Tuesday, July 1, 1997
Delegates experienced an African evening last night as groups performed typically African songs. After a rousing rendition of "Hallelujah Hosanna" by a local choir, Lazarus Selahle (Co-director of World Mission Centre) welcomed the delegates to the Global Consultation on world Evangelization 1997. Pam Thum and Scott Wesley Brown, world renowned singers, also participated in the proceedings.
Pastor Ed Roebert, Senior Pastor of the plenary venue, Hatfield Christian Church, remarked how significant it was that this global strategy meeting was being held in Pretoria - until recently, the city with the worst reputation in the world! God had reversed the situation and would use South Africa and Africa as part of the mission force to reach the world.
After a moving presentation of each world region in dance and ballet, Luis Bush, the founder and leader of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement, addressed the delegates, stating that people had come from around the world to learn from Africa. He pointed out that the number of missionaries exported from South Africa had doubled between 1991 and 1995 and doubled once again in 1996. He said that South Africa possibly had the fastest growth in export of missionaries in the world. He also indicated that Africa had become a missions force to be reckoned with. At the beginning of the century, only 2% of the global Christian community were from the African continent. 338 million Africans are born again Christians - 17% of the global Christian community.
Luis emphasized that delegates had gathered from over 130 nations of the world in Pretoria to seek the Captain of the Lord of hosts for His plans or reaching the world. GCOWE `97 would be a time to seek God and to repent of our man-made goals. He said we should come to the conference in the spirit of Joshua, anticipating our promise of the inheritance of the nations.
Luis pointed out that GCOWE `97 was strategically positioned 42 months before the end of the millennium - a critical time to assess the completion of the task of world evangelisation. Our goal should be "a church for every people and the gospel or every person by the year 2000". We should especially target the 579 peoples (each with populations of more than 10 000 people) who do not have a church planting team in their midst. He encouraged delegates to come with a vision of a river of life - this broad stream consisting of God's people from all nations had begun to flow for the healing of the nations. New streams were beginning to flow in 10 consultations - multiple new streams of expression.
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