Day 2 - May 18, 1995

A LIST -- Wow. A list. But not =the= list. Day 2 at GCOWE '95 started with the Unreached People Group Track's plenary presentation (all 4000 delegates together). After premiering a =dynamite= 11 minute video on the challenge remaining before us, Track Chairman Patrick Johnstone (author of _Operation World_) explained the progress the group had made toward agreeing upon a list of unreached peoples. The list, which was distributed to each delegate at registration, is actually a =book= of several lists... but perhaps the most important of all is a key list of 2400 "least evangelized peoples" that were presented as the proposed list of target groups for measuring "a church for every people" by the year 2000.

What does this mean in practical terms? The truth is, for several years, various researchers have had trouble agreeing on a common definition for "people group." In a pre-GCOWE planning meeting last November, it is said that all the key players finally settled on a common definition.... an ethnolinguistic one. According to Johnstone's talk, there are 12- or 13,000 ethnolinguistic groups in the world today and presumably all but 2500 or so already have a church (at least a =beachhead= church) in their midst. The AD2000 & Beyond challenge then -- a church for every people -- would demand that we at least =approach= these 2500 people groups with the gospel. Even in cases where there might already be some worker on-site sharing about Christ, we would, according to the proposed goal, need to invest more energy to insure that a church actually formed.

This, then, begins to enlighten all of us to the real differences between the Lausanne movement and AD2000 & Beyond. Some would say that the Lausanne movement peaked at the 1974 conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, where Ralph Winter literally coined the term, "people group". Throughout the next 15 years, Lausanne tried to inform and challenge, but never to actually take intentional part in shaping practical over-arching strategies. Enter AD 2000 & Beyond. The strategy simply cannot be missed here. The purpose of this consultation is to figure out how we can make sure that by Dec. 31, 2000 (the end of the 2nd millennium), there is at least =some= kind of church planted in every one of those 2500 groups. That's how AD2000 leaders will measure whether they've succeeded or failed. That's the yardstick. In the end, for the purpose of measuring success, it won't matter how much growth has occurred in any currently existing churches. What will matter is the outcome among the 2500 groups. So there's the mandate... and it appeared the entire consultation is on board. Even if some haven't processed the real "bottom line", it won't take long for it to sink in. Every article, every review, every publication from AD2000 & Beyond for the next five years -- if it is true to the spirit of the AD2000 & Beyond movement [note the significant small "m"] -- will be trying to help us stay on task to reach those peoples.

Now granted... in the hallways and on the steps, participants were asking, "Hey! Look at group they left out! [fill in the blank with your own favorite]" But as Pete Holzmann put it afterward, in one of the hallway conversations after the main session, "that list is a moving target and we're on a moving platform!" First, the list itself is "moving" in that we will hopefully learn more about each people group as researchers and on-site teams visit and report on outreaches to some of the 2500 groups (and stay tuned to Brigada as one source for those reports!). Second, =we're= on a moving platform since we're learning more about how to describe them and how to integrate/sort them. So don't take this list as "Biblical" (Johnstone's own terms) -- it will definitely be updated!

John Robb finished the presentation by interviewing a half dozen majority world participants who were already at work pioneering a church planting movment among some unreached people somewhere in the world.

Also making presentations today were the Mobilizing National Research Track, the God's Word and Literature Network, Saturation Evangelism, Saturation Church Planting, the Partnership Task Force, the Radio/Video track, and the United Prayer Track. Sessions started at 9am this morning, with the bus leaving the hotel at 7:40am. The program ended at 9:15pm and tonight buses arrived in hotels an hour later (much better than last night!).

THE MAGIC OF CONSULATIONS -- As I watched the conference today, I took note of all the private conversations in the work rooms, at the lunch tables, in the auditorium after sessions, and basically everywhere else 4000 people can go! Truthfully, in spite of the extremely high quality content in the main sessions, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe the real gain from this consultation (and maybe most others?) is the networking that occurs every minute of the day during the times we =aren't= meeting... because so many caring and gifted people are coming together with a willingness to help others get going.

So in summary, join me in thanking God that it appears we have made =some= progress on coming to grips with the task remaining. It really doesn't bring the task any closer, but it's perhaps a first step in figuring out our eventual destination... assuming our destination is "AD2000".

Tomorrow, the entire conference splits into a dozen or so different "tracks" or working groups: In addition to those mentioned above (Unreached Peoples, Mobilizing National Research, God's Word and Literature, Saturation Evangelism, Saturation Church Planting, the Radio/Video, United Prayer and the task force on Partnership Development), also meeting will be tracks on Denominational Leaders, Cities, Pastors', Mobilizing Women, and Mobilizing New Missionaries. Furthermore, there are a few other separate Task Forces that will be meeting simultaneously, such as a special task force on producing strategies, outreach to Muslims, etc.

It seems there is more time given for these small groups sessions at this consultation than there was, say, at Lausanne II in Manila. In fact, except for more main plenary sessions on Monday, the only other time the consultation meets all together again after today is for the closing program on the evening of the 25th!

In tomorrow's GCOWE News, we'll tell about some of the =people= who are making this conference special. Some are high profile, like John Robb, Phill Butler and Patrick Johnstone. Others, however, are effective "behind the scenes" workers like Pete Holzmann, the many volunteers from around the world, and the 1000+ Korean helpers! Finally, let's not forget what we can learn from fellow delegates. Tomorrow we'll illustrate with the life of a pastor from Thailand. Wait until you hear =his= story!

Doug Lucas
at GCOWE '95 in Seoul


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