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.

The Genesis of the Third Millennium

This is a briefing paper presented to the press on August 18, 1990 at the “Congress on the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization” in Indianapolis, by Jay Gary, editor of the AD 2000 Monitor.

In just ten brief years, the year 2000 will mark the end of one century, and signal the dawn of a new one. If our Lord tarries, humanity will tumble headlong into the Third Millennium.

The real significance behind AD 2000 lies in its prefix AD, or Anno Domini–the year of our Lord. The year 2000 is a celebration of Jesus Christ’s incarnation in order to be the center piece for all creation, for all history, and for all nations. To fully grasp what all this means for the Church will only come through much reflection and prayer.

In light of AD 2000, Rushworth M. Kidder, senior columnist for the Christian Science Monitor, recognized the need for this serious reflection. In his book,Reinventing the Future: Global Goals for the 21st Century, he writes:

If recent history tells us anything, the turn of the century of the millennium, will galvanize attention around the world. The celebrations surrounding the American bicentennial, in 1976, the commemoration of the signing of the Constitution of the United States, in 1987, the forthcoming fivehundredth anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of the New World in 1992: these will pale before the blaze attending the year 2000. It will roar in aboard a worldwide New Year’s bash of parades, fireworks, television extravaganzas, and yet-to-be invented forms of hype, hoopla, and ballyhoo. And, since the 21st century doesn’t officially begin until January 1, 2001, it will have a full year to play itself out.

But what will be the real significance of the arrival of the new millennium? How will we celebrate it in thought as well as action? What key ideas will we take with us into the future?

If humanity, accustomed to making resolutions on New Year’s Eve, turns its attention to New Century’s resolutions, what will it have to say? What will be the major, first-intensify issues facing the world as the new century opens? If we are serious about addressing them, how far can we reasonably expect to move along the path toward solutions during the next 129 months?

Several months ago, my wife Olgy and I were entertaining some friends who work with Carisma en Misiones in Los Angeles. At the conclusion of that evening, we felt drawn to pin hands and uphold our burdens before the throne of grace. In the heart of each of us was the cry, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

As we were praying, one of them shared with us what seemed to her to be a vision of a most beautiful wrapped gift being let down from heaven. As this birthday gift was about to touch earth, a multitude of hands reached out to grab it.

At that moment, the Lord spoke to those with outreached arms and said, “No, este regalo es para mi pueblo,” which translated means “This gift is for all my people.” The vision concluded with a scene of vast multitudes walking with raised arms in praise to God.

To me, the advent of the Third Millennium is a gift. I means nothing less than a greater coming of the Lord Jesus. This coming gift of Christ is not just for me, or for my denomination, or for my favorite ministry, or for people who believe like I do, but for the whole Church, and ultimately all of humanity–and that is something to celebrate.

This is the vision of what it means to be a Christian in the ’90s. If we stay true to this heavenly calling, then on January 1, 2001, after the great fireworks and fanfare die down from the great global birthday party for the year 2000, we will find ourselves further along towards reaching the goals which really matter.

As we face the year 2000 and beyond, the summons to world evangelization needs to go beyond just calling for a bigger, better, faster evangelization to renewing the entire spiritual fabric of the Christian faith to be fit and ready for the Third Millennium.

In 1965, Kenneth Bolding correctly named our century in the very title of his book, The Meaning of the Twentieth Century: The Great Transition. Centuries of the future will view the 20th Century as an anomaly, as a transition century in world history.

This was the century that man was revealed as he really was, a grotesque creature who ever had the propensity to inflict pain upon his fellow man through the chambers of Germany or the killing fields of Cambodia.

To use the words of Michael Harrington, the social economist, this has been an accidental century where something enormous is being born. And something enormous is dying.” (The Accidental Century, p.13, 1966).

Not only did modern man come to the end of his limits in this century, but the institutional church did so as well. In light of the scandals among Christian leaders of the late 1980s, how unfortunately prophetic were the words of Charles P. Templeton in his book, Evangelism for Tomorrow of more than 30 years ago.

He said: “The Church stands in danger that the time will come when it can pick up a microphone and address the entire world–only to find out it has nothing to say.”

At this Indianapolis Congress, we do not give triumphalism any ground, for the challenge of the 21st century call us to much travail that “Christ be formed again within us.”

While up until now, much of the attention of the Christian world in regards to AD 2000 has been in reference to the mobilizing resources to “TARGET 2000,” I believe by the mid-1990s we will view the millennial date in a different light. We will sense that the year 2000 can not possibly bear the cumulative emotional weight of humanity’s deferred hopes and unfulfilled predictions.

By that time the majority of the post-World War II generation of Christian leadership will have gone on to be with the Lord or retired. A new generation, more reflective of today’s diverse world will come of age.

In contrast to the previous generation, this successor generation will be more ethnic–less anglo, more female–less male, more laity–less clergy. On the shoulders of these “Joshuas” will fall the mantle of guiding the church into the Third Millennium.

This recognition of the “torch passing” moment has already begun. In the Spring of 1988, kindergarten teachers throughout the United States held festive rites of passage for five year olds–the graduating high school class of the year 2000.

Immediately on the heels of this symbolic event, the Lausanne Movement–the network that Billy Graham intiated, held a national conference called “Leadership ’88” attended by more than 1,000 key younger leaders. This event was specifically designed as a coming out party for the next generation in world evangelization.

Due to this generational shift and the need to defer unfulfilled hopes to the next century, I sense that by 1997 we will clearly shift our approach from TARGET 2000 to what I call GATEWAY 2001. Rather than seeing AD 2000 as just an end, we will view it also as a beginning:

–Not just as the final decade, but the eve of the first.
–Not just as the end of a century, but the dawn of another.
–Not just as the close of a millennium, but the eve of a new one.

We will direct our energies in preparation for a whole new century of possibilities in Christ. Hopefully, a partnership will emerge between the evangelism leaders who have led TARGET 2000 and the church leaders who are more keen to define the hinge year 2000 as GATEWAY 2001. Together we will work toward an end that is truly a new beginning.

Let us pray to God that when younger generations of Christians in the 21st century look back at Indianapolis 1990, they will say that here the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement crossed a threshold.

Because they met, and worshipped, entire strongholds fell, and it was possible to take a whole series of steps towards world evangelization.

And let them say that in Indianapolis 1990, the Charismatic world set its face wholeheartedly to prepare themselves in the decade of the ’90s, for the advent of the Third Christian Millennium.

Dr. Jay Gary is president of, a foresight consulting group. Over the past twenty years he has helped non-profits, foundations, civic leaders, and strategic alliances to create more promise filled futures. He also teaches strategic foresight, innovation and leadership at the graduate level and through professional development courses.

Share Button

Comments are closed.