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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

LAUSANNE OCCASIONAL PAPER 39: THE WILLOWBANK REPORT: CONSULTATION ON GOSPEL AND CULTURE A JOURNAL RESPONSE

A PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. JONES KALELI IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
THE COURSE ICST 650

LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY ELKE SPELIOPOULOS

DOWNINGTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2012

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CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................... 1 THE KEY ELEMENTS OF THE FORUM¶S REPORT .............................................................. 1 MISSIONAL CONGREGATIONS ............................................................................................. 2 TENTMAKING .......................................................................................................................... 6 REFLECTION ............................................................................................................................ 7 CONCLUSION .......................................................................................................................... 8 BIBLIOGRAPHY ....................................................................................................................... 9

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INTRODUCTION The Lausanne Occasional Paper 39 focused on the theme of ³A new vision, a new heart, a renewed call.´ 1,530 participants from 130 countries assembled in Pattaya, Thailand for one week in October 2004 (Sep. 29 ± Oct. 5). The hope was to have younger emerging leaders come together to address 31 issues that had been chosen through a global research program. In addition, the hope was to engage those leaders in particular who were from parts of the world where there are current trends of rapid church growth. As the group described, there have been tremendous and unprecedented challenges for the church in the area of evangelization. These new realities form a basis for the discussion around the 31 topics to be discussed, which include ³the HIV pandemic, terrorism, globalization, the global role of media, poverty, persecution of Christians, fragmented families, political and religious nationalism, post-modern mind set, oppression of children, urbanization, neglect of the disabled and others.´1 An additional area of consideration is a look at how tentmaking operations can serve in international evangelization. The group considered what tentmaking means, and how tentmakers can be found and trained. The Lausanne Occasional Report No. 39 is an important paper for global missions, which sprang from the efforts of a group brought together through the Lausanne International Committee. THE KEY ELEMENTS OF THE FORUM¶S REPORT This report is broken down into two major sections. Part A deals with the topic of ³The Local Church and the Great Commission´. Part B discusses ³Tentmaking as a means of using
Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, The Local Church in Mission: Becoming a Missional Congregation in the Twenty-First Century Global Context and the Opportunities Offered Through Tentmaking Ministry (Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 39) , http://www.lausanne.org/docs/2004forum/LOP39_IG10.pdf (accessed February 26, 2012), Introduction.
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professional gifts in obedience to the Great Commission´. In the context section at the beginning of the Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 39 (LOP 39), the issue group assembled established a number of affirmations, which all participants agreed to. These include the definition that the goal of evangelism must be targeted to those without access to the gospel, that those on the margins of society need to be reached in love and with compassion, that it is acknowledged that church growth is accelerated outside the West, that oral learners make up a large portion of the unreached world, that media needs to be a tool used to draw non-believers to Christ, and that the church is made up of a priesthood of believers, which includes women, men and youth. In addition, the group affirmed that efforts to share the Christian faith need to be elevated ³above all political entities´2. Parts A and B form the body of LOP 39 and consist of twenty-eight subpoints that provide a definition of a missional congregation and a section on tentmaking, which focuses on defining the term, how to find tentmakers, how to train them, and differentiating to other disciplines. MISSIONAL CONGREGATIONS The individual paragraphs regarding missional congregations are typically short and often include anecdotes to illustrate the point. Missional congregations, based on the group¶s definition: y abandon a Constantinian model of church life, i.e. do not wait for non-believers to come to church, but go out from its ³safe building´ to where they are, y build relationships, i.e. work from the understanding that almost 90% of believers came to faith through family and friends,
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Ibid., Introduction.

3 y address different cultures, i.e. respect that no culture is superior over another and instead try to engage the culture as is, y y meet needs, i.e. understand that Christ called believers to care for the widows and orphans, maintain a long-term perspective, i.e. understand that ³incarnational ministry may not result in mass conversations´3 and may require touch points over many years, y are called by the Holy Spirit, i.e. recognize that only the Holy Spirit¶s transformative power can compel them, y pray for renewal, i.e. realize that prayer for renewal is needed when the only way a change can come is through the power of God, y pray with those outside the community, i.e. allow people to approach them and pray with them as they become conveyors of the love of Jesus, y have missional church structures, i.e. acknowledges that while structure is needed when people come together, the New Testament does not have a prescribed way of organization, y create holistic structures, i.e. live out ³loving your neighbor as yourself´ in daily practices of their members in order to win people to Christ ³through life, witness and community´4, y structure for a lay-leadership orientation and broad delegated authority, i.e. are willing to equip lay leaders to minister to the church, y structure for worship, community and mission, encourage their members to have outlets for their faith outside of church in order to not become ³like the Dead Sea, without any outlet´5,
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Ibid., 2.5. Ibid., 2.10. Ibid., 2.12.

4 y structure for clan, synagogue and temple, i.e. accept that forms of gathering together may range from small house groups to Christians living together when gathering in larger groups can only happen on occasion, and also accept that they may not call themselves ³Christians´, y structure for come and go, i.e. find room for both a coming and going model (modality and sodality, as termed by Winter)6, y allow every member to serve in mission, i.e. allow members to minister and witness in whichever place they find themselves in society, y reflect the priesthood of all believers, i.e. forego the dichotomy of clergy and lay persons in order to live the biblical model of the ³divine imperative for all believers´7 to engage in evangelism, y create multiple options for maximum involvement, i.e. engage their members to be able to use all their gifts and passions within the local body by providing multiple outlets, y train their members as missionaries, i.e. school believers to share their faith readily and engage from a pastoral level in these activities with them, y have members who are trained to be disciples, i.e. lead their congregations to a higher-level understanding of their salvation beyond the assurance of eternal life through Bible study, prayer, worship, and other expressions, y provide leadership for missional congregations, i.e. those that challenge congregations to cease being comfortable and to have a hunger for missions,
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Ibid., 2.14 Ibid., 2.16.

5 y demonstrate missional leadership that flows out of a new understanding of priesthood of all believers, i.e. develop a model of functional leadership that engages professional clergy and lay people equally for kingdom work, y have leaders that share leadership, i.e. recognize that a one-leader model carries with it a level of danger and that a fully functioning body of Christ encompasses leaders on all levels, y have leaders that model a way of life, i.e. show through their leader¶s daily living how the Christian life is to be lived and gives believers the chance to emulate this lifestyle, y utilize many models of leadership, i.e. acknowledges that leaders have different complementary styles that provide vision, cultivation, poetry, prophecy and apostleship, y have leaders that remind the congregation of their vision, i.e. present a vision to the congregation, remind them of it, and develop ³executable strategies´8, y are interconnected, i.e. believe that, while congregations are perfectly capable to operate on their own, they can be successful parts of larger structures that allow God¶s work to be accelerated, y connect with other congregations, i.e. recognize that connecting with other congregations can bring ³economies of scale´ that allow projects and strategies to be pursued that could not be achieved by a single congregation, and y connect with mission organizations, i.e. take the concept of connection to yet another level to operate in areas that they as a congregation could not reach, e.g. global work in remote locations around the world.
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Ibid., 2.25.

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TENTMAKING The group defines tentmaking through the definition given by the Lausanne II Congress: ³Tentmakers are« ¶believers in all people groups who have a secular identity and who in response to God¶s call, proclaim Christ crossculturally. Tentmakers witness with their whole lives and their jobs are integral to their work for the Kingdom of God.¶´9 The group acknowledges that this definition is shifting and may be better defined as ³tentmaking in cross cultural mission is undertaken by Christians whose presence in another culture is secured by their workplace identity and whose intention is to act to share the gospel in that setting.´10 Tentmakers interact with the peoples of the world in many different ways and have experienced cultural influences that have shaped the ministry role they play, among them globalization with its workforce on the move, the post-Christian West, which has turned missionsending countries into mission fields, and religious pluralism and intolerance which has created antagonistic behavior toward Christians both in countries with Christian and with non-Christian majorities. In addition other topics have impacted tentmakers: urbanization, which has brought a large portion of the world population into urban centers in search for work and prosperity, immigration and the refugee problem, which has caused the moving of people groups to other countries voluntarily or involuntarily, other unreached people groups who have not had an opportunity to hear the gospel, and other forms of missions that impact the shape of the definition of tentmaking, such as Business as Mission, or Workplace Ministry. The paper addresses who tentmakers are, how they can be found and then trained (in terms of supply ± the where, curriculum ± the what, and delivery methods ± the how), and finally how tentmaking does and can interrelate to other disciplines. The section on tentmaking ends
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Ibid., Part B., 1. Tentmaking is« Ibid.

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with a look at courses that can serve as training instruments for future tentmakers and a suggestion for a drama to promote tentmaking. REFLECTION It is refreshing to see how many leaders can find consensus in the body of such a document on topics that could certainly lead to theological discussions. Understanding that the Great Commission was not given to the apostles alone, but that it is the role of the church to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the four corners of the globe is a solid starting point ± and not always agreed to by all Bible-believing Christians. There are those who see the Great Commission as fulfilled in the first century, but these probably were not part of this working group. As a woman, this author is encouraged to see the emphasis on the priesthood of all believers with an emphasis on the inclusion of women and youth. The distribution of leadership to the body, based on talents, not role, is another welcome agreement, as is the willingness to take the gospel outside of the four walls of the church. A confession that Christianity cannot be tied to any political entity is a message that speaks forth from 2004 to today, as the United States currently sees a dangerous coupling of religion with politics, making sharing of the gospel difficult, if party association is a point on which agreement is needed. The report sets a framework for missional congregations, which is easy to translate into other cultures and encourages all believers to be active participants in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others. The flexibility provided through the recommendations allows for a plethora of options for worship, sharing faith and loving one¶s neighbor. In particular the focus of reaching beyond the church¶s walls to those around us, especially those who need help, is commendable and encourages emulation.

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What was a bit surprising in the reading was the lack of emphasis on the actual 31 issues given as the impetus for the paper originally. There is nothing in the body of the text that truly addresses how the church can or should deal with problems such as HIV, poverty, or the oppression of children, just to name a few. This should have been addressed in a greater context within the paper. CONCLUSION The Lausanne Occasional Paper 39 focuses on two key areas: missional congregations and what they should look like, and tentmaking, and how tentmakers are found and trained. It encourages believers to seek out new models of taking the good news of Jesus Christ to the nonbelieving world. By suggesting open and flexible models for congregations and for evangelism, the focus group has provided a globally applicable framework for the twenty-first century church. Its emphasis on the priesthood of all believers is the platform from which participation by all springs. It is an encouragement to the broader body to understand that Christ values every member, regardless of how insignificant that particular member may feel. Only when all talents, skills and personalities are brought to bear does the gospel message truly have ³feet´ to carry it out to the world, and this is the message that the participants from around the globe emphasize in their conclusions.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. The Local Church in Mission: Becoming a Missional Congregation in the Twenty-First Century Global Context and the Opportunities Offered Through Tentmaking Ministry (Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 39) . http://www.lausanne.org/docs/2004forum/LOP39_IG10.pdf (accessed February 26, 2012).