The gentle rains didn't dampen the spirits of the exuberant crowd who watched the students ring the stadium in a beautifully choreographed display of unity. To keep the visitors from becoming soaked, the Koreans provided instant plastic raincoats. Meanwhile, fervent prayers, words of encouragement and exhortation, and spirited singing all climaxed with the Korean students pledging their lives to spread the Gospel.
Korean President Young-Sam Kim offered a pre-filmed video challenge to the country's first "Student Mission 2000" corps and to the older delegates as well: "Today's world is in great need of the love and service of fellow human beings and going beyond the interests of any one particular race." Later, raising their right hands, the Korean students promised before these international witnesses to work for church renewal, to pray and work for Korea's unification, and to dedicate themselves to world evangelization.
However a main focus of their efforts will not be overseas, but in the northern half of their peninsular, currently under tight Communist rule. It is a striking example of their faith, as well as their patriotic aspirations, that Korea's young Christians simply assume eventual reunification. Once Korea's unification is accomplished, these students will form 20,000 "Jesus Groups" in what is now North Korea.
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Saturday was a relatively quiet day: no big tracks, no plenaries. But GCOWE participants hardly sat on their hands. Most of them attended meetings of participants by country -- nearly 200 of them. The challenge of the country delegations was to determine how to coordinate the varied strategies for fulfilling "A Church for Every People and the Gospel for Every Person by AD2000."
But many were also reflecting on the detailed reports they had heard during the track meetings that took place Friday in different parts of Seoul. Because the tracks play such a key role in GCOWE '95, we are providing a brief review, track by track, of highlights from Friday's discussions. We will complete the description in a future issue of GCOWE TODAY.
United Prayer Mobilization:
Kay Hiramine was enthusiastic about the success of the last two prayer initiatives. In 1993, between 20 and 30 million people were mobilized to pray for the gateway nations. In 1994, 25 million people took part in the March for Jesus, an effort that called people to united prayer on behalf of world evangelization. This year, prayer leaders expect 30 to 50 million Christians to pray for the gateway cities in the 10/40 window: that area of the world encompassing North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
National Research Mobilization:
This group agreed that each country needs to research the number of church planting movements still needed within its own borders. Questions arise about methods of research: When is secondhand research adequate? Who pays for the research? What will be done with the information? With whom will it be shared? The National Research Mobilization group agreed that it is important for each country's delegation to "own" the information so they'll use it most effectively. They should also interpret the data simply with an eye toward action. Prayer is vital during the entire research project.
Radio Task Force:
Many Muslim countries are benefiting from what are referred to as "radio planting" as a precursor to church planting. According to Samson Adetoyan of SIM International, radio broadcasts are used in Nigeria to create a hunger for the Bible in Muslim hearts. Once the hunger is created, SIM sends in missionaries to do church planting. "Radio planting" is also taking place throughout the Middle East, thanks to Adma Habibi's program "On the Road Together" produced by the Arabic Communication Center for Muslim Homemakers.
Mobilization of New Missionaries:
Pari Rickard introduced a goal to mobilize 200,000 new missionaries, focused primarily, but not exclusively on the10/40 window. Walo Ani, of Papau, New Guinea, presented a mobilization model from a developing nation. His mobilization efforts started in 1982 with five people who met regularly to pray. This small group quickly grew into a movement to mobilize workers through prayer movements, camps, training, networking denominational leaders, and exposure through missions and short-term cross-cultural experiences.
"At this consultation we are going beyond 'feel good' relationships to develop operational linkages," said John Robb. One avenue facilitating linkage is Patrick Johnstone's idea of the affinity block concept, which offers a new approach to organizing our efforts and providing a tangible context for cooperation. The Unreached Peoples Track expects to initiate regional and affinity block consultations in the next 18 months to bring together various ministry sources. Other ideas presented in this group included Calvin Conkey's note that the South East Asia task force plans on "infiltrating the Bible Schools with mission information on unreached peoples. The schools require students to plant a church before they graduate."
Saturation Church Planting:
Dr. Paul Gupta recounted the development of a Saturation Church Planting movement for India, birthed when leaders gathered in 1987 to consider the question, "What will our country look like if it is evangelized for Jesus Christ?" Ultimately, the Indian movement decided to work toward a goal of a million churches by AD2000. Stephen Asante compared saturation church planting to several people rowing together in a canoe. The whole church, like those in a canoe, have to work together to accomplish their goal of taking the gospel to everyone everywhere. In closing the afternoon session, African leader Panya Baba poured out his heart in prayer for the success of India's church planting movement.
In urging denominational leaders to cooperate in the church planting effort, John Kyle quoted Bruce Patrick's article in the GCOWE manual: "Denominations hold the key." Delegates then shared successes, praise reports and strategies for church planting. Bruno Radzisewski of Equador noted that by applying eight key planning principles, the Nazarene Church there was able to plant 1200 churches in the last 12 years, adding 100,000 new members. Those figures are all the more impressive given that between 1913 and 1983, only 350 churches were planted, adding 19,000 new members.