REGIONAL MODEL:
Beyond AD2000 Leadership Transition

What happens after AD 2000?
The future of evangelical cooperation and the unfinished task of world evangelization

First Draft
By the Norway Evangelical Forum Task Force
2 April 1998

Introduction:

Lausanne in Norway has a "broken back". These words by Torbjorn Lied, Chairman Norwegian Missionary Council on the 30th of October of 1997 created a furor among a number of historical evangelical leaders in Norway that launched a major query. What happens after AD 2000? The future of evangelical cooperation and the unfinished task of world evangelization.

As the chairman of the 32 mission organizations networked together in the Norwegian Missionary Council, Torbjorn called a meeting of the Norwegian participants to GCOWE 97 in South Africa, representatives of the Lausanne Movement in Norway, the Evangelical Alliance in Norway, the AD2000 committee in Norway, as well as key mission leaders such as Tormod Engelsviken, Knud Jorgensen and Jon Victor Selle.

The issue they wanted to discuss was "What do we do after AD 2000 - A new evangelical forum?" The point is not to make something new in addition to existing forums and networks, but to look into the possibilities of closing down some of the existing networks and to join forces in an evangelical network or even a joint evangelical forum through which we can carry on the vision of world evangelization as well as evangelistic outreach in our own country.

What do we mean by evangelical? The term "evangelical" in Norway refers to all those bodies and individuals who identify with the evangelical movement. This will include independent evangelical, Charismatic and Pentecostal churches as well as the historic Free Church denominations and the conservative evangelical confession within the state church.

The forcing factors/realities prompting the need for a Task Force:

  1. The growing weakness of the Lausanne Committee and movement in Norway.
  2. The Norwegian WEF body was very weakened from 1945 to 1985. After some years of slight but steady growth it is, however, still weak.
  3. The growing links between the Norwegian WEF body and Lausanne Norway
  4. The inspiration from the AD2000 global conferences, especially GCOWE 95 in Korea and GCOWE 97 in South Africa as well as the DAWN process in Norway.
  5. The dissolving of the AD2000 Movement international structure as originally planned on 31.12.2000.
  6. The financial crises of a number of major evangelical missions in Norway over the last years.
  7. The desire for a clearer and enhanced focus of the Norwegian evangelical bodies on the unfinished task of world evangelization.
  8. The need for bringing evangelicals together in a closer cooperative bond.
  9. The need for new and younger evangelical leaders to take up leadership roles in the country of Norway.

The formation of the Task Force:

With the recommendation from the meeting of 30.10.97, the Norwegian Missionary Council has formed a fast-working TASK FORCE with the following purpose and mandate:

Purpose:

To present a structural model to the churches and missions in Norway that will advance the involvement and reduce the duplication of all evangelical bodies of Norway in the unfinished task of world evangelization.

Mandate:

  1. To draft an alternative model for broad cooperation on world evangelization and missiological reflection.
  2. To look into the possibility of arranging an international leaders' conference in Norway in August/September 1999 with up to 1000 participants. Two main issues are in focus: structural transition and leadership transition into a new millennium
  3. To survey, in relation to point 1 & 2, international developments / trends regarding future organizing of networks for world evangelization and mission.
  4. To report back to the Norwegian Missionary Council at the annual meeting in May 1998.
  5. To arrange a leaders' seminar in September 1998 on world mission. This will be a joint venture between Lausanne -Norway, Evangelical Alliance - Norway and the Norwegian Mission Council

Process of selection:

Invite representative and resource bodies as follows: 2 members of the Norwegian Mission Council, 1 from Lausanne - Norway, 1 from AD 2000, 1 from WEF in Norway, 2 from outside as resource people and 1 to serve as secretary.

Members and who they represent:

The major questions/issues that need to be addressed:

  1. Who will carry the torch on behalf of the unfinished task of world evangelization?
  2. What structural model will Norway embrace to catalyze, communicate and coordinate all evangelical Norwegian efforts to complete the unfinished task?
  3. How can we reduce duplication and enhance evangelical cooperation?
  4. How can we structure ourselves to maintain contact with international movements and structures, to receive information about what is happening around the world?
  5. How can we involve the vital forces for evangelical mission within Norway including groups such as professionals and people in business?
  6. How can we create an atmosphere and develop new leadership to carry the work forward?
  7. How can we share the struggle of assessing God's desire for an evangelical structure committed to world evangelization in Norway beyond AD2000?

Leadership Seminar-March 24, 1998

Thirty-five Christian leaders gathered to consider models of evangelical cooperation to provide a viable structure to focus on the unfinished task in Norway and in the world after AD2000. Luis Bush presented an international perspective, Tormod Engelsviken brought a missiological perspective and Torbjorn Lied a Norwegian perspective.

Several recurring principles were recognized as indispensable and foundational to a Norwegian post-AD2000 model including the following:

  1. The biblical model that Jesus presented with a special emphasis on a living organism rather than a rigid organization.
  2. The networking model that emphasizes embracing and connecting existing movements as networks and relates to international strategic partnerships, alliances and cooperative efforts.
  3. A flexible model for leadership and service that structures to reduce control issues and to enhance facilitation process, that provides space for the development and functioning of new and younger leaders and professionals and business people and that will enable personal relationship development with global evangelical leadership.
  4. The new structure would expand and replace existing structures in order to reduce duplication and enhance effectiveness of fulfilling the unfinished task within and outside of Norway.
  5. The need for the Task Force to bring leaders from the new and Charismatic churches to the table for active participation in the decision-making process.
  6. The need to recognize the mighty movement of God in and through the two-thirds world (majority churches) and engage Christian leaders from these areas in humility by means of creative links.
  7. The need to humble ourselves in repentance and to seek Christ for His vision and direction as the head and brains of the Body.
  8. The need to simplify the structural outcome in such a way as to make it easy for pastors and others to relate to them in the future.
  9. The need to advance slowly and deliberately in prayer in creating a beyond-2000 structure. Ensure that the different streams within evangelicalism in Norway are adequately represented in the process of proposing a new model.
  10. Recognition that this is the time for a bold fresh initiative that will capture the moment to envision and implement a post-AD2000 model.

Model of Post AD2000 Structure: The Evangelical Forum

  1. To catalyze the vision among Norwegian evangelical bodies to complete the unfinished task of world evangelization in and outside of Norway.
  2. To link up with international movements in a conscious way and reduce duplication
  3. To communicate what is taking place internationally and around the world to member bodies in Norway
  4. To organize a financially committed membership of evangelical bodies in Norway.
  5. To supply at least one person full time to facilitate the evangelical forum mission as a secretariat from an office.
  6. To incorporate on a board representation from the existing structures.
  7. To coordinate the evangelical forum discussion through informal and formal channels and periodic conferences.

Conclusion:

Through the dialogue thus far, it is clear that Lausanne Norway does not have a "broken back". In fact, it has become clear that there is strong ongoing commitment at many levels of leadership to the Lausanne Covenant and mission. However, it has also become clear that there is a need to revitalize the form, structure and the leadership of Lausanne Norway. Is Lausanne Norway the most viable to serve as the Evangelical Forum post 2000 should these important changes be forthcoming. Should there be the consideration of new name for an evangelical forum of Norway? Should the name be the Evangelical Forum of Norway? These are questions that still need to be answered.

Next Step:

The annual meeting of the Norwegian Missionary Council will take place in Oslo on Thursday 7 May '98 where the report from the Task Force will be presented, and where decisions regarding further steps will be taken.

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