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More than 4,000 attendees from nearly 200 countries are in Cape Town, South Africa, this week to strategize how to evangelize the world for Christ in the 21st century.

The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization opened on Sunday under the theme of 2 Corinthians 5:19, "God in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself," with the focus being how to be witnesses of Jesus Christ and His teachings in every region of the world and every level of society.

"We have worked to engage evangelical leaders on all continents," said Doug Birdsall, chairman of The Lausanne Movement—the conference parent organization founded by evangelist Billy Graham in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1974. More than 2,700 evangelical leaders from 150 countries gathered for the first conference, which produced The Lausanne Covenant—a statement that laid the foundation for collaborative world evangelism.

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This is the first time in more than 20 years that the Lausanne Movement has held a global conference. The year's congress is regarded as the most diverse Christian gathering—in ethnicity, denomination, profession and gender—in the history of the Christian church.

Organizers say participants represent a wide range of ages and professions: 40 percent of participants are 20 to 40 years old; 1,200 are pastors; 1,200 are scholars and academicians; and 1,200 are in medical, business and media fields. The attendance represents 198 countries.

One delegation, however, is not in attendance. It was revealed last week that many Chinese Christian leaders who had been invited were stopped in the airports by Chinese authorities and had their passports confiscated. Five members of China’s underground church in Beijing were blocked from leaving the country from Beijing International Airport, and at least one of them was detained

This year also marks the first time the congress will be accessible to interested participants worldwide through digital technology. "This is the first congress of its kind in the digital age," Birdsall noted.

Some 100,000 more people worldwide tuned in via digital technology from GlobalLink, which provides video downloads and more at nearly 700 sites in 95 countries. Online traffic on the eight-language congress website was expected to be high, and on Monday video from the congress was delayed due to the demand for bandwidth and other Internet connectivity challenges. —ASSIST News Service, The Christian Post

 

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