A newsletter for friends of the Global Mission Institute, Luther Seminary

Global Vision - Fall 2010

View more articles in the Fall 2010 issue.

Celebrating Edinburgh 1910: The Call to Global Mission Remains

by Kirk Sandvig, '07; Laura Kaslow, Communication Specialist

One hundred years ago missionaries, church leaders and theologians worldwide gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland at the World Mission Conference to discuss issues facing Christian witness in the world. This June marked the centenary celebration of this historic gathering.

The focus remained on global mission, but the means of sharing information was vastly different. The conference, which took place June 2-6, showed tell-tale signs of changing times in the way technology was used. The 2010 global mission leaders planned for the conference through events, consultations and conversations for several months prior, most of which took place on the Web using social networking tools such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Luther Seminary alum Kirk Sandvig, '07, a delegate at the Edinburgh 2010 World Mission Conference, took on a prominent role by serving as the youth and mission coordinator. Sandvig is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh, New College, Center for the Study of World Christianity.

"On paper, my task as the youth and mission coordinator was really quite simple—to ensure that the voices of youth (those ages 18-30) were heard through their increased participation at Edinburgh 2010," Sandvig said. "The unfortunate reality is that, in my experiences, youth are often overlooked at many mission conferences, as (the conferences) tend to be dominated by retired missionaries. As a result, young missionaries and missiologists have been reluctant to openly express their thoughts."

Recognizing this, the organizers of Edinburgh 2010 made a committed effort to incorporate youth in the process.

Led by Sandvig, Edinburgh 2010 Youth were active for months prior to the event. Their work included:

  • An Online Consultation—Held through a Facebook page, the consultation addressed each of the nine study themes of the conference.

  • A Youth Writing Contest—Young people were given a creative opportunity to share their thoughts on issues of Christian witness. The top ten papers were published in Edinburgh 2010: Youth Perspectives, which Sandvig edited.

  • A Youth Multimedia Contest—This contest challenged younger people to think creatively about "The Changing Face of Mission." Submitted projects incorporated diverse forms of art and multimedia. A panel of theologians specialized in incorporating media and theology evaluated which submissions best illustrated the theme.

The winners of each contest received sponsored invitations to participate in the Edinburgh conference.

Throughout the conference, young delegates contributed through presentations and discussions relating to issues facing Christian witness in the various contexts of today's world. Many delegates also shared
their voice through the use of social media. YouTube videos and Facebook and Twitter updates were posted regularly throughout the conference, sharing the events of Edinburgh 2010 worldwide.

"Everyone had their own perspective and opinions that were shared and listened to by other delegates," Sandvig said. "It was clear that there is no such thing as a 'youth voice,' but many voices and each were considered thoughtfully during the discussions."

For more information about Edinburgh 2010 and to find publications relating to the conference, visit www.edinburgh2010.org.