Historic Gatherings of 2010

Unbeknown to many, the year 2010 is a historic year for Christian Gatherings.  This year a number of meetings commemorated the 1910 Edinburgh meeting that effectively launched the modern ecumenical movement, focused on World Evangelization. If you trace the global missions gathering, you can go all the way back to William Carey, who called for a meeting of this kind in 1810. That meeting never materialized, so 1910 is the date most recognized.

*So here are four conferences that occurred in 2010 that brought together Christians to talk about missions:

Toyko 2010 – This was the brain child of Dr. Ralph Winter, and took place in May of 2010  (one year after his passing).  The major distinctives of the conference were 1) its focus on unreached people groups, 2) attendees from sodalities and 3) planning and attendance largely from the non-Western world.  The major accomplishments of Tokyo 2010 were 1) the Tokyo Declaration: a reclaiming of John Mott’s vision of “Making Disciples of Every People in Our Generation” and 2) the establishment of a global collaboration effort towards reaching all peoples – the Global Network of Mission Structures (GNMS).

Edinburgh 2010 – was held from June 2-6 and was very ecumenical as well as culturally diverse.  The WCC (World Council of Churches) was the primary ecumenical community launched by Edinburgh 1910.  It was understandable that the WCC was so prominent in this centennial celebration. The conference was limited to 250 invitations which enabled the delegates to work together face to face on common documents (as opposed to the others that did most of the work before).  A major criticism of Edinburgh 2010 is that it was so concerned with ecumenical issues and unity, that it neglected the idea of evangelization and missions.

Cape Town 2010 – commemorated Carey’s desire for a meeting in Cape Town from October 16-25.  It was the longest (8 days), largest (4,000 delegates) and most publicized of the four meetings.  Cape Town provided the most access to its meeting through online live videos, twitter, a blog and Facebook. The meeting was sponsored by the Lausanne movement (that has its roots from Billy Graham and John Stott in 1974) as well was the WEA (World Evangelical Alliance – also birthed from Edinburgh 1910).  Lausanne is ecumenical in participation with its focus on worldwide evangelization.  The goal was to further partnership and participation in global evangelization.

Boston 2010 – occurred November 4-7 and was smaller compared to Tokyo and Cape Town.  This was a meeting planned by and for the academics -professors, seminary students and others.  It looked much like an EMS meeting in that it was largely presenting research and receiving comments.  The conference was the only of the four not to be by invitation, and was much cheaper than the others.  Planners hoped it would accomplish a movement of mission activists in the vein of The Student Volunteer Movement and Mount Herman One Hundred.

Along with the conferences, two major book projects are being released.  Operation World is a daily prayer guide through country by country issues newly updated.  The other is a scholarly evaluation of worldwide Christianity, The Atlas of Global Christianity.

*This is a more detailed description from Biola professor Dr. Allen Yeh published in the IJFM.  Here are two Mission Frontiers issues that also include these events: May/June 2010 & July/August 2010.  I also found a listing of these four major events along side of some of the less known conferences of 2010 here.


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