By Michael Oh and Justin Schell
In 1974, the existence and need for global mission was very much in question. Liberal theologians began to not only reject Christ as the only source of salvation, they rejected the very need of a Savior. In the process, consequently, the gospel mission of the church was abandoned. Even many evangelicals suggested that global mission was finished. There were believers in every political nation-state on the planet, they argued. In the midst of the confusion of those days, the Lord began to call out the Lausanne Movement.
At the first Lausanne Congress, the global church came to understand that the task was not simply to see a convert in every nation-state, but a growing kingdom representation in every people group on the planet. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations (Greek: ethne),” with ethne meaning ethnicities. The goal is maturing, reproducing, gathered followers (i.e., the church) among all people groups.
Knowing the task is one thing. Doing “something” about it is another. Billy Graham, who called together the first Lausanne Congress, knew that it would take the global church working together to see the job done.
There were certainly many mission agencies, denominations, parachurch ministries and others working around the world to bring the gospel to the nations and to make disciples. But there was no global network in existence that could connect the pieces of God’s global body for the completion of God’s global mission. The unique role that God had for Lausanne was to be a catalyst for bringing together global evangelical leaders to work toward the completion of the Great Commission. Or as we say it today, “the Lausanne Movement connects influencers and ideas for global mission.”
Our organizations, churches and corporations have only one lifespan. And it can be spent in numerous ways, but each organization is unlike any other and God has sovereignly set the times and boundaries of its existence.
Why would you lead as if he has no unique plan for it?
Dr. Michael Oh is executive director/CEO of the Lausanne Movement. He and his family of seven live in Nagoya, Japan, where they have served as missionaries with Mission to the World for 12 years. Justin Schell is director of executive projects for the Lausanne Movement. He has served in leadership with a variety of mission and mobilization organizations for 10 years. This post in an excerpt from their article in the 2015 Spring edition of Outcomes Magazine.
You can watch sessions from the 2010 Cape Town gathering of the Lausanne Movement each week on CLATV: Internet TV and Radio for Leaders. Be sure to visit CLATV each week for new and life-changing programs that will advance the leader in you.