While Day 1 of the GCOWE '97 Mission Executives Consultation focused on assessing the status of world evangelization, Day 2 took strong steps toward implementation: moving beyond consideration to commitment.
Recognizing that no serious commitment or implementation can happen without God's divine operation, Sam Ndala (Pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission in Mozambique) began the day with a challenging devotional on the strategic role of prayer. "Without prayer, we go nowhere as missionaries," Ndala reminded the mission executives.
Luis Bush, AD2000 International Director, then distributed to each delegate a new AD2000 publication, the Global Guide to Unreached Peoples. The Guide contains the Joshua Project 2000 List of 1,739 priority unreached peoples of the world plus a CD with key resource information on how to successfully adopt an unreached people group.
In commenting on the uniqueness of the JP List, Patrick Johnstone affirmed, " This is first time we have a list with broad agreement and with clear parameters on what we need to do. As in every list, there are inaccuracies, but ongoing on-field research will clear those up."
As an example of what can be done in reaching peoples on this list, K.P. Yohannan gave an account of how his agency, Gospel For Asia, has already targeted and deployed church planting teams among 100 peoples on the JP List. Churches of at least 30 baptized believers have already been planted among 30 of those 100 peoples. They are now ready to target 100 more!
With a vision that every people group on the JP List should have at least a church planting team by December 31, 2000, a special form was then distributed to the mission executives. This form, the result of a survey by AD2000 of thousands of mission agencies, identified the 579 peoples (from the JP List) which currently have no reported church or church planting team working in their midst.
Luis Bush challenged the agency leaders to commit themselves to take responsibly to target the 579 Joshua Project Peoples that have no church planting movements, so that by the end of the consultation all of the 579 might be covered.
Moving immediately into smaller groups, each mission executive considered prayerfully which of these remaining peoples they might personally challenge their agency to target. The forms were turned in for tabulation with a report on the results promised for the next day.
Other plenary sessions during this significant day dealt with the practical issues faced in ministering in resistant, unreached areas. Greg Livingstone discussed " Ten Myths About Pioneer Missions." A panel with Bill Phillips and Emil Jebasingh addressed "How Is Mission Work Best Financed?" Finally, the evening session tackled the tough topic of " Changing the Mission Organization to Keep Pace With God's Activity and A Changing World."
Over all this full day ended with a sense that not only had significant issues been discussed, but also strategic decisions had been made which could make a difference for eternity.
Delegates also commented that the "spirit" of the consultation. The inclusion of question and answer times with speakers, adequate free time for networking plus special intervals for prayer and partnership building increased their sense of participation and of "being heard." Even the more polemic issues of the day were discussed with a spirit of mutual respect and the desire to learn together: a clear tribute to God's presence in the midst of these 537 mission executives.
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