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May 19 / Bill

A recent webinar on missionary attrition and retention

May 19, 2011

I am committed to finishing off the reflections on hidden addictions, so stay tuned. But recently I was baptized into a new technology, the “webinar”. I know about them; have seen them work; but have never done one. Thanks to David Mays of The Mission Exchange, on May 12 I presented an hour of visualized talk (with Power Point) and then about 20 minutes of Q&A.  It was a great growth experience for me, and I already know some of the changes I would make for the future.  Evaluations by the 65 or so participants were generally encouraging, but I must improve.

So thanks to Steve Moore and David Mays for encouraging me and opening up this door.

And this is what I presented, with a chance for others to order the webinar on line through TheMissionExchange.


May 12 – Candid Reflections on Missionary Attrition and Retention – Global Stories and Implications

Bill Taylor, Senior Mentor for the Mission Commission, World Evangelical Alliance

Aug 18 – Reset Dialog Feed-Forward Report

Steve Moore, President and CEO, The Mission Exchange

All webinars are 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. eastern time.  See registration instructions below.

Candid Reflections on Missionary Attrition and Retention – Global Stories and Implications

In this webinar, Bill will take us on a visit to study the “topography” of missionary attrition and retention, sharing stories, key insights and outcomes of two international studies. He will elucidate some of key lessons and applications that will help mission-minded churches and agencies reduce attrition and increase retention.  He will also suggest three print resources for your use.

Bill speaks on these issues coming from a combined data base of 45 years of personal ministry, countless case studies, and two major international research studies, ReMAP I (on missionary attrition) and ReMAP II (on retention).

At the end of the day our concern is not with theoretical issues that foster longer-term mission service. The key issue is that we are dealing with people’s lives, with families, with wives and husbands, with children of all ages. The primary concern is not the institution but the people.

Bill Taylor was born in Latin America and served there for 17 years in leadership development and church planting. He has been the Executive Director of the Missions Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance. He is now a Senior Mentor.  He also coordinates its publications and co-leads its global missiology teams. His experience and training equip him uniquely with a global perspective, serving the worldwide mission movement in both Global North and South. Bill is founder and CEO of TaylorGlobalConsult, a new ministry that allows him to focus on mentoring, speaking, consulting, writing and teaching

Webinar Registration Instructions

•     Log in at

•     If you do not already have one, create a profile by clicking the New Visitor Registration Link.

•     Once you have completed your profile and received an e-mail confirmation; login using your e-mail address and password and proceed to the online store.

•     Select the Webinar or Event by clicking on the title and follow the purchase process.

•     If this is your first webinar click here for some additional information.


Apr 20 / Bill

Of Lent, Resurrection Sunday and Hidden Addictions

Of Lent, Resurrection Sunday and Hidden Addictions

April 20, 2011

I begin a series of shorter postings to the discussion of some issues regarding hidden addictions. It comes in the middle of Holy Week, our true High Week, where we slow life down, we come to the end of our long journey of Lent, where we walk with Christ in his inexorable path to the cross………and when we joyously celebrate the resurrection—a unique feature of our God, our Gospel, our Christ, our Faith System.

Later on we will read what some of my global colleagues have written on the subject, for their insight is strong and true. I will finish with some thoughts on one particular hidden addiction (and how to deal with it) travel.

I think it’s fitting to end lent with a final conversation (from my part) on hidden addictions, for they must be faced with courage and sorrow. True liberation can only come in resurrection power (which includes truth-telling by a loving and bold spouse or friend or colleague).

On Hidden Addictions

This discussion on hidden addictions started after I wrote in a previous blog of some changes that came from a re-naming of who I am and what I am to be-do in this next season of ministry. A trusted colleague and friend wrote me a few weeks ago:

Bill, you asked me about the danger of the hidden addictions, and I’m grateful at the thought that you would’ve noticed my passing comment in the earlier email, and would care to know what I was hinting at.  Actually, it was intended to reveal more about me and my own recent journey from the privileged place of greater visibility and broader kingdom influence that I shared during my previous ministry season, into the privileged place of relative obscurity and “political irrelevance” in which I currently serve.

Truly I am the humble champion

I’m certain that after a lifetime marked by numerous shifts, vocational roles and responsibilities, your family and the cloud of witnesses that are accompanying you into this new season of your life have prepared you well and spoken wise counsel into the less visible corners of your inner life where these “hidden addictions” can lay largely undetected and unchallenged.  (I should be asking you for counsel and direction, so please…don’t hold back.)

I and the world are one, right?

Unless leaders practice a disciplined life in deep community with others, and pursue genuine accountability with a trusted band of brothers or sisters, its not likely that they’ll find themselves adequately prepared for some of the less noble urges and hungers that can manifest themselves when the machinery of our missional industry is no longer feeding them in the same way.  My personal struggles with issues of identity, kingdom usefulness and significance are in large measure an indictment, a glaring reminder of the degree to which I’ve underestimated their importance and neglected those disciplines in recent years.  Acknowledging this failure and facing some of these secret flaws more honestly and courageously in the last three years has been painful, but it is beginning to bear greater inner wholeness and a renewed sense of contentedness once again.

I think the specific comment in your previous email that triggered these reflections had something to do with the reduced international travel that you’re anticipating this year.  I’ve found that adjusting to the travel restrictions and limitations of my current role have been particularly challenging.  While I’m personally convinced that my passion for kingdom collaboration with God’s global people is an energizing dimension of my unique gifting and calling, and something that I need to continue to steward well, it can also harbor dangerous delusions of self-importance and addictions to the buzz of being perceived as a missional “player.”  When that adrenaline rush is no longer being fueled to the same degree by our level of activity or perceived prominence among our peers, it can send the most highly proven leaders among us into a case of crippling spiritual and emotional bends.

Super Heroes are Real, Right?

Having our Father’s searchlight poking around those secret spaces in my inner life hasn’t been much fun, but it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I haven’t needed it, nor that I’m ungrateful for it.  By the way, our accountability group read a really good treatment of these themes last year:  Robert Frylings’s The Leadership Ellipse: Shaping how we lead by who we are. It’s a shame that this book hasn’t yet gotten the recognition it deserves – its a very well written, rich contribution by the publisher of InterVarsity Press.

So here are some further insights that come from a discussion with some global colleagues:

1.     The reality that hidden addictions exist, but since by definition they are “hidden”, they are not easily discerned, and thus they are much more difficult to deal with in ways that truly liberate and transform.  It’s hard to know what really drives us.  And frankly, I am skeptical that the heavily addicted ones will ever change. Why do I feel that way?

2.     I have been thinking of the following hidden addictions that affect us in ministry:

a.     Issues related to our identity in Christ. (Thanks to Rose for her keen words).

b.     Exaggerated sense of our importance. (Thanks to Bob for his deep insights).

The world IN my hands. Good, right?

c.     Travel, combined with the drive to escape from home and family responsibilities.  Two sad stories I have heard from wives in the last three years. The first, “I am used to sleeping in my bed alone, and frankly, when he’s back the family is de-stabilized”.  The second, “I have raised our adult children by myself.”

d.     Technology. Do I really need my iPhone (Blackberry, etc) in the bedroom at night? No! Must I read email at red-light stop signs? No.

3.     They are interwoven with our family system (a dark pool of secrets and not-understood stuff), plus the accumulation of small decisions we have made during our lives of ministry. These addiction are linked both to our calling and commitment to ministry but are dangerously entangled with a higher view than proper of our importance to God and his work on earth and in heaven.

We will not discern their presence in our lives unless we have someone in our lives who has the invited right and freedom to speak to us of the hard things that drive us. A spiritual director, true friend, courageous spouse may be able to do this; but if a person is not willing to listen, then even angels will have no impact.

Thank you for engaging with us, so please do comment below.

Maslov's hierarchy of needs speaks again

More soon…………

Mar 26 / Bill

Creation groans, the nations rage, and Lent is our season—all March events.

March 26, 2011 Creation groans, the nations rage, and Lent is our season—all March events. The groaning of creation…………..

Japan groaning

A March shattering, the second one within one year, of Christchurch, New Zealand, with a higher level of destruction than the one last year. About a third of the beautiful centre city was demolished, and symbolically, the Anglican cathedral partially destroyed. Perhaps the only “happy” people were the seismologists, who discovered a brand new tectonic plate they did not know existed before.

Japan groans much more

Then we witnessed the Japan massive earthquakes (shifting parts of the nation by close to 4 meters, about 13 feet) followed by a horrendous tsunami (with waves up to 25 meters, about 53 feet), and the incalculable destruction.

Tsunami assault

Incalculable sorrow

How many times did you watch those mesmerizing videos? And again, has a terribly powerful series of photographs, “The Big Picture” The raging of the nations…………

Walk like an Egyptian

North Africa, starting with a depressed and frustrated Tunisian fruit vendor who immolated himself, then the fall of one dictator; followed by the Egyptian Facebook Revolution of March 25 and beyond, leading to the expulsion of another strongman.

And the dominoes continue to collapse upon each other, though with deeply different reactions and outcomes. Now it’s Libya, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain.  Some creative brain in the Pentagon dubbed the Libya mission “Operation Odyssey Dawn”. What muse suggested THAT name?  Are not odysseys long periods of time, and we want rapid outcomes, the departure of another dictator and the installation of some kind of democracy? Democracy?

Huh!!  So what else are we smoking these days?

In the mid 1970’s, one of our favorite and thoughtful writers, Joe T. Bayly, crafted a poem that was later put to music by concert pianist and Latin America missionary, Dick Foulkes. While the nuclear threat then was radically different—the Cuban missile crisis (So who was around to even remember those scary days?)—the Japan realities of even this morning are sobering.

Here it is, and consider the profound evocation of these words, even as we see how an “older” poem can return to revisit us with new insight. The hymn was written in 1976, entitled “Glenwood” (the cemetery where three of the Bayly sons were buried), and the music set to Saint Saen’s majestic symphony. Note the construction, with five presenting truths and conditions, the poignant query, the Lord’s response, and the believers hope.

“The nations rage, men’s hearts are failing

The nations rage, men’s hearts are failing For fear of death and war’s atomic blast;

All nature groans at sin prevailing, And longing hopes for day of sorrow past.

Lord, why this long and painful waiting, When will the promise be fulfilled?

”I am not willing one should perish.”

Even so come Jesus Christ, our Lord.


The Shepherd, by His own rejected, Returns to call the sheep for whom He died,

The flock He fed and led and guarded, He gathers from all nations to His side.

But what of sheep who have no Shepherd, The tribes that have no word from Thee?

“Go tell them of the Seeking Saviour”

Even so come Jesus Christ, our Lord.


The Lamb once slain to bear our sinning, Returns to earth, redemption to complete,

In tender love shall take us to Him, In awful wrath bring Satan to defeat.

We see the world in Satan’s bondage. The cities filled with sin and pain.

“Show my compassion for the lost ones.”

Even so come Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Sin palabras

The King descends, the sight is glorious, No humble coming as at Bethl’em’s inn;

Each eye shall see our God victorious Return to reign, triumphant over sin.

How long shall be our time of travail, Shall faith be found on earth at last?

Walk holy in the dark’ning hours_____.”

Even so come Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Then shall our God be vindicated, In flaming fire His vengeance surely take;

The faithful saints who long have waited To resurrection glory shall awake.

We look for Thee, O Loving Shepherd, We look for Thee, O Lamb of God.

We look for Thee, O King Eternal:

Even so come Jesus Christ, our Lord.


I posed this question to Yvonne this week: How many people died in the Irish potato famines of mid 19th Century?

The solemn report: “The Great Famine or the Great Hunger (Gaelic: An Gorta Mór or An Drochshaol), known more commonly outside of Ireland as the Irish Potato Famine, is the name given to the famine that occurred in Ireland between 1845 and 1849. The famine was due to the appearance of “the Blight” (also known as phytophthora)—the potato fungus that almost instantly destroyed the primary food source for the majority of the island’s population.

The immediate after-effects of the famine continued until 1851. Much is unrecorded, and various estimates suggest that between five hundred thousand and more than 1 million people died in the years 1846 to 1849 as a result of hunger or disease. Some 2 million refugees are attributed to the Great Hunger (estimates vary), and much the same number of people emigrated to Great Britain, the United States, Canada, and Australia.”–1849)

So my second question to Yvonne: What would the world have done then had they had the Internet, Facebook or Twitter to report on Ireland?

Would we have tolerated that famine? Of course not. But nobody knew, beyond the Irish, and the British (fie on their foreign policy regarding Catholic Ireland!), and a few others. Who could have conceived the dimensions of that devastation? The sad ironies of history that forever the Irish national landscape and culture, leading to a 20% decline of the Irish population. So was it just famine, or perhaps genocide or something else? And where was the Internet? But today technology (blessing and curse) links us perhaps more than we want to.

The holy visitation of Lent, another March marker………

And in the midst of these earth-shaking events comes the liturgical calendar with its cadence. Lent started with the solemn ceremony of Ash Wednesday on March 9. It was my privilege to serve chalice that night, as two Austin congregations gathered, hosted by Hope Chapel (where we worshipped 11 years; the first ministry context for Christine and Cliff; the venue of David’s arts pastor ministry for 10 years) and Christ Church-Anglican, where we now worship and serve.

Sitting in the first row I heard the phrase repeated perhaps 150 times, “from dust you have come; to dust you shall return”. It mesmerized me. No! It struck me as a slap in the face when I was reminded so many times of the brevity of life, and the solemn truths in that phrase.

David’s blog has his rich and textured statement on Lent, and allow me to quote from it (by permission). I encourage you to read his full reflections for your own spiritual pilgrimage.

“THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2011 Lenten Practices: Putting off the “elsewhere self”

Saint Anthony by Dali

This year I have a theme to my Lenten practices. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of my Lenten practices in thematic terms, but that’s what the Spirit seems to be prompting in me and the following quote captures the spirit of my desire to mentally de-clutter. This comes from Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn’s very fine essay, “From Inwardness to Intravidualism,” published in the recent Hedgehog Review. Tracing out the lines of thought in Dalton Conley’s incisive book, Elsewhere, U.S.A, she draws these observations:

“Recent socioeconomic trends have yielded a whole ‘new breed of person’ and a ‘new texture of everyday life’ (17-8)–a phenomenon he hopes to capture by employing ‘elsewhere’ as an adjective. The ‘elsewhere’ society is comprised of only the most ‘fleeting and one-dimensional’ social interactions, and the ‘elsewhere’ individual is in perpetual state of inner conflict, plagued by the uneasy feeling that no matter where one is, one is potentially missing out on something more important.

This new person is not so much an individual as an ‘intravidual’, someone with ‘multiple selves competing for attention within his/her own mind, just as, externally, she or he is bombarded by multiple stimuli simultaneously’ (7). Gone is the stable self with an ‘authentic inner core’–as in the phrase ‘finding oneself’. Instead of being guided by the imperatives of self-development in the old-fashioned sense, ‘intravidualism is an ethic of managing the myriad data streams, impulses, desires, and even consciousness that we experience in our heads as we navigate multiple words’ (7).

Like a fan at the sports game who, realizing she or he is on camera, cannot decide whether to enjoy the moment by looking at the screen or to perfect his or her image by looking at the camera, the ‘intravidual’ is uncertain and anxious, forever plagued by the road not taken. Caught up in the winds of multitasking, other fans cannot resist text messaging or talking on their cell phones, even though they have paid an exorbitant price for their seats.”

After reading this passage I put the journal down, because I needed to process her words. I felt an intense dissatisfaction with tendencies that I have observed in myself and both Conley and Lasch-Quinn had a name for it: the “elsewhere self.”

I have too much going on in my life. I have too many channels of data trying to squeeze themselves into my head. In consequence I feel that I’m losing two things: my moral ability to process the data wisely and a quiet, internal space in my soul. What I need is a re-calibration of internal appetites. I need to constrict the flow of external data so that there can be, as it were, an expansion of simplicity on the inside.

I don’t sleep well. I struggle to keep in my memory things that I am studying. I feel increasingly distractible. And with a baby on the way, I sense a need to do things that will strengthen my emotional capacity to be present to Phaedra and the baby rather than, well, be elsewhere.

All I have to say, in that light, is thank God for Lent. Lent is a beautiful season that not only reinforces bonds of kinship with Christians, it also offers us an excuse to reorganize the “spiritual life.””

Drawing to a close

So I accept the challenge to deny, but also to engage. Together, on the journey, the long pilgrimage in the same direction, needing each other, walking not running in community.


Station Six of the Fourteen

Waiting for Resurrection Sunday.

“Even so, come Jesus Christ our Lord”.

Feb 17 / Bill

New creative endeavors from the Taylor II Family

February 17, 2011

“New creative endeavors from the Taylor II Family”

So I primarily quote from son, David, and post the art work.

“Dear friends,

After many months of hard travail, we are pleased to share with you an image of new work that occupies us currently. Being artists we figure that an image is worth (for now) a mound of sentences.

With affection from the three of us,

The Younger Taylors”

A drawing tells thousands of words

Yvonne and I rejoice with them. In the last two years I have found some fascinating research into the Taylor line. Until then, I thought we could trace the godly Taylor line only back some 9 generations to the first Taylor in the New World. But through a most remarkable “coincidence” I met an Amercan Dane, who came up to me after I spoke at a Houston church, and asked me about my Taylor lineage. Never did I dream that Gunnar Teilmann and I would be related, but he had the unbroken line back to a John Taylor, born 1327 in Homestall, Kent, England, and died in 1377.  As best that takes us some 18 generations back in time.

But for us, the most significant one is Rowland Taylor, a parish pastor in England, married to non other than William Tyndale’s sister, Margaret.  Tyndale, the great Bible translator, was burned at the stake by bloody Queen Mary. As was Roland Taylor, burned at the stake on February 5, 1554.  We found his story in “Fox’s Book of Martyrs” and I found a Google book reproduction of an original copy of Fox.

So the birth of David and Phaedra’s child keeps that line going through the Taylor last name. We pray for a healthy child, either girl or boy, and thank God for his mercies to us all.  But a 19th generation Taylor male!? Now that would be nice also.

And here is part of our joy that marvelous celebration night of January 2 when David and Phaedra revealed the news that now is real!!!

Undiluted exultation!!!

Blessed be God!

Feb 7 / Bill

Lavish Italian Five-Course Celebration Banquet for 65 and 70 years

Mangiando e parlando

February 8, 2011

The Celebrated Ones--young as always!

Ah, time disappears on me and the exigencies of keeping a blog up to date are almost too much. So forgive the tardiness, but enjoy this feast of family, photos of the five-course Italian banquet that our adult kids lavished us with on January 2 (our traditional Adult Extended Family Gift Exchange) now combined with birthday celebrations. It was worth waiting from Yvonne’s 65th in October and my 70th in November.

There were fantastic surprises

Seemingly countless ANTIPASTI

PRIMI: Fettucine con asparago e prosciutto

SECONDI: Carne di maiale ubriaco

Seven of us with Cliff taking photo

CONTORNI: Insalata di arugula con formaggio parmigiano e limone

The table set before us

A setting of sheer beauty


Cliff the pasta-from-scratch maker

Scranton and David post meal gifts

DOLCE: Pere al vino rojo

And a few photos of the family groupings and grandchildren.

The Six Piccoli--and praying for more (Speight and Sohren in top center), Bronwyn on right, Cormac on back left, Skye and Brendan up front

Six adults: Left to right: Cliff, Christine, Scranton, Stephanie, Phaedra, David

Four young women of my life: Yvonne, Phaedra, Christine, Stephanie

Cliff with a load of gifts for each of the men, Yvonne's beautiful Guatemala wrapping

Bill to Yvonne--a very old Anglican Book of Common Prayer

A table set for celebration

The quintessential Italian Table: family, conversation, FOOD!, celebration, beauty
Dec 23 / Bill

Perspectives as we conclude Advent (the “little lent”) and Celebrate Christmas midnight the 24th on.

December 23, 2010–concluding on the 25th
I am sneaking a few minutes to start the process of posting this set of visuals before the full family comes over for the traditional December 23rd family gathering, Taylor I (2), Taylor II (2), Warner (6) and Twohey (4), a total of fourteen people in our home. Food is ready, family photos imperatives as we document the years, more food, talking and laughing, change of clothes for kids to play, the Christmas story, some carols, (more food?) and the grandchildren open their gifts (as slowly as possible to teach deferred gratification), and perhaps a few adult ones.
Yvonne has a grand surprise coming and it will be revealed later, but she’s the Grand Nonna, The Wise Woman of High Heart, and the intercessor-warrior.
But first an example of the viral concert attacks in public places with primarily a surprising and stunning rendition of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”. There are many but here is my favorite, in part because of the venue, the people’s reactions, and the massive pipe organ. Ah, comic Steve Martin has hit it on the head on “Atheists Have No Songs”, with quartet. Great satire, and I think recorded in my American home town of Austin. And third: “Imagine if the Virgin Mary had a Gmail account. Or if the Three Wise Men bought their gifts for the baby Jesus on Amazon. Or if Joseph was just another Farmville fanatic on Facebook”. Berman Kumar, (my Indian-Malaysian friend, married to a Singaporean Chinese woman and living in Australia, and from there leading a global network focused on the less-reached peoples of the world), just sent me his favorite Christmas song, of sorts. Bollywood weds Christmas jingle”.
Ah, music and arts from our world………. Then there’s food, a robust theme in Scripture, from Genesis to the Revelation. And do we enjoy it!!

Strufoli Series

Nonna and Cormac

We have an Italian tradition, passed to Yvonne from her Italian nonna, Katarina DeAcutis (immigrant through Ellis Island in 1919), of struffuli making, and hence a few photos. Young Cormac Warner, 10 years old right now, has been endowed with the privilege of learning from his own Nonna.

And then things move to family and food, more food and drink, then food and family, then family and gifts and family……….and food.

December 24th eve worshipped at Christ Church-Anglican, where the palpable presence of the Spirit was felt. The early service was a

Children’s Christmas pageant with some 50 children, but a drama loaded with heavy doctrine and magnificent music, all created by our folks.

The second one, starting at 8 PM, was a full concert with a local band that became part of the entire worship experience. The sermon was powerful, as were the worship and Eucharist.

We were delighted that some new friends came and found it enjoyable.

We now come close to concluding the last Days of Christmas, but then the great Epiphany starts. Our adult kids, the six of them, will take us out to a special dinner on January 2nd and we exchange our gifts then. On the evening of Epiphany, January 6th, we conclude our full Christmas celebration as we invite a group of friends over, each to bring a reading, a poem, a song, a musical instrument as we read and listen, sing and celebrate, then feast yet one more time.

Ah, such a glorious series of thoughtful celebrations that bring the year to a close and introduce the new one.

OK friends, I promise in the following posting to pick up on the birthdays Yvonne and I celebrated during October and November.

How can time fly for such remarkable people?

May the presence of the High Three be upon you, your families and your spiritual communities in our great High Season. Bill

Dec 9 / Bill

Part Three: Lausanne III Cape Town 2010 Reflections

December 10, 2010 Welcome to Part Three (final one) of the Lausanne III Cape Town 2010 Cascading Reflections Thanks to Rob Brynjolfson, who recommended these entries. You are a good man!  And my friend Paul Borthwick, who mentioned the blog, and another friend in Indonesia read Paul’s word and then went to the blog. Amazing wee world, eh? Steve Moore has some excellent insights and report on Lausanne III in his vblog, “Learning @ the Speed of Life”,

Contextualization of a restaurant

Found at the top of Table Mountain

Trevor Sampson, South African Lausanne worship leader, friend

Ajith Fernando on Ephesians 1

The Leader, Mandela

The power of art, Zulu South African dancer

Now seven weeks later, these are my core take-homes from Lausanne III:

  1. Lausanne 2010 was convened by its leadership to mark the 100th anniversary of the historic Edinburgh mission gathering. It is one of three global events this year (Tokyo 2010, Edinburgh 2010 and Lausanne III).  Global Evangelical leaders, thoughtful Christians with local to international arenas of ministry and spheres of influence gathered to grapple with core issues and contemporary challenges to our faith. I am sure that the Lausanne leadership wanted this to be a “kairos, agenda-setting” event for the 21st Century. But many respected colleagues doubt that it was, and only “chronos” time will reveal the long-term impact and fruit coming from Cape Town. We shall see what unfolds.
  2. The packed program attempted to deal with these core issues, with strong though uneven results. Unfortunately, the agenda was very large and too much was attempted, with uneven results. The strong presence of the arts (visual, worship, film, drama, dance) was a high redeeming factor for me. For me personally, the steady series of valuable, divine encounters redeemed and balanced out any program shortcomings. I return with stronger and new friends with shared passions. I also thank God for the countless espresso coffee stations all through the Cape Town magnificent convention centre.
  3. The long-term outcomes of Lausanne III depend on the way participants and their ministries return with the core issues clearly in mind to discern how they apply them to their local, national, regional or global ministry-sphere.  But is it possible to identify the core issues? I was surprised that one of the major Christian magazines in the USA acted as if only a minor event had perhaps taken place somewhere in Africa. Bad call on their part. The jury is still out as to whether Christian leaders with no contact with Cape Town will be curious or interested in the discussion and outcomes. It was encouraging for me that in my first two weeks back home, two churches asked me to report on Lausanne III. Yet, other friends did not ask one question, and I tested them to see if they would ask.
  4. We wait to see whether the gifted and committed Evangelical voices from the Global South (very present in plenaries and all other main session) will move into leadership. But will they be heeded? Can we not expect both younger leaders and Global South leaders to speak from a different manuscript and sing from a different score? They would, if allowed, probably lead us in a different but needful direction. And certainly with a different congress budget and overall investment (when you consider what each participant paid for travel, lodging, registration).

Connected we friends all are!

Evening buffet dinner--every night good food!

It seems to me that if Lausanne III was intended to celebrate this global shift, then the leadership could have openly stated something like, “We live in new times, in a new world, with godly and gifted leadership in the global Church of Christ. We have listened to David Ruiz and Patrick Fund’s serious words. Therefore the Lausanne leadership team announces that it will not plan anything beyond Cape Town without substantial engagement with Global South leaders, selected by their own regions, teams and international ministries. We will spend time in prayer, listening to the Spirit and to each other. Only then will we attempt to establish an agenda, discuss viable structures, partner with established movements and networks, and together move into the future.”

Lausanne III was convened “in collaboration with World Evangelical Alliance”. Is that formal collaboration over now? I doubt it, but many wonder what shape this will take.  There are other global networks already in place, with an established track record, and with gifted, experienced and competent leadership (the WEA Mission Commission is but one of them). I wonder how many of them have been invited into the future of the movement?

The same thing can be said of the “younger” leadership—at best a very fuzzy term, because in Lausanne categories, this appeared to be anybody under 50!

To put it another way. Cape Town was to celebrate this tectonic shift of the global church of Christ. Again, will the agenda now be determined, and the players named, by the majority world church? Will Lausanne leadership truly transfer responsibility and authority, or at least offer to serve in high collegiality? I wonder.

The cover of "The Cape Town Commitment" released the last day (small print referring to WEA)

5. While the “Cape Town Commitment – A Declaration of Belief and a Call to Action” was excellent and the gifted team internationally representative, the process was very different from Lausanne 1974. The “Cape Town Commitment” was not open to direct input during the Congress. In 1974 we were given a number of times to input into the formulation of the Lausanne Covenant. Toward the end of the congress, a trusted colleague stated, having read a draft of the “Commitment”, that it could have been written long before October, 2010, as it was primarily an Evangelical affirmation of core convictions.  I deeply appreciate Chris Wright’s hand in crafting the guiding first draft, with the emphasis on the narrative of God’s love and our response.  We certainly moved far beyond factual declarations requiring mental assent. Part II emerges from the congress, and we await its release.

Mulling it over, and how what shall we think and do?

Will Lausanne III go down as an agenda-setter, a kairos moment? Only God knows. Did it give a ringing affirmation to some key issues that needed affirmation? Yes indeed. Do I engage the future stronger because I was present? Yes. Did Lausanne III shape me deeply? Don’t know.  Will the two parts of the “Commitment” be studied? Yes. I have given an assignment to my January, 2011 class at Trinity School of Ministry to read and compare both documents from 1974 and 2010.

With Doug Birdsall as Lausanne starts

6. Let us thank God for what tangibly was experienced, accomplished and which aims for long-term impact. No gargantuan event like this will make everybody happy all of the time. At the end of the day I am grateful for the Lausanne generosity to me personally, and to the key Congress Team (the ones I know best: Doug, Lindsay, Blair, Hwa Yung, Rick, Ramez, Chris and others), for all your work. Interestingly, as of this writing, the web site still lists 17 names in the “Executive Leadership”: but only 5 are from the Global South.

And now we move into the future as reflective practitioners.

The sun sets over incomparable Cape Town Harbor

Micah Chiang's great photo of the plenary hall

It has been my honor to attend all three Lausanne Congresses (Lausanne 1974; Lausanne Manila, 1989; Lausanne Cape Town, 2010). Now as someone who desires to be empowered by the Spirit as an emerging sage, I have much to ponder, share and apply in the mentoring and writing, consulting and teaching worlds and arenas that God is opening up to me. With appreciation and gratitude to God for his mercies to me. To life! To family! To God! To His global community!

In the deepest kind of reflection, listening, quiet

Bill–mentor and writer, teacher and emerging sage

Next: reflections on 135 years of life, Yvonne’s 65th and my 70th birthdays–a season of extended celebration begun the day I returned from South Africa.

Dec 7 / Bill

Lausanne III Reflections, Part Two

December 4, 2010 Welcome to Part Two of the Lausanne III Cape Town 2010 Cascading Reflections As I have mulled over what I wrote earlier, I am pleased to know that I still agree with myself!! This may sound rather odd, or funny, but the fact is that as I write and ponder what I have written, it stimulates me to re-think my earlier thoughts. So far I am on rather safe ground. And I have also been reading other reflections and blogs from other friends and colleagues. They run the gamut from “Totally marvelous, fantastically organized and executed with nary a flaw” to “Well, fasten your seat belt for this scathing review”. Others work the middle ground, “Simple speaking I say that it was a huge, well organized and successfull event. But it wasn’t either a kairos event nor an agenda setting event”. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Connections at Lausanne bookstore

And Christianity Today has two rather good articles on Lausanne III, with reference to other commentaries on the congress.

North and South Korean testimony

Lausanne recently posted the narrative of Sung Kyung Ju, the young North Korean student girl and you will not want to miss it. This could be the iconic memory of Cape Town. Assuming you have reviewed Part One, or still remember its core, I continue with more of the stream of consciousness impressions. I start with the word, “however” (this term requires background, so you might want to review Part One), I wonder (some times I move back and forth in my mind) as to whether some Lausanne leaders might have assumed the following:

Os Guiness passionate on Truth

  • Greater unity than is on-the-ground reality on some of the issues, whether on eternal destiny or creation theology and keeping, or the handling of the less-reached peoples, or John Piper’s handling of Ephesians 3, or Ruth Padilla DeBorst’s study of Ephesians 2, or other program emphases.
  • Greater commitment to Lausanne than would be reality. I suspect that most participants came because they were convened by Lausanne and their power to do so, but would not feel that loyalty in other tangible, future ways.
  • Greater harmony of take-homes. These depended on who the person was: from a first-time huge event participant to the jaded ones (were any of these there? Hmmm), to the thoughtful pastor, to the mission leader or network facilitator, and so it goes.
  • Greater commitment to the future of the Lausanne movement–which obviously is going to continue, regardless. This was subtly announced the opening night in Doug Birdsall’s plenary.  It remains an open issue as to whether it will partner, or even be “in collaboration” with other entities, e.g. WEA and others. I anticipate Lausanne will launch a totally new set of initiatives, and may invite some kind of “collaboration” or “partnership”. The question of agenda, funding, process and outcomes control, however, is the key.
  • Greater commitment to continue the Lausanne sub-structures than would be desired at the grass roots. Yet no global structure (whether WEA, Lausanne or another one) can fully represent the full Evangelical set of tribes. None can!

I personally:

  • Was grateful for the privilege of being there as one who was also at Lausanne and Manila. My perspective is rather historical and related to my own mission journey, and as I have stated before, my own missiological journey has been shaped by these three markers.

Missiological issues break out session with Bertil and Bill

  • Was thankful to God to share those long days with so many Mission Commission Associates, and the times we gathered for a meal were rich. Bertil Ekstrom, head of the MC, did a great job of convening and presiding over the two MC gatherings. Willie Crew and his pastors in mission team lunched with over 65 pastors with a heart for world mission. The Arts in Mission focus took some great steps forward, under the leadership of John Franklin.
  • Thanked God for the opportunity to serve in some of the smaller breakout sessions: with Bertil in global missiology, with John Franklin in two arts in mission groups, with Rob Martin and the Lausanne Standards.

With Canadian John Franklin, special editor of this issue of Connections and Lausanne voice for arts

  • Was grateful that the MC printed 1000 copies of the special, “Arts in Mission” issue of Connections in South Africa for the congress. We regret that only 100 were sold in the bookstore, but thankful we were able to bless all 600 African participants with a complimentary copy.
  • Was deeply moved by the Brazilian delegation that met with the Africans the last Sunday afternoon, formally apologizing for the Brazilian role in the slave trade. That encounter is forever engraved in my heart and mind: to see and hear the Brazilians and Africans break down in tears and embraces………..and then that stunning African call-response singing that spontaneously broke out from my sisters and brothers.

Archbishop Orombi in name of Africans, responds to the Brazilians

  • Sensed that God gave me many divine encounters with people. And I saw at a distance a few that I was glad I did not have to spend time with!

Yet, I confess that I…..

  • Was deeply disturbed by the morning plenary treatment of the “unengaged peoples”. One of my most respected women colleagues called it “a disaster”. Why wasn’t the plenarist from the Global South?  Clearly there are tested, experienced, mature and articulate women and men from Africa, Asia and Latin America who can handle this critical theme with conviction and deep experience. But that plenary came across as very American, hard-driving boomer, committed to a certain understanding of certain numbers and uncertain research, control and closure, with limited capacity to listen to other voices. The research was not only inadequate but in error, and the session concluded with a lamentable “call to adoption and action”.  It was a classic example of missiological reductionism. The saving grace was that the following day in the major afternoon session on the themes correctives were applied and the real picture somewhat balanced, but regrettably for some, it was simply too late. Surely this was not Lausanne’s best morning.

A piece of behind the scenes background is helpful. The fact is that the MC had been asked by the top Lausanne leadership (I was there in that discussion) to handle this entire theme in late 2008. Bertil Ekstrom and his team worked for a year on the project. And then he and the others on the MC leadership team abruptly informed (in Bogota, Colombia, November 2009) that someone else would be in charge.  Never was Bertil even informed of this switch.  Many thoughtful participants wonder what the Lausanne leadership thought after that morning plenary?

  • Was profoundly disappointed with the presentation of Latin America as a region, especially the videos. On the Latin American issue, later in the week the Lausanne leaders publicly apologized for the shoddy and confusing videos. I felt the same regarding the portrayal of both reality and needs of the Global North. It’s as is Europe and North America did not exist, though there was a minor nod to the region at the end.
  • Rejoiced in the high profiled presence of the Global South Anglican voices, and it’s good to know that I am part of that fellowship as an Anglican here in Austin in my congregation, Christ Church Anglican.
  • Was left wondering if this will be the last global “jamboree” (as Patrick Johnston has called these events) controlled by the Global North (primarily the boomer generation?) and funds. And will Global South leadership move into the gap, assuming two things: Will a gap, in truth, open up? Would they want to convene such a gathering? And who controlled the Congress?

Tim Stafford in the Christianity Today article writes, I asked Femi Adeleye, a Ghanaian plenary speaker, if the planning process had been representative of the global participation. “‘No’ would be my honest answer,” he said. “Planning has been mostly Western. They sent us the plan, but the template was already established. We could only influence the margins.” Ruth Padilla DeBorst, a Latin American who gave one of the morning Bible expositions, felt similarly. “This was their program, and we attended. It should be ours, if this is the global church. Technology became the driving force.”

  • Was glad that many of the MC team and other colleagues stayed in a 3-star (at best) hotel, a former prison—with appropriately small rooms, but totally adequate.  I was delighted to room with Matt Fries again.

The Cape Town Lausanne III "Commitment" Team of 8

Then the long-awaited trip home. We flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg late, but got to the Delta desk with time to spare. But then two very petty Delta clerks in JoBerg pronounced 18 of us “late” (one minute) for the flight to Atlanta and denied us boarding passes. All but 5 found other ways to fly out that night (they had cell phones to call travel agents and Delta in the USA). The remaining five of us were finally booked into a hotel and able to fly out 24 hours later. Yet the Spirit of God turned the negative into a gift, for it allowed us to form a special “The Delta Bumped Fellowship of Five”: Dr. Dudley Woodberry (foremost Evangelical Islamics scholar, and father of a co-parishioner of our Austin church, Dr. Bob Woodberry, UT sociology professor), Matt Fries, Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko (Nigerian MD, SIM associate international director), David Chronic (13 years serving in Rumania with street kids) and me.

The "Delta Bumped Five"

Dudley Woodberry, Joshua Bogunjoko and Matt Fries

A final espresso in JoBerg airport

Over the course of our waking hours and four meals together, we each told our extended stories, laughed, documented our times, prayed for each other, had a final and strong espresso at the JoBerg airport, and 19 hours later embraced our farewell in Atlanta. What a time we had. At the end of the day, I was glad to rest for a day since I had gotten very sick just as Lausanne ended. Ah, seven decades of globalized parasites living in digestive symbiosis!! As I draw close to this second series of reflections, I am very aware that my perspective is just mine and I am still in process of evaluating Lausanne. I am keen to listen to the voices that shape my life, especially the insights of my close, global colleagues, whose perspective helps me mature, grow, conclude. But at least you have some more initial ruminations that come from my own experience, heart and mind.

The end of Part Two, Lausanne III Reflections, with the final installment coming soon.

Nov 22 / Bill

Reflections from Lausanne III, Cape Town 2010

November 21, 2010

Good friends, ministry partners and colleagues–local and global,

Welcome to Part One of my Lausanne Reflections

I have unforgettable memories and a cascading series of impressions and reflections of Lausanne III-Cape Town 2010.

Let me start on a personal level

Bill and Christine on Tabletop Mountain, Cape Town

A father with a thoughtful daughter making a great point!!

This South Africa trip was special for me because my daughter, Christine, traveled with me for two of the three weeks. Yvonne has had enough of long-distance air travel, and she wanted Christine to have the opportunity to visit South Africa. Cliff, husband, pastor and co-parent of the four children, along with Yvonne and others, covered the home tasks. Christine got the OK from the private, Catholic university where she teaches, so we had a marvelous time together.

Adriaan Adams, younger mission leader, a mentoree to whom I am "Uncle Bill

Christine speaking to younger leaders, Pretoria

Our first days were in Pretoria, where we, and Willie Crew, spoke at a younger adult mission gathering, a network led by MC Associate Adriaan Adams.

Bill, reviewing material to speak

Dinner post younger leaders gathering

After preaching that Sunday morning in a new and growing church, Willie and Lydia Crew drove Christine and me to Kruger National Park for an unforgettable three days in God’s creation—the Big Five and many more. Christine fell in love with the gentle giraffe.

Christine's delight, the gentle giants

The "Dugaboy", i.e. the old man, close to the end, battle-worn, horn-scarred, but one of my favorites

So out of proportion, but has its place in the universe

How beautiful are the feet

This bird attacked me, thanks to Willie's provocation, but check those eyelashes

Later that week, now time to leave Pretoria area, my younger colleague and mentoree, Matt Fries, met us in at the airport in JoBerg and together we flew to Cape Town, staying a few days at a farm (vineyards, olives and plums) run by Ebony Lilje and owned by her parents, friends of the Crews—where Yvonne and I have stayed before. It gave time for a memorable visit to Rustenberg Vineyards for a wine tasting with friends.  We were overwhelmed again by the remarkable diversity and beauty of South Africa.

A fearful and magnificent leopard at breakfast

A view from the farm

Preparing for the braai (SA BBQ)

Christine with Willie and Lydia Crew, incomparable hosts

Cape Town from Tabletop Mountain

Five Great Figures (4+1)

Matt Fries, friend, mentoree, colleague, global servant

Then it was time for Lausanne to start. Christine was able to visit the opening night and the full first day of Monday before flying back to home, family, work and church. I am so thankful to God for the two weeks she and I had together, and the privilege of introducing her to scores of friends and colleagues in SA.  Her high-capacity tank was full, and her family and students awaited her return.

Christine with David Yegnazar

Christine, Bill with Guatemalans--Dora Amalia, David, Gustavo

Worship opening night--unforgettable

Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi opening night--setting stage for Anglican presence at Lausanne

Bill and Samuel Escobar--the Veteran of Lausanne 1974, co-editor of Lausanne Covenant with John R.W. Stott

With Valdir Steuernagel and Rene Padilla

For a very complete report on Lausanne, go to For the videos (including the dramas), go to

For the Cape Town “Commitments”

Here is the first series of impressions and reflections of Lausanne III-Cape Town 2010:

  • The profoundly moving story of the young North Korean school girl, Soo Kan and her family story of sadness, exile, the conversion to Christ of her parents, prison, the leukemia-caused death of her mother while pregnant, the father’s reuturn to the North to preach the Gospel, and now surely executed. Her narrative of faith, courage. But then also my deep concerns for her pastorally, relationally. So I spoke in depth with my Korean friend and colleague, Dr. David Tai-Woong Lee about this matter. He is tracking that case.

A careful shot of the young North Korean teen

Libby Little speaks, stuns

  • The calm, clear narrative from Mrs. Libby Little as she told of the martyrdom of her husband this past August in Afghanistan, along with some 10 other Christians in medical ministry. After 31 years of life and family-raising in that nation, having survived so many radical regime changes, now his death, a modern martyr. I spoke with my good friend, Paul Bendor-Samuel, head of Interserve, the mission the Little family had served with all these decades. She is with her US-based family for now, and she has the wise and careful watchcare of Interserve’s personal resources.
  • The joy of seeing so many friends (I stopped writing down names at 98) and spending some significant coffee, lunch or dinner, or skipping a plenary or multiplex to be with someone. To pray quietly with bonded friends. To drink a lot of espresso coffee at all breaks!\
  • The memoral time with the dedication of the new edition of the magnificent Operation World, and the invitation by author Jason Mandryk to pray over the book, and to annoint it with oil. I have the annointed copy!

Blessing and anointing of Jason Mandryk, editor of new Operation World

Bill, Tonica and Reg, co-editors of our book, planned for mid-2011 release

  • To meet new people, to listen to new voices, particularly from Africa, whom I did not know. To see again the power of the church in Africa. Some thought the scales were too weighted towards Africa, but after all, they were our continental and national hosts.
  • South Afica came through with another global event for 2010. Others: the Global Day of Prayer, and that cosmic event called The World Cup.. Good on you, SA!!!
  • To spend time with Allison Siewert, leader of the drama team, and her colleagues; to give each one of them, as well as the worship team, coordinated by friends, a copy of our “Arts iin Mision” issue of Connections.

    Session on arts with drama team, Allison Siewert on right

    Dancers opening night

  • To lunch with Tonica van der Meer and Reg Reimer, co-editors of our new book, “Mission in Contexts of Suffering, Persecution and Martyrdom”, with the goal of releasing the book in the summer of 2011. Tonica and Reg had not met before, so it was a great time. I shared with them my idea to dedicate our book “to the nameless ones who suffered, bled and died because of and on behalf of Christ, whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and who wait under the altar until the full number of the martyrs is completed.” We were all encouraged to complete the book as soon as possible.
  • To listen to six different approaches to Ephesians, to trust the expositors to have listened to the Spirit as they studied and then taught the Word of God; and then to listen to our small group engage with Scripture and pray.
  • To mull over the long-term impact of such a high-cost event, wondering how will the church be different because of Lausanne, how will mission be done differently, what concrete measurable things will we see?  I do not know and I have a lot of questions and reservations. I think I am hopeful, but still uncertain.

Worship full bore!!!

Below are some more in-depth observations on Cape Town 2010. I am processing and evaluating it, so keep that in mind.  I found it personally valuable because I was at Lausanne 1974 (as a young 32 year old worker serving in Guatemala, and present at Lausanne without the clear affirmation of my immediate field leadership), Manila 1989 (a fuzzy experience with mixed program, internal tensions [between AD2000 launch and the Lausanne vision], and now Cape Town 2010. My theological, relational and mission journey can be marked by these three chapters and the 36 years of life and ministry and global changes in between.

Tables at prayer

My table at work

I will never forget three primary items from Lausanne ’74: the clarion call from, primarily Samuel Escobar and René Padilla, for a truly Evangelical commitment to social justice and responsibility; the provocative address by Ralph Winter on the less-least-un-evangelized of the world (this was a new one for me serving in Guatemala); and the fact that my mentor, Dr. David Howard shared a small room with me. (Dave tells me that he registered to room with me from the start, but I suspect he moved his booking from the 4-5 star hotel in Lausanne, and moved into a 1.5 star place immediately adjacent to the railroad station, with a small room, the toilet on the floor above us, the breakfast symbolic and minimalist) All of this simply to share life with me, and to walk with me to the Congress Center. I was permanently changed. Ah, he reminded me today that on the last day we did gorge ourselves at a huge breakfast in the Hotel de la Paz, which was five star !!

A happy group of WEA Mission Commission Associates

WEA International Leadership Team meets on "day off"

I have personal friends whose conclusions on Lausanne 2010 are rather strong and rather negative: “Lausanne missed the opportunity to make the Gospel Clear”; “Lausanne showed itself in bondage to the North, particularly the American boomer generation who raised the funds and controlled the program and outcome”; “Lausanne was rather good, but at best uneven”; to “Who know what will come out of Lausanne or what will be remembered or what will have long-term impact”.  One younger leader mused, “Could this be the last similar event working out of a modernity model, conceived, directed and primarily funded from the North?”

Bill, John Wood (friend and pastor), David Ruiz

Kees, Bertil and Martin Lee (UK)

Others of my close colleague chose not to come because of their disagreement with the Lausanne process, or due to significant mistakes made in the past or because they did not feel it really added value to their life and ministry and thus was not worth the high financial investment–and that, Lausanne, was!  It cost to get there and to cover fees, lodging and meals.

Paul Borthwick has a thoughtful article published written in November 2004 for Evangelical Mission Quarterly, which still has relevance. He and I have chatted about Lausanne since last month. His “Seven open questions concerning global Christian gatherings in general”:

  1. Are we trying to recreate historical visitations of God by these events?
  2. Do we give serious consideration to the financial cost factor?
  3. How does technology affect the need for and effectiveness of these global gatherings?
  4. Again implicating myself, I found myself wondering, are we catering to a certain “global conference” culture of attendees at these events?
  5. What about the rich/poor gap issue?
  6. Do these conferences give us in the West a false sense of our leadership in the Global Movement of Christianity?
  7. Where do these conferences go?

I still mull over these pregnant questions and I know that Paul does even more than I. Ajith Fernando, a friend and colleague for many years, had written some of his concerns in a letter prior to Lausanne. He and I had a delightful divine encounter at Lausanne where we spoke about these issues—and he gave permission for me to circulate his thoughts. So what were my (and his concerns)? From Ajith’s letter:

  1. How should we maintain the passion for reaching lost people with the gospel of eternal salvation at a time that the evangelical church has (thankfully) discovered some of the other aspects of the mission of the church, such as social involvement, commitment to social justice and the environment? I fear that many of us we are failing here. I cannot see how we could maintain a biblical balance unless our hearts break from a burden over the eternal lostness of people apart from Christ (Rom. 9:1-3).
  2. How should we respond biblically to the enormously popular teaching of prosperity theology, which is attracting millions of people today?
  3. How can we respond adequately to the challenge from religious pluralism on the one hand and religious extremism on the other, both of which oppose the idea of conversion to Christ? How can we wisely and boldly proclaim the gospel in that environment?
  4. In an age when truth and proclamation are being devalued, how can Christians proclaim and believe that, in Christ, God has given us excitingly living and powerfully life-changing truth which every single human being desperately needs. As it is for all people everywhere we call it Absolute Truth. We have always needed evangelists for the gospel, now we also need evangelists for truth. If people did not believe that truth was important they would not see any necessity to consider the gospel.
  5. that the leaders would catch a glimpse of the body of Christ and return with a strong biblical theology of the body so that they would never think of their work or church without reference to the rest of the church universal. Evangelicals have a weak theology of the body. Perhaps this is as a result of discovering the glorious experience of individual and personally experienced salvation which differed from the once prevailing idea that salvation came through the church and its sacraments. So we have shied away from insisting on the inseparable link between salvation and the body of Christ.
  6. Always in history, exciting periods of growth in the church have been connected to persecution. How can the church persevere faithfully in the midst of this and never lose its cutting edge by trying to avoid suffering?
  7. I would like us to be open to any surprising and unplanned messages that God wants to give to the church.

His concerns became mine, with a few others tossed in to boot, which I have worked into the following reflections.

Table issues on the jumbo screens

Lausanne Cape Town 2010 was experienced and characterized in four main caregories for me:

First of all, a global celebration: Some 4000 official participants with another 700 stewards and observers, surely the largest assembly of the global body of Christ I have ever been to, from 197 nations, gathered together to grapple with some of the most critical issues to the Christian faith, and that faith on mission, sent by the Sending Father, Son, Spirit.  Doug Birdsall compared it to a Church Council, but I doubt it was that significant.

Drama team on integrity and prosperity gospel

  • I thank God for the small role I had in the Participant Selection Committee, particularly assuring invitations would be sent to many international leaders who by virtue of living in a non-passport country, would not be nominated by either their home or “adopted” Lausanne committee. Some 100 of these apparently received invitations. To work alongside and under Dr. Hwa Jung, Methodist Bishop of Malaysia, was a high honor. Other friends also served on the broader PSC.
  • The themes were clearly given in the program, but relatively little time was provided for the speakers to develop them. There were just too many different themes. While the program had to be time-controlled (and the countdown clock was clearly seen from the platform), some speakers went over their time. I can understand that one!
  • To put 4,000+ (or so) people in one massive room required 4-5 jumbo screens, but that was OK. It would have been easy to get lost in the massive crowd, unless you had friends and colleagues.
  • The role of the arts in mission was clear and very strong: the drama team magnificent and creatively acted out the key themes. The worship teams remarkable. The visuals, especially the incredible display of historic and contemporary icons in the closing ceremony unforgettable.
  • We missed the 200-250 or so Chinese delegates, thanks to a thankless government ban when they arrived at their exit international airports. We heard that some 60 Chinese sites were hacking the Lausanne web presence. It would seem to me that a key Lausanne hard drive was hijacked in China with all of the data and network information now exposed. I do not know what percentage of the Chinese participants were to have come from the registered church, the unregistered church, the new more-open stream of churches.
  • Technology played a strong role and it is a treasure to be able to go on line and view most of the sessions. We only lack the visual of the holy communion (Eucharist) service, and not just the message and final blessings. The simultaneous participating (after the hacking was dealt with) and the worldwide conversations became possible because of the high use of appropriate technology around the world. I doubt that much was sent by regular post, AKA, “snail mail”.
  • The opening and closing ceremonies were stunning celebrations, and I loved the adaptation of the sung, Kenyan Anglican liturgy for the final 2 ¾ hour service. For perhaps the majority, it was the first-ever celebrations of Holy Communion (the Eucharist) from the Anglican tradition. I was sitting next to a Latin American dear friend raised in Catholicism, and her reactions were memorable, like “This is just what we learned in the nun’s school”.
  • The presence of so many Anglicans, evangelical and evangelistic, committed to and now connected to global Evangelicalism, was unique to Lausanne.
  • I was glad to see the various levels of collaboration between Lausanne and WEA. My WEA colleagues were swamped at the WEA information table and reconnected with solid friends and made hundreds of new ones. Geoff Tunnicliffe was warmly introduced by Doug Birdsall, and had a brief introductory spot on the program on opening night. I was especially happy to chat with other WEA colleagues, Sylvia Soon, Ndaba Mazabane, Gordon Showell-Rogers and Rob Brynjolfson, amongst others.
  • The WEA Mission Commission leadership was able to convene a number of special lunches and dinners, and Bertil feels at least 120 MC Associates were present. Our official role within the Congress had been changed without us knowing it, and that frankly affected how some of the team viewed the process, leadership and event. We want to serve in the delivery of the value-added outcomes of Lausanne, and this will depend in signficant ways with the responses of Lausanne’s leaders in the next months.

Second, it represented for many a global shift: from North to South (though this congress seemed yet to be conceived, directed, produced, controlled and primarily funded by the North, and in particular from the USA.  The last Sunday morning sessions on partnership featured David Ruiz and Patrick Fung, MC colleagues, who did a great job. For David’s plenary, go to

Yet, I am not sure that some of the organizers really discerned the importance of what David  and Patrick said in their shortened plenaries (originally 20 minutes, then down to 15, then 14!). Their words are prophetic.

And it remains to be seen whether the future of Lausanne will be guided by this tectonic shift, or whether the prior leadership will continue in place in the near and distant future.

Already it is very clear that Lausanne is continuing a very broad spectrum of consultations, study groups, networks and other gatherings around the world. Will this be done only in the “L” name, or will there be true, collaborative, truly-equal partnerships into the future.

We wait to see this but we must be prepared for a very influentual Ongoing Lausanne Movement.  Even so, we ask the sovereign Spirit of God to bless only that which deserves to be blessed, and make the path clear that we simply cannot continue as before (go back to Ruiz and Fung’s plenaries, please!) and the global shift cannot be simply a nodding of the head, but then the Global North continues “in the spirit of partnership” but in control.

We wait.

Third, it attempted to deal with a global set of challenges: human, creational, spiritual, theological, missonal, ecclesial, other.

The daily program was rich, overwhelmingly so, impossible to take it all in. I was reminded of Iguassu Falls, with a massive, central torrent, flanked by some 274 smaller falls. I found it necessary to take serious breaks from some of the plenary sessions to simply get simple. The week was grounded in the very diverse but generally valuable exposition of Ephesians by six different Bible teachers–for all of these I was present, each from a unique perspective but committed to the authority and relevance of the Word of God.

The theological issues of the day were clear (amongst many, themes of Christology, truth, prosperity Gospel heresy (by an African), world religions, globalization, pluralism and too many others); then the practical, missiological issues of our day—from the least reached peoples and nations of our world, to orality and story-telling, to HIV-AIDS, children at risk, human trafficking, and countless more. The afternoon sessions moved from four major mega-plexes to the scores of smaller meetings. Lunches and dinners allowed for more one-on-one times to other gatherings.

Some of the speakers were controversial, and that was a good challenge for all of us. A few were rather hard to understand in English, but that’s a common reality in these gatherings. Many were delighted with John Piper’s treatment of Ephesians 2 (his dealing with spiritual warfare, and the need to be concerned about both human and eternal suffering) but some felt he had gone beyond the borders of the Lausanne spirit. We shall see.

We met at tables of 6, (I was at table D-834) for the morning sessions: prayer, Bible exposition and study, applicational discussion, relationships. For the first time in my life, I met a Nigerian mission leader named Bathsheba, and four other new friends from other nations…South Africa, New Zealand, India.

Finally, it produced a global statement of commitments; with a strong Christology, a clear Gospel, and a truly Evangelical statement, (though some of my friends would prefer we leave behind the term, “Evangelical”, I disagree). The Cape Town Commitments, Part I, was strong, and we await Part II. It was good to know personally most of the “Commitment” team, with four of them Mission Commission Associates. We continue to pray for Chris Wright and his team of 8 as they finish their task. Their hours pre, during and post Cape Town are countless and un-paid.

One major question facing the Lausanne leadership is how to cascade the reproductive and valuable outcomes to the global church and mission leadership, to say nothing of the grass roots Evangelical world. I was gratified to see that significant leaders like Archbishop Orombi             of Uganda was profoundly impacted by the congress and wants to see his own church on the             mission journey as never before.

We would hope that Lausanne seriously takes into account the role that WEA can play in this             cascading movement, as well as other siginificant global networks, such as the WEA Mission Commission.  I know that the WEA global community can play a very significant role in this future process, without having to create new, competitive or duplicating structures.

Here we await with realistic anticipation and hope.  We shall see……….

The end of Lausanne III Reflections, Part One

And this draws Part One of my Lausanne Reflections–stay posted in a few days for Part Two.

Bill–mentor and writer, teacher and sage
Sep 29 / Bill

Then and now; we and others—cross-cultural friends and global servants. September 29, 2010

Then and now; we and others—cross-cultural friends and global servants

September 29, 2010

Ah, as Yvonne and I receive, read, mull over and respond each week to scores of emails (old language, “letters”) from our friends around the world, we simply marvel at the unique nature of the living, self-revealing God and the reality of our Triune God on mission—the  Father sends the Son, the Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit goes before both Father and Son for the arrival of the Son.

So let me talk about some newer traveling servants, and make a brief reference to some older ones.

In recent days, two dear families, the Morrow Five and the Hines Six, have flown to Uganda to start their ministry. The Morrows in a combined medical (Aaron is the  MD), Mom, intercession and missions (Wendy’s passion). The Hines in leadership training (Travis) and Mom (Leslie). We have known Travis since (can it be?) his birth, what, some 40 years ago???  Leslie is the daughter of one of my seminary classmates, though we did not meet her until she appeared circa 1992 in the college SS class at Westlake Bible Church during her University of Texas years. Wendy was a close friend of Leslie’s (along with her sister Mary Ellen) but a chain-smoking, spicy-mouthed feminist. And then the Lord got a hold of her, and of Leslie and Mary Ellen!!  It was sheer joy to witness the power of the Spirit in their lives. And we were bonded…………for life I suspect.

A holy, multi-cultural commissioning in Kabale, Uganda

The Hines Six, Ugan

Leslie and Travis met during those UT years and things came to pass that led to marriage and four children. Travis taught iHS for a short season, studied at Trinity School of Ministry in PA, and then worked there for some years, then was ordained an Anglican Deacon. The four children came in short order. Wendy, post-university, taught English in Central Europe, met Aaron there, and they fell madly in love. Asking me to marry them, I said I would under 3 conditions: they wait a year; they return to get established in a church community; they get serious marriage counseling. And that’s what they did. And the three children came.

Morrow Five in center with flanking friends

Their journey into longer-term mission began many years ago, and for Aaron (post Inter-Varsity in university, a few Urbana mission convention), then med school and post-doc specialization in family medicine, it was a long journey. But all four persevered. And they are in Kabale, Uganda today, encountering even as I write, the full force of geographic changes, time changes, cultural changes, culture shock, educational adjustments for the kids (already in school), and the gradual assumption of working assignments as they try to live and survive.

Their commitment is remarkable; their struggles real; their encounter with their enemies true (including their own human nature); their long-term vision true; their love for Jesus and his Gospel and his people. And they were just commissioned in the Anglican church in Kabale as the new missionaries to that marvelous country of such painful historical wounds yet full of potential.

So this blog salutes our friends, Wendy and Aaron, Travis and Leslie and their combined brood.

And they remind Yvonne and me of a host of friends who have dedicated their lives to cross-cultural mission. It’s not the profession that God most blesses, for we have a robust theology of vocation—all honorable ones are equally favored by God, who worked in creation and before sin; whose Son worked as a carpenter until he was 30. But in this case I reference our missionary friends.

Time does not give me space to talk equally about David and Phyllis, Janet and David, Ray and Gwen,

With David Howard, (my mentor since 1968) in Guatemala 1972. Gotta love that facial hair.

Ray Windsor, my Kiwi mentor when I started with the MC in 1986

Stanley and Margaret, Reuben, Yunuse and Alphonsine, Taylor and Allison, Andre and Belinda, PS and K and Pramila, David and Wendi, Jan and Roy, Dottie and Carlton, David and Barbara, Caren and David, Rose and Dick, Kirk and Sarah, Matt and Michelle,

The Mitts Four, Doug and Lisa, Michael and Megan, long-termers in tough Poland

Rod and Jennifer,  Sergio and Linda, Lisa and Doug, Jim and Jenny, Bertil and Alzira, David and Dora Amalia, Mike and Stephanie, Kees and Els, Keith and Suzanne, David and Hunbok, Richard and Irene, Rob and Sarah, Harry and Tina, Ramiro and Sonia, Marcos and Rosangela, Willie and Lydia, Adriaan and Lydia, Dwight and Sandi, Pam, Jamie, Rudy, Reg, Alex, Piers, Steve, Jim, and so many others.

And my parents, of blessed memory they, who sailed on the SS Sixaola in September 1938 for Cuba, Panama and Costa Rica, where on the day after their arrival, they began their Spanish studies—with my sister, age six months.

Taylor family 1942 in Costa Rica, Bill Stella Grace Billy

And our own journey, leaving overland for Costa Rica and then Guatemala, departing Dallas on a great day, a Friday the 13th of December, 1968 (a great day to something significant, life stuffing the Arch-Enemy, Satan).

Yvonne and Bill at our wedding, June, 1967. Very soon in Costa Rica

And a mere ten years later, 1977, Guatemala, now with three young children. Gotta love those white slacks. And who is the babe? Could SHE also be a missionary?

Of so many, the world does not deserve, but they pay the price, for the Lamb who was slain must receive the reward of his sufferings—that historic and still true  Moravian slogan.