NORCROSS, Ga. – As selection chair for the 2016 Lausanne Young Leaders Gathering (YLG2016), The Mission Society’s Rev. Richard Coleman facilitated a process to identify some of the most influential evangelicals in the world under the age of 40. Coleman spearheaded a two-year review of thousands of nominations and selected nearly 1,000 emerging young leaders from 150 countries to attend the gathering.
The attendees, identified as young, influential believers with national and international leadership potential, gathered Aug. 3-10 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to connect, address theological and societal issues facing the global church, be mentored by more seasoned leaders and be inspired to continue their efforts in global evangelization and tackling social issues.
Coleman, senior director of mobilization and candidacy at The Mission Society, has been involved with the Lausanne Movement since 2008 in advisory roles and as a participant in several national and international events. As part of the extensive, prayerful selection process for YLG2016, Coleman and his committee chose participants from diverse backgrounds, home countries and types of work to help ensure balance and equity in the upcoming discussions.
“It was important for us to select today’s influential younger leaders are already making a tremendous impact in their spheres of influence,” Coleman said. Described as a “once in a generation” meeting (previous gatherings held were in Singapore 1987 and Malaysia 2006), attendees at YLG2016 are between the Millennial ages of 25 and 40.
During the gathering, young leaders participated in issue-based workshops, regional groups and strategic brainstorming “labs.” They also had the opportunity to meet with and learn from mentors. During the gathering, Coleman was also responsible for coordinating speaker logistics and serving nightly as emcee.
“In these exciting times, we are witnessing a concerted, conscious, ongoing global effort being moved further by the vision and sense of community among the world’s younger leaders,” said Coleman. “The conference will inspire and encourage leaders who are sometimes isolated in their leadership to share creative ideas about how to spread the Gospel and address social issues — in the church and in all areas of society, including politics, creation care and environmental agencies.”
The young leaders have relied heavily on mobile apps and social media platforms to build relationships.
“Remaining connected after the gathering is a critical component of our efforts,” added Coleman. “I envision all these young leaders having Christ-centered contacts across the globe. Those relationships will help us—in each of our particular ministries–carry out our mutual mission to share the love of Jesus with the world. In the case of The Mission Society, for example, the connections we’ve made will no doubt help forward our mission of reaching the world’s least reached.”