by Thomas Wang
The AD 2000 Movement.
The AD 2000 Movement is a worldwide evangelization movement that enjoys an international ownership with over 50 percent of its leaders from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. To understand the movement, one must know its purpose and its attitude towards the Great Commission. After a recent huddle between its leaders, they put the purpose of the movement as:
The purpose is to motivate and network church leaders by channeling vision through consultations, prayer efforts and written materials for the purpose of establishing a mission-minded church planting movement within every unreached people and urban center by AD 2000, so that all peoples have a valid opportunity to experience the love, truth and saving power of Jesus Christ.
The movement’s central task is to: motivate the churches of the world to initiate church planting movement within unreached people groups, and to fulfill the job by the year 2000.
The movement is totally committed to fulfillment of the Great Commission, which means that every person in the world must have an adequate opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in a language that he understands, so that a personal response is possible. Those who respond positively to the gospel must be discipled and brought into the church.
Are these goals attainable? Leaders of the movement believe they are, provided that churches are willing to cooperate and to prioritize their efforts and resources toward this end. In fact, churches of this generation are more equipped than any time in history to tackle this global task in terms of available resources, knowledge of missions, communications, and power of the Holy Spirit.
God is raising up churches in all continents to promote national and world evangelization, using AD 2000 as the target year. They have held, or will soon be holding, either vision meetings or various levels of national consultations to galvanize national churches into action on strategy and its implementation. These nations are:
Africa: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa.
Asia: Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Korea.
North America: Canada.
Latin America: Costa Rica, the Andean nations, the Southern cone nations.
Western Europe: Holland, Italy, France, Belgium, U.K.
Eastern Europe: Church leaders of Eastern Europe (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, East Germany, Bulgaria, Romania) are preparing for a Consultation on the Evangelization of Eastern Europe by the Year 2000, to be held in northern Moravia, Czechoslovakia, July 17-21, 1991. They are expecting 30 to 40 church leaders from each country of Eastern Europe to attend.
These are overwhelming happenings that cannot be ignored. God is doing a new thing in his church. The only countries that have yet to show signs of response to this global movement are the United States and some countries of Western Europe.
What about the unreached people group situation today? How much has been done so far? Some recent figures have shed new light on the actual outlook. Let me quote from the first chapter of Patrick Johnstone’s paper "Unreached Peoples," presented at the second Lausanne Congress, July 1989, Manila, Philippines.
It is striking as one studies the least-reached peoples of the earth to realize that 90 percent are to be found in only 20 or so nations of Africa and Asia. Some of the countries with the largest number of unreached people groups are Afghanistan, Chad, Iran, India, China, Algeria, Libya, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, and Nepal, among others.
The actual number of totally unreached peoples in the world today-counting those presently with no resident or non-resident missionary activity-is low. Probably there are no more than about 300 with populations in excess of 10,000.
The number of peoples without a resident witness or some indigenous believers is much lower than previously thought, and the total population of the "undiscipled" are surprisingly low.
About 40 percent of the world’s population in 2,000 peoples are in the initial stages of church planting and development, with less than 5 percent of their populations Christian.
About half of the world’s peoples are, at least nominally, Christian.
The number of ethnolingustic peoples or people groups, is 11,500 (plus or minus 1,000). This number is reduced to about 10,500 if we omit peoples with populations under 100.
"Undiscipled peoples" number 1,100 (plus or minus 200). These are peoples without viable witnessing churches within their cultures.
Totally unreached ethnolinguistic people groups of all sizes thus can be calculated at about 650 (plus or minus 200). These are the people beyond the present effective witness of indigenous Christians, alien nationals, or expatriate missionaries. The total population of peoples in this category is less than 150 million.
Having said all this, Johnstone cautions us:
Let us beware, lest the euphoria of the moment blind us to the cost in effort, pain and even martyrdom that awaits us if we are to achieve our goal of "closure," that is, the discipling of every people/nation. These peoples are unreached because others who preceded us were unable to surmount the high geographical, cultural, religious and political barriers that keep them isolated from the Good News….To actually achieve our goal will cost us our money, our sons and daughters, our time, our blood and definitely our lives. Are we willing to pay the price? No? How can we withhold anything from him who bought us at such cost. No price is too high, and how trivial that price will appear compared with the glories of eternity.
Copyright © 1990 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.