Lausanne, July, 1974: the International Congress on World Evangelization. Mexico City, January, 1975: the first meeting of the continuing Lausanne Committee. Nairobi, November and December, 1975: the World Council of Churches’ Fifth Assembly, at which evangelism and world missionary outreach received more attention than at most of the earlier assemblies. Atlanta, January, 1976: the second meeting of the Lausanne Committee, attended by nearly fifty representatives from around the world. What does all this evangelism talk mean?

We fervently hope that the interest in missions expressed by the delegates to the WCC’s Fifth Assembly will be reflected in the ongoing program of the WCC. The leaders have received a clear mandate from the people to get moving on the task of reaching the unreached with the Gospel. Will they do it?

The Lausanne Congress concentrated on missionary outreach, and the subsequent meetings of the Lausanne Committee have made clear its intention to stay with world evangelization until the job is completed. At Atlanta, Bishop Jack Dain of Australia, a former missionary to India, finished the one-year chairmanship he carried successfully despite his increasingly heavy load of work in Australia. His successor as committee chairman is Leighton Ford, a Canadian evangelist. Gottfried Osei-Mensah, a Ghanian Baptist, became the committee’s executive secretary. By its choice of leaders the committee has indicated its intention to stay committed to evangelism and its awareness that the task calls for the efforts of Christians everywhere, not only in the United States, not only in North America, but all over the globe.

At Atlanta the Lausanne Committee identified four functions as central to its work. One is to encourage ...

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