Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit authored the foreword of the WCC Conference on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) Resource Book. Below, Tveit is featured in an interview that reflects on how we are all called to transformation.

The theme of the CWME, which will occur in Arusha, Tanzania on 8-13 March, is “Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship.

Q: In what way is the call to follow Jesus a call to transformation?

Rev. Dr Tveit: The call to follow Jesus Christ has always been a call to transformation. The first followers of Jesus — after being transformed again and again in the dramatic realities of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus — were asked to be disciples by making disciples. Nothing remained as it was and nobody remained who they were or where they were when they followed the call of Jesus Christ to share the gospel.

Q: How are unity and mission related?

Rev. Dr Tveit: The gospel is always to be shared as a message of surprising and sustainable joy coming from God and given to all people. The God of life transforms through creating, saving, liberating, and giving life — from the beginning to end of the world, every day. The church is called to participate in this transforming fellowship of love, to be one, so that the world may believe. In this way, unity and mission are always related.

Q: How does transformation happen?

Rev. Dr Tveit: If we are moved by the Holy Spirit in the work for transformation of the world, then we will experience also the transformation of ourselves. The disciples of Jesus Christ cannot pull back from the realities of the world. It is there — in the real challenges in “real time” here and now — that the world needs committed disciples working for transformation in love.

Transformation happens through our encounters with one another. There is a potential for transformation for every human being when we live in open and mutually accountable relationships.

Q: How is transformation intricately tied to the history of the World Council of Churches?

Rev. Dr Tveit: Transformation has been the ambitious objective of the World Council of Churches through its first 70 years. We have been seeking the change of love that promotes justice and peace. We are striving toward the life-giving unity that God has created us for as human beings and as churches.

Transformation has also always been the ambitious objective of the mission movement. The mission of God is one of transformation, not of division. Therefore, we are called to contribute to transformation in the world toward faith, hope, and love — together. Today there is an opportunity to find new expression of our unity in our participation in the mission of God.

Learn more about the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism

Download free photos from the CWME and accompanying events (password: WCC)

Conference on World Mission and Evangelism a “meeting point" between different faiths (WCC press release of 2 February 2018)

At mission conference, “let us tune ourselves to the rhythm of the Holy Spirit” (WCC press release of 8 February 2018)