Cape Town, South Africa, 17 October 2010. The first evening of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization concluded with an astounding revelation: “God has moved!” Church leaders from around the globe reported that over the last twelve months there has been convincing evidence that the Spirit of the living God has moved outside of the walls of local churches and into the workplace.
Noticing the Movement of God
In keeping with the model of his son Jesus while he was on the earth, it appears that God the Father began moving sometime in late 2008 or early 2009 outside of the confines of religious institutions. It took several months to realize that God was moving. For nearly a year many churches continued with their normal activities and services with not much of a drop in attendance. However, by the fall of 2009, it was obvious God had moved his center of operation to where the majority of the lost population was located—in the workplaces of the villages, towns, and cities around the world. Lausanne’s purpose of the whole Church…with the whole gospel…to the whole world was coming alive. The leaders reported that this move of God was similar to the experience of the children of Israel as they traveled in the wilderness. God showed himself as a cloud by day and fire by night.
The leaders admitted they had been so busy in their committees and conferences that they had taken their eyes off of the Lord for just a short time. They certainly meant well in all of their sacrificial efforts, but God had literally placed his presence into the hearts of ordinary believers out in the workplace.
Ramifications of the Movement of God
This move of God has caused church leaders to make drastic renovations of their facilities and programs in order to keep up with what God has been doing. Worship centers have become less like entertainment venues and now look more like staging zones for a large army. While worship has been even more vibrant, the primary focus has shifted away from the large gathering to small group equipping.
As various churches have taken seriously the Great Commission, they have experienced lower attendance. However, since the retooling has been in place and working, churches have begun to see true followers of Jesus flocking to join them.
These changes have been accompanied by times of deep repentance and prayer. Leaders from the marketplace, education, government, the media, and the arts have joined hands with church leaders to concentrate on the lost in their everyday world.
Some pastors have confessed that they had taken their eyes off of their high calling. They have admitted that the pressures to build their churches had been so intense that they had neglected God’s kingdom and had been measuring success by the size of their buildings, budget, and attendance. They had focused on bringing people into their facility instead of sending them out. As this process worked its way into the fabric of many churches, the talented professionals had taken center stage, and the paid staff had grown rapidly. The ordinary Christians in the pew became demanding consumers wanting to be entertained and willing to pay for the professionals to do the work of the ministry.
New Flexibility Results from the Movement of God
Now, in 2010, we are seeing Christian institutions being flexible as never before to change quickly in response to a move of God. Local churches are equipping centers, since the primary focus is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry out where the lost are located in the workplace. Pastors are asking the question, “How can we help YOU in the ministry that God has given YOU where he has sovereignty placed YOU in your workplace?”
These passionate followers of Jesus have been meeting in small groups, in homes, in office complexes, and in factories. They are learning how to recognize the open doors of crises and are building relationships and sharing the good news of the gospel of Christ. Some workplace chaplains are leading more people to Christ than their entire church did last year. Here is a snapshot of what’s happening:
- Baptisms are taking place in factories in China.
- Prayer meetings are now allowed in government offices in the United States.
- Biblically-based seminars are being presented in companies in South Africa.
- Young believers are leading house churches in Iran.
- Business leaders in Europe are modeling their values and beliefs in the secular culture.
- Latin American marketplaces are being transformed by the Holy Spirit as the leaders have chosen to be led by him alone.
Leaders expect this Lausanne Congress to be the most strategic meeting in centuries. The whole Church is focusing outward in kingdom unity, replacing methods with relationships, institutions with community, and human efforts with the transformation of God’s Spirit. It is exciting to report the movement of God instead of the plans of men and women. There is a spirit of expectancy not seen since Jesus Christ walked on this earth. May we say together, “Come, Lord Jesus, and work among us!”