It seems that this summer has been filled with amazing leadership development experiences. Many of you had been praying for Sam's trip to Jakarta, Indonesia, and for that we are truly grateful. Kimberly also very much appreciated the prayers as she was alone (besides the mice...) with Eloise and Evelyn in a new city.
The Lausanne movement began in 1974 with its first congress on world evangelization convened in Lausanne, Switzerland. Billy Graham, who gave a moving opening service speech, and John Stott were the big names in gathering the global church together, but many evangelical leaders were present and united in seeing the Great Commission being fulfilled in the present generation, including Bill and Vonette Bright, founders of Cru. Lausanne is a movement whose mission is simply to gather together innovators for the cause of Christ to see the Great Commission fulfilled. The vision is that by meeting together, Christ would be glorified with moments of unity in HIs body and that Kingdom activity would be accelerated through partnership and collaboration. Once a decade, the movement welcomes in younger leaders into the fold through its Younger Leaders Gathering, of which I was honored to be nominated and selected to attend.
The gathering itself was attended by 1,000 participants from 160 different countries. Participants were involved in all kinds of ministry: church planting, student ministry, city ministry, social causes, and workplace ministry. Our meetings consisted of worship, world-class biblical teaching, mentoring groups, leadership panels, one-to-one mentoring meetings, and hearing from the world's leading evangelical thinkers: Ravi Zacharias, Os Guinness, and even a speaker from North Korea to name a few.
After all of that, there was so much to take in, but if I had to summarize what I took away from the conference, here would be my top three:
1) Worship is the fuel for mission's flame: I had to borrow a line from Matt Redmon on that one, but I think it puts into words so beautifully what I experienced in worshipping with brothers and sisters from all over the world. It was moving because 1) That is what heaven will be like. All tribes, tongues and nations before the throne of the Lamb of God, saying how worthy He is to be praised. And 2) we do mission because worship doesn't exist like that. There are still people groups who have never heard of Jesus or don't have a Bible in their own birth language. There are still individuals who have never met a follower of Christ. There are still barriers to cultures experiencing the gospel in ways that bring Jesus to light. Worship should be our aim in life, but it should also be the motivation to do mission for God's glory.
2) Jesus cares about the unity of His church and is using it to make Himself more known to the nations. We can often be so focussed in on our context that we forget that there is a wider body of Christ trusting God for the same thing we are, potentially even in the same city we find ourselves in, and simply unifying ourselves in prayer and purpose has great potential. We do it because Jesus actually prayed for His church to be unified, and that it would testify to the world of God's love for it (John 17:20-23). I was personally encouraged by how many connections I made that could have a direct impact to my ministry in New York City (and many of them were people from NYC that I had never met before!).
3) Leadership has far more to do with character than it does with position: This was something that was so often stated by the leaders we had heard from throughout the gathering. When you are younger in leadership, and just seeking to make your place in life, it can be very easy to think leadership is about obtaining a certain level in an organization, or having authority over people or a project, but time and time again the leaders at the conference pointed us back to Jesus example of leadership, which He would consistently compare to service and servanthood, which stems from the character of leaders more than what power they have.
Thanks again for your prayers and I hope that these concepts might even be encouraging to you all. Be praying for continued advancement of the Great Commission from the Lausanne meeting and that more people would hear the gospel because of it!