World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly opens with call to Christians to finish the Great Commission
Evangelicals from over 90 countries have gathered near Jakarta, Indonesia, for the World Evangelical Alliance's General Assembly.
The event, held around once every 10 years, is taking place at the Sentul International Convention Centre, south of the Indonesian capital, over the next week around the theme of "Your Kingdom Come".
The opening ceremony on Thursday night was attended by thousands of Christians from across Indonesia, and was a colourful spectacle with worship by local worship leaders and traditional dance performances.
Ronny Mandang, head of the Indonesian Evangelical Alliance, "We have been praying and crying for this moment ... this moment is a blessing to us."
Bishop Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, said: "We have carefully chosen Indonesia to be the hosts of our General Assembly because this is the country that has the largest Muslim population around the world, with about 230 million, but there is also religious tolerance and harmony."
He went on to say that for the kingdom of God to advance in this world, Christians need to focus on "intergenerational, intentional and holistic" disciple making.
Bishop Tendero: "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."
He continued: "So 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."
Delivering a prayer, the Rev Raymond Swatkowski, the WEA's Deputy Secretary General for Operations, said that the General Assembly was taking place with a "sense of expectancy, just as we expect Your kingdom is coming".
"We expect God to do great things in our hearts and in our lives in the coming days," he said.
Delivering a sermon at the opening ceremony, Dr Niko Njotorahardjo, an Indonesian pastor and partner of the WEA GA, said that it was the responsibility of every Christian to do their part in fulfilling the Great Commission.
"The WEA GA in this place is not by accident; I firmly believe it is the specific purpose of God," he said.
Dr Njotorahardjo reminded those gathered for the General Assembly that the coming of God's kingdom was part of the Lord's own prayer and were words that they needed to speak out every day.
"Pray for Jesus' second coming, long for His appearing," he said. "How many of you are longing for His appearance?"
He continued: "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."
He went on to say that Christians are responsible for completing the Great Commission that Jesus started.
"We have to be serious about finishing the Great Commission of Jesus," he said. "We are not here just to gather but to pray, Oh Lord, come quickly and Your kingdom come."
Godfrey Yogarajah, Deputy Secretary General for Ministries at the WEA, asked God in the closing prayer to bless the WEA so that it can be a blessing to the nations.
"This is a new season for the WEA," he said. "Unite our hearts to be challenged to fulfil the Great Commission in our generation."