CM2000 27 December, 2000
Plenary: Why Are We Here?

What Is/Was AD2000?

Luis Bush

A. Where did it come from?

During the second half of the twentieth century, many Christian leaders and organizations perceived some new moves of God around the world, and called for special prayer and consideration of these moves.

From this period of prayer and reflection, the AD2000 & Beyond Movement (AD2000) developed during the late 1980's. Its primary purpose was to encourage existing and new movements to work together across prevailing barriers to cooperation, in order to advance the cause of Jesus Christ and his Great Commission. The movement grew as more entities worldwide joined the cause in which they would collaborate, "A church for every people and the gospel for every person by the year 2000."

Many Christian leaders recognized a new move of God. Early in the 1990's, Patrick Johnstone, author of the book Operation World, observed, "I believe that God has given us the best opportunity in all history to gain a wide level of support among Christians committed to world evangelization in the AD2000 vision." C. Peter Wagner, recent Donald A. McGavran Professor of Church Growth, Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission said: "The AD2000 & Beyond Movement has become the central catalytic movement of the decade for synchronizing the numerous worldwide forces for evangelism that God has been preparing for these times." Ralph D. Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission, called AD2000 "the largest, most pervasive global evangelical network ever to exist." Paul E. Pierson, Dean Emeritus, Fuller School of World Mission said: "The Church in this decade has gone through more change than any other time since the Reformation. This is also the most productive and creative era in missions since the first century."

At the beginning of the decade of the 1990's, more than 2000 individual plans for global evangelism existed, each focusing on the year 2000! One-third of these originated in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which until recently, were viewed as the major target of missionary concern. The church planted in those areas was now on the march, reaching out with the same gospel to reproduce itself throughout the whole world.

But most of these plans were operating independently, without any knowledge of overlap, either of ministry or geography. Through the Global Consultation on World Evangelization (GCOWE) in early 1989, and the Lausanne II Conference in Manila in July of that year, many church leaders became aware that if the world was to be reached for Christ by AD2000, a concerted, synergistic effort was needed. Evangelical groups needed to work cooperatively, identifying the needs, sharing the vision, and mobilizing personnel and resources, while each still retaining particular distinctives and autonomy. The Great Commission Manifesto challenged God's people toward the vision of a church for every people and the gospel for every person. AD2000 was born a servant-catalyst, to strategize, encourage, network, inspire, research, and disseminate information about what the Holy Spirit is doing through the church globally. Its stated purpose: "in a spirit of servanthood, to encourage, motivate and network men and women church leaders by inspiring them with the vision of reaching the unreached by the year 2000 through consultations, prayer efforts and communication materials." The intention was to encourage cooperation among existing churches, movements and structures to work together towards this same vision. Like the living organism it was, leadership ebbed and flowed, with various leaders coming to the fore for different projects and purposes throughout the world.

Different types of structures emerged in order to harness the movement's energies. On the local level, like-minded individuals and organizations joined together to carry out projects and conduct conferences focused on network-building, evangelism and church planting. Official leadership emerged on local, national, and regional levels throughout the world to focus on the needs of each geographical area for a church and the gospel, as the AD2000 mandate prescribed. Of particular note was the strength of those strong networks and leaders found within regions that were historically known as mission fields: Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Internationally, emphasis frequently shifted to shared method and motive as found in the resource networks and tracks, as they came to be known. Within these affiliations, leaders from many countries sharing similar types of vision, such as radio (World by 2000), and Scripture (God's Word and Literature) collaborated within their callings to strengthen relationships, reduce duplication, and increase synergism.

Recognizing the need for a central nerve center for information and a minimum level of administration for the movement, the International Office was formed in Colorado Springs in the early 1990's.

B. What was its Vision

The movement challenged the global church to ask this question "What can we do to seek to fulfill the mandate of Jesus, given to his followers two millennia ago, to make disciples of all the nations and to preach the gospel to every creature so that there is a church for every people and the gospel for every person?" This phrase "a church for every people and the gospel for every person" became the rallying cry and unifying thesis of the movement. After consultation with many, the term "people" became defined as ethnolinguistic people (distinguished by both language and ethnicity).

As leaders sought to further understand the task, it became apparent that the greatest concentration of people groups which had yet to hear the gospel or experience a church in its own culture were located in great concentration in one region of the world. This region, termed "the 10/40 window," could be framed by drawing a rectangle in the Eastern hemisphere 10 degrees to 40 degrees north of the equator, from West Africa to East Asia. More than anything else, this term and focus of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement became its most widely-known vision element.

C. What milestones did it enjoy?

The AD2000 & Beyond Movement became a catalyst in many events as well as projects, both locally and internationally. These sparks of life can be divided historically into two halves, with the dividing point being the Global Consultation on World Evangelization (GCOWE 95) held in Seoul Korea. This conference brought together more Christian leaders representing more nations than the United Nations, nearly 4,000 representing 186 nations. As leaders met by region, by track, as well as en masse to consider the unfinished task, an untold amount of synergy birthed thousands of plans and purposes to fulfill the AD2000 mandate. One example of this is a small church network in Spain, which adopted an unreached group in Africa. Just two years later, at GCOWE 97, they were eager to report a thriving pioneer church had been planted.

GCOWE `95 was a rite of passage for the missionary-sending movements from Asia, Africa and Latin America. For example, three-quarters of the consultation's financing and two-thirds of the delegates were from the non-Western world. A powerful demonstration of a new missionary force took place at the Seoul Olympic Stadium where the consultation delegates joined 70,000 Korean Christian youth of whom 60,000 dedicated themselves in writing to bring about global evangelization in their generation. Even this national outpouring had results on the opposite side of the globe. Two pastors returned home to Brazil with a vision sparked by the dedication of these Korean young people. This vision led to their wives beginning a worldwide prayer movement involving tens of thousands of women, Wake Up Deborah, which gathers local women together to pray for the salvation and calling of their children into God's highest calling for their lives, especially into mission to unreached peoples.

But perhaps the greatest outcome of the 1995 conference was the recognition that a greater amount of specific information about unreached people groups would be necessary in order to fulfill the mandate. Where were the least-reached peoples and what do we, as the Body of Christ, know about them? Over the months following GCOWE 95, expert researchers from Wycliffe/SIL, MARC/World Vision, IMB/Southern Baptists and others blended their collective information to compile the Joshua Project Peoples List. The resulting list of 1739 peoples most needing a church-planting effort was rough and riddled with errors. But its weakness became its strength, as once it was produced and disseminated, those field missionaries and nationals in the best position to have accurate information were eager to correct the misinformation it carried. The result was the best information ever compiled on these groups. The Joshua Project would become the main vehicle working out this need of the Movement over the second half of the decade. The list itself acted as a catalyst to reaching the groups it contained, bringing together workers to research the peoples, produce prayer profiles, enlist prayer teams and mobilize church-planting teams.

The worldwide AD2000 movement met again in 1997 in Pretoria, South Africa in order to further the work and information. Nearly 5,000 delegates attended this conference, with the greatest majority from Africa.

Throughout the decade, several dozen major conferences were held in various locations with various foci relating to the AD2000 goal.

Examples of this were the September 1996 Yugoslavia conference, "Hope for the Balkans," a 1997 Pasadena conference, "The Gateway People Cluster Consultation," the 1996 Burma women's conference "AD2000 Women"

Another major global work of the movement were the Praying Through the Window initiatives culminating in October of 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999 for year-long and intense month-long global corporate prayer and prayer journeys for the unreached of the 10/40 window. Registered participants in each of these prayer thrusts number in the tens of millions, the highest reaching into the 40's.

D. What materials did it produce?

In support of the plethora of efforts within the movement, various materials were produced which also blessed and aided other efforts within and outside the movement. These materials both highlighted need and provided help in designing answers to the need. This included eight (8) magazine-style brochures focusing on such as "The Horn of Africa," web-based programs and information sets, such as the Adoption Guidance Program; books, such as Building Networks, and videos such as "Light the Window." Some of these resources were produced directly by the AD2000 & Beyond Movement's International Office and some by various individuals and networks within the movement, and some combination of both.

E. What is its future?

One of the initial parameters of the movement was its conscious decision to be self-limiting. That is, to only exist over ten years, until the end of the year 2000. While the term "and beyond" was added in order to allow for a few months to close down, and to recognize that the Holy Spirit would hopefully cause the vision of the movement to continue, the movement as a legal entity epitomized in the International Office in Colorado Springs was never intended to continue indefinitely. This intention has allowed the Movement's leaders to hold everything with an open hand, allowing God to be the director, without any unconscious attempt at creating enduring administrative edifices. In following the biblical principle, "unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die," leaders expect that many new models will grow from AD2000's fertilized soil. One of these, the HIServices will be continuing and expanding the AD2000 database, including Joshua Project information, so that the momentum developed during the decade would not be lost, but redirected into new works of the Spirit.

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