Missiologist J. Samuel Escobar has lived in six countries—born in Peru and ending up in Spain. He has learned from experience about migration and immigration. In "Mission Fields on the Move," Escobar diverts us from the economic and security issues that dominate the U.S. debate to opportunities for service and evangelism presented by the almost 200 million international migrants in our world.
Escobar chairs the Lausanne III Advisory Council. His article is the eighth out of twelve stops along our journey toward the Lausanne III event, also known as Cape Town 2010. Last October, Christianity Today began this article series designed to stimulate global conversation before delegates gather in Cape Town in October to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance on these challenges.
There are limits on Cape Town 2010 attendance so that delegates from the developed world won't overwhelm those from less affluent countries. To expand the reach of the Cape Town discussions, Lausanne leaders have created GlobaLink. Groups anywhere can register to become GlobaLink sites, and then use broadband connections to participate with, and even respond to, the proceedings in South Africa. About 250 GlobaLink sites are currently registered. These will enable 45,000 individuals in 60 countries to participate—about 10 times the number at the face-to-face meeting. By the time the next issue of this magazine is delivered, the number of GlobaLink sites should reach about 350 in 100 countries.
CT has been publishing Global Conversation essays with their web-exclusive responses and reader comments at ChristianityToday.com/GlobalConversation. But recently the Lausanne Movement has created a parallel website that tries to use social media technology (think Twitter and Facebook) to encourage even more conversation (see Conversation.Lausanne.org).
When I first visited that site, I had a hard time finding the essays that were supposed to spark discussion. Then I spotted them—at the bottom of each topic page. This is the reverse of CT's online presentation. Our "top down" approach follows an editorial logic: the essay, then the responses, then the comments.
Lausanne's approach is "bottom up." It also begins with the keynote essay, but as in all social media, the oldest material soon gets buried beneath the reactions. That is, of course, exactly like real life. But it also embodies a strategy that tries to give less privileged voices greater visibility. This is a parable for a key element in the Lausanne way: to reverse our expectations, amplify voices from the developing world, and help the rest of us hear them.
Next month: Ed Stetzer (reluctantly) praises what denominations can do, the Global Conversation discusses communications technology, and Jeremy Weber reports on a remarkable city-church movement in Argentina.
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Past Global Conversation discussions include:
April 2010: Asking the Beautiful Question
March 2010: A Lifelong Journey with Islam
February 2010: Sowing Subversion in the Field of Relativism
January 2010: More Partners at the Table
December 2009: Muslim Followers of Jesus?
November 2009: Did Jesus Wear Designer Robes?
October 2009: Whole Gospel, Whole Church, Whole World
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