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South Africa: Uniquely Positioned to Make a Significant Contribution to World Evangelization

by Luis Bush, International Director AD 2000 & Beyond Movement
From Mission Frontiers, MF95.09-10.17-S.Africa-2
Pretoria, July 10, 1995

Why is today's South Africa uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to world evangelization?

  1. Almost all those involved in the LSA strategy say that the foundation for this vision of world evangelization has been the continual building toward relationship and trust. Over the past 6 years, God has brought together men and women from various ethnic and theological backgrounds, various ministries and methodologies and bonded them together, giving them a vision for the world.
  2. There has been a persistent effort by a number of organizations and individuals to bring an awareness of missions to the body of Christ. These include Operation Mobilization, YWAM and World Mission Center.
  3. There is an uncertainty in South Africa at this time. For years, it was clear what the next day would hold. That is no longer true. Because of that, many in the church are not as bound to properties, possessions and finances as they once were. There is a willingness to use resources for some greater purpose, for who knows what tomorrow may bring.
  4. A vacuum was created through the demise of apartheid and has left the church, especially the youth, in a state of uncertainty. By accepting the challenge to reach its neighbors and countries further abroad, a new hope has been born to fill this vacuum.
  5. If a concept of missions ever did exist in South Africa in the past, it was the idea of white reaching black. That deception is now being dealt a death blow as pastors from all backgrounds are waking up to the vision of world evangelization. There is an active move to motivate and mobilize the millions of southern African Christians of all ethnic backgrounds to join in the task.
  6. "Black and white Christians are taking hands to get involved in world missions," says co-director of World Mission Center, Lazarus Selahle.
  7. South Africa is receiving increasing respect as a nation. In the past, South African passports were not welcomed in many countries of the world, especially throughout Africa. It was excluded from the United Nations and all major international organizations and events. Today, however, South Africa is recognized as a respected nation in the world community and many African nations are looking to it for help and support. It has come out of isolation and is eagerly reaching beyond its borders.
  8. Direct divine intervention can be the only explanation for the reconciliation that has taken place between racial groups and opposing political parties in South Africa. People who were killing each other over political issues for decades are now working together in a government of national unity. One of the most amazing things is the lack of bitterness in the hearts of so many that were in jail for decades for political reasons. While in jail most of these people made a commitment to forgive and not to be bitter. A prime example is Nelson Mandela himself as well as many of the new cabinet ministers. Having been in jail for 27 years, Mandela has come out with a knowledge of South Africa and it's fundamental needs, but not seeking revenge. At present he is playing an important role in reconciling various opposing groups in the nation.
  9. Social integration is increasing. One of the greatest problems in the past was the law which prohibited blacks from living in certain cities. In order to even enter the city they had to show a special worker's pass. Another challenge was the segregation of beaches, buses, schools, churches, clubs, hospitals and all other public facilities. There were separate queues (lines) even to enter the post office. Today all this is gone. The integration of schools has worked remarkably well. There remains the challenge of intergrating certain groups of society.
  10. Living in a country with varied cultural backgrounds enables South Africans to better grasp an understanding of cross-cultural communication. This gives the peoples of this nation an advantage over many others in communicating with other cultures. With a heritage including Dutch, German, British, Indian and other European cultures plus 11 different tribal groups, each with its own language, culture and customs, to live in South Africa one must learn to communicate cross-culturally.
  11. Many churches have repented for their support and involvement in apartheid. This has affected especially the mainline churches who are now in a transitional phase. Missions is becoming a catalyst for reconciliation, integration, direction and unity.
  12. Love Southern Africa (LSA) itself has played a significant role in recent years to create a sense of unity and direction for the church in South Africa. In the 1993/94 South African Christian Handbook, edited by Marjorie Froise, she wrote: "The new decade has presented a great challenge to the church to declare Jesus Christ to every man by the turn of the century and a number of denominations and mission agencies have made strategic plans for this decade.

A Letter of Invitation From the LSA Executive Committee to the AD2000 and Beyond Movement

11 July 1995

Dear Luis,

In order to facilitate the momentum gained through GCOWE '95 and LSA '95 and after consultation with yourself during the week of 4-8 July, 1995, the Love Southern Africa Executive would like to request that the AD2000 and Beyond Movement consider GCOWE '97 to be held in South Africa in July of 1997. We are proposing a conference along the following lines:

  1. GCOWE '97 would run in conjunction with the LSA annual conference in July of that year.
  2. The delegates would be comprised of the following components:
    1. 300 AD 2000 leaders and track leaders from at least 100 countries.
    2. 500 mission executives and leaders from around the world.
    3. 300 AD 2000 leaders from Africa.
    4. 200 presidents and academic deans of theological institutions from around the world.
    5. 200 successful Christian business executives
    6. 500 South African pastors.
    7. 4000 mission-minded adults and youth from South Africa.

    These six components of GCOWE '97 will be held in 7 venues, in order that they may focus on their emphasis in the missions endeavor toward 2000. They would, however, meet together at certain times for plenary sessions.

  3. LSA will endeavor to cover the internal costs of the two thirds world participants of the conference and accommodate participants in private homes or at campsites.
  4. All participants will be encouraged to stay in the country for a total of 8 days in order that those who are able may attend and/or minister in various churches across the nation. This would help LSA to involve more local churches in raising support for GCOWE '97.
  5. The culmination of the conference will take the form of a march from various areas of the city into a stadium, where tens of thousands of students would be challenged to commit themselves to the task of world evangelism.

We hope that you will give this proposal your prayerful consideration. Then if you are in agreement, we suggest further discussions to work out the logistics and program.

It is our hope and prayer that through this conference we would serve to meet the challenge of the gospel for every person and a church for every people by the year 2000.

On behalf of the LSA Executive,
Yours in Christ,
Willie Crew
LSA National Coordinator and
AD2000 Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa

The Five-Year Plan for the Love South Africa Conference

One such plan is the national AD 2000 movement which will be hosting a conference each year for the next seven years."

  1. In addition to the South African LSA in 1996, four other southern African countries will each be running their own conferences (Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia).
  2. In 1997, GCOWE '97 will be hosted as part of LSA '97.
  3. In 1998, through the Pastors' Track, we should encourage local churches in six South African regions to host six regional conferences. This will make clear our commitment and objective of ensuring that the local church takes its rightful place in the task of world evangelization. During this time we believe that 16 African nations will be running their own LSA-type conference.
  4. In 1999, conferences will be held in all nine provinces of South Africa and all 24 countries of southern Africa (the LSA definition being those south of the equator).
  5. A sub-continental Day of Celebration has been proposed for December, 2000, to celebrate what the Lord has done. This celebration would be held in all the regions of South Africa and in the various countries of southern Africa. It would be part of an international celebration and would be connected by satellite with other countries and continents around the globe.

Love South Africa 1995 Declaration

We declare that Jesus Christ is Lord over all the earth. He is the Son of God, sent to be our Savior, who died for our sins, was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, far above all principalities and powers. He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth and is the head of the church, which is His body (Rom. 5:6-11, Eph. 1:20-23 and Matt.28:18).

We recognize that we are living in a unique period of time in the history of the Church. We see God divinely superintending a mighty move of His Holy Spirit worldwide and that it is precipitating the greatest revival in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ.

We are convinced that South Africa has a key role to play in the completion of world evangelization. The demise of apartheid and emergence of the New South Africa has opened many doors through which the gospel of Jesus Christ can be carried from this land as a blessing to the unreached nations of the world.

We confess that, as the Body of Christ, we have followed our own ways and have not functioned as one in Christ. We admit that we have focused, by and large, on ourselves and have seen the wealth of our nation mainly in its natural resources. We repent of our selfishness and pride that has led us to treat our fellow citizens with disdain.

We realize that in doing so, we have paid a high price in violence, political disarray, poverty, insecurity and the stifling of the growth potential of our nation.

We commit ourselves to working with the Holy Spirit in focusing the attention of the South African church and Christian community on the supreme task of world evangelization.

In doing this, we are prepared to give of ourselves, our resources, and our time, in order to give everyone in southern Africa the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ by the year 2000 and it is our express intention to be a part of the worldwide movement of the Body of Christ that is working towards a church for every people and the gospel for every person by the year 2000.

We, the Body of Christ gathered together in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, declare to the peoples of our great nation and to the forces that seek to destroy it that this nation will no longer be held in the bondage that has caused it to live in disobedience to God's perfect purposes.

God helping us, we will become a blesser of the nations, until we join the multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne proclaiming for all eternity, "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" AMEN

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