By Bob Moffitt
I attended as a member of the International Leadership Team of the World Evangelical Alliance where I represented the Disciple Nations Alliance. WEA was a co-sponsor of this event with the Lausanne Movement.
The movement was founded by Billy Graham and held its first congress in 1974 in Lausanne, Switzerland – therefore the name. The second congress was in Manila, Philippines in 1989. I attended that congress as well as several of the other major events of this movement – Wheaton ’83 where I presented a paper, and then Amsterdam 2000.
The focus of the earlier congresses has been on reaching all nations with the proclamation of the Gospel and as a result the primary participants were western leaders of mission agencies. This congress was different, and frankly, I was thrilled to see the change. While there was a continuing emphasis on the need to get the message of redemption to the nations, there was a constant reminder that the proclamation of the Gospel must go hand in hand with a tangible expression of God’s larger agenda for the healing of the whole person and all aspects of a creation vandalized by sin. Also, where past conferences by default tended to focus on para-church organizations, this congress made the biblical primacy of the local church a central focus.
I wished that there had been more of a conscious recognition of the imperative of and strategies for discipling new believers to individually and corporately follow Jesus as sacrificial servants in their respective worlds. But I’m delighted with the move I saw toward a more comprehensive understanding of the Great Commission and the role of the Church in God’s plan for answering the only prayer Jesus taught us to pray – “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
By far, the participants didn’t look like those of previous meetings – grey haired white guys like me. Instead, they were younger leaders from the majority world who represented the demographics of a growing global Christianity. This was probably the largest ever gathering of non-western Christian leaders. Can you imagine the daily thrill of sharing in worship with full-throated brothers and sisters from 100+ nations. At times it seemed like heaven.
Hunger Corps Phase II Because I was already going to be in South Africa, I made myself available to speak in other venues. One of the groups that asked me to train was Korean Food for the Hungry International. They have a Christian Peace Corps called the Hunger Corps. I actually started the Hunger Corps when I worked for Food for the Hungry here in the US back in 1980-81. The program has been adopted by several national Food For the Hungry organizations. Anyway, KFHI was holding its in-service training (Phase II) near Pretoria for a group of Korean Hunger Corps Volunteers serving in Africa at the same time as the Lausanne Congress. So I was able to train this group for several days prior to Cape Town. They also had a number of African leaders from all over Africa who attended the session.
African Leadership Institute for Community Transformation The second group that accepted my services was ALICT, a school that creatively trains emerging young African leaders. Darrow Miller and I have trained for this group on another occasion. We were both impressed by the quality and promise of these younger folks. The group for which I trained was an alumni reunion of students who were graduates of earlier schools. These folks were eager learners. I lost my voice on the second day and literally whispered my lectures. Also I got an intestinal bug the day before I left. I prayed for a no accident trip home, and made it – but barely!! After a 30-some hour return trip (with a 12 hour layover in the JFK airport) I did little but veg-out for a couple of days when I got home. But, for those young people in my sessions, I’d do it again!