Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
The following is an excerpt from the document entitled The Cape Town Commitment: A Confession of Faith and a Call To Action from the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization conducted last fall.
Some 4,000 leaders from 198 countries attended as participants and observers.
What follows is the conclusion. I would recommend the entire document and especially the section on leadership. Please feel free to comment.
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. God’s Spirit was in Cape Town, calling the Church of Christ to be ambassadors of God’s reconciling love for the world. God kept the promise of his Word as his people met together in Christ’s name, for the Lord Jesus Christ himself dwelt among us, and walked among us.
We sought to listen to the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in his mercy, through his Holy Spirit, Christ spoke to his listening people. Through the many voices of Bible exposition, plenary addresses, and group discussion, two repeated themes were heard:
Discipleship and reconciliation are indispensable to our mission. We lament the scandal of our shallowness and lack of discipleship, and the scandal of our disunity and lack of love. For both seriously damage our witness to the gospel.
We discern the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ in these two challenges because they correspond to two of Christ’s most emphatic words to the Church as recorded in the gospels. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus gave us our primary mandate - to make disciples among all nations. In John’s Gospel, Jesus gave us our primary method - to love one another so that the world will know we are disciples of Jesus. We should not be surprised, but rather rejoice to hear the Master’s voice, when Christ says the same things 2,000 years later to his people gathered from all around the world. Make disciples. Love one another.
Biblical mission demands that those who claim Christ’s name should be like him, by taking up their cross, denying themselves, and following him in the paths of humility, love, integrity, generosity, and servanthood. To fail in discipleship and disciple-making, is to fail at the most basic level of our mission. The call of Christ to his Church comes to us afresh from the pages of the gospels: ‘Come and follow me’; ‘Go and make disciples’.
Love one another
Three times Jesus repeated, ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ Three times Jesus prayed ‘that all of them may be one, Father.’ Both the command and the prayer are missional. ‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ ‘May they be brought to complete unity so that the world may know that you sent me.’ Jesus could not have made his point more emphatically. The evangelization of the world and the recognition of Christ’s deity are helped or hindered by whether or not we obey him in practice. The call of Christ and his apostles comes to us afresh: ‘Love one another’; ‘Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.’ It is for the sake of God’s mission that we renew our commitment to obey this ‘message we heard from the beginning.’ When Christians live in the reconciled unity of love by the power of the Holy Spirit, the world will come to know Jesus, whose disciples we are, and come to know the Father who sent him.
The story of Lausanne began with the evangelist Dr Billy Graham. © 2011 The Lausanne Movement. The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization was held in Cape Town, South Africa, 16-25 October 2010. The goal of Cape Town 2010 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. Some 4,000 leaders from 198 countries attended as participants and observers; thousands more took part in seminaries, universities, churches, and through mission agences and radio networks globally, as part of the Cape Town GlobaLink.