Wheaton College has played a significant role in the Lausanne Movement since Billy Graham convened Lausanne I in 1974. Wheaton hosted the 1983 Lausanne Consultation on the Church in Response to Human Need. Today Lausanne World Pulse is produced in partnership with ministries based at the Billy Graham Center. Dr. Lon Allison, the Center’s director; and Dr. Doug Birdsall ’75, the Movement’s executive chairman, are co-publishers of this monthly online news magazine. The Graham Center also houses Lausanne’s archives.
Over the past 36 years, Wheaton alumni have held many key Lausanne leadership positions. The late Dr. Donald Hoke ’41 directed the first Congress in Switzerland, and Dr. Leighton Ford ’52 chaired Lausanne from 1976 to 1992. Doug Birdsall ’75 was elected to the position in 2004.
During Cape Town 2010, Wheaton had an impact on stage and behind the scenes. Plenary and dialogue sessions featured Dr. John Piper ’68 and Ruth Padilla DeBorst M.A. ’87. The congress director was Blair Carlson ’74, and Dr. John Huffman, Jr. ’62 served as pastor-at-large while Dr. Kenneth Swetland ’59 provided prayer and counsel for all speakers. Wheaton also sent more than a dozen current students to serve as congress volunteers. These students served together with more than 300 other volunteers from more than 50 countries.
At an evening reception for Wheaton students and alumni during the Congress, President Emeritus Duane Litfin highlighted Wheaton’s participation at Cape Town 2010 as a powerful demonstration that the College’s mission statement is much more than a slogan. Returning home, he says, “It was an encouragement to me to see the long-standing commitment of the College to a worldwide influence for Christ so much in evidence at this Congress.”