The World Evangelical Alliance’s (WEA) General Assembly (GA) started off with a colorful opening ceremony that saw 800 participants from 92 countries joined by several thousand Indonesian believers from across the country. The GA brings together WEA’s constituency of regional and national Alliances that represent local churches in their respective countries, and more than one hundred affiliated international ministries and organizations. It is a global network that spans 130 nations and serves some 600 million evangelicals around the world, making it the second largest global Christian body today.
Held at the Sentul International Conference Center south of Jakarta, Indonesia from November 7-12, the GA is the first global gathering of such scale hosted by the WEA in eleven years. The theme “Your Kingdom Come” inspired by Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6 expresses the hope for the GA to be a critical moment for evangelicals to come together to reflect and strategize how to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission “to disciple all nations” by focusing on intentional, holistic disciple-making.
“Evangelicals are the fastest growing religious movement in the world in the last sixty years. And we want to thank God for what he is doing,” Bp Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the WEA stated in his opening remarks at the ceremony, and added: “As we gather for the next six days, we have the passion and desire to cry out to God, that as evangelical leaders, we all work together to advance the Kingdom of God in our time.”
Speaking of the host country, Bp Tendero commented: “We have carefully chosen Indonesia to be the hosts of our General Assembly because this is the country that has the largest Muslim population in the world, but there is also religious tolerance and harmony. And in Indonesia, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is continuing to flourish and is having an impact in the society.”
Rev. Dr. Ronny Mandang, Chair of WEA’s national member body the Fellowship of Indonesian Evangelical Churches and Institutions (FIECI), expressed his deep gratitude that this global gathering could take place in his nation, saying “we have been praying and crying for this moment and now I’m standing here, looking at all these international leaders who are united and have Jesus Christ as our Lord. This moment is truly a blessing to us.”
The opening ceremony included cultural performances with video presentations and 150 dancers and artists introducing each region of Indonesia. As a nation of “joy, peace and harmony” and a model of “unity in diversity”, Indonesia brings together thousands of tribes with hundreds of different languages in a population of over 270 million. It is also a country of vibrant faith that hosted global Christian events like the World Prayer Assembly among many others.
Pastor Dr Niko Njotorahardjo, a major Christian church leader in Indonesia and partner in hosting the GA, shared in an address that “the WEA GA in this place is not by accident; I firmly believe it is the specific purpose of God.” And added: “Jesus gave us His Great Commission… My friends, don’t forget God wants all of us to be disciples of Jesus. Disciples are the people whose lifestyles resemble how Jesus lived.”
The WEA GA will continue through Tuesday, November 12, with plenaries, discussions and workshops that aim to equip participants to strengthen their collaborative efforts in the area of intentional disciple-making. It will also include the election of a new International Council and a presentation on organizational priorities for the coming years.
Over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of those, serving more than 600 million evangelicals. Launched in 1846 to unite evangelicals worldwide, the WEA continues to be a dynamic movement with 7 regional and 129 national Evangelical Alliances, and over 150 member organizations. WEA’s mission is to foster unity in Christ, strengthening identity, voice, and platform for Gospel witness and discipleship. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or go to Worldea.org.