The Ongoing Impact of Tokyo 2010
The Tokyo 2010 Global Mission Consultation was a watershed moment in mission history. The Tokyo Declaration, a product of that consultation, took what had occurred up until that time and what was occurring then, and put it into context. Discipleship became a focused commitment with an evolving understanding of what discipleship really looks like on personal and corporate levels. Before 2010 few were talking about “discipleship” as a core task in missions. Today there has been a proliferation of attention given to it.
The subsequent explosion of the number of local churches and increasing collaboration between them and the mission community has been nothing short of phenomenal. We now have the advantage of a 10-year perspective that shows how important the event itself and the Declaration has become in history.
At the close of the Tokyo 2010 Global Mission Consultation in May of 2010, the 1000 international delegates took a decisive step to adopt the Tokyo Declaration as a commitment and guiding document for Great Commission obedience and collaboration. The last paragraph of the Tokyo Declaration includes these words: “To facilitate cooperation and on-going coordination between mission structures worldwide, we agree to the necessity of a global network of mission structures.”
Previous to that, missiologist Ralph Winter advocated for years for a global level association of mission agencies. Accordingly, he was closely involved in the planning of the Tokyo 2010 Consultation with the hopes that the gathering of global delegates would launch such a network.
With this background, the Tokyo 2010 Planning Committee was acutely aware that holding the conference was the easiest part of the mission before them. The more demanding task was the fulfillment of Winter’s vision for a functioning, effective, and lasting global network. As a response to that challenge, the Global Great Commission Network—Carrying Tokyo 2010 Forward emerged in August 2011. Since then the Global Great Commission Network (GGCN) has been working to put reality to the expectations of Tokyo 2010, with the Tokyo Declaration as the foundation for global cooperation.
The world of missions and the reality of global connectivity have changed greatly since Winter envisioned a global level association. In response, the Tokyo 2010 planning committee opened the Tokyo 2010 Consultation to churches and individuals. Since then the GGCN has continued in that vein. The Tokyo Declaration highlighted a pledge that reads in part:
We confess that we have not always valued each other or each other’s work. We repent of those wrongs and will endeavor to bring an end to competition where it exists, and reconcile where there is hurt, misunderstanding and mistrust… We will respect all mission-engaging individuals and groups as special vessels for God’s glory, each endowed with abilities that extend His Kingdom in multiple ways… we recognize that finishing the task will demand effective cooperative efforts of the entire global body of believers.
It is upon the foundation of this confession, repentance, and vision that the GGCN exists.
Global Great Commission Network Activity since 2011
The Tokyo 2010 Global Mission Consultation was intended to be the beginning of a movement to see all peoples discipled in this generation. For the past nine years GGCN has served mission associations, agencies, churches, individuals, networks, and other ministries globally who share this same vision. Our core purpose is to provide a place for like-minded Great Commission individuals and ministries to connect, communicate and collaborate. It is important to note that we do not compete with other networks and ministries but rather strive to support them.
Additionally, GGCN acknowledges from Matthew 28:19 both the breadth (all peoples) and depth (make disciples) of the Church’s unfinished task and pledges to champion and obey this aspect of the Great Commission. We seek to discover where people remain unreached, overlooked, ignored or forgotten.
Values of the GGCN
The following six values are at the core of what we are about:
- The Global Church in all its God-honoring expressions: we acknowledge that God is on mission, drawing all peoples unto Himself. The GGCN exists to champion the redemptive cause of Christ and the means by which His followers participate— making disciples among all peoples of the world.
- Collaboration and Synergy: we believe in the necessity of collaboration in the body of Christ and the power of synergy this creates for the completion of the Great Commission.
- Relationships: we believe it takes relationships to make partnerships possible. This requires mutual respect, ongoing communication, encouraging innovation, learning together, including the sharing of ideas, experiences, research and resources and, most of all, love. We understand we are a global Church and mission force, valuing face-to-face interaction. We also understand that if we are to connect, communicate, and collaborate in a significant way, we must leverage technology to do so.
- Local Expressions in a Global Movement: GGCN is a part of a Global mission movement; however our desire is to see connection, communication, and collaboration occurring on a local, grassroots level.
- Ethnic diversity, championing equality in Great Commission endeavors: The Tokyo Declaration acknowledges that “Missions is no longer the predominant domain of Western Christianity” and that “we rejoice that today’s mission force is global in composition, bearing a diversity of thought, practice and resources that enriches and energizes Christ’s global Cause as never before.” We believe every voice is to be valued and considered equally important.
- Unity in Diversity: we acknowledge our diversity and value the differences in the Church. We conclude that “the present-day mission task is so large and complex that no one church, agency, national missions movement or regional mission block can take it on alone or independently.” It is imperative that we commit ourselves to intentionally forming strategic relationships, not only with those to whom we are similar, but with those who represent the diverse activities associated with mission. We exist to encourage these relationships and to foster them whenever possible.
GGCN has picked up the momentum generated by the Tokyo 2010 Consultation. That includes the vision to see every people group reached and in the process of being discipled in this generation. GGCN has done this by promoting discipleship resources and collaboration to reach unreached people groups including collaborative internet tools with a focus on local, grassroots mobilization and training.
Administratively, GGCN is led by a Global Steering Team which includes some of the original Tokyo 2010 planning committee members, along with other Tokyo 2010 delegates, with a growing percentage of non-western participation. We have an increasing involvement from grassroots participation on the committee, especially from Asia and Africa.
Tools and Services GGCN Provides
As stated earlier, most GGCN activity is initiated at the local, grassroots level. However, there are a growing number of tools that GGCN provides free of charge to Great Commission workers and ministries worldwide. These include:
Tokyo 2010 follow-up
GGCN maintains the archives of the Tokyo 2010 Global Mission Consultation at http://www.ggcn.org. This site includes videos and pictures, papers, original and updated presentations, and reviews of Tokyo 2010. These can be directly accessed at https://www.ggcn.org/ tokyo-2010-gmc/.
One of the primary outcomes of Tokyo 2010 was the crafting and adopting of the Tokyo Declaration. GGCN has continued to promote the Declaration by providing several translations. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to sign the Declaration online. Over the years hundreds of Great Commission Christians have pledged themselves and/or their organizations to the commitments of the Tokyo Declaration.
Connect is a safe, neutral, online platform committed to facilitating conversations between individuals and various entities with group discussions, information sharing and much more. All registrations are screened carefully to verify the authenticity of members’ interest in Great Commission activities.
Connect is also a place that introduces individuals to the variety of components that make up the mission world and provides a platform to interact and collaborate with one another. The hope is that through Connect users will discover the resources, the information, and the tools to assist them in fulfilling their calling as they interact with others.
The ultimate goal is that as people connect and communicate, it will lead to increased collaboration between ministries, agencies, networks and individuals. We believe that collaboration is a key to making disciples of the nations. Through Connect, one is able to champion a cause, raise awareness, share needs, create projects and plan outreaches and events. Connect is also a place where individual ministries have the opportunity to promote their ministries and callings, learn from others, make their own resources available, and glean information from the knowledge and resources of others. Registration for Connect can be found at connect.ggcn.org.
In alignment with the vision of discipling all peoples, the GGCN offers an online discipleship survey for either individuals or groups, which provides an instant report and feedback on one’s personal understanding and practice of evangelism and discipleship. The survey can be accessed at http://www.ggcn.org/discipleshipsurvey-about.
The potential for sharing and learning from each other is unlimited. Regional representatives hold local training events that draw local pastors and other mission workers, many of whom don’t have the ability to connect and hear from others online or otherwise. We desire to make available the many global voices that are emerging around the world from whom we all need to learn. We seek to expand the cooperative efforts built around Unreached People Groups, bringing missionaries, pastors, churches, agencies, networks, businessmen and others to proactively cooperate to see Unreached People Groups reached. The Tokyo Declaration ends with a pledge:
Therefore, as representatives of this generation’s global mission community, we pledge to obey the Great Commission. We covenant together to use all that God has entrusted to us in this obedience. We will seek to know where people are unreached, overlooked, ignored, or forgotten.
God requires this generation to match the reality of the unfinished task before us with a willingness to humbly collaborate as we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide and bless our efforts in His redemptive mission.
To connect, communicate and collaborate through GGCN, or to explore other ways GGCN can be of service, we encourage Great Commission Christians, agencies, churches and organizations of all callings in any part of the world to consider engaging in the following ways:
- Sign the Tokyo Declaration online at: https://www ggcn..org/tokyo-declaration/
- Join with others in your area and region to facilitate GGCN activities and ministries. To get started see the ‘Regional GGCN’ listings on the http://www.ggcn.org menu
- Join Connect and take a lead in sharing and discussions at connect.ggcn.org
- Volunteer for regional, area, and local GGCN steering team opportunities (see https://www.ggcn org/v.olunteer or email [email protected])
- Share resources you have produced or are aware of on Connect and/or by contacting [email protected].
Working together and encouraging one another as our Lord has instructed is an imperative for all engaged in Great Commission ministries. Together let’s seek ways to live out this truth in the spirit of Tokyo 2010 as we endeavor to engage the unreached and make disciples of the nations.
Overview of Other Articles
The articles and information in this issue of Mission Frontiers include updates from:
- Two Tokyo 2010 plenary speakers (Paul Eshleman and Kevin Higgins)
- Another plenary speaker and a primary author of the Tokyo Declaration (Marvin Newell)
- Two coordinators of GGCN’s regional/grassroots expressions (Paul Radha Krishnan and Ferdinand Nweke)
- The Unreached Peoples Prayer Task Force at Tokyo 2010 (Liz Adleta)
Throughout this issue it is our intent to communicate the value that “every voice is equally important” in finishing the task that remains before us of “Making Disciples of Every People in our Generation.” That includes valuing the many global voices that make up part of our Lord’s powerful Church. He is calling His Church to connect, communicate, and collaborate in new ways that have never before been possible.