MF Behind the Scenes
Just Three Years Left! What Can Be Accomplished?
The end of this century and the arrival of a new millenium draw ever closer. It is now just three years to the year 2000 and some are beginning to wonder if anything meaningful can be accomplished by then. But tremendous forces for World Evangelization have been unleashed by the growing AD2000 and Beyond Movement and the networks of Christian leaders that make it up. In this issue of Mission Frontiers we talk about two forces that have the potential of altering what is possible by the year 2000 and beyond.
GCOWE '97--South Africa
The first of these forces is an event: the upcoming gathering of 4,000 Christian leaders in Pretoria, South Africa for the opening of GCOWE '97 (the Global Consultation on World Evangelization) on June 30th. Building on the momentum from GCOWE '95 in Seoul Korea, Willie Crew and the South African organizers have pulled together ten consultations that will run concurrently. See his article on page 7. As you read through the descriptions of these ten meetings on pages 9- 16, which range from mission executives to worship leaders, you will notice something quite remarkable. Despite the tremendous breadth of ministry and business representation, there is an almost unanimous focus on helping to reach the unreached peoples and on developing partnerships to reach them. This emphasis on developing partnerships is the second major force that could significantly alter what we can hope to accomplish by the year 2000. An important aspect of GCOWE '97 is the fact that these leaders from many different backgrounds are realizing that it is every believer's responsibility to be involved in using their respective gifts and abilities to reach the unreached peoples. This is a quantum leap forward in thinking.
Strategic Partnerships to Reach Every People--Is It Possible?
Over the last several years, Dr. Winter has called on mission agency leaders to come together, to divide up responsibility for reaching all of the unreached peoples, and to improve cooperation and coordination of their efforts so that no people group on earth would be without a Christian witness.
The mission leaders meeting at GCOWE '97 is a fulfillment of this dream. It is only the second time since 1910 that just mission leaders have met on a global level. A significant emphasis at this meeting will be to encouraging the development of agency partnerships to reach the unreached peoples. See the interview with Avery Willis, co-chair of this meeting, starting on page 17.
Is it possible in the next three years, that we could see a strategic partnership of mission agencies established to reach each of the unreached peoples? Only time will tell, but there is currently an unprecedented and increasing level of global collaboration in missions. Is this the answer to the prayer of Jesus?
In John 17:23 Jesus prayed that His followers would be brought to oneness so that the world would believe that God the Father had sent Him. Phill Butler of Interdev makes the point, "Except for the Great Commission itself, this is one of the strongest comments Jesus made on missions. He hinged the credibility of our mission message on our oneness in Him." Phill Butler's article starting on page 27 explains how strategic partnerships can help bring a oneness of purpose and power to the mission of the Church.
Is this the moment in history when the prayer of Jesus will be fulfilled? Whether it is or not, we should all strive to break down the barriers of pride and distrust that have kept the global Body of Christ divided and unable to reach the unreached peoples.
With the encouraging focus of GCOWE '97 on the unreached peoples and the forming of new partnerships to reach them, there is no limit to what God can do by the year 2000.