Rankin seeks global insights at Lausanne
Wendy Lee, Baptist Press
October 22, 2010

Rankin seeks global insights at Lausanne

Rankin seeks global insights at Lausanne
Wendy Lee, Baptist Press
October 22, 2010

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Jerry

Rankin is maintaining a low profile. He has neither sought nor been given

program time at Cape Town 2010: The Third Lausanne Congress on World

Evangelization. But the recently retired president of the International Mission

Board (IMB) hasn’t retired from missions.

He and wife Bobbye are among the 4,000 participants at the congress.

Rankin has been the featured speaker at hundreds of mission conferences in

recent years, but most of the Christians from 198 countries at the Cape Town

International Convention Center are unaware of the visionary mission leader who

was at the IMB helm for 17 years.

Rankin’s attendance at the invitation-only Lausanne Congress was already locked

in before he retired Aug. 1. “I hope to gain some insights to share with IMB

leadership and others,” Rankin said. “There is so much happening globally that

we need to be aware of.”

Southern Baptists need representation at Lausanne, Rankin said.

“The real advantage is broadening our understanding of what is going on among

Christians worldwide,” Rankin said. “Networking and joining others in what they

are doing is also important…. Southern Baptists are firmly grounded in the

fundamentals of faith; we should contribute to these global gatherings.

“God is raising up a great Kingdom people,” Rankin added. “If we are truly committed

to the Great Commission, we need to know what God is doing through others.”

The concept “hidden peoples” was first introduced by missiologist Ralph Winter

at the original Lausanne congress in 1974, Rankin recalled. Reaching those

hidden people — now referred to as unreached people groups — is central to

Southern Baptists’ international missions strategy.

Rankin also observed that organizers of the Cape Town congress, in their

attempt to attain diversity of participation, failed to invite “some of the key

minds and mission leaders to the table.”

Of the congress’ 4,000 participants, 1,000 are from the host continent of

Africa. Forty percent are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. One-third are women in

leadership roles. There are 2,400 pastors, missionaries and church leaders,

1,200 scholars and academics and 600 professionals from business, government,

medicine and the media.

There are only 400 participants from U.S. churches and organizations, including

about a half-dozen International Mission Board workers.

Rankin expressed a personal hope for Cape Town 2010: “I want to have my own

vision enlarged.” His involvement in Southern Baptist mission endeavors has

been so consuming that it has not allowed much opportunity for him to attend

conferences such as this, to listen and learn what other groups are doing.

But Rankin also is interested in learning about future ministry possibilities,

even though he is already scheduled months in advance with speaking engagements

and is authoring another book.

Bobbye Rankin — in addition to participating with her husband in the plenary

sessions, table group discussions and other optional sessions — found time to

slip away to the Women’s Tea Room and participate in a prayer focus on Latin

America. “I am enjoying gaining a broader understanding of what other groups

are doing,” she said.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Lee is a freelance writer from Asia.)