Previous month:
September 2010
Next month:
November 2010

Posts from October 2010

Reflections on Lausanne

Back with the family in USA and still telling the story of Lausanne World Congress. This morning I showed some videos to my kids. The videos at Lausanne were incredible and I was hoping they would be available to the public. Many of them are.

For me, Lausanne 3 was a place of accountability, a location where we could assemble ourselves together, discuss what we have achieved and what needs to be done, offer our gifts to the group, and find creative ways to work together. It was not a typical conference where people attend to hear cool speakers and get "takeaways" for the church back home. It was much more than that and so if all you hear about Lausanne is about one or two well-known speakers who gave plenary addresses, then you probably are getting that from someone who was not there.

For those present, it was about networking, praying with each other, hearing stories of persecution and bravery, being challenged by videos, testimonies, speakers, bible studies, and just enjoying each other. People were kind and considerate. Always. Even lining up for coffee you would see people offer their place in line to anyone for the slightest of reasons. The whole conference was bathed in that generosity.

It was special. It was an international Congress with 200 nations represented. It was impeccably organized and highly strategic. It was full and perhaps over-organized at times, in a very Western style. But it was good. Yes, a few marginalized voices were missed over. I sometimes felt a little left out, as a global nomad who didn't have a country to represent, but that did not cast a shadow on this event.

It was good. For me personally, it was a moment to align my ministry plans with the global movement and ready myself for the next season. And to get some affirmation on those plans and the need for my story and gifts in this movement. That was worth it.

And the wine tour in Stellenbosch was just an incredible bonus to the whole event.

A story of collaboration and partnership

"That story inspired us" Ramez Atallah and his wife Rebecca just told 4000 of us sitting at our tables this morning at Lausanne World Congress. The theme of this final day, Day 6, is "partnership"

The story he told was of a moment in the 1970's when an organization named YWAM was told by God to take the money they had raised for a ship and give it to another organization named Operation Mobilization so that they could buy their second ship. OM already owned the M.V. Logos and with this gift, they were able to purchase their second ship, M.V. Doulos. That's uncommon in the business world but in the world of global mission, it shouldn't blow our circuits. Partnership should characterize how we relate to each other.

I have heard this story before. In fact I spent almost 2 years of my life on the Logos and thats where I got to know a young California girl from Yorba Linda named Debbie Cosper. We returned to California after the ship and got married. She has been my partner for 23 years.

As for mission partnership, my Lausanne Congress handbook tells me that the remaining task is too complex for any one mission agency, denomination or network to accomplish on its own. "While many agree on the benefits of collaboration, few practice it well". Partnership needs to happen geographically, among the genders and among the emerging generation.

"We all bring gifts to the table - let us give them and receive them in a humble and expectant spirit."

The Skinny? I agree. But the challenge I am facing now as I seek to collaborate more between our networks and some of the larger, more powerful networks represented here, is how to collaborate without getting sucked into the vortex of a big powerful mission enterprise which might open up the young leaders, my young leaders, to potential abuse by turning them into someone else's numbers on a powerpoint presentation.

Bloggers and Twits at Lausanne


We had a meet up and photo shoot this morning for the blogging team and those twittering. Lots of good bloggers here but the best blogger in the bunch, and the one most consistently on the ball despite all our technical challenges and internet scarcity, was Chris Kidd. Check it out.

And special thanks to Dr Dion Forster for aggregating everyone and leading the social media team. He said some really nice and almost believable things about my blog yesterday at a session on technology and mission. And even though I protested that such claims were overly generous, I was given all kinds of business cards and invitations and even Jerry White suggested the possibility of partnering in some way with Lausanne as it continues its ministry after the Congress. Cool. Thanks Dion.

What is my family doing while I am away?

Where is my family right now while I am here in Cape Town?

Well, since we are currently traveling across USA and dont have a home,  I left my wife and 3 daughters safe and sound and happy at Jellystone RV Park in Bremen, GA. But I just heard are doing a 4 day walking pilgrimage with a group of hippies to raise funds for The Nomads Land, a Christian community in Alabama.


What is your family doing while you are away?

Tallskinnykiwi: its BIG in China!

Not sure why this blog is so popular in China right now. Nor why the Chinese are doing Baidu searches for my photo, but it might have something to do with me being in the Lausanne World Congress for World Evangelism that has been struggling with cyber-attacks from the beginning.

Let me make it easy for them. This is me, really.

Screen shot 2010-10-22 at 14.02.54

No wait, this is me. You can tell by the hat.


Or on the other hand, maybe its because I am just really BIG in China!


Dion Forster is the head of the social media team here at Lausanne. His blog is bigger than mine in China right now. He just had 8000 hits on his log in page from China all in a very short time. Wow. Enjoy your 15 seconds of fame, Dion. And remember, in times like these, there is only one thing you can do: put Google ads on your site.

Last night at Christ Church I head that it wasnt just our Congress that suffered. All of Cape Town including the server at the University was experiencing the squeeze from the Chinese. Makes me wonder: If they can put the squeeze on a city like Cape Town, whats to stop them from messing with Washington DC?

As for the bandwidth blockage, I have good news and bad news.

Good news: The Chinese attempt to block our internet system was thwarted and we are up and running freely, like the Galatians.

Bad news: The Chinese have now blocked the sewage system and we are expecting a truck load of Portaloos to be delivered any moment. 


No not really :-]

Frosty, Gaby, and Me at Christ Church, Kenilworth

Last night was just a nice chilled thoughtful conversation at Christ Church, Kenilworth in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.

About 200 people turned up which was a great turnout considering the event was just an idea last week. Thanks to Dr John Hewitson for imagining the event and making it happen.


Michael Frost provided a good healthy chunk of thoughtful and challenging teaching on allowing the reign of God into our worlds. A lot of people had already read his books "Exiles" and "The Shaping of Things to Come". He talked about his church in Sydney called SmallBoatBigSea.

Gaby Ngaboca, one of the Lausanne Younger Leaders, added some practical and personal advice, as well as sharing her exploits in Budapest.

And I was there also. I started with a reading from Luke 10 and shared some history of Lausanne and some of the recent movements of church and mission among the next generation. Good questions and response. And some great and lovely people at Christ Church. I suggested the the modern Protestant missons movement is coming full circle back to its origins in sustainable enterprise like William Carey implemented, and like Henry Venn suggested for Africa in the 1850's. More on Venn and sustainable mission on the CMS site with my article "Mission and the Fourth Sector".

Rev. Duncan McLea is the Minister in Charge at Christ Church, is challenging his church around outreach, generosity and hospitality, three themes that found their way into our talks and prayers.

Thanks everyone for coming. I believe the audio will be available in a few days. Frosty's book is called "Exiles: Living missionally in a post-Christian Culture" and you should have read it by now.


The Cyber Attack at Lausanne World Congress

Here's the skinny. The bandwidth and internet access problems that have plagued the Lausanne World Congress in Cape Town over the past few days were the result of a malicious virus from a phone brought into the Cape Town International Convention Center. According to unofficial reports, millions of hits from 66 different sites eventually crashed the system.

Which country? Well, one of my strongest theories was that the New Zealand Government was upset at their small representation and were getting back at Lausanne. But now we have heard that 95% of these internet hits came from the country of China, and the 66 locations were also situated in China, and that account of a Chinese fellow taking photos of Congress participants before running away, and this has caused us to consider China at least as a potentially suspicious candidate. And so . . . after weighing the possibities,  well . . . I still think it was New Zealand those cheeky beggers!

Now heres the scoop. Our problems were solved by two Indian cousins from Bangalore who were here as volunteers in the IT department. They came to connect printers and ended up stopping viruses. In fact, they have already solved the problem and we are back on track.

Shout out to our two geeky heros: Unisys Global Services employee Vijay Kumar and Pastor Daniel Singh who has just got figured out why he got a doctorate in computational biology.


I took this photo a few minutes ago of Vijay (left) and Daniel (right) during Tim Keller's talk on global cities. Sorry for the flash, Tim.

Offical press release from Lausanne here. Many unoffical releases, like this one, are all over the net. Check out Note on Lausanne live blog at Outreach Mag for a fuller post on this event.

Top 10 Reasons Why Lausanne Congress has an Internet Blockage

This morning I started uploading a small audio clip but gave up after 30 minutes because I figured that since the bandwidth pipes are skinnier than me right now, I might as well give them over to the social media team of Lausanne Congress coz those guys are doing a fantastic job given the current difficulties.

How can the city that streamed the World Cup video footage to the world experience such difficulties in handling the communications of the Lausanne World Congress with only 4000 participants?

There are lots of rumours out there regarding why Lausanne is suffering such severe difficulties and crippling bandwidth shortage.

First of all, Yes, there is a problem. I ran Phonebooth's online test tool and Houston . . . we have a problem. But why?

Here are the Top 10 Reasons:

1. Os Guiness's message on Monday was simply too damn heavy!

2. Dr. Evil has diverted the bandwidth to his evil headquarters and he will not release it until we pray for ONE MILLION new churches in his home country of Belgium.

Dr evil

3. It's the emerging church. Again. As usual.

4. When some verses from Ephesians 3 were blogged, the bandwidth capacity was incapable of accommodating the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of God, which surpasses knowledge, and the message utterly and completely overwhelmed the system! The Lausanne blogging team offers its apologies and promises to send out smaller blog posts of God's love from now on.

5. Henry Kaestner of, currently here at the Congress, is planning a spectacular release of his new VOIP service for South Africa on Saturday, or whenever the public frustration with its current internet provider reaches unprecedented levels of dissatisfaction.

6. The story from that North Korean girl was so moving that even the bandwidth got choked up.

7. Football fans at the World Cup were watching a ball game, yelling at the umpire and drinking beer. They were NOT sending videos of African choirs from their iphone to their church members back home in South Korea. Fourty gazillion half-drunk screaming footy fans are no match for 4000 excited, tech-savvy church leaders.

8. Geoff Tunnicliffe, after using his phone to successfully talk sense into a misguided pastor in Florida, is now utilizing his Skype account from his Cape Town hotel room to talk sense into every misguided pastor in Florida.

9. An enemy has done this! Some powerful, influential country that is not impressed with the small number of their representation at the conference is putting the squeeze on our bandwidth pipes. Probably New Zealand. It's obviously NOT France because they are still arguing over what a pipe even looks like.

Screen shot 2010-10-20 at 16.04.24

10. Sometimes things just happen. But always for a reason.

Whats the skinny?

Tell you what I think. I think if you are at the Lausanne World Congress in Cape Town then you should . . .


How can you enjoy the congress and get the most out of if when all you can think of is the sound quality of your audio and the lighting for the next picture. Why not let the pros at the social media team do that? They have better cameras than you anyway, and the good stuff will be available free online pretty soon. Knowing that you can access it later will free you up to  . . . enjoy the congress.

So focus in, hear from God, add your voice to those prayers, open yourself up to each other and ENJOY THE CONGRESS!