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Questions from the Watchword Consultation

by Jay Gary, Mar 14, 1999

watch2Here are questions the program committee asked as it prepared for “The Watchword in World Missions” consultation, Colorado Springs, March 15-16, 1999. We welcome your feedback.


1. Since 1975, what contribution has the unreached peoples concept made to world missions? What other concepts focused our understanding of the Unfinished Task?

2. How did the watchword, “A Church for Every People by the Year 2000” improvise and improve the call to mission, in comparison to previous evangelical watchwords?

3. How did the AD 2000 vision in the ’90s seek to reshape the missions paradigm in light of cultural changes?

4. In what spheres of influence did the watchword of “A Church for Every People by the Year 2000” have the greatest impact?


5. Is the missionary deployment “crisis of 1900” the same for us today? Have we arrived at 2000, only now to face “a scandal of broken promises”?

6. What criteria should the 21st church use to gauge the impact of the AD 2000 movement?

7. In what ways have we failed as world mission leaders in giving leadership to this century-end campaign? What decisions were made along the way which limited the institutional impact and allowed missions to continue as usual?

8. Before rushing out to set up a new fulfillment horizon for world missions, how should we be accountable to each other? More authentic before God and the church?


9. To what degree in the 1990s was world missions enhanced or hindered by popular fixations on endism, zionism, conspiracism? What is the proper relationship between evangelization and eschatology?

10. What truth, if any, do you find in this statement: “While the evangelical church has experienced significant growth in this century, its mission strategies have been influenced by too much reductionist thinking and a managerial approach to ministry?”

11. In what way does the Watchword speak to evangelization? How does it speak to civilization building? Starting from “A Church for Every People,” how can we sharpen our biblical call to personal, social, national or global transformation?

12. Can one generation’s call to mission, serve a successor generation? Or must that call be reframed in fresh new ways, to call a new generation forth, while being faithful to priority work in world missions?

13. How can we create a transforming Watchword for a new century, beyond the confines of sectarian church growth, culture wars or colonial ideology? Do we need a different Watchword to effectively do this?


14. How does “future fluency” help us as Great Commission Christians to forecast and plan for world mission in contextual ways?

15. Measured from the perspective of decades, what probable futures is frontier missions facing in 2025, 2050, 2100, or beyond?


16. What factors, if introduced as planned change within churches and missions over the next 10 years, would bring closure of the missionary task at least within generational range?

17. As a governing metaphor in missions, what constellation of ideas or innovations should a new Watchword carry in a new century?

18. Is there a need for a new agenda for world missions in the 21st century? How does this relate to WEF’s desire to look “biblically, wholistically, contextually and globally into the next century and next millennium.”

19. What role might a Global Action Plan have, if any, in the creation of a new agenda for world missions?


20. Should the Watchword of the early 21st century have a time-target? If so, what time horizon should a new Watchword look toward? A twenty year horizon? a bimillennial year horizon, such as 2033? or beyond?

21. How should a new Watchword for the year 2020 or 2033 be introduced? What institutional stakeholders should be involved in its development to insure that it becomes an authentic call to a global church?

22. If another generation established a time horizon in world missions, and they, like us found it became a stepping stone, rather than milestone for closure, at what point should they allow the “beyond” horizon to come into view?

23. How will you remember the 20th anniversary consultation of the Watchword? What insights have you gained from our time together, which you would like to put into practice?

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