Lausanne Global Workplace Forum | Case Statement
What is GWF?
In 2019, the Lausanne Global Workplace Forum (GWF) will bring together a diverse range of influencers in order to mobilize the whole church—in every corner of the global workplace—as bearers of the gospel.
The Bible affirms that work itself is a legitimate calling of God, bringing all occupations—and the whole of our working lives—within the sphere of ministry and mission.
Yet one of the greatest scandals of our times is the flawed ‘sacred-secular divide’ that has ‘permeated the Church’s thinking and action’, telling us that ‘religious activity belongs to God, whereas other activity does not’ (from The Cape Town Commitment).
We must reclaim the biblical truth that all legitimate work—not just professional ministry—is intrinsically valuable and integral to the missional work of God’s kingdom. Many have for too long seen the 99% of Christians as existing merely to support the ministry of the 1% in professional ministry. Instead, we need to recalibrate our perspective to see the 1% as existing to support the 99% (Eph 4:11-12). Further, we must work toward a broader vision of the workplace that includes voices from all occupations, especially those that have gone unheard.
Just as 500 years ago the Reformation called believers back to the Word of God, so too we must return to the biblical truth that every believer is involved in the Work of God. For it is only when every believer is living integrally in all spheres of human existence—including the workplace—that the whole church will truly be able to take the whole gospel to the whole world.
Why a Gathering?
Recognizing the challenge of overcoming the sacred/secular divide of work, many important networks, events, and resources addressing the intersection of faith and work have developed in recent years. The Lausanne Global Workplace Forum (GWF) in June 2019, however, will tread new ground, and represents the Lausanne Movement’s most concerted effort to date to address the clergy/laity divide. GWF will bring together all streams of the Movement to work together on this critical issue, and will also seek to collaborate with the wide range of other faith-at-work networks and movements in existence around the world.
One of the most singular aspects of GWF will be its representation of women and men from every corner of the workplace—in fact, at least 50% of the total participants will be from the workplace, the most ever in Lausanne’s history of major gatherings. This large representation is deliberate and essential. In the past, formal discussions about faith and work have often taken place solely between church leaders, theologians, and white-collar professionals, excluding the vast majority, whose voices have gone unheard. This includes blue-collar workers as well as ‘no-collar’ workers, such as those working in the home, those working as volunteers, and even those who are enslaved. At GWF, their voices will be heard. In addition to representation across the workplace, GWF will also deliberately choose participants across generations, from all global regions (including those regions where gatherings/discussions about faith and work have not yet taken place), and across 35 networks focused on pressing missions issues.
With such a diverse spectrum of participants, the Global Workplace Forum will be a unique opportunity to collaborate and reflect on how outcomes can be implemented in regional, local, and issue-specific contexts. Participants will explore current research and resources to develop new initiatives for how all God’s people might ‘live, think, work, and speak from a biblical worldview and with missional effectiveness’ (CTC II-A-3C). Participants will also seek to find ways to urge church leaders to understand the strategic impact and potential of ministry in the workplace and ‘to mobilize, equip, and send out their church members as missionaries into the workplace’ (CTC II-A-3D).
The 2017 Wittenberg gathering addressed Lausanne’s first two vision points: the gospel for every person and an evangelical church for every people. The third vision point, Christ-like leaders for every church, was the focus of the 2016 Younger Leaders Gathering. The hope is that through the 2019 Global Workplace Forum, momentum will be built for a new missional model that will enable all believers to work together toward Lausanne’s fourth vision point, kingdom impact in every sphere of society. For this vision can only become reality if all Christians in the workplace, in every sphere of society, are mobilized as gospel bearers in both word and deed.
Participants and Nomination Criteria
An important feature of this invitation-only forum is the rigorous, prayerful, and open nomination and selection process. We want to ensure the right influencers can come together from all regions of the world, across generations, and across all 35 issue networks.
Of the 500 to 1000 globally representative participants, at least half will be from secular workplaces (not those who receive their income from a church or ministry organization), at least 30% will be women, and at least 30% will be younger leaders (ages 40 and below).
This is a working gathering with engagement before, during, and after the time in Manila. The participant nomination process is now closed.