The largest gathering of evangelical Christian leaders in the world took place in Cape Town, South Africa, October 17-24, 2010. InterVarsity/USA and its sister movements in the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) were well represented at Cape Town 2010, Lausanne’s third Congress on World Evangelization.
In addition to InterVarsity president Alec Hill and other senior leaders participating in Cape Town, a number of InterVarsity staff representing evangelism, missions, Urbana, and collegiate ministries attended the historic meetings. They were some of the over 150 leaders around the world connected with IFES who were at Cape Town.
Addressing Critical Issues
Cape Town 2010 brought 4,000 Christians leaders from over 200 countries together to confront the most critical issues of our time. These leaders, united in a desire to see the gospel spread around the world, grappled with how the global church should address poverty, HIV/AIDS, other faiths, and the persecution of Christians, as well as how the church can lead the way in dealing with challenges such as human dignity and technology, territorial conflict, gender issues, and immigration issues.
The first Lausanne Congress was held in 1974 when 2,700 leaders from 150 countries met in Lausanne, Switzerland to establish the theological foundation for working together toward world evangelization. The document that they developed became known as the Lausanne Covenant and has been a guiding light for the modern missions movement and the modern evangelical church.
InterVarsity's Lausanne Roles
One of the key roles at the first Lausanne meeting in 1974 was performed by InterVarsity’s Paul Little. Paul, who held a number of leadership positions in InterVarsity—including evangelism director, was Lausanne’s program director. One of the key roles this year at Cape Town was held by Lindsay Olesberg. Lindsay is an InterVarsity associate regional director, living in Iowa. Lindsay directed the daily inductive Bible study of the book of Ephesians, which was done in InterVarsity’s classic Manuscript Bible Study format.
“Inductive Bible study helps us to humble ourselves under the authority of Scripture by pressing us to hear all that a passage has to say and be changed by it,” Lindsay said. In a video created to explain Manuscript Bible Study to Lausanne participants, Lausanne program committee chair Ramez Atallah encouraged participants to “look at the text through the lens of the author and the original audience,” stressing that “application and response are the hardest parts of Bible study, but the most essential.”
For one InterVarsity participant's take on Cape Town 2010, read InterVarsity’s Cape Town blog.
Four InterVarsity staff members who were at Cape Town gave a report during a chapel service at InterVarsity's National Service Center. You can listen to or download the report by clicking here.
Video – History of Lausanne
Video – Highlights of the Opening Session