Joshua Project 2000 Step 3:Sidebars Researching on Site & Preparing the Way for Church Planting
Sidebar 1 Final Thrust 5000: An Emerging Plan to Reach India's 187 Least- Evangelized Peoples
One of the already existing national strategies for reaching all the unreached of a nation through direct person-to-person, home-to-home contact (using evangelistic literature and recorded messages for illiterates) is India's Final Thrust 5000 (FT 5000), an evangelism initiative launched 36 months ago by Every Home for Christ, a key partner in the God's Word and Literature Network of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement.
FT 5000 seeks to mobilize 5,000 full-time pioneer missionaries in the next 16 months, of which 4,000 will be employed on the field in 400 sectors of India (1,200 have already been mobi- lized). Each of the 4,000 evangelists, who will visit every dwelling in their sector, will have a goal of planting 75 house fellowships of new believers over a five-year period (or a total of 300,000 "baby" churches -- called Christ Groups).
The other 1,000 workers in the plan will be involved in office administration focusing primarily on the follow-up of responses generated by FT 5000's goal of visiting every dwelling, literally, of all of India's 187 least evangelized peoples as well as the other cities, towns and villages of the nation.
At the start of the launching of FT 5000 in 1992, Every Home for Christ was experiencing the establishing of three new "Christ Groups" per day as the result of this cooperative effort that at the time included almost 30 agencies contributing full-time workers to the project.
Then came the intensive "Praying Through the Window I" campaign of October 1993 when an estimated 20,000,000 Christians prayed for the 10/40 Window, of which India is a central part. In the six months following this prayer thrust, FT 5000 saw the number of new churches planted increase by more than 500% to as many as 17 per day-- or 500 per month. FT 5000 has a minimum goal of planting at least 25 identifiable small church fellowships (Christ Groups), each with at least ten discipled believers, among all of the 187 least-evangelized peoples of India by 2000AD.
Sidebar 2 "Wait and See ...",
How do you reach people like the Sonha and the Thami? These people groups live in the Hindu kingdom of Nepal. Like others in this 10/40 Window country, they practice an animism mixed with Hindu and Buddhist concepts. They have nothing in writing in their language, and have never been exposed to the gospel. The answer in this case is to use evangelistic audio cassettes.
Gospel Recordings teamed up with Every Home for Christ and, together with some local Christians from Kathmandu, set out for the remote villages where the 10,000 Sonha live.
Cassettes were placed in the hands of Sonha who had never heard the gospel before. They were astonished that the cassettes spoke in their language. Initially 23 Sonha accepted the Lord as personal savior and made vows to live for Him only. A year later the Christians have grown to 60 in number.
The team that visited the 20,000 Thami reported: "It was like reaping a ripe harvest. Most everyone seemed eager to hear the gospel. People stood listening in the cold winter air until almost midnight. One old leader said, 'We aren't really Hindu or Buddhist. We don't have a religion, but this sounds good for all the Thami people. Wait and see ... we'll all become Christians!'"
Sidebar 3 Pilot Program in West Africa Violet Mtegha, lawyer turned evangelist, has developed a pilot program with the aim of training and sending West African women into unreached people groups by the middle of 1996. Some of the program's goals are:
To mobilize and intensify evangelism prayer for three unreached groups adopted by each national women's network.
To train women in prayer, evangelism, evangelistic Bible study and missions.
To send three groups of women on a fact-finding mission to each of the villages where a concentration of the targeted groups live.
To encourage short-term mission teams to return to the villages to communicate and explain the gospel. These teams will return to do evangelistic Bible studies and teach on prayer. Eventually a long- term missionary would stay in a village to continue evangelization and plant a church.
In order to share her vision, Mtegha plans to visit the following countries in four stages: 1) Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Conakry, Gambia, Senegal; 2) Ghana, Benin, Togo; 3) Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Chad, Guinea Equatorial, CAR; 4) Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger.
Sidebar 4 Radio Transcends Barriers in China by John Song - FEBC Korea Radio Pastor
Education in China is based on atheism and the evolution theory of man. In spite of this, the Far East Broadcasting Company receives countless letters from listeners who are forsaking the traditions of men and finding a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through the radio broadcasts. One program alone that is reaping a great harvest of souls and discipling and training leaders is called DAWN 2000. DAWN (Discipling A Whole Nation) works toward the goal of providing an evangelical congregation for every village and neighborhood of every class, kind and condition of man in the whole country.
Within a minority nationality in Gui Zhou, there are nearly 10,000 believers. Situated very far away from the city, there are no preachers or pastoral staff. They turn to the radio and record the programs they want to share with others. These are played during various gatherings, then carried over the mountains and shared with whole villages. One Chinese elder writes that this is his practice each week.
The particular strength of radio is its ability to transcend barriers. The broadcaster becomes a personal and trusted friend. Radio is cost effective and represents an enormous multiplication of effort. It is a living medium, giving the latest updates in news and current affairs. To the illiterate, radio is his primary source of information and education. Through radio, listening believers gather together, forming a church, without bringing in alien groups and thus experiencing ostracism. The overall growth of the Church in China from 1949 to 1987 is 11 percent. This fact gives us, as radio broadcasters and church planters, great hope for the future. Let us not grow weary in well doing!
Sidebar 5 A Muslim Touched by Partnerships
Achmed, a man in a "closed" Islamic country, came to Christ after having had contact with five different ministries. In this strategic partnership radio, personal correspondence, literature, Bible correspondence courses and personal follow-up by a visiting national evangelist all played a part. The key was, they all knew about each other, spoke well of each other, prayed for each other, and respected each other's roles. Most important, they sensitively passed Achmed along to each other as he was ready to take the next step in his journey of faith.