When we speak of world evangelization, we look at the macro strategies that must be employed so that all the peoples of the earth have an opportunity to:
- Hear the gospel
- In their “heart” language
- Near where they live
- With access to a healthy indigenous church
To see this accomplished, many barriers must be overcome. Each month members of the Lausanne Strategy Working Group look at different barriers and highlight the latest thinking, strategies and models that may contribute to solutions. One of these includes understanding the task of world evangelization, which is awesome in its scope, its complexity and its challenge. Yet our Lord told us that before he came again to this earth that his gospel would be preached as a witness to all the nations. He would not command us to do something that we could not accomplish. Determining how we should best go about fulfilling this command is a challenge for every pastor, missionary and organizational leader.
The first five books of the New Testament give us some of our biblical basis.
– Matthew 28:18-28 speaks of the DEPTH of the Great Commission.
– Mark 16:15 speaks of the BREADTH of the Great Commission.
– Luke 24:46-47 speaks of the SURETY of the Great Commission.
– John 20:21 speaks of the MODEL of the Great Commission.
– Acts 1:8 speaks of the EXTENT of the Great Commission.
During the Amsterdam 2000 conference, 520 strategists in world evangelization from 122 countries gathered to discuss one penetrating question: What must we do in the coming decade to complete the task of world evangelization? They discussed many of the barriers to evangelization and called on Christian leaders to make the following twelve objectives a priority:
To work toward the planting of churches within every remaining people group as we seek to evangelize and make disciples;
To accelerate the multiplication of church planting movements in the 10/40 Window and other needy areas in order to give closer geographical opportunity for discipleship, worship and continuing evangelism;
To continue to mobilize significant, strategic focused prayer for the unfinished task and to raise up workers for the harvest;
To work together more intentionally and inclusively, through alliances, networks and partnerships—sharing contacts, information and resources (We do this to demonstrate unity with one another as evidence of the deity of Christ and his love for the world.);
To empower and provide training in evangelism, discipleship and church planting for younger leaders as well as laypeople;
To encourage extensive and innovative initiatives to reach and disciple children and young people in each new generation;
To allocate a much larger portion of our resources toward the least-reached areas of the world;
To seek to use media, technology and other creative means more effectively to spread the gospel among the masses;
To stay personally involved in grassroots evangelism so that our presentation of the biblical gospel is relevant, contextualized and meaningful;
To live out the gospel as we seek to meet the physical and social needs of those to whom we minister with practical expressions of love and compassion;
To assist in the work of scripture translation and distribution, recognizing its necessity as a foundation for all evangelism and church growth; and
To ensure that all of our strategic plans of evangelism are biblically based and guided by the fourfold scope of Acts 1:8 (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth).
So What Are We Going To Do About These Barriers?
Soon after the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization was created, a Strategy Working Group was formed to help encourage leaders within the Church to prioritize the task of evangelization while seeking solutions to some of its biggest barriers. In a recent meeting of the Strategy Working Group we affirmed again the conclusion from Amsterdam 2000 and added two more priorities:
- To ensure a greater emphasis toward the oral learners of our world; and
- To find out why there is so little change in redirecting the efforts of the church towards the least reached.
The Strategy Working Group hopes to help in overcoming these barriers by:
- Focusing the attention of the church on the most neglected peoples of the world;
- Finding and spreading “best practices,” tools and methodologies; and
- Connecting a network of activists in evangelization who through their influence make a difference in plans for evangelization being designed by leaders of the church.
What Can You Do As A Leader?
- Make sure that you are working on at least one of these fourteen priorities.
- Share with us what is working in your area of the world (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Attempt to allocate your resources to the most neglected.