This is an article from the November-December 1995 issue: Joshua Project 2000

Christian Leaders Express Support for Joshua Project 2000 and the Cooperative Effort Listing the Least-Evangelized Peoples

Christian Leaders Express Support for Joshua Project 2000 and the Cooperative Effort

The ISFM acknowledges the complex task of enumerating and categorizing humanity into peoples and their status in relation to the gospel. In light of this the ISFM recognizes this list as a significant but not comprehensive effort toward identifying peoples requiring frontier mission endeavors. The ISFM is grateful for the progress this list represents and recommends its use as a priority for prayer and strategy resource. International Society for Frontier Missiology, Annual Meeting, September, 1995

What a joy to affirm the great cooperative effort that has produced the Target List of 2000 Least-Evangelized Peoples. This list goes a long way toward fulfilling the hopes of the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse when it released its first rough list back in 1993. Focusing on the "least reached" rather than on the "unreached" makes possible broad subscription to a list that is definable, functional, and reasonably verifiable in its boundaries. At the same time, it reflects a compilation of the best information now available. Here is a tool that all believers, churches and mission agencies can use confidently to focus attention, prayer and resources on the squeakiest wheels in the Great Commission task. Gary Corwin of SIM and Evangelical Missions Quarterly Associate Editor

The AD 2000 list is the next step toward completing the "last commandment" that Jesus gave us on the Mount of Ascension. This is our next frontier in missions. Others will follow or run in parallel. By God's grace--let's do it together! Loren Cunningham, founder and chairman, Youth With A Mission (YWAM) International

When I first joined the staff of the U.S. Center for World Mission in 1981, I fully expected to see a "war room" like we had in Vietnam when I served in U.S. Army Headquarters. I thought we would have the 16,750 unreached peoples listed on a wall, and cross them off as they were adopted and reached. I soon learned that we were a long way from that kind of detailed list. In the intervening fourteen years, there has been discussion, confusion and controversy about who still needs to be reached. However, with the development of this present list, there is at last a consensus about the essential next steps so that we can focus our available resources on the highest priority task we face. David Dougherty, Overseas Missionary Fellowship

As a German, I do not always get easily excited. Scratching the surface of a lot of seemingly wonderful stories frequently yields another more complex, less black-and-white, picture. For years I have monitored the often frustrating and convoluted attempts to enumerate and categorize humanity into peoples--reached and unreached. Humanity is complex, making the task extremely difficult, and only God, in the final analysis, knows when a person is "reached." For the first time, I now see a wide consensus emerging. While no list of peoples can be totally accurate, the AD 2000 momentum has now yielded a useful and significant listing of the gospel-neediest peoples on earth. I am excited, and happily endorse emerging efforts to train and send research / prayer teams to these 2,000 peoples. I hope that their reports will be truthful and yet faith filled, and result in greater mobilization of many new missionary initiatives to these peoples. Paul Filidis, Director, Youth With A Mission, International Communications Network

Since 1974, when the concept of unreached people groups was first introduced, missiologists have been struggling to compile lists of these groups. During the past couple years several lists have been produced, but none of them have gained popular acceptance. Finally, a manageable list with popular acceptance has been produced. I expect that this list will help generate consensus agreement regarding where our mission resources can be strategically invested. This will help

increase partnership and therefore speed the completion of world evangelization. I'm thankful for those who have worked to produce this list of the least-evangelized peoples. Greg Fritz, president, Caleb Resources

I want to take this opportunity to voice my support for Patrick Johnstone, John Gilbert, Ron Rowland and others in their commitment to clean up the GCOWE '95 list of peoples. I support this effort and have been a part of the dialogue for some time. The cleaned-up list is a solid contribution to the effort to define where Christians should be placing their missions resources. Our work on peoples in the forthcoming World Christian Encyclopedia (with Patrick Johnstone as contributing editor) will merely place this "sublist" in its larger context among all the peoples of the world. For now, in my opinion, the GCOWE '95 list should be utilized by mission agencies and churches for targeting and engaging peoples. Todd Johnson, World Evangelization Research Center

Praise the Lord, I feel now we have a list that we can work on happily and make it a more flexible tool for the big push over the next five years. Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World, Chairman of Unreached Peoples Network, AD 2000 and Beyond Movement

The most significant impact of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement for world evangelization is launching a crusade for mobilizing the whole Church to conquer the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the Church would unite for one common goal -- a church for every people and the gospel for every person -- I am sure that the Church will see the fulfillment of the Great Commission by reaching the unreached by the year 2000. The 2000 unreached people group listing created by AD2000 will be a most important guide for pioneering ministry for the unreached, which will change mission history within just a few years and reach the world for Christ. Joon Gon Kim, chairman of Korean AD2000 and Beyond Movement

Women in many countries are offering themselves to visit unreached villages and tribes to do on-site research. I believe their insights will be extremely helpful in finding cultural keys to open doors into previously closed communities. We as a network are encouraging women to focus on at least three unreached people groups in each country. Lorry Lutz, international coordinator, AD2000 Women's Network

I think it is great that for the next five years we can all work from the same page to see these peoples engaged and the church planted. If anyone wants to take on some other groups... Praise the Lord, but for us let's join hearts and arms with brothers and sisters around the globe to see a church- planting movement among these nearly 2,000 by 2000. Paul McKaughan, executive director, Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Associations

The listing represents the frontier of missions today, and we will do everything we can to support you in this endeavor. Jerry Rankin, Avery Willis and John Gilbert, Foreign Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention

I believe that the current cleaned-up list of approximately 2000 peoples with populations of more than 10,000 and evangelicals less than 5% of population can be confidently used for adoption of the least evangelized peoples, for focused prayer profiles and for other aspects of Joshua Project 2000. Ron Rowland, SIL and Wycliffe Bible Translators, coordinator of PIN (People Information Network) and Chairman of GMI (Global Mapping International)

I pray this vision and information will get into the hands of millions of believers and that they will respond to the challenge. George Verwer, international director, Operation Mobilization

A mass of information has been collected on the unreached peoples of the world that is unprecedented in the history of the Christian Church. Many fine minds have devoted themselves to this task for years, and we should be deeply grateful for the results. Now, after all the research, collating, analysis and planning, the effort finally comes down to where we knew it would: local churches committing their resources of people, prayer, technology and money to enter the remaining nearly 2000 major peoples and plant the New Testament church. I rejoice to see this day, because every church that chooses to be involved will experience the refining fire of the Holy Spirit. Each of these churches will have to rethink what the local church is supposed to be--a visible exhibit of redeemed people living out kingdom values together and individually in the midst of darkness, communicating the saving message of Jesus Christ. In so doing, the sending church will find itself being purified as it seeks to plant a healthy church elsewhere in the world. This is the stuff of revival! Bill Waldrop, president, ACMC

The intercessory prayer efforts by churches and individuals focused by means of the prayer profiles for each of the nearly 2000 target peoples and the special October 1997 prayer effort to each for these peoples will be vital for the "small cloud" on the horizon to become a "great rain" of God's blessing. Praise the Lord that our missions leaders are now unanimous on the list of nearly 2,000 least evangelized peoples of the world. This is a major achievement. What a breakthrough! God's heart must be pleased. Let's rally around this cause and fast and pray for Joshua Project 2000. Thomas Wang, international board chairman, AD 2000 and Beyond Movement

When Jesus told His disciples to pray "Thy Kingdom come, on earth" He referred to the effect of an exciting, powerful but humble, expanding movement that has grown across the centuries through thick and thin to encompass one-third of the world's population today including more than half of all "nations, tribes and tongues." Furthermore, the active, seriously believing people within this colossal world family called Christian themselves number in the hundreds of millions, to be found in millions of Bible-believing churches, speaking all of the major languages of the planet. With these unprecedented resources we thus look forward to the year 2000 with a specific list of less than 2,000 doorways through which almost every unreached person in the world is to be found. This list will be the object of history's largest network of Christian bodies as its detailed contents are verified and further defined. It is the logical way to go when congregations and mission agencies around the world are now "signing up" to take their fair share of the load.


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