One of the great joys of the mission of ACT 3 is getting to know Christian leaders as friends and sharing my vision and life with these leaders. I am the one who always gets the greatest blessing from such meetings. This was true again on a recent trip I made to southern California, where I enjoyed a long lunch with Dr. Paul Cedar, the chairman and CEO of Mission America. Paul has previously served several churches as pastor and was the president of the Evangelical Free Church in America. He is a warm and encouraging person who loves Christ and people. He has a vision of the church living and praying as one. He is, in spirit, a missional-ecumenist!
Yesterday I mentioned the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, October 16-25. The First Lausanne was convened in 1975 in Lausanne, Switzerland. This first meeting produced the important work called The Lausanne Covenant. It helped to bring evangelicals together in a whole new way. It also centered their vision on Christ and his kingdom. The Second Congress was held in 1989 in Manilla. Various other events have followed each of these first two Lausanne Congresses.
The Mission America Coalition grew out of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. One year following the first International Congress For World Evangelization in Switzerland in 1974, The U.S. Lausanne Committee was formed as a statement by American leaders of their desire for the evangelization of America.
The Mission America web site says:
After the Second International Evangelism Conference in Manila in 1989, The U.S. Lausanne Committee committed to pray for one year and then meet to discuss what they sensed God was revealing to them. After a year of concerted prayer, the group unanimously felt called to become more proactive in strengthening evangelism efforts in the United States.
Many of those same leaders met in 1991 at a national consultation in Phoenix, Arizona (hosted by The AD2000 & Beyond Movement) to learn more about the concept of citywide strategies for the U.S.
In 1993, The U.S. Lausanne Committee sponsored a Prayer Summit in Portland, Oregon where leaders met with no agenda other than to pray and fast. At the close of the meeting, those gathered unanimously affirmed that The U.S. Lausanne Committee should give leadership to increasing prayer and evangelism efforts in the U.S. With the consensus of that group and marching orders from The U.S. Lausanne Committee, later that year Mission America was officially launched.
1995 moved Mission America from a committee to a Coalition and a Movement. That year, Mission America and The Billy Graham Center cosponsored a National Consultation on Evangelism in Lisle, Illinois with some 165 U.S. Christian leaders participating – a meeting now considered the birthplace of The Mission America Coalition (MAC).
Since 1995, the Mission America Coalition partners have been involved in many collaborative prayer, evangelism and revival efforts including Celebrate Jesus 2000, The Lighthouse Movement, The Urgent Appeal, 911 Remembrance, Honor Our Heroes, Turn on the Light America, Shaping Eternity and others.
In 2004, the Coalition launched Loving Our Communities to Christ to help call the church together to construct customized, locally initiated and owned strategies, goals and action plans to reach communities with the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
The future of Mission America Coalition is again connected with the Third Lausanne Congress in an unusual way. I believe the future will be a call to missional-ecumenism. Pray for Paul Cedar and leaders like him who have a strategic role in these developments. In fact, pray for me as I share with men like Paul and others who are deeply involved in these efforts to build meaningful networks for world evangelization. I am deeply committed to this process and thus will keep on investing time and money in people who believe John 17:20-24 still matters profoundly. I value your prayer and input.