A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

AD 2000 Gets a Millennial Check-Up

It was long overdue, but the track movement called “AD 2000 & Beyond,” finally kept their scheduled appointment for a mid-decadal check-up, May 17-25, 1995 in Seoul, Korea, writes, Jay Gary.

GCOWE 1995Nearly 3,400 evangelical leaders reported in, representing 186 nations. The check-up was called, “The Global Consultation on World Evangelization,” or GCOWE ’95 (pronounced gee-co-ee) for short. It’s purpose was to quicken the pace of the AD 2000 race and to reach, if possible, “A church for every people and the gospel for every person by the year 2000.”

New Records Were Set

Much like an Olympic meet, GCOWE ’95 will be remembered as a missions congress for the records it broke.

First, it demonstrated that a new kind of athlete could compete on the world mission track field. This runner is younger, more zealous and from the non- western world. Rather than a leader in their own country, this person is a grass-roots activist. Of all the Africans, Latins and Asians at GCOWE ’95, four out of five had never been to an international meeting.
To celebrate their new standing in world missions mid- way through the congress, this non-western breed gathered at the Seoul Olympic Stadium in the pouring rain, to witness 80,000 Korean students dedicate themselves to Korean unification and world evangelization. For many, this event marked the symbolic high point of the congress.

Second, GCOWE ’95, may have set a record in its attempt to turn a global congress into a working consultation. Only 40 percent of its meetings were main sessions, with the majority being working sessions. These broke down into two kinds, meetings of resource networks, called “tracks” and meetings of people in national and regional networks.
While the tracks received the lion share of press coverage on the AD2000 Web Site (, the national and regional networks were not overlooked by heaven. Laying aside their prepared agenda, many regional meetings felt a divine wind of reconciliation blow through. Japanese knelt before Koreans, Arab Christians embraced Jewish Christians and Georgian Orthodox Christians apologized to Georgian Pentecostals. For a moment in time, Christian unity reigned supreme.

Third, GCOWE ’95 will likely make the record books for its emphasis on partnership. “Every other word during the sessions was the P word,” claimed Seattle consultant Phill Butler, of InterDev. “There was a heavier emphasis on the need for partnership, than any other congress I have ever attended.”

Butler sees the self-serving, individualistic nature of western missions as a principal deterrent to the fulfillment of the goals of the AD 2000 Movement. “It is not the question of human resources, but how to marshall them.” GCOWE ’95 sends a clear signal that partnership with non-western missions is the next step in world evangelization.

Will They Go for the Gold?

As a millennial check-up, GCOWE ’95 also gave an opportunity to the AD 2000 Movement to ask itself whether it was healthy enough to take a gold medal in its race toward 2000.

During the congress, there appeared to be a shift in the strategy, if not by its’ top leaders, at least by its running coaches. Responding to concerns that the double goal of AD 2000 would become increasingly unrealistic and demotivating, the official GCOWE ’95 Declaration backed down from 1989 statements that the year 2000 would be a capstone.

It concluded that the year 2000 would merely be “a milestone to mark the advance of the Gospel both as a focal point for intensified evangelistic work and a transition to a new century of missionary outreach.”

Rather than finish the whole task, it would appear now that the AD 2000 Movement would be satisfied if it were to reach a “significant” milestone by 2000.

A Team for Every People

When asked if the AD 2000 Movement had scaled back its goals at GCOWE ’95, or merely refocused them, track leader Patrick Johnstone, replied, “I have been part of the attempts to make goals realistic yet within the spirit of the movement.”

Rather than see “a church for every people” by the year 2000, Johnstone, the British expert and author of “Operation World,” is aiming “to have missionaries actually working at discipling every significant people by 2001.”

Johnstone, who has worked with WEC International for more than 25 years admitted, “Many of our teams have been working for 20 years in hard areas before the breakthrough came.”

Among the unreached peoples with population over one million, his research indicates that 85 percent have mission teams presently working among them. He feels this number can increase to 100 percent by 2000 if the movement focuses its efforts.

One of the hurdles the AD 2000 Movement has had to overcome in the past five years is the sheer absolute number of unreached peoples.

While the figure of 11,000 unreached people groups is often quoted by the movement, Johnstone says his research “indicates we have far fewer peoples for which cross-cultural church planting will be initially necessary.” For the next five years, Johnstone will encourage the missions race to track the unfinished task in terms of “12 affinity blocs,” containing 130-161 strategic or “gateway” peoples.

The plan, according to Johnstone, would call for various “affinity bloc” conferences to meet over the course of next year, representing both western and third world mission agencies, national church bodies and prayer networks.

For example, the Malay “affinity bloc” conference would draw people from around the globe to focus on the South Asian Malay world. In this way, strategic partnerships among various teams could be formed for each gateway people. This would be repeated for each affinity block, whether for Arabs, Sahel Africans, Iranians, Turkics, East Asians, etc.

Will Time Run Out?

While the affinity bloc strategy was launched at GCOWE ’95, for whatever logistical reasons, dates and places for these 1996 conferences among the non-western world were not announced.

Phill Butler considers the affinity bloc concept helpful, but doubts at this late date whether the AD 2000 Movement can “add another layer of consideration” on top of its country and track structure.

He feels the movement will reach the affinity blocs through strategic partnerships with non-western missions in those key countries adjacent or within the “10/40 Window.”

The 10/40 Window is a term the movement has coined for an imaginary box stretching from Africa to Asia. This is where the vast majority of the world’s unreached live and where the greatest degrees of poverty, illiteracy, disease and suffering are to be found.

Butler feels the “gateway” strategy fits well into the “Praying through the Window II” campaign. AD 2000 expects 30 million people will take part in this October prayer emphasis, with up to 400 teams visiting 100 gateway cities to “pray on-site with insight.”

Realizing its own “shelf-life” on the world mission scene, the AD 2000 Movement announced at GCOWE ’95 that it would dissolve December 31, 2001.

Even if the AD 2000 Movement were to take a silver medal through its more limited “team for every people” approach, time nevertheless will run out.

What then does the GCOWE ’95 millennial check-up say about the movement? AD 2000 will likely cross the finish line without winning a gold medal, but will certainly stir the hearts of millions and focus the church’s mission at the end of the second millennium.

Beyond 2000 into the Third Millennium

For all the new terms and energy that AD 2000 has brought to world missions in the past six years, many leaders are now turning their attention to what lies beyond 2000.

One of those leaders helping younger runners train for the new millennium is Jeff Fountain, regional leader of Youth With a Mission in Europe. When asked what GCOWE ’95 left undone, he said, “Their exclusive focus on the end of the millennium may leave the church unprepared for the challenges of the 21st century.”

At GCOWE ’95, he felt that AD 2000 had said much about what should happen by the end of the decade, but was strangely silent about the role of God’s people in the third millennium.

Fountain, along with other “Hope for Europe” leaders from Western Europe, used part of the time at GCOWE ’95 to “regain a vision for our continent, honestly face up to the churches’ past and present failures and present a credible and biblical message of hope.”

“Hope for Europe,” which Fountain helps lead, is a partnership initiative linking some 10 national evangelistic strategies with various pan-European specialist networks. They are co-sponsored by the European Evangelical Alliance and the Lausanne Europe Committee. “Hope for Europe” interfaces globally with the AD 2000 & Beyond Movement, the Lausanne Committee and the World Evangelical Fellowship.

These leaders appear to have developed a “beyond 2000” vision, which up until now has not appeared within the AD 2000 & Beyond Movement. Rather than engage in a rhetoric of success about 2000 or make millennial predictions, this vision aims to make real changes within the church as it enters the third millennium of human history.

As a result of the “by the year 2000” efforts and the “beyond 2000” vision, the church will likely be better positioned to see the fulfillment of “a church for every people” dream in the first century of the third millennium.

From Milestone to Memorial

So where does this GCOWE ’95 millennial check-up leave us? In the retrospect of history, the AD 2000 Movement is a separate, parallel expression of a secular “agenda 2000” phenomena, one that has been 30 years in the making.

This century-end movement first appeared among the future study discipline giving birth to the World Future Society. It then spread like a wildfire to mainstream society, leaving fascination with the year 2000 in its wake.

From the early ’70s to the mid ’80s, this century-end movement tore through government, business and religion. Now five years before the year 2000, this secular millennial fad seems to have come to grips with its own reality.

As bold as Republican leaders are today in the U.S. Congress, they realize some things just won’t get done by the year 2000. They talk about balancing the budget, not by the millennial year of 2000, but by 2002. And even that is not guaranteed. The same might be said for the 2,000 year dream of world evangelization.

It’s time for evangelicals to be mature about the new millennium. The year 2000 will be just another year. Come the bimillennium, the world will probably still look like hell, showing every one of its long 2,000 years. The wolves of the world will still be slaughtering the lambs. Poverty, hatred, disease and war will still be with us. Instead of becoming fatigued from the millennial missions race, the church worldwide may well catch a second mission wind.

Today it seems, millions of Christians are using the symbol of A.D. 2000 to fix their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

The Bimillennial of Jesus

One thing GCOWE ’95 saw only as a cloud on the horizon, but nevertheless saw, was the coming 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Christ. In preparation for this special season from 1996 to 2001, the United Prayer Track, led by C. Peter Wagner, announced a “Jerusalem 2000 Celebration” for February ’96.

There are signs, not just among evangelicals, but among Catholics and mainline Protestants, that we are about to enter the 2,000th anniversary season of the birth of Christ. Beyond fixating on the tape at the finish line, the body of Christ at this time seems be following the real star of A.D. 2000the person of Christ.

The year 2000 will be a milestone, but more than that, it will be a living memorial to Jesus Christ, marking the 2,000th anniversary of the Incarnation of Our Lord.

So what does this 1995 millennial check-up in Seoul tell us? We can say now with greater confidence that the decade of harvest will not lose momentum. Instead, the “target 2000” programs will increasingly become more meaningful to a majority of the world’s population, in view of the 2,000th anniversary of the Author of Life touching down on this planet.

[This feature by Jay Gary was released in conjunction with GCOWE 1995, a congress hosted by the AD 2000 & Beyond Movement in South Korea. It was distributed by Bimillennial Press via the Internet.]

Share Button

Comments are closed.