What is Joshua Project 2000?
Joshua Project 2000 is a global cooperative strategy, focused on the least evangelized peoples of the world. It seeks to engage every church, agency, denomination & Christian from every country in the world in an effort to implement the goal of "A church for every people and the gospel for every person by AD2000."
Joshua Project 2000 is global. In a dramatic moment at the Global Consultation on World Evangelization (GCOWE) in Seoul in May 1995, one of the forty praying children from around the world tossed a round pillow with a world sewn onto it to another one of the children and shouted, "Be global!" A few weeks later more than 10,000 Korean children took the challenge seriously and met at the Olympic Stadium to pray for the nations of the world.
Joshua Project 2000 is for the individual, who is or aspires to be, a world Christian. It is for the local church, with a global focus to accompany its local focus. Within the AD2000 and Beyond Movement, Joshua Project 2000 is the complementary global strategy to the nation-by-nation "five-year strategy." These national strategies being developed in country after country all over the world are designed to foster national evangelization movements reaching their country and the world for Christ by the year 2000.
Joshua Project 2000 is cooperative It recognizes that no one Christian, that no one church, no one denomination, no one agency or organization can do it alone. We need one another.
Joshua Project 2000 is a strategy. Joshua Project 2000 is a strategy that seeks to obey the Great Commission and the commandment of Jesus to His followers by going to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19). Specifically, the goal is to establish, at a minimum, a pioneer church-planting movement among every people (or ethne). The church- planting movements will fulfill the Lord's call to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27) and to "preach good news to the poor ... to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed" (Luke 4:18).
Joshua Project 2000 is focused on the least- evangelized peoples of the world. At the heart of Joshua Project 2000 is a list of currently approximately 1,700 peoples that mission researchers have agreed upon as most needing a church-planting effort. Of these 1,700 peoples, numbering 2.2 billion people, nearly 90 percent of the individuals live in the 10/40 Window. The 10/40 Window is the rectangular area from West Africa to East Asia, identified by the latitudes that border it (10 N to 40 N). If we are to follow the example of Jesus who came "to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10) and who proclaimed that message to the poor (Luke 4:18), our primary concern will be the 10/40 Window where 99 percent of the world's least- evangelized poor can be found.
Joshua Project 2000 seeks to engage every church, agency, denomination and Christian from every country in the world. Because the AD2000 vision of a church for every people (Matt. 28:19) and the gospel for every person (Mark 16:15) was given to every follower of Jesus, each church, agency and denomination is encouraged to make their contribution and become involved. Today, this is happening for the first time in history. Christians representing all continents and countries are getting involved.
Joshua Project 2000 seeks to implement the goal of "A church for every people and the gospel for every person by AD 2000." Christian statesman John Stott wrote recently, "It has been statistically demonstrated that world evangelization in these terms is attainable, not least because of the proliferation of indigenous missions in Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific rim of East Asia."
Why call it Joshua Project 2000? The AD2000 and Beyond Movement is transitioning from vision sharing to mobilization, just as in the Scriptural models of the Exodus and of Joshua. In the first five years of the 1990s, the AD2000 emphasis has been on casting a vision: a vision for the 10/40 Window, for national evangelization movements, and the ultimate goal of a church for every people and the gospel for every person. The second half of the decade brings a transition to an emphasis on mobilization. This change in emphasis is supported by three vital truths observed from the Biblical account of the Exodus.
Vital Truth One--The principle of a spiritual movement. The Exodus was a divinely initiated movement. This was a spiritual movement: from slavery, to salvation, to service. The prayerful intent of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement is to cooperate with what the Holy Spirit is doing in our time through the mobilization of His people.
Vital Truth Two--The principle of consultation of the Body of Christ. In the account of the movement of God's people at the time of the Exodus, prior to his charge to Pharaoh to let God's people go, Moses consulted first with Aaron and then with the elders and the rest of God's people. Recently, more than 100 consultations were held leading up to the GCOWE '95 to discover what God is saying to His people: what are the contextual realities and the obstacles? What will it take to accomplish the goals for each country and the overall goal of a church for every people and the gospel for every person?
Vital Truth Three--The principle of indigenization. The vision must be born of the Holy Spirit within the spiritual leaders of a local national church or a mission agency, or a country, as in the case of Moses and Aaron for the nation Israel. It needs to be a grassroots vision, owned by God's people. Thus, it was so encouraging to note that 70 percent of the funds for GCOWE '95 came from Africa, Asia and Latin America, regions which have taken up the vision along with many in the West.
Joshua Project 2000 has three strategies from the book of Joshua. 1. Let us explore the land. The first time the Promised Land was explored, Moses sent spies. Joshua tells his version of the story in Joshua 14:6-12. The spies did on-site research, going over at the proper time: during the time of the harvest. They took great personal risks to accomplish the Kingdom work of possessing the land that had been promised to them. We also need to discover the opportunities God is creating among the least-evangelized peoples of the world. We also have "fields white unto harvest" (John 4:35).
A majority report was given the first time the Promised Land was explored. It was wrong. All of God's people suffered as a result. Not only did they have to wander in the desert for forty years, every one of them died in the desert. Everyone that is, except for Joshua and Caleb, who gave the minority, but accurate, report. Many today are questioning the call to work together as God's people toward the goal of a church for every people and the gospel for every person: Is it hope or hype? Our call is to be bold and courageous -- to have hope and be responsive and obedient and to take the land!
2. Let us pray that the walls come down. Joshua depended upon the miraculous intervention of the Lord to overcome his enemies. As with many cities today, Jericho was fortified and firmly entrenched by the enemy. Today, we are praying for the cities the Lord wants to take. In October '95, millions prayed for the 100 Gateway Cities. In October '97, we will be praying for the peoples most needing pioneer church-planting efforts.
Much like when the physical walls of Jericho came tumbling down, we have seen the wall of Communism that separated the East from the West, a wall which formed an iron curtain, come crashing down. Through the prayers of God's people throughout the world, the anticipation is that other walls so resistant to Christianity will crumble, as those within the walls recognize how much God loves them in sending His son Jesus to die for them.
3. Let us advance to offer the greatest of all gifts, Jesus Christ, to the peoples and the cities that most need Him. As each tribe of Israel had a position from which to advance, so each church and ministry today has a corporate giftedness to offer in this coordinated, systematic, step-by step advance to take the land.
Why can Joshua Project 2000 succeed? Looking at the advance of the gospel, the great portion of the task has already been done. Current projections state that by the year 2000, more than 95 percent of the population of the world--people from every culture and language and country--will have access to the gospel through some portion of Scripture in their language, through literature distribution, radio transmission, audio recordings, the JESUS film or simply through the message of an evangelist. By one means or another they will have access to the gospel.
When we examine the feasibility of planting a church for every people, we again see that a great portion of the task has already been done. Of the 12,000 known ethno-linguistic peoples in the world, 10,000 already have a church-planting movement in their midst. In every category, both exposure and response to the gospel (measured in terms of churches planted among the peoples) have been accelerating over the last 100 years, even more in the last 50 years, and most dramatically in the last 10 years.
That is not to underestimate in any way the tremendous task ahead and the price that will need to be paid. Today we have a target list of least-evangelized peoples that is being revised each year to reflect greater accuracy. The 100 largest of these peoples are shown on the map on my first page and represent almost two billion people-- more than 80 percent of the individuals among the Joshua Project 2000 peoples.
What are the major foundation stones of Joshua Project 2000? What we learned from one another at GCOWE '95 as 4,000 Christian leaders from 186 countries met is that prayer, reconciliation and partnership are foundational in seeking to fulfill Jesus' mandate, along with compassionate servanthood and empowerment as we are engaged and called to mobilize the body of Christ.
We must repent and be reconciled. To reach the remaining unreached peoples we must be reconciled to our neighbors and other countries where hurt has occurred in the past. We are instructed by Jesus to leave our gift at the altar, to "First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift" (Matt. 5:24). As one participant reported at the gathering in Seoul, "The Lord answered prayer! In the plenary, regional, country and special interest meetings, agendas were set aside as reconciliation broke out among delegates like holy fire. Japanese knelt before Koreans, Arab Christians embraced Jewish Christians, American leaders asked forgiveness of Canadian leaders, Russian Orthodox believers apologized to evangelicals and Pentecostals of the former Soviet Union."
We must partner. Dr. Avery Willis spoke on behalf of the Southern Baptist denomination to the representatives of 186 countries in Seoul, saying, "We want to ask forgiveness from you for thinking we could do this kind of job without you. We recognize that it is going to take the whole body of Christ to reach the people of this world." In making this statement, he spoke on behalf of so many churches, denominations, agencies and countries.
We must demonstrate the love of Christ. As we serve the enormous human suffering in the least- evangelized peoples and cities we need to "offer a cup of water" in the name of the Lord, thereby demonstrating the love, joy and transforming power of Jesus Christ in deed as well as in word. As stated in the Great Commission Manifesto at GCOWE '89: "God's love brings hope to those who live under the bondage of sin, and who are victims of poverty and injustice. We believe that Christians involved in world evangelization should live among people as servants and minister to the needs of the whole person."
What groups are being mobilized for Joshua Project 2000? Students are responding to the challenge. In the beginning of the last century a Student Volunteer Movement swept churches in the West into a global mission wave that brought spiritual refreshing on the people of that day. Today, 100 years later, a student volunteer movement beginning in the non-Western world promises to sweep across churches throughout the world to engage them in serious missions outreach to the remaining least-evangelized peoples of the world.
On May 20, 1995, a steady rainfall in Seoul left many in doubt as to whether there would be a significant attendance for the student rally for missions at the Olympic Stadium. That evening, despite continued rainfall, doubts vanished as some 70,000 students filled the stadium. That night they were serious in their commitments. Sixty thousand students signed the declaration which included a willingness to: 1) devote one year of their lives to establish the church in a foreign land, and 2) mobilize other students in universities throughout the world. In both Brazil and South Africa, approximately 50,000 students are scheduled to meet for similar mobilization rallies for global missions over the next two years.
Local churches are heeding the call. What joy the River of Life congregation in Kansas have experienced in adopting the Nakhi people from the Yunnan Province near the Tibetan border in China. Expectations are high in sending an on-site prayer team. The body of believers are committed to fielding an on-site research team. The church plans to offer support for a couple to go through a training process with a capable mission agency. There are even plans for the pastor and his wife to go in a year's time. The River of Life congregation has faith that reproducing fellowships will be established among the Nakhi people by the year 2000. What a model of adoption!
AD2000 Networks & Christian Organizations are making big plans. As a part of Joshua Project 2000, Every Home for Christ is working in conjunction with various member organizations of the AD2000 God's Word and Literature Network (as well as with CBN International and Campus Crusade for Christ's JESUS film project). Every Home is setting one of its most ambitious goals in its fifty-year history: to reach one billion of these unreached people right where they live through house-to house evangelism by the year 2000. See "Joshua Project 2000 Step 3: Researching On-Site and Preparing the Way for Church Planting" for details about what this AD2000 Network and others are doing.
C. Peter Wagner, Coordinator of the AD2000 United Prayer Network writes, "We will be praying for the profiles that are needed for Joshua Project 2000. Among other things, it is our goal to recruit at least 20,000 local churches plus 20,000 home cell groups which will commit to pray for a specific people group through 2000 AD." Find out more and learn about Praying Through the Window III under "Joshua Project 2000 Step 5: Praying for the Least-Evangelized Peoples."
Mission Agencies promise to play a role. Fred Markert of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Strategic Frontiers, USA, reported of their plans to "challenge... 70 YWAM bases in North America to send out at least two Joshua Project 2000 teams within the next year.... [and] challenge those who return from a Joshua Project 2000 team to return... as long- term church planters or to become full-time mobilizers on the homefront for those people groups."
Greg Livingstone of Frontiers said that organization is willing "to host research teams for Joshua Project 2000 coming to the Muslim cities where we have workers."
Orville Fletcher of Pioneers pledges that they will "assist... in reaching the unreached peoples in any way we can."
What will be your involvement in Joshua Project 2000? As International Director of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement, I stand in awe of what I see God doing in these exciting years leading up to the year 2000. I serve a movement that has now spread to almost every country on the earth. Now it is our prayerful desire to see this move of God in each of the peoples of the world. We need your help. The people at the U.S. Center for World Mission have graciously allowed us this entire edition of Mission Frontiers to try to communicate to you what God is doing through Joshua Project 2000. Pray as you read through these pages what your role might be and then fill out the enclosed response form. I eagerly await your response.
Joshua Project 2000 Assurance --God promised to Joshua: "I will give you every place where you set your foot" (Joshua 1:3). Thus, we believe that there will be Christians "standing before the throne from every nation, tribe, people and language" crying "...Salvation." This is guaranteed. It's in the Book.
Joshua Project 2000 Goal: to make a priority of establishing, as a minimum, a pioneer church planting movement within every ethno- linguistic people of over 10,000 individuals within every country of the world by December 31, 2000.
Missions mobilization has been defined as any event by which God's people are awakened and kept moving until they find their place for personal involvement in the task of completing world evangelization.