included both substantive reflection on the narrative of Scripture around which YLG2016 was focused, and also starting to make individual and national/regional connections long before setting foot in Jakarta.
Throughout the gathering, major challenges for this generation have been tackled: how to proclaim the truth of Christ in a skeptical world, what does it mean to preach the whole gospel and the Lordship of Christ over poverty and the environment, how to respond to different conceptions of human sexuality, the persecuted church, and major challenges facing evangelicalism in the next decades.
‘The gathering has been organized by younger leaders and for younger leaders, most of whom are likely to become the shaping voice of global evangelicalism. But we know we’re not self-sufficient as a generation. I strongly believe that this week has been a defining moment, when our generation consciously stepped into the rich heritage of the Lausanne Movement, looking at God’s mission from a global perspective’—reflects Sarah Breuel, Chair of the YLG2016 Planning Team.
Summarizing his experience at the gathering, Michael Oh reflected: ‘I believe that years later we may look back on this week as an historic gathering where many of the leaders of the global church first connected to one another and were uniquely inspired to lay down their lives in partnership for global mission. Our heart is full of gratitude. To God be the glory!’
Thank you to the Lausanne Movement for hosting at the gathering Jo and Zane from the NZCMS family. To see the full article please click here. Personal reflections on the event will be shared by our participants at a later date.