This is an article from the November-December 1992 issue: Building the Mission Bridge

13,000 Meet in Lagos Nigeria for AD2000

The Largest Meeting of Pastors Ever!

13,000 Meet in Lagos Nigeria for AD2000

This is a personal account of a remarkable event--the Church Growth Conference for Africa held in the International Bible Training Center near Lagos, Nigeria, August 5-11, 1992.

The figures were all but unbelievable. Some 13,000 pastors from 45 African nations, and representing 2,146 denominations, registered. In preparation, William Kumuyi, the host of the conference, had just completed the construction of his International Bible Training Center on the outskirts of Lagos. The meeting hall seats 15,000 with an impeccable state-of-the-art sound system. The two largest dormitories sleep 3,500 each. With a membership of 80,000 adults and 40,000 children it ranks as the world's third largest church.

The focus of the conference was effective evangelism based on spiritual warfare and saturation church planting. As the days went by, the massive group developed ownership of the AD2000 vision and goals, including united prayer, the Day to Change the World, and the March for Jesus. By the final morning virtually all 13,000 were prepared to affix their signature to an "Africa 2000 Declaration" first drafted by Luis Bush and edited, not only by the leaders but amazingly, by an orderly evening plenary session of 13,000 chaired by William Kumuyi, the pastor of the Deeper Life Bible Church of Lagos, Nigeria.

Before I left the USA for Nigeria, I had no reason to suspect that this event would be much different from scores of other pastor's conferences I have done over the years. Except, that is, for some very strong words from two or three of our prayer partners just as I was getting ready to go. They urged me to take extraordinary measures to build prayer support this time because God was preparing to do remarkable things during this conference. Neither I nor the intercessors had any idea of the details, but Doris and I followed their suggestions and activated all the rapid deployment prayer forces we were in touch with. The prophetic words of the intercessors were certainly validated.

What started out as an ordinary church growth conference became the launching pad for the AD2000 Movement in Africa. The story behind this is rather remarkable. The Lord was working to bring leaders of various backgrounds together, even when it was uncomfortable.

African Independent Churches

Christian churches in Africa can roughly be divided into two groupings: mission churches and independent churches. The mission churches, as the name suggests, can trace their origin to Western mission agencies such as Anglicans, Baptists, Sudan Interior Mission, African Inland Mission, etc.. The independent churches have sprung up from the African soil with no ties to Western missions or churches. Kumuyi is pastor of an independent African church.

I am not sure of the chronology, but certainly by the 1980s, and probably long before, African independent churches as a group were outgrowing the mission churches, and the differential continues to increase.

At first these independent churches were viewed with suspicion by both western and African mission church leaders. Several scholars, led by British missiologist Harold Turner, studied this phenomenon in depth and concluded that it was a mistake to put them all into the same stereotype. Turner said the chief variable was whether they accepted the Bible as God's word. After discussion with my Fuller colleagues I concluded that Kumuyi's Deeper Life Bible Church was likely one of the more orthodox ones.

I first met William Kumuyi at the 1989 Lausanne II meeting in Manila. It was there that I made a personal decision about Africa. I told Kumuyi that I wanted my first visit to West Africa to be with the Deeper Life Bible Church. He was happy with that, but suggested that if I came for a church growth conference we might get other churches to co-sponsor it. We particularly discussed the ECWA (Evangelcal Church of West Africa) which were numerous and had been birthed from SIM International. I sensed that God wanted me to take the risk and go with Kumuyi as host.

Then God orchestrated a remarkable scenario. On the airplane from the Philippines to Nigeria William Kumuyi sat next to Panya Baba, currently president of ECWA. With myself as a mutual friend, the relationship between Baba and Kumuyi blossomed. They became deeply appreciative of and committed to each other.

It took from 1989 to 1992 to sense the Lord's timing for the church growth conference we had agreed upon. In the interim the most significant new development in the worldwide church was the emergence of the AD2000 Movement. Luis Bush's invitation to to lead the AD2000 United Prayer Track brought about a radical change in our ministry. The nature of the AD2000 Movement makes it the most inclusive evangelistically-oriented agency ever to appear in Christendom. It accepts anyone as long as they are born again and have a desire to evangelize the world. One of the first things I did was to invite William Kumuyi to serve as African Regional Representative for the whole Prayer Track. This was a risk. I definitely did not want to anything to alienate the mission churches.

A Greater Risk

Then Luis Bush took an even greater risk. He invited Kumuyi to be the coordinator for the entire AD2000 Movement for the African continent. The last thing that Luis and I wanted to do would be to alienate mainline evangelicals represented by the AEAM (Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar)

We knew about and depended strongly on the bridge which had been built between William Kumuyi and Panya Baba, a highly influential figure in AEAM. Then came a key person, Reuben Ezemandu, another Nigerian, the leader of the Association of African Mission Agencies, counterpart to IFMA. AEAM had set up an AD2000 Task Force and asked Ezemandu to chair it. This brought Ezemandu and Kumuyi together and through the mediation of Luis Bush they agreed to work closely together in AD2000. Ezemandu not only graciously agreed that Kumuyi should be the top African leader for the AD2000 Movement, but he also invited him to be the Executive Secretary of his AEAM AD2000 Task Force. What I have just described is one of the most remarkable developments in recent Third World church history. It could have been done only by God. No human planning could have designed it. This close cooperation made the conference a success.


This experience, more than any I can remember outside of Korea, says to the Christian world that this is a new day. When leadership like this rises up from the two-thirds world we can rest assured that the advance of the Kingdom of God does not depend on resources from the Western World alone, but that God has prepared a mighty army on all six continents for the final assault against the strongholds of the enemy. It gives great hope that the goal of AD2000--"A Church For Every People And The Gospel For Every Person By AD2000"--can and will be accomplished.

(Dr. C. Peter Wagner is professor of Church Growth at Fuller Seminary's School of World Mission in Pasadena CA. and Chairman of the AD2000 Movement's United Prayer Track.)


Africa 2000 Declaration August 11, 1992


  1. We therefore commit ourselves to boldly seize this crucial moment to cooperate with what the Holy Spirit is doing and with one another by seeking to call all the members of our churches and all biblically based churches throughout Africa to the glorious task before us.
  2. We commit ourselves to the goal of a church for every people and the gospel for every person in Africa by the year 2000. By this we mean that we will seek by any legitimate means possible, to make the gospel available to every African in a language they can understand by the year 2000. We will pray and work towards the goal of seeing Africa, south of the Sahara, predominantly Christian by the year 2000.
  3. In addition, we commit ourselves to establishing a church planting movement in every country and in every one of the hundreds of unreached people groups which have been by-passed and are separated by language and culture. Further, we commit ourselves to the goal of seeing Christ become incarnate in the life of a vital congregation in every city of every country in Africa by the year 2000. For this we commit ourselves to train and send 10,000 African missionaries cross- culturally by the year 2000 and to establish a strong missionary movement in every country of Africa.
  4. We commit ourselves to join with millions of Christians around the world in "10/40 Focus 93" (a month of massive prayer focused on the 10/40 Window) to prepare and then to pray with fasting including a total of some 5 million African intercessors during the entire month of October 1993 for spiritual breakthroughs, the bringing down of spiritual strongholds, the preparing of a harvest and the raising up of workers for all the countries, people groups, and cities in the 10/40 Window. On the last Saturday of October 1993 which is the 30th we will join with the example of our Japanese brothers and sisters who are planning a rally of 60,000 in a stadium in Osaka by organizing a final prayer rally in stadiums in cities across each country of Africa for the 10/40 Window.
  5. We commit ourselves to follow up the Africa 2000 conference held in Lagos with AD2000 country conferences in every one of the 54 countries of Africa from June 8-10 1993 in the same spirit and with the same principles, starting with a two-day seminar in February 1993 of national representatives/key leaders of various churches in each country to develop a national framework for action to plan activities and to set milestone objectives. On June 11 we will hold a whole day seminar to prepare for the 10/40 Focus '93 in October. Then we will join together with millions of Christians around the world in every African country in Marches for Jesus on June 12, 1993.
  6. We commit ourselves to participate in the activities related to the Day to Change the World, June 25, 1995, with special emphasis on joining in the prayer with fasting for the 10/40 Window in the entire month of June and also join Christians around the world with a total of some five million African marchers in every capital city of every African country and 500 other cities in Africa with Marches for Jesus to praise God and to bring about a total well being of the city.
  7. Finally, recognizing the value of being networked with like-minded Christians from other countries around the world along interest and ministry lines we express our commitment to develop resource networks within our countries and to link up with the sixteen global tracks of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement in the following interest areas: mobilization of united prayer, saturation church planting, unreached peoples and Bible translation, least evangelized cities, mobilization of national research, cross-cultural missionary raining, radio evangelism to the unreached, mobilization of women, mobilization of young people , spiritual mapping to understand and make known the spiritual battle ground we are fighting on, theological issues, mobilization of sports evangelism, creative access missions including tent-makers, the mobilization of the laity, and Bible distribution and literature evangelism.


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