Lausanne Update: Sadness and Joy

Today was “one of those days” for those involved in ministry. You know you must be involved in the Lord’s work when there are tears of sadness and times we feel choked up with joy, all in the same day.

This morning, the Cape Town 2010 Congress leadership team met. The preparations are all progressing very well. Many things that could be worrisome, like IT systems, internet bandwidth and funding, all seem to be coming together for this historic gathering of more than 4,000 Christian leaders from 197 countries. Every committee reported positive progress and confidence.

Chairman Doug Birdsall was choked up as he shared that it looks like the entire Chinese delegation will be prevented from coming. This happened in the second Lausanne Congress in 1989. It is happening again. Doug struggled to read the positive, upbeat, Scripture-saturated email from one of the key Chinese leaders. They are not deterred in their faith and optimism for how God is at work in China. We should pray for them. Nowhere is the church growing faster. Let’s pray that this serves the Lord’s purposes to further the gospel in China.

Just a few hours later, Doug stirred our communications team with a rousing message about the importance of the work we are doing. We had 100 communications professionals from 30 countries gathered together for orientation and discussion of our strategy. Doug explained how we stood in the lineage of William Carey, the father of modern missions, who planned to have a gathering of missions leaders in 1810 in this very city. He sailed several times past Cape Town between his work in India and his home in England. That gathering never happened. In 1910, John R. Mott fulfilled part of William Carey’s vision by convening the first modern gathering of missions leaders in Edinburgh, Scotland. We’d like to believe that next week, his vision will be fulfilled by Cape Town 2010, the third Lausanne Congress.

You can follow the days’ events and even comment into the Congress by bookmarking Watch for videos and papers on the major barriers and opportunities facing the church. There will be fresh content every day, beginning this coming Sunday.