It is something akin to the anticipation that expectant parents feel in the final days of pregnancy. It can be likened to the excitement of the final hours before the launch of the latest technological marvel. Some might even suggest it is similar to the eagerness that fans experience prior to an all-important playoff game. For Christians around the globe who appreciate the import and the opportunities it affords, these final hours before the opening ceremonies of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization are just such a time.
The ministry of the Billy Graham is legendary around the world; however, an understanding of his leadership and vision that led to the first meeting of a movement that bears the name of its birthplace is sparse among today’s person in the pew. Meanwhile, to most of the world’s Christians, to Christian leaders around the globe who will follow the proceedings with keen interest, and even to many of those present for the historic gathering in Cape Town, South Africa, those whose presentations and admonitions will greatly influence the direction of Christianity for decades to come are anything but household names.
To the average Christian, what is the significance of this gathering in a distant country? How will the deliberations and decisions of more than 4,000 Christian leaders from more than 200 countries impact the life of the person in the pew, the local congregation in which they worship, or the denomination whose theology and liturgy they claim? On the surface, the answer to these questions lies in the hands of those gathered for this historic eight-day Congress. However, we who are watching, listening and reading from afar must recognize that the authorship, empowerment, and impact of this gathering lies solely in the Spirit of the Risen Christ and those whom He has gathered to do the work of the Church.
What should be our challenge to those who represent us in Cape Town? How can we participate in the accomplishment of God’s will for His servants assembled there? The answer to both questions can be found in the wisdom of Solomon: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Pr 3:5-6, NIV). The presenters and delegates have arrived, the final hours before the historic gathering commences are at hand, the technologies that will enable Christians around the world to observe and participate have been made ready. Yet, there remains one vital task that must be accomplished before the opening gavel and throughout the ensuing days, by those participating and a world of Christians observing – prayer! Prayer that fervently seeks God’s will, prayer that is open to the guidance of the Spirit, prayer that will empower those gathered to lead His Church in sharing the fullness of the Gospel.
We find ourselves on the eve of an event known as Cape Town 2010. May it be our prayer that we may realize, in the coming week, the dawning of a new day of world evangelization and Kingdom-building that reaches the lost and the hurting while bringing honor and glory to His name alone. Amen!