This is an article from the September-October 1991 issue: Adopt-A-People

AAP Bulletin The Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse Fall 1991

AAP Bulletin The Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse Fall 1991

We as a project of 63 mission organizations are determined to offer the North American church the opportunity of a lifetime!

We all know that God blesses us that "His way may be made known on earth, [His] salvation among all nations" or, literally, people groups (Psalm 67).

So this coming year we're challenging 300,000 evangelical churches to the opportunity of being blessed to be a blessing to each of the identified remaining people groups on earth!

Congregations and campus fellowships will be challenged to adopt unreached peoples for prayer and information-sharing--- to at least become aware of today's ripening harvest field. Of those, we're praying for thousands of congregations to move into a serious, hands-on stage of "formal adoption."

Of course, the task isn't just a North American responsibility. Global cooperation is needed, and the key players are:

  1. The unreached people group itself.
  2. The local church.
  3. The mission agency.
  4. The indigenous church and/or mission agency working near the unreached group.

You and your fellowship can be part of God's global plan for this decade of harvest. You can pray that a whole people will be adopted into the Family of God! Page 3 tells you how!

Maybe it's time your fellowship catches a global vision as God pursues every people group on earth to be blessed with His offer of redemption.

Adopting A People

Imagine: You're sitting on a dusty bluff high over a dry riverbed in southern Ethiopia. Coming toward you is a ragtag herd of meandering, scrawny cattle complaining about the heat and lack of water. Herding the cattle are the tall young men of the Mursi tribe, a people known for its strength in battle. The rest of the 6,000 Mursi follow farther behind, singing and carrying most of their possessions on their backs and heads like millions of other nomads worldwide.

You hear its broken muffler before you see it through the dust--- a flatbed truck bouncing along behind the villagers. And you know you're witnessing one of the miracles of God's grace. God's pursuit of the Mursi has been like clockwork:

The saga began decades ago when the Mursi were dying of yellow fever and sent 18 of their strongest warriors to get medicine. An American doctor at the edge of the desert had no medicine to give the men. But he himself had been innoculated against yellow fever. So he gave the warriors direct transfusion of his own blood. Three of the 18 survived--- saved by the blood of a white man--- and disappeared back into the wilderness.

British missionary-researcher Malcolm Hunter first encountered the Mursi in the mid-80s. When he met the last living warrior who had been saved by the blood, he tried in the Swahili trade language to tell the Mursi that the God of the stars had become a man and given his blood to save all peoples. But someone needed to live with these semi-nomads to demonstrate the reality of the message.

Traveling through the U.S., Malcolm rehearsed the remarkable story with the people of Westminster Chapel, an independent church in Bellvue, Washington. The church immediately began to pray for the Mursi and--- before the phrase "Adopt-A-People" was even in vogue--- adopted the Mursi. They vowed to do whatever was necessary to see that Mursi women and men and children could stand rejoicing before the throne of the Lamb with those from every people, tongue and tribe.

SIM International (formerly Sudan Interior Mission) linked British Malcolm Hunter's knowledge of the Mursi area and Washington Westminster Chapel's zeal to see a church for the Mursi with a quiet North Dakota Lutheran couple--- Gerald and Maija Carlson. Gerald happens to be a veterinarian, a role highly valued by the Mursi who highly value their cattle. The Mursi desperately need medical care; and Maija just happens to be a nurse. Independent Westminster Chapel was committed to the Mursi. So naturally they pledged to fully support this Lutheran couple chosen so aptly for such a time as this!

After language school in Ethiopia in 1990, Gerald and Maija recently mounted a huge shipping container on the back of a flatbed truck, stocked it with veterinary and medical supplies, and began following the Mursi across the sparse terrain of southern Ethiopia. What do they talk about as they bandage wounds and set broken bones? The God of the stars who became a man and shed His blood to save the Mursi!

The Adopt-A-People Challenge

As a coalition of 63 frontline mission organizations, the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse is determined to allow more congregations to share the blessings enjoyed by churches like Westminster Chapel as they commit themselves in a fresh way to God's global Cause.

Beginning February, 1 1992, the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse is launching the Adopt-A-People Challenge nationwide to promote prayer and information-sharing for unreached peoples.

By year-end 1993, thousands of congregations and millions of believers will be actively funneling resources to mission agencies targeting the unreached.

Key AAPC Strategies

Key approaches in the AAP Challenge include:

The 300,000-Church Challenge

Most of America's evangelical churches are grouped geographically in 6,000 zip-code clusters across the country. The average number of churches within each grouping is 50.

The approach is: "Would you consider adopting an unreached people group for prayer, information-collection and information-sharing?"

The Clearinghouse will:

Challenge each zip-code cluster of churches to pray for a specific unreached people group.

This unreached people is then highlighted locally for prayer and information-sharing.

Local interaction reinforces Adopt-A-People awareness at ministerial meetings, in the religion section of the local newspaper, at area prayer movements, in the natural interaction of local believers, etc. Local vision networks get together and share ideas to help make their adoptions "work."

Challenge each congregation to contact its mission agency.

The agency can then suggest a targeted unreached group the church can formally adopt for more than prayer. If a church has no links with an agency currently targeting an unreached people, the congregation is urged to contact one of the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse member agencies.

Grassroots Action

The movers and shakers in the AAP Challenge are the local mission activists.

Local mission activists are challenged to:

  • organize for prayer
  • form a task force
  • deliver basic awareness resources (see Resources list)) to each of their 50 area churches
  • promote and schedule area events
  • provide followup consisting of:
  1. an area newsletter (forms to be supplied by the AAP Clearinghouse)
  2. linkups to generic mission radio broadcasts such as NewService 2000's "Around the World"
  3. ongoing mission seminars, concerts of prayer
  4. maintenance of a local mission electronic bulletin board
  5. compiling of information about the area's adopted people group and submission of updates to the local newspaper religion page editor

Non-Competitive Positioning

The AAP Challenge is not a plea to join the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse program, but a part of a mission renewal movement to funnel church mission resources toward all evangelical mission efforts to see "A Church for Every People by the Year 2000."

The AAP Challenge doesn't compete with the ongoing ministries of the local church. Instead it serves as the global point of God's purpose for all the God-given ministries of the church---

  • strengthening the church itself;
  • blessing the church's own people group in local ministries, in personal evangelism, in standing for righteousness on issues within our culture;
  • cross-culturally blessing reached peoples which have a church, equipping them to become mission sending bases and
  • blessing the remaining unreached peoples of the earth with redemption in Christ.


Every nationwide prayer movement--- which comprises two million prayer warriors---   has agreed to begin or enhance their promotion of prayer for unreached peoples. Most of these, such as Peter Wagner's leadership of the AD2000 Prayer Track, are linked to international prayer groups as well.

Christian businesses and nationwide ministries are offering to cooperate in challenging the American church. Hosanna Tape Ministries, for example, is offering its 310,000-church database and telemarketing expertise. One of the largest public relations firms in the nation is researching strategies for impacting the entire American church in AAP Challenge publicity.

Denominational and other mission organizations--- even those which are not currently AAP Clearinghouse members--- are offered AAP Series resources to customize and promote among their own constituencies, adding to the momentum of the overall mission vision challenge.

In conjunction with the USA segment of the AAP Challenge, groups are now planning similar thrusts in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The global linkups of the AAP Challenge include:

  1. The unreached people group itself.
  2. The local church.
  3. The mission agency.
  4. The indigenous church and/or mission agency working near the unreached group.

Here in the U.S., the 63 AAPC member organizations (listing next page) provide further networks with more than 700 staff, about 600,000 individual constituents and thousands of churches.

AAP Clearinghouse Members

AD2000 Movement Prayer Track
Africa Inland Mission International
Assemblies of God, Australia World Missions
Assemblies of God DFM, USA
Baptist General Conference, Board of World Missions
Bethany Fellowship Missions
Bible Christian Union
Calvary Ministries
Christian and Missionary Alliance
Christian Missionary Fellowship
Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society
Evangelical Free Church of America, Board of Overseas Missions
Evangelical Friends Church, Eastern Region
Evangelical Friends Mission
Evangelical Mennonite Church
Every Home for Christ
Free Methodist World Missions
GlobaLink Ministries
Gospel Missionary Union
Gospel Recordings
Grace Ministries
Greater Europe Mission
ILS/Harvester Project
International Missions
International Students
LIFE Ministries
Mennonite Brethren Missions/Services
Mission Society for United Methodists
Mission to Unreached Peoples
Mission (21) India
Missionary Action / Flame
Navajo Gospel Mission
Operation Mobilization
Overseas Missionary Fellowship USA
Partners International
Pentecostal Holiness Church, World Missions Department
Pioneer Bible Translators
Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PCUSA)
RBMU International
SEND International
SIM International
South America Mission
Team Expansion
The Evangelical Alliance Mission
Training Evangelistic Leadership
WEC International
World Concern
World Home Bible League
World Mission Prayer League
World Partners of The Missionary Church
World Radio Missionary Fellowship
Youth With A Mission/International Target 2000 Project
Association of International Mission Services
InterVarsity Missions
Issachar, Frontier Mission Strategies
Missions Resource Center (Christian Churches/Churches of Christ)
Strategic Ventures Network
U.S. Center for World Mission
Zwemer Institute of Muslim Studies

The AAP Challenge will enhance the Adopt-A-People emphases of each of these groups. Many of them are already administrating their own "customized" Adopt-A-People programs. For example, Africa Inland Mission promotes its "Adopt-A-People" program; the Association of International Mission Services (AIMS) has its "Operation Unreached"; the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society's program is called "Focus on a People"; and the U.S. Center for World Mission champions its own "Adopt-A-People Campaign."

The networking of all these groups plus others committed to global vision ensures that in a typical community, the typical evangelical is challenged from dozens of sources that it's time to be aware of the remaining unreached peoples and to become accountable by adopting a people into the Family of God. (Think through how the Awareness Matrix on page 5 might affect your community of churches.)

"How-To" Resources

How does a congregation adopt a people for prayer? It simply signs a prayer commitment and begins to work through the mission education resources in the Adopt-A-People Series.

This coordinated span of AAP Series Resources produced by 15 different organizations helps a fellowship the vision of a church for every people by the year 2000.

Adopt-A-People Series Generic Resources

Help your fellowship...

Catch the Vision!

  • "Catch the Vision" brochure
  • FrontierScan bulletin inserts
  • Adopt-A-People Sweatshirts & T-Shirts
  • Mission Prayer Map of the World
  • Unreached Peoples Poster
  • "A Sunday for the World" all-church program packet

Build the Vision!

For Sunday School & Bible Studies:

  • Destination 2000 Video Course
  • Catch the Vision 2000 Course
  • Spiritual Warfare Video Course
  • Kids for the World curriculum catalog

For Prayer Groups:

  • 2-Page Unreached People Profile
  • Unreached People Prayer Card
  • Global Prayer Digest

For Mission Committees

  • ACMC Resources
  • AIMS Resources
  • Mission Frontiers bulletin

For Mission Fellowships:

  • WorldView Videos of Unreached Peoples
  • Serving As Senders Book & Group Study
  • Solutions to Culture Stress video

For General Reference

World Christian Display Table

Target Earth Mission Atlas

Passport to the World booklets on countries

Act on the Vision!

Host a Perspectives course in your church.

Distribute All Nations Dictionaries to local internationals.

* Sponsor "Around the World" radio broadcasts in your area.

Send short-term teams and church leaders to visit unreached peoples using the Stepping Out manual.

Challenge other fellowships to adopt a people with the Adopt A People Advocate Kit.

Step into formal adoption with How To Run A Successful AAP Program Manual.

* Customize-able. Add your own applications, prayer requests, people groups targeted. For details, call the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse.

What Can You Do?

  • Help prepare a few of the 6,000 needed 2-page people profiles.
  • Pray that the American church will respond to a vision beyond itself. Pray for revival, an awakening and a recommitment to a global vision.
  • Pray for the key players in the AAP Challenge:
  1. The unreached people groups
  2. Local churches
  3. Mission agencies
  4. The indigenous churches and/or mission agencies working near the unreached groups

* Help coordinate the AAP Challenge in your area. Call the AAP Clearinghouse for instructions.

Reasons to Adopt a People Important Concepts

All people groups listed by the Adopt-a-People Clearinghouse have been identified as unreached by a bona fide mission agency.

For the purpose of adoption, a people group has:

  1. A Proper Name--- an identity either self-perceived or assigned;
  2. A Location--- where significant numbers of that group can be identified geographically.

An unreached people group is adopted for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. The people group has not heard. The Gospel has not been proclaimed to them in an understandable way or form.
  2. The people group has not responded. They do not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation and that the Bible is God's Word--- the Truth--- and live accordingly.
  3. The people group does not have a church. Believers are not gathering together regularly for worship, teaching, and outreach. A church movement has not yet started.
  4. The people group does not have the Word of God translated into their mother tongue. Written, audio or visual translations of God's Word, that are culturally acceptable, have not been completed.
  5. The people group does not have the Word of God readily available. There are practical and/or legal restrictions to distribution. A large percentage of the people are illiterate.

Conclusion: There are not adequate numbers of believing Christians and/ or resources to evangelize this group without requiring outside (cross-cultural) assistance.


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