Christian Leaders from around the world are expected to meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, biennially beginning in 2013 to track the progress of world evangelism. It is estimated that about 500 Christian leaders will attend the congress, first convened by Dr. Billy Graham 45 years ago.
Participants will represent the world’s leading pastors, influential mission leaders, “the best minds from our seminaries and universities, as well as Kingdom-minded leaders from business, government, medicine and the media,” according to a statement from the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelism.
“This peer-to-peer gathering will be patterned after the Davos World Economic Forum,” the announcement added. The Congress is expected to provide an environment conducive for prayer, reflection and creativity and for the establishment of global friendships. The organizers also hope that the forum would help to strengthen the bonds of unity within the church around the globe.
The Lausanne Congress met in South Africa last October and endorsed a document, widely known as the “Cape Town Commitment.” The goal of the forum was “to re-stimulate the spirit of Lausanne, as represented in The Lausanne Covenant, and so to promote unity, humility in service, and a call to active global evangelization.”
About 4,000 leaders from 198 countries attended the congress in Cape Town as participants and observers.
“As churches, missions and schools continue to study and embrace the commitment, we are working to ensure that for every one of the world evangelization commitments articulated in the document we have a Global Ambassador and a Resource Partner Organization that will serve as a resource to the global church,” the statement said.
Leaders who met together during the last Congress expressed a desire to have an ongoing community among like-minded people globally who share a commitment to the vision and values of The Lausanne Movement.
Graham began the work of the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelism as he sought to “unite all evangelicals in the common task of the total evangelization of the world.”
In 1966, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Christianity Today magazine sponsored the World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin. More than 1,200 delegates from 100 countries attended the forum. Similar conferences were held in Singapore in 1968 and in Australia 1971.
The International Congress on World Evangelization was then held in Lausanne in 1974, following Graham’s perception of “the need for a larger, more diverse congress to re-frame Christian mission in a world of social, political, economic, and religious upheaval.” The Church, Graham said then had to apply the gospel to the contemporary world, and to work to understand the ideas and values behind rapid changes in society.
Altogether, 2,700 participants and guests from over 150 nations attended the Lausanne Congress, which featured 10 days of discussion, fellowship, worship and prayer.