From March 25th to 28th 2019, younger leaders from the East Asia region gathered in Jeju Island, South Korea for the first ever Lausanne East Asia Younger Leaders Gathering 2019 (EA YLG 2019). The conference theme was “Essence of the Gospel,” hoping to inspire younger leaders to realign their lives with the Gospel truth and to pursue the lost at all cost. Leaders came from all of the regions of East Asia, and the gathering demonstrated both great diversity as well as unity.
Over 220 attendees, 54 mentors and speakers, and 60 volunteers convened together at Seong Ahn Church to seek kingdom partnerships and to anticipate great things to break forth from here. Michael Oh, the CEO of the Lausanne Movement, shared on the first night the vision of Lausanne and how these gatherings shaped Church history. Lausanne is a platform to connect influencers and ideas for global missions. Ketty Kuo from Taiwan said, “There have been so many beautiful Spirit-orchestrated meetings for the past four days! I listened to other people’s wonderful stories, and I have the chance for God to use my story to change others!!”
During the 21 workshops and 37 networks groups, younger leaders from multiple regions met in smaller groups of common interests, i.e. Church Planting, Arts, Evangelism, Business as Missions,…etc, to share their visions and personal journeys. Laughter burst out and could be heard throughout. Tears streamed down faces. Hearts were deeply connected. Lifetime relationships were formed. Tommy So from Hong Kong said, “I found our network group and workshops very inspiring. I heard great ideas concerning arts and culture, and it helped me reconsider my current ministry, and how to use these elements to share the Word with the youth and help them discover its relevance.”
In the opening welcome message, Rev. Masanori Kurasawa, Chair of Japan Lausanne Committee, said, “This gathering is exciting and meaningful because it becomes a platform for the younger generation in the region of East Asia to be closely connected, being united in ‘the essence of the Gospel, and sharing it with their non-believing neighbors at all cost’ in their workplaces so that His Kingdom would be revealed in this region.”
In the morning Bible message, Rev. Patrick Fung, General Director of OMF International, challenged the younger leaders to contemplate the authority of the Gospel, to choose a life of full surrender, to pursue unity in the church, and to commit to the Gospel for life. The spirit of Lausanne was imparted to the younger leaders to be “HIS” people (people of humility, integrity, and simplicity). Rev. Kisung Yoo, Senior Pastor of the Good Shepherd Methodist Church, and Rev. Jaehoon Lee, Chair of Lausanne Korea and Senior Pastor of Onnuri Community Church, also shared powerful messages in the evening sessions.
The planning committee started the preparation process 2 years ago at Good Shepherd Methodist Church. A beautiful display of teamwork was shown amongst the 11 team members that held 8 different passports. Five languages, including English, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and Mongolian, were used, either on stage or through the translators. Unity took place cross culturally and cross generationally. Not only did people bond from different regions, but also from different generations. Through one-on-one times, network groups, and workshops, the mentors poured generously into the younger leaders. One one-on-one meeting even went for 6 hours, simply because the mentor felt the younger attendee needed more time and wanted to assist as much as possible.
The co-chair of the gathering, Jiyoung Yoo, said “God led this gathering in a way that the goal, Unity in Diversity, came alive amongst the participants, mentors, and volunteers. Even a non-believing hotel staff testified that he saw a difference in our group and wondered why this group was so kind, understanding, and happy. I told him that it is because of the love of God through Jesus Christ when we were still sinners.”
Kohei Takeda, the other co-chair, said, ”Unity in Christ, with Christ-like humility, was visible throughout the gathering. It was the realization of the promise of the Gospel. But. unity in Christ among us is not the end goal. Unity has a purpose – it’s to share the Gospel with the lost and advance God’s Kingdom. I strongly believe that EA YLG 2019 is just the beginning.”
The whole gathering ended with the Lord’s holy communion. There was no better way to seal all that had taken place in the past four days. As they pondered about the essence of the Gospel, many were already thinking about what’s next. Regional reunions were being discussed. It’s exciting to think of what could come out of this East Asia Younger Leaders Gathering.