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MISSIONARIES REFINE WORLD OUTREACH PLAN Cooperation moves Joshua Project 2000 forward
COLORADO SPRINGS, USA -- Two hundred sixty-two Christian leaders representing 140 mission agencies, denominations and educational centers in 77 countries met here to consider the future thrust of pioneer missionary outreach of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement.
Much of the early discussion stemmed from the AD2000 & Beyond Movement's Joshua Project 2000 plan for strategic missionary outreach, as published in Mission Frontiers, a journal of the US Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California. The proposal included a list of 1700 cultures having the least access to the Christian message. It synthesized data produced by the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Operation World. Dubbed "unreached peoples," these groups reside in 123 countries of the world.
Joshua Project 2000, a five-year plan proposed by AD2000 and Beyond leaders, seeks to involve the participating AD2000 and Beyond networks, found in 160 nations, to work together to establish churches among these peoples. Under the plan, churches and agencies would send research and prayer teams to each of the listed groups to lay preliminary groundwork for evangelism and church-planting.
Conference delegates from regions on the Joshua Project 2000 list arrived at the airport with additional information to submit for the next edition. Others, living under antagonistic governments or societies, came with suggestions for helping proposed research teams prepare for adequately for sensitive situations.
Opening praise and worship expressed the heart of each delegate and emphasized the central goal of AD2000 and Beyond which had brought them to Colorado, "A Church for Every People and the Gospel for Every Person by the year 2000." In smaller meetings, delegates settled in to work toward refining the Joshua Project 2000 startup plans.
In the general sessions, enthusiasm built as movement leaders began to report on the progress of national initiatives and network undertakings since the Global Consultation on World Evangelization (GCOWE '95) held last May in Seoul, Korea.
The coordinator for the movement's "Gateway Cities" prayer focus last October reported that early findings revealed that over 30 million Christians had prayed for the needs of 100 influential cities within the region of the world known as the "10/40 Window," stretching from 10 to 40 degrees north latitude in the eastern hemisphere. In conjunction with that focus, 405 prayer groups actually traveled to the cities and prayed on location for the evident needs. In addition, one million children were rallied by the Esther Network to pray especially for children in these cities.
The Korean church, one of the most dynamic players in the present world missions scene, elicited cheers from the crowd as a Korean AD2000 leader reported Korea's intent to send missionaries to all 1700 of the Joshua Project peoples. Through the first half of 1996, the Korean AD2000 and Beyond Movement will organize several conferences for pastors and church leaders to foster this purpose.
Violet Mtegha of Cote d'Ivoire, Africa reported that women in 23 African nations have organized into prayer "triplets" to pray for those with no access to the gospel in their own cultures. These women are also preparing to go as researchers to the listed unreached peoples of Africa. Mtegha plans to travel to each of these nations to train women for this endeavor.
Speaking for Latin American Christians and those from Spain and Portugal, Patricio Paredes from Costa Rica reported that his groups plans to "adopt" 3000 unreached people groups, including those in the Amazon Basin smaller than the 10,000 population limit specified for the Joshua Project 2000 list. Brazil, the largest in the coalition, with over 17 million Christians, will assume responsibility for "adopting" 1650 groups. In "peoples adoption," a church or other body agrees to pray and work in support of the goal of seeing a church planted in the "adopted" group.
[In the printed press release, a photo is provided, with the caption: Joshua Project 2000 Launch participants carry the list of 1700 people groups most needing a church in their own cultures.]
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