World Harvest Information Center

Following is a document describing an effort to track the progress being made in proclaiming the "Gospel to every person". We will hold an executive committee working group session soon and would value your thoughts and comments. Please send comments Glenda Ennis in my office via email: glenda.ennis@cbn.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
Eric Watt

World Harvest Information Center

I. PURPOSE:

To develop a comprehensive analysis on what progress we are making in the Body of Christ in proclaiming the Gospel to every person in the world.

II. BACKGROUND:

Over the last ten years, many mission leaders have been talking about the two goals of: 1. A Church for every People, and, 2. The Gospel for every Person. A number of agencies and research organizations have been tracking the progress being made in establishing a viable church-planting movement within EVERY PEOPLE group. Not enough progress has been made, however, in assessing the progress of the Body of Christ in making the Gospel available to EVERY PERSON in the world. That is the purpose of this effort.

III. THE BIG IDEA:

To build a comprehensive data-base available to every Church and mission organization, which both charts the progress of presenting the Gospel to every person (by geography and language group), and simultaneously highlights where the Gospel has yet to be proclaimed.

IV. WHY DO THIS?

Our first motivation is to be obedient to our Lord's command. When we find out how many have been reached in a particular area or language group, it will point us directly toward those geographic areas and peoples that are most neglected. Two thousand years ago our Lord told us to preach the Gospel to all creation and to make disciples of all nations. During this time we have been about that task. But periodically, those to whom He has given leadership responsibilities need to take stock of the progress being made. As workers for Christ in the Harvest, we, too often, become caught up in the PROCESS and lose track of the OBJECTIVE.

Some worry about a spirit of triumphalism. The greater concern is that we are not being faithful to go to the least-reached geographic areas, because we don't know exactly where they are. If God wills, perhaps this center will help with this specific objective of assessing how we are doing in presenting the Gospel to every person according to Matthew 24:14.

One of the great uniting factors of this effort is that everyone can participate. Every individual who has shared his faith in any country of the world can enter his contribution to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. It is not just for big denominations and mission organizations. And a few years from now, we will be able to rejoice in what God has allowed us to do together for His Glory. Who did what, will be lost in the totals-and Jesus will be lifted up.

V. WHO IS INVOLVED?

This effort is being sponsored by the Saturation Evangelism and Mass Media tracks of the AD 2000 and Beyond Movement. It is being co-chaired by Paul Eshleman, Director of The JESUS Film Project (in cooperation with Victor Koh, Chairman of SEL Track of AD2000), and Eric Watt, International Vice-President of CBN. The Evaluation and Security Committee is made up of representatives from a number of major mission organizations.

VI. HOW WOULD IT WORK?

Here are some of the aspects of the proposal:

  1. Each denomination or organization would be asked to submit estimates or reports of its proclamation efforts between 1980-2000 to a central clearing house for inclusion in the report.
  2. This Clearing House committee will evaluate and clarify the data, ensure security procedures for sensitive areas, and add the information to the database.
  3. A website called "Harvest.com" will be established to continually make the information available to mission planners and strategists.
  4. The information collected will be limited in scope. The purpose of the site is not to secure a comprehensive analysis of all activity in an area. It is directed very specifically toward answering the question of whether on not every person in a particular geographical area has been able to hear the Gospel in an understandable language. We will assume that others will track the penetration into ethno-linguistic people groups by means of the Church-planting reports.
  5. The suggested information to be collected at present is as follows:
    CNTRY  PROV./ST  DIST/Major City  LANG.  METHOD  # GOSPEL PRESENTATIONS
  6. The explanation of each category:
    1. Country. This would be one of the 230 countries as found on the list published the U.N.
    2. Province, State, Oblast, etc. This is the next demographic breakdown used by the particular country for which the data is being submitted.
    3. District, county, etc. This would be the next smallest geographical breakdown.
    4. Major city. This may not be essential information for the more rural areas of the world. However, we do want to be sure we are getting sufficient penetration of the Gospel into the big cities.
    5. Language. What was the language used in the presentation of the gospel--either spoken or written? One of our challenges in evangelization, is to be sure that we are making enough efforts to proclaim the Gospel in the most understandable language. Trade languages are better than nothing. Mother tongue is best.
    6. Method. This may not be crucial, as a category, to collect. HOW a person hears the Gospel is not nearly as important as the fact that he hears. We are interested, however, to keep pointing our evangelization efforts, not only to conversion, but to eventual incorporation into a local body of believers. Therefore, the more mass evangelism that we do, the greater the challenge to locate the interested listeners and readers, and help them take the next steps in discipleship.
    7. Number of People "Evangelized". We are not attempting to assess whether or not they understood, responded, or grasped the Gospel. This is only a measure of our faithfulness to go and proclaim the message.
  7. The dates of the activity C 1/1/1980 through 12/31/2000. We are trying to measure only what has and will be done during this twenty-year time span. Some might wish a shorter or longer period of time. However, we believe that these years will give a fairly accurate picture of what has been done. During this time, of course, many who were previously reached, have died. Some who have just been born, are not yet at the age where they can understand the Gospel. However, this time period will give us a chance to see the areas of greatest need remaining as we move to the next century.

One reason to go back to 1980 is to acknowledge all of the evangelism that has already been done. This does not mean that people do not need to hear the Message again. They may need ten or twelve exposures to the gospel before they understand or are ready to make a commitment. However, it gives us some idea how much work has already been done in some geographic locations among various language groups.

VII. WHAT COUNTS AS A GOSPEL PRESENTATION?

We are sure that every effort to exalt Christ is important to our Heavenly Father. We were sent to the earth to glorify and reflect Him. However, in this attempt to measure our faithfulness to His command to 'preach the Gospel to every creature' or "make disciples in all nations'(which means that we need to begin with telling the Gospel), we are only trying to track presentations that contain the following elements:

  1. An explanation of the Gospel, including:
    1. Man has a sin problem that separates him from God.
    2. God, in His love, sent Jesus to die on the cross as the payment for our sins.
    3. In an act of repentance, we must make a personal decision to receive, by faith, Christ's provision for our sins--something He alone can do.
  2. An invitation to receive Christ as Savior and Lord. Obviously, it is not always possible to ask for an outward evidence of inward commitments being made. However, in this collection of reports, we really are trying to track only those presentations where people have been called to repentance and been challenged to place their faith in Jesus for their eternal salvation.

In summary, we will need to leave it up to each agency, to help determine which presentations were actually evangelistic in nature, and which were informational, teaching-oriented, or pre-evangelistic in nature. Surely all of these efforts contribute to people understanding more of God. What we want to track, are those presentations that explain WHAT the Gospel is, and HOW to receive Christ as personal Savior.

VIII. SECURITY AND EVALUATION COMMITTEE.

A. Security.
Some of the areas of the world where we need information about what progress is being made, still require great care in specific reporting. Therefore, no specific public tie will be made between statistics submitted and the organization submitting them. If, for example, ABC Mission submits an entry that in 1991 it distributed 431 pieces of evangelistic literature in Pyongyang , North Korea, we would only make public, in the data base, WHAT was done--not WHO did it. In fact, this will be true of all entries. This information center is not organized to give any organization any credit or glory, so no summaries will be kept by organization. Its whole purpose is to find out what areas haven't been covered with the gospel, so that mission leaders can make better and more informed decisions as to the allocation of personnel and resources.

B. Evaluation.
This Committee functions only to evaluate the data being entered, to be sure that it is reliable. In the Report Input Form, the organizational reporters will be asked to describe the evangelistic activity on which they are reporting. They will try to ensure that the reports are not spurious, and that the activities have met the evangelistic presentation guidelines. They will attempt to be as inclusive of the data submitted as possible.

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