Nearly 300 men and women from 175 organizations—local churches, denominations, mission agencies, schools, businesses, and foundations—gathered at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, for a foretaste of this October’s Cape Town 2010 and the Lausanne Global Conversation that will lead up to and ripple out from it.
In October 2010, four hundred U.S. participants will be in Cape Town with some four thousand other participants from two hundred countries. Many at this Dallas meeting commented on the beautiful diversity of the participants in age, gender, ethnicity, region, ministry focus, and denominational affiliation—a diversity that will also be reflected in Cape Town.
The Dallas gathering was intended to catalyze relationships between the U.S. representatives and other leaders identifying with the Lausanne Movement, to begin discussion around the six themes of Cape Town 2010, and to look beyond Cape Town 2010 to collaborative evangelistic efforts in the U.S. leading toward 2020.
Throughout the three days participants met around tables of six to eight. The core of the program consisted of six extended conversations related to the key issues of the upcoming Congress:
- Making the Case for the Truth of Christ in a Pluralistic, Globalized World
- Building the Peace of Christ in our Divided and Broken World
- Bearing Witness of the Love of Christ with People of Other Faiths
- Discerning the Will of Christ for Twenty-first Century World Evangelization
- Calling the Church of Christ Back to Humility, Integrity, and Simplicity
- Partnering in the Body of Christ toward a New Global Equilibrium
Each topic was introduced by brief, incisive comments by Nikki Toyama-Szeto, complemented by video clips and/or thought-provoking insights from Os Guinness and others. Woven around the lively table discussions were presentations of the genesis of the Cape Town 2010 idea and of the Lausanne Global Conversation and the supporting technology that would enable participation of thousands of Christians around the world before the Congress through the Internet, and during the Congress through 250 Cape Town GlobaLink sites.
Other highlights included meditations by Lindsay Olesberg on Paul’s prayers in Ephesians, worship songs in several languages, live greetings through Skype from Rick Warren, an enthusiastic invitation for U.S. delegates to re-gather in March 2011 to tend the flame and to plan for the coming decade of evangelization, and Doug Birdsall’s reminder of the “spirit of Lausanne” as expressed by Dr. Billy Graham: “the spirit of fellowship, humility, study, prayer, partnership and hope.”
The spirit of Lausanne was evident throughout the days in Dallas, a gathering that contributed powerfully to the growing momentum for Cape Town 2010.