This is an article from the May-June 1992 issue: Are We Losing the Battle or Just Being Poisoned by Pessimism?

Adopt-A-People: The Global Strategy to reach all of the Unreached Peoples

Adopt-A-People: The Global Strategy to reach all of the Unreached Peoples

As we work toward the goal of a Church for every people by the year 2000 many questions arise. One such question is; how do we meet this goal in an effective, efficient coordinated manner that prevents any unreached people from being left out?

The Adopt-A-People concept is a strategy that is designed to answer this question. But in the implementation of this strategy problems can still arise as various agencies launch out on their own to reach the unreached. Without adequate organization, coordination and cooperation, missionaries could still find themselves tripping over each other and stepping on each others' toes while many are still being neglected.

This is why the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse has developed a Global Strategy and plans for developing networks to effectively implement the Adopt-A-People concept. I believe that the following plan will provide the needed organization and coordination of mission efforts.


We have now identified over 6,000 people groups by their ethnic origin or native language as being unreached and adoptable. These peoples can be identified by a proper name and a geographical location, and they comply with at least one of these five criteria:

  1. They have not heard the Gospel.
  2. They have not responded to the Gospel.
  3. They have no indigenous church or church-movement.
  4. They do not have the Word of God translated into their mother tongue.
  5. They do not have the Word of God available.

To reach every people group we need to engage different components. In a way we can say that there are "four players in the game." The first one is, of course, the people group itself, the adoptee.

The second one is the prayer warrior, the local church--the adoptors. There are in North America alone over 50 evangelical churches (adding up to at least 5,000 born again believers) for every adoptable unreached people group!

The third one is the missionary sending agency. And the last, but not least, is the native cooperative churches that are close to the adoptee --the targeted people.

When we view a North American campaign to see all these groups adopted and the four players engaged, it looks fairly simple and straight forward, and it is easy to understand:

300,000 churches for 6,000 people groups = 50 churches per group.

But a free choice of "pick whichever you like" most likely would lead to massive adoption of only the well- known 100 or so peoples and little attention would be paid to the 5900 that would still remain hidden. Our proposal is that the AAP Clearinghouse assign a people to all the churches, in the following manner:

We have divided the U.S. into 6000 zipcode clusters each with about 50 churches and each with one assigned people group. We know of course that nearly all of these churches are already involved in some missionary activity, and some may have already adopted a people. However, we believe that at least one church in each of the "zip- groups" will want to adopt this people for PRAYER. We are looking, therefore, for that one church who is willing to become an AMBASSADOR for the assigned people group.

We will provide that praying church with a Profile or a Prayer Card on their adopted people, and we will encourage and challenge them to embark on an exciting exploration to find out more about this hitherto unknown people group. Because we believe in prayer--that is all we ask on their behalf; no money, no joining anything new--just committed intercession for an unreached people group and everyone involved in reaching it.

Since the plan for penetrating all the people groups involves dozens of countries and many members of the Body of Christ, who until now have had little if any inter-communication at all, it is clear that we need several levels of networks.

The most basic network involves those seeking to penetrate and establish a beachhead for the gospel in one of the unreached people groups. Around one people group as a "hub in a wheel" there are many "spokes" thatneed to be connected in at least the sharing of information. But hopefully they will also be cooperating and coordinating with one another.

There might be five different agencies and ten missionaries or relief agencies from three different countries working with four different indigenous churches, all involved in accomplishing the goal of reaching the one adopted people group. Then there is the communication back to their supporters that needs to be consistent, true and not contradictory, if the work is to be sustained and maintain credibility.

When we see the different individuals, agencies, churches and nationalities networking and targeting the individual people groups A. B.C...Z in one region of the world, we can see a clear need for the first level, the people group networks, to link together. Resources like: research, literature, radio, film and personnel as well as transportation, communication, etc., can be commonly shared. Duplication and waste can be minimized and a "flood" of activities in one area can be avoided when there is "drought" in other parts. Because of the political and cultural sensitivity and security risks in the regions of the world where the remaining unreached peoples are located, we need to show caution and sometimes restraint.

We need all the joint wisdom, knowledge and information that our brothers and sisters can master. Church history abounds with case studies of how selfish publicity seekers have come like "elephants in a porcelain store" and in a single crusade torn down years of painstakingly built confidence and good relations.

We need to pray for the native coordinators of the different regions to keep their integrity when the zealots from around the world and the almighty dollar are pressuring them to compromise.

To prevent the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse in Pasadena, from becoming a clogged bottleneck for information and activity, we have divided the world into eleven regions. Each region will have one organization operating as a full service Adopt A-People office, lead by nationals. They are in all matters the coordinators and advisors inside their region and for their region to the other regional offices as well as the central Clearinghouse.

These Global Regions are:
1. North America
2. Latin America and the Caribbean,,
3. Europe, east and west including the Baltic States
4. Commonwealth of Independent States and Georgia
5. Far east Asia
6. Southeast Asia
7. Middle south Asia
8. North Africa and the Middle East
9. Africa South of Sahara,
10. Australia and Oceania
11. Arctic and Antarctic

The third level is the Global Network. This would involve communication and coordination of efforts between the various regional coordinators. There is a great need of interaction between the different regions.

For instance, when a Brazilian church wants to send short term missionaries to a West African people group, perhaps the regional coordinator for Africa south of the Sahara could match them up with a neglected group in need of exactly their qualifications. It is of course both more convenient and cost efficient for the Brazilians to communicate with their native speaking coordinator for Latin America whose responsibility it is to stay in contact with the other regional coordinators. It is easy to see how direct access from every church or agency to every one else would rapidly clog the system and thus make cooperation and coordination impossible.

These networks will, if so desired, also function for other interdenominational communication and interaction. We believe these networks are essential to our ultimate success as the Adopt-A-People concept builds momentum all over the world.

I welcome your comments and interaction with us at the Clearinghouse as we move forward together to get this job done with the greatest speed and effectiveness possible.


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