I was privileged to be at Cape Town 2010. During the Congress the Pew Forum conducted a survey of the 4,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries. This was the most wide ranging gathering of Christian leaders in the modern world, the results have now been released.
There were some amazing statistics that came out:
- 4% of respondents do not believe that Christianity is the one true faith.
- 2% believe that the Bible is NOT the word of God.
- 3% believe that life evolved via a process with which God was not involved.
- 7% believe that God will grant health and wealth to those who have enough faith.
- 3% believe that it is not essential to follow the teachings of Christ in order to be a good Evangelical Christian.
- 4% say that believing in reincarnation is compatible with being a follower of Christ.
- 5% say that it is okay to believe that Jesus is NOT the only way to salvation.
This surprised me, given we had to be recommended by a national organising group, and then had to fill in a long questionnaire before we were approved to attend. Why would you want to go if ?
I heard Ajith Fernando speak at Cape Town 2010 – the Third Lausanne Congress on the theme of suffering and was captivated by his blend of biblical exposition and life application. Following that I picked up The Call to Joy and Pain: Embracing Suffering in Your Ministry.
Ajith Fernando knows about suffering. He has seen horrendous suffering during his ministry as national director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka. Since the 1980s that island nation has been torn and ravished by civil war and political corruption. Over 60,000 Sri Lankans have died in sectarian violence, and another 20,000, mostly rebel Tamils, “disappeared” after their arrest. Just when a tentative peace between warring factions was taking shape, the Indian Ocean Tsunami stuck, leaving more than 31,100 dead, 4,100 missing, and 519,000 homeless.
Despite the suffering all around him, Ajith Fernando has found a transcending joy, a joy that transforms pain and suffering into a closer walk with Jesus Christ. This book is greatly needed, especially in the UK, where much of Christianity has become shallow, self-centered, and materialistic. Fernando contends that Christians are not only not exempt from suffering and pain, but they are called to suffer for the Lord’s sake and for the good of others. Yet through that sanctified suffering – even because of it – the Christian finds true, lasting joy.
Though specifically written for those in the ministry, the book’s truth, which draws heavily upon Scripture, applies to every Christian. The book’s thirty short but rich chapters take us to a higher plateau in our Christian life, and to greater service for the Master.
Check out this message from Lindsay Brown, International Director: The Lausanne Movement:
The Cape Town Commitment is getting out widely around the world, in many languages. If we have discerned aright what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches, we are stewards of a significant document.
Please join us in praying that all evangelicals in leadership will want to find their place in the outworking of The Commitment. Could you ensure those in your sphere know how to purchase a copy? For the UK, you can purchase at bulk discount from www.10ofthose.com/partners/lausanne It is also available through other internet sellers, from Christian bookshops, on Amazon etc.
The Commitment calls for response: from ministry leaders at all levels, and from leaders in the workplace. With the Didasko File format, people could start by familiarising themselves with sections over a coffee break or as they travel, reflecting on how it should impact their own context.
- Church leadership teams to identify one or two areas for your local church to focus on.
- Christians in the workplace to discuss sections on pages 35-39 with their fellow Christians, and to identify one or two areas to use or modify for their local context.
- Mission leaders to urge their staff to identify one or two areas for each local ministry.
We would love to see students in theological colleges, and in Christian Unions, Navigator and Agape groups work through it.
We are at present compiling a study guide to The Commitment, which will be published in early 2012. We will let you know the publishing date as soon as we are able.
Dennis Poulette, has made a video at Cape Town 2010 asking what is the big challenge in youth and student ministry around the world:
Back in October I went to The Third Lausanne Congress: Cape Town 2010, during which I heard Ajith Fernando speak on Ephesians 1. Following that I got hold of a copy of Jesus Driven Ministry to hear some more of his thoughts on ministry, especially his concept of joy and suffering in ministry.
It came at a time when I was really wrestling with what the foundations of ministry should be about: what is success in ministry – is it longevity, is it numbers, is it missionary activity or is it a mixture of all three?
In many ways this book is Fernando’s wrestling of what ministry should look like and the lessons he’s learnt in over 30 years of ministry with Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka. This book hasn’t really taught me anything new, although it pulled into one place a number of different facets: God’s affirmation, retreating from activity, leading from a spiritual base, growing team and focussing on younger leaders. Instead it came at just the perfect time for me to hear an elder statesman of the Christian world share his struggles, his joys, his pains, his experience of ministry.
If you haven’t read this book do get hold of it, hopefully it will inspire you as much as me to continue on the journey.
I’ve just finished a Skype call with those from the Cape Town 2010 Blogger Network – Lausanne Movement. Some exciting conversations about the influence and opportunity that blogs and social media in general had at the Cape Town 2010 conference.
It was great hearing the difference our blogs made: at the start of the conference when there were big struggles with the internet the blogs were the main way of live material reaching the rest of the world, the carrying on of discussion beyond the Congress, seeing how blogs have influenced events post-Lausanne, and of course, all the new networks and friendships that have been developed through the Blogger Network.
Jon shared how he’ll be pulling together some of the key blog posts for a Cape Town 2010 e-book during the Christmas period. That could be a crucial piece of new media for the congress.
Naomi shared four key thoughts:
- The Cape Town Commitment: the first part of the Cape Town Commitment was handed out at the Congress, the second is due in the next few weeks, and there is a hope that people can tweet and blog that to make it more accessible. Many of the older key leaders who don’t necessarily tweet or blog themselves are keen to see this happen so that it can have a bigger impact with churches, organisations and individuals around the world.
- Additional media: providing new videos, radio content and the possibility of SMS technology for Lausanne to receive feedback. Reviewing how people communicate within regions, and looking at those who aren’t connected to the existing internet strategy, so far example bringing in feedback from faxes and maybe even letters.
- Translation: there was a real focus on the importance of translation and making things accessible to as many language groups as possible, Lausanne is reviewing to see how it can continue to support as many languages as possible with the infrastructure that currently exists.
- Listening arm: a fantastic data mining team listened to the conversations on the blogs and social media to feed back into the process. Lausanne wants to continue this, so as to create dialogue on the major issues facing the church. Lots has happened with many of the major topics but there is a hope to bring in other topics that are critical to many churches and groups around the world.
There are key meetings of the Lausanne Leadership Executive in January 2011 and a wider leadership team of approximately 200 in June 2011. In addition many of the national groups are meeting over the coming months.
We then chatted about the different opportunities for the Blogger Network post Cape Town – we agreed to pray over the next few weeks as to how God might be using us together as a blogger. A couple of suggestions came up:
- The need for a purpose for the Blogger Network – the why is more of a challenge than the how. The original purpose was to look toward Cape Town 2010 itself, now it needs clarity on the purpose.
- A specific network call and blog posts each month on a more detailed topic, which can be linked back to the Congress discussions.
- Looking at whether we could see a draft copy of the second part of the Cape Town Commitment to help feed in thoughts for the Leadership Executive’s meeting in January as they look to disseminate it.
Here’s a video of my time at the Third Lausanne Congress, Cape Town 2010 that we’re showing in church tonight: