Underrepresented at Cape Town 2010
Andy Crouch writes: Underrepresented at Cape Town 2010 | Liveblog | Christianity Today:
I’m in Cape Town for the third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. Four thousand delegates are here in what is being described as the most representative gathering of Christian leaders in history. But one group is notably underrepresented: prominent figures associated with evangelical Christianity in the United States, especially pastors of large churches. Rather than name names, let me put it this way: pick a celebrated American evangelical church leader, especially one who founded his current congregation, and I will give you 5-1 odds that he (and most of the missing are “he”s) is not here, at least not as part of the official US delegation.
For better and for worse, these absences tell us a lot about power, influence, innovation, and the future of global movements like evangelical Christianity. Here are a few lessons from the ecclesial Realpolitik of the no-shows (in rough order from brutally honest to genuinely hopeful) . . . .
- For megapastors, platform time is the price of participation
- Learning happens in the hallways, not the hall
- Innovation happens today in small distributed networks, not in large centralized meetings
- The globalization that made “Lausanne 1974” so powerful, and made “Lausanne 2010” possible, may well make “Lausanne 2046” unnecessary
- The absence of major American figures really doesn’t matter and probably actually helps
And Andy Crouch concludes, “Very likely, when we look back from 2046, we will discover that the most significant outcomes of Cape Town 2010, unforeseen and unforeseeable today, came from those relationships—and from the very spaces created by the missing megapastors. And in 2046, without a doubt, those leaders will be the ones having to make the tough decisions about what to do with their power and their all-too-limited time—just like the no-shows of 2010.”
I can think of several other groups that were underrepresented at Cape Town 2010. There didn’t seem to be many Orthodox participants, for one thing, though whether that was because they weren’t invited or didn’t bother to attend, I’m not sure.
But it seems that there were not many African megapastors there either, which is more significant for a congress held in Africa than the absence of American megapastors.
It appears that some African pastors who preach a prosperity gospel are also conducting and promoting witch hunts, and especially of child “witches”, and this is being publicised outside Africa, creating considerable resistance to the Gospel in Europe and elsewhere. Though one of the topics at Cape Town 2010 was “prosperity gospel”, this aspect of it was barely touched on, and yet the competition between the new megachurches and the old African Independent Churches is one of the raw nerves of African Christianity today. Perhaps it was the elephant in the room that nobody wanted to talk about. Or perhaps no one at Cape Town 2010 was aware of it, precisely because those for whom it is most important were absent.