AD2000 Movement Leaders Declare:
It STILL Can Be Done By AD2000!
Thirty-five functional leaders and founders of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement met in Colorado Springs from May 12-14 to assess progress and discuss the next two and a half years of the movement. In the first session, C. Peter Wagner, director of the AD2000 Prayer Track, asked a spontaneous question, which set the tone for the entire three days.
"With thirty-one months to go, do we still have faith that that there will be ‘a church for every people and the Gospel for every person by the year 2,000'? And if we believe it, what are the indicators that give us that faith?" After a momentary pause, several leaders answered a rapid and enthusiastic "Yes!" with many reports to give substance to the hope that, as God gave the vision, He is also bringing it to fruition. But others added that it will happen only as the whole Body of Christ becomes obedient to the task.
As the leaders assessed the rapid progress of the Gospel since the inception of AD2000, both on an individual and peoples level, they could easily see that through God all things truly are possible. Excitement built as they presented current assessment of the twin objectives, in many cases ahead of anticipated goalposts for 1998, and developed plans for the final phase leading to the year 2000.
Using the results of a year-long survey by the AD2000 and Beyond Movement International Office, the group focused on the remaining peoples still lacking a church planting team in their midst. A small coalition of leaders presented and worked on a new plan to encourage frontier church planting by agencies already working nearby, and if necessary, to provide seed money from their own organizations to launch the new teams. Another group revealed a plan to assess the status of "the Gospel for every person" using a web-based information-gathering site to be named "World Harvest Information Systems."
Both of these assessments will be complete in time for the worldwide gathering in Jerusalem at the end of 2000. As the updated status is presented as a mosaic, the remaining task will stand out clearly for addressing in the next century. While the movement has focused on the peoples greater than 10,000 in population through Joshua Project 2000, future efforts will include smaller groups as well.
Repeatedly, the necessity of prayer emerged as a major theme, from the movement's beginning and into the future. Michael Little (Christian Broadcasting Network) and Vonette Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ) are leading the effort for Praying Through the Window IV, a global prayer initiative in 1999 to focus on the 62 nations of the 10/40 window.* In addition to the "Prayer Calendar" which has guided each event, participants may also obtain detailed information in a book and CD/ROM combination which will describe the 3,000 "Strategic Towns" throughout the region. The previous Praying Through the Windows, held in 1993, 1995, and 1997, have each mobilized 20 to 30 million participants to pray for the needs of the 10/40 Window. This has opened up territories to the Gospel in ways that would have been unimagined just a dozen years ago: new governments, technology which cannot be "stopped at the borders," and new missionaries from unexpected sources.
John Robb of World Vision presented an initiative, Joshua Harvest: All Peoples All Persons, which will focus on all remaining unreached peoples and is expected to flow into the next century. While it will be built on the foundation of AD2000, participants agreed to the "term limit" of the original AD2000 constitution, and are waiting upon God to raise up new leadership to champion its vision. Ron Rowland of SIL provided an overview of the database to support this initiative.
Eric Watt of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) spoke of his organization's shift to focus its effort and its budget on the 10/40 window with a new emphasis on partnership.
"Celebrate Messiah 2000" will be the vision watchword for the AD2000 and Beyond Movement as it completes its prescribed circuit. Originally seen as a single event scheduled for the Holy Land at the culmination of the millenium, it is now mushrooming into a series of events and initiatives in various countries, with concurrent events perhaps linked by satellite. The event itself, with the proposed subtitle "Third Millennial Launch, From Jerusalem to the Uttermost" invites world Christians to gather in Jerusalem for reconciliation, worship, strategic assessment, and a call to prayer, consecration and commissioning for mission in the next century.
Surprisingly, the primary roadblocks to world evangelization discussed at the meeting were not seen to lie primarily in numbers of missionaries, supplies, finances, or methods. Everyone agreed that, as was revealed in many ways, God is able to work in astounding ways "on His Own," in response to united prayer. He is fully capable of revealing Himself to all in an instant. But, according to John 17, God considers it a necessity for the Whole Body of Christ to develop His heart for the nations before He will complete the entire task. He brings tremendous power to any willing to "just show up to do the job." The primary roadblocks to world evangelization were cited as being disinterest, self-absorption, and lukewarmness within the Body of Christ in the West. As Lorry Lutz, AD2000 Women's Track Director said, "America has lots of money, but where is the vision for the lost?"
Nevertheless several attendees told stories of the hardships new brethren in the 10/40 window are willing to endure in order to spread the gospel, others spoke of special abilities of those often overlooked. "God is raising an army of nameless people," said participant Jureg Opprecht from Switzerland. South African, Brother Daniel, leader of the Poor and Needy Track, spoke of the success of the extreme poor as missionaries, while Salvadoran Mercedes Dalton of the Women's Track emphasized the gifting of women. Eric Watt, of CBN called them the "new wineskins." Watt concluded his remarks "Are we going to be a part of what God is going to do over the next two years? Not whether it will happen, but can we flex and change so as to participate?"
The AD2000 and Beyond Movement idea began in 1989 in the heart of Thomas Wang, then the International Chairman of the Lausanne Committee. He perceived that, as God had led many organizations to target the year 2000 for their ministry goals, He was calling Christians to work together, rather than independently, to achieve them. Today hundreds of AD2000-affiliated networks, with various foci, are operating in countries and internationally to bring strategic cooperation, direction, and energy to frontier mission efforts. Dr. Luis Bush is the International Director of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement.
As Peter Wagner exclaimed, "The Book of Acts was a pilot project for what God would do through AD2000. What God is going to do in the future will make AD2000 look like a pilot project!"
*The 10/40 Window is an imaginary frame stretching between 10 degrees and 40 degrees north of the equator in the Eastern Hemisphere. This area is home to the greatest concentration of the world's most spiritually and physically needy people.