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The next CWME took place in Melbourne, Australia, in 1980. Reflecting on the theme "Your kingdom come", the conference insisted on the particular role of the poor and churches of the poor in God's mission. Influenced by the Latin American liberation theologies, the delegates highlighted the radical aspects of the kingdom message, and the serious challenge it threw to traditional missiology and mission programmes. Other aspects of Melbourne however also deserve recognition. There was ground-breaking work done on evangelism and on the church as healing community in the section dealing with the church's witness. The conference also highlighted how Christ's choice of vulnerability and way to the cross challenges the use of power, in political, church and mission life.

Many of Melbourne's insights are to be found in the document Mission and Evangelism - An Ecumenical Affirmationadopted in 1982, which remains the fundamental text on mission for the WCC.