A Generation that Pursues Unity in Diversity and Holistic Mission
“God’s beauty and God’s splendor cannot be contained in one language or one people group or one gender.” Anne Zaki, Lausanne YLG 2016.
We, The International Fellowship for Mission as Transformation (INFEMIT), joyfully affirm this truth. We join the Lausanne Movement in celebration and encouragement for the younger leaders from around the world who are dedicated to sharing and living out the Gospel in the world today.
Last month, in Jakarta, the Lausanne Movement held a Younger Leaders Gathering (YLG) with nearly 1,000 people from over 160 countries. The encounter gave these young leaders an unprecedented opportunity to connect and learn from one another. Encouraged by the Biblical narrative, leaders were continually reminded of a unity “forged in diversity” (Anne Zaki, Lausanne YLG 2016); a reconciliation made possible by Jesus, the greatest example of one who did not separate people – Greek and Roman, male and female, because all were made in God’s image (paraphrased, Marina Silva, Lausanne YLG 2016).
Young leaders represented INFEMIT and its partner organizations: the Comunidad de Estudios Teológicos Interdisciplinarios (CETI), Micah Global, the Latin American Theological Fellowship, and others. INFEMIT co-organized informational sessions for interested leaders on the CETI theological framework and on participating in INFEMIT within their regions.
Motivated by this radical call, INFEMIT, along with many of the speakers and participants at this event, acknowledge that the diverse voices and examples of Christian mission among the Majority World and women are still underrepresented. While “the Global South church is a growing majority… Western Christian leadership is comfortable,” and represented disproportionately. (State of the World, Operation World, Lausanne YLG 2016). This Younger Leaders Gathering both encourages us, as we witness the shift from previous gatherings toward greater diversity in speakers and participants; and challenges us, as we realize that more is needed to truly allow our global diversity to lead and shape these international spaces.
The rich heritage of the Lausanne movement includes continual achievements like this one, alongside challenges to move one step further in our witness to a holistic Gospel-centered mission. In 1974, the Lausanne Covenant contributed to evangelicals taking social engagement seriously alongside evangelism. Accompanying it was the response of many leaders, especially from the Majority World, who called the Church to see mission in its entirety and acknowledge that “there is no biblical dichotomy between the Word spoken and the Word made visible in the lives of God’s people” (Theology Implications of Radical Discipleship, Lausanne 1974).
The impact of this statement was tangible at the Lausanne YLG in the presentation of Marina Silva, Brazilian political leader and activist in the fight to protect our environment, and in the priority given to Creation Care. “To be living in the image of God, we must be living sustainably… a way of life with many aspects which speak of the fullness of life” (Silva, Lausanne YLG 2016). With her presentation, Silva called the audience to realize that the Gospel speaks of and must be lived out in every aspect of our reality.
INFEMIT NT Member, Las Newman, began his new position as the Associate Director for Lausanne Regions. He and Ed Brown held a book signing for their recent publication, Creation Care and the Gospel.
(Photo: Las and Ed presenting the book to Marina Silva).
With a desire to elaborate on this truth, that the Gospel may speak out of and into their own contexts, a group of leaders from Latin America met several times throughout the gathering to formulate their own reflection. We, as INFEMIT, see their efforts as vitally important for continuing to challenge and inspire the Church throughout the world and for prompting deep, local reflection on the Gospel for our world today. (Read their reflection in English or Spanish.) We encourage others from this Younger Leaders Gathering and beyond to work together to reflect and respond to the hope of the Gospel for all of life, locally and globally.
To read more on the history of Mission as Transformation within the Lausanne Movement, consider reading Transformation after Lausanne, by Al Tizon (INFEMIT NT Member, USA).
For more information on how to get involved with INFEMIT in your region, email firstname.lastname@example.org.