Reflections on Lausanne and the Year Ahead

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

We are indeed living in exciting times, in a world of globalization and dynamic change.  We see this reflected now in every aspect of our lives, from the vast array of global fashions and cuisines we can enjoy to the rapid development of technologies that will increase our productivity and entertainment. In the midst of such constant change with all the choices, technologies and methods before us, now more than ever, we need to be able to discern our times and know what to do.

We need to be like the men of Issachar, who understood their times, who knew what they should do and who boldly led God’s people (1 Chronicles 12:32). We must resist the temptation to succumb to trends, and instead carefully reflect and incorporate aspects of our times that are biblical, relevant and effective. There is a need for substantive reflection in the midst of the dynamic changes and influential forces. Such substantive reflection is a hallmark of Lausanne.

It is our conviction that all theological study and reflection must lead to mission and action, otherwise it is futile abstraction. It is also our conviction that all mission activity must be based on a sound theological foundation, otherwise it is mere pragmatism. It is at the very frontiers of mission that both theological reflection and activity must be forged to create an effective tool for breaking new ground for the kingdom. Thus, Lausanne is committed to bringing together both thinkers and doers.

As we look toward the year ahead, I am encouraged to hear of future meetings of the Lausanne Theology Working Group and the Lausanne Strategy Working Group, led by Chris Wright and Paul Eshleman respectively. Additionally, Lausanne is seeking to hear reflections and to inspire a new generation of leaders with its upcoming Younger Leaders Gathering in September 2006 (for more information, please go to In addition, plans are being made for the Third Lausanne Congress in 2010. Lausanne III will be a tremendous opportunity to bring together the most experienced evangelical leaders in the world, as well as current and future leaders, to fellowship, share experiences, evaluate, strategize and inspire a new generation for world evangelization.

Today, the great explosion of media and technology has both expanded and shrunken our world. We can see and understand more peoples and cultures. We can travel the world and instantaneously talk to people across oceans and continents. Now more than ever, Christians must discern how to creatively and strategically utilize such powerful and influential tools, without accommodating the standards and uses of this world.

As I look toward the year ahead, I thank you again for your partnership in the gospel and for the fellowship that we share through the Lausanne movement. At a time when the Church is challenged to be both relevant and prophetic, we believe it is more important than ever to work for the unity of the Church and the advance of the gospel. Thus, we have our ongoing commitment to the whole Church, taking the whole gospel, to the whole world. May God continue to wonderfully bless you.

Yours in Christ,

Doug Birdsall, co-publisher, Lausanne World Pulse

Doug Birdsall is executive chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. He served as president of Asian Access from 1991 to 2007 and continues to serve on their board of directors. Birdsall is a graduate of Wheaton College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Harvard University. He is co-publisher of Lausanne World Pulse.