The Global Consultation on World Evangelization by AD 2000 and Beyond
by Jay Gary, Project Coordinator for the Global Consultation
Why is this meeting being called?
In light of the great spiritual movements of God's people during biblical times to fulfill his purposes; in light of the remarkable way the Spirit of God has been moving in the last 25 years among the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America; in light of the magnitude of the unfinished task, but with quiet confidence of the possibilities for the completion of world evangelization if Christians cooperate with one another; and in light of the fact that many Christian denominations and organizations are already setting goals for world evangelization using AD 2000 as a milestone, the purposes of this consultation are as follows:
1. To accelerate the growing interest, attention, momentum and prayer in the body of Christ with regard to world evangelization by AD 2000.
2. To promote mutual encouragement and the exchange of information among denominations and agencies who are planning for world evangelization by AD 2000.
3. To encourage denominations and agencies who have yet to set AD 2000 goals, to set ones that are biblical, measurable and strategic.
4. To promote cooperative efforts in world evangelization among those planning around the milestone of AD 2000.
5. To lay the foundation for further consultations of this kind to be held at later dates at the regional and national level.
Who is convening this gathering?
What need does this consultation address?
Until recently, many people thought the AD 2000 movement was a Western phenomenon. But recent research has shown that more than a third of these 230 plans originate from the church in the Two-Thirds world. In addition, as we approach the decade of the '90s, many confessions and denominations are setting 10-year goals. This is truly a global evangelization movement. The twentieth century alone has seen, in addition to the 230 plans currently making headway, more than 300 plans emerge and eventually fall short of their mark to evangelize the world. According to David Barrett, researcher and author of the World Christian Encyclopedia, a common shortcoming of these plans was their relative isolation from the total worldwide body of Christ. Therefore, they ran out of steam.
This problem of isolation may still be true today. Barrett estimates that of the currently active 230 plans, fewer than 10 percent are communicating with one another. The vast majority are isolated, yet they sense the need to find points of connection. This consultation seeks to bring together leaders from many of these Great Commission networks, so that from their mutual encouragement and exchange of know-how, a greater work of coordination in world evangelization might emerge.
What do you expect to come out of this consultation?
It is hoped that several results will emerge. First and foremost, it is hoped that the relationship between the leaders of the relationship between the leaders of various Great Commission networks would be strengthened.
Second, it is hoped that this process of networking between leaders of different AD 2000 plans would continue at the continental and regional levels. Out of these relationships, regional and national consultations would emerge in the '90s to focus the church on world evangelization by AD 2000. These consultations would enable a whole different level of mission and church leaders to make their own plans to mobilize and evangelize their countries.
Third, it is hoped that a greater understanding of who is targeting unevangelized populations would emerge, preventing unnecessary duplication of efforts. Using global databases as clearinghouses, it is hoped that much light could be shed on the unfinished task of world evangelization, whether that be seen in terms of whole countries, large cities or groups of people.
Fourth, it is hoped that Christians everywhere who are committed to the cause of world evangelization would develop an increasing appreciation for the value of setting AD 2000 goals, which reflect the entire corporate giftedness of the worldwide body of Christ.
Will this be a working consultation?
A networking survey and study packet will be sent to participants in the months preceding the consultation. It is hoped that those who are able will gather with others to develop written reports of how they envision their region or continent to be mobilized for world evangelization as we approach AD 2000. It is hoped that these reports can be made available in time for the consultation in January.
Specifically, in terms of the four days, three mornings will be given over to Biblical exposition, practical input and discussion. The planning committee has designed these mornings around the sub-themes of "Dreaming," "Targeting," and "Fulfilling." Other times throughout the day will be given over to strategic networking with like-minded people.
Ultimately, this consultation is really a prayer, asking the Lord of the harvest for a greater anointing of the Spirit of the Great Commission on the worldwide body of Christ. No single denomination, mission agency or stand-alone plan can fulfill the Great Commission. The whole church must take the whole gospel to the whole world.
What makes this consultation so unique!
Second, this consultation has an exclusive focus on AD 2000. Although no eschatalogical importance is being attached to that year. Great Commission leaders worldwide have realized the symbolic importance of that year as a milestone around which to call the body of Christ to evangelize the world.
Third, the consultation has as its scope world evangelization, not just urban evangelization, or parish evangelization or, for that matter, personal evangelism. Specific emphasis will be placed on the role of the unfinished task of world evangelization, whether that is seen in terms of restricted-access countries, large cities, or unreached people groups. Since a majority of the participants will be from the Two-Thirds world, attention will be given to how new partnerships can emerge to strengthen the missionary movement emerging from that world.
How are participants being identified and invited?
Although the Consultation this January is being designed for a group of 300, it is hoped that hundreds of leaders could participate in the pro-consultation study program and that eventually thousands of leaders will attend a regional consultation on AD 2000 between 1989 and 1993.
What financial obligations will participants have?
How can I find out more about this?