When will the job be done?
You may notice a new blogroll on the right under the heading: Mission Resources. These are some websites I regularly visit with interesting information on mission – statistics, maps, prayer programs and others. If you are aware of websites which you think should be included, please let me know and I will have a look at the site.
While busy with this, I had a look again at the website for the AD2000 & Beyond Movement. A few things caught my attention as I was looking at the website. First of all their vision: A Church for Every People and the Gospel for Every Person by the Year 2000. Secondly, a remark on the website which reads: The AD2000 web site is no longer being updated. Thirdly, another remark which says: The AD2000 International Office is now Closed.
I’m all for being purpose driven. I agree totally with Rick Warren that lack of purpose or vision in churches is one of the greatest problems Christianity has to cope with. But then a vision has to be realistic and I wonder if AD2000’s vision was realistic. For more than a century the desire that the whole world be evangelised within a certain period of time was heard. In 1871 Dr. Joseph Angus preached a sermon at a meeting of the Baptist Missionary Society with the theme Apostolic missions; or, The Gospel for every creature. He then said that if 50 000 missionaries should go out with financial support of $50-75 million per year, then the entire world could be evangelised within a period of ten years.
In 1881 Arthur T Pierson published an article in the Missionary Review with the heading: Can this world be evangelized in twenty years? In 1888 the Student Volunteer Movement adopted their slogan: The evangelization of the world in this generation. In 1900 a Norwegian missionary with the name Lars Dahle illustrated what the church had to do in order for the entire world to be evangelised by the year 1990.
The fact is that none of these programs had the desired effect. This does not mean that they were a waste of time or totally useless. But the vision that the whole world be evangelised within a certain period of time is not realistic and I am sure not Biblical. We were never called to count the numbers. We were called to sow the seed and to water the seed. Perhaps we should start formulating visions in order for this to happen in our churches. Perhaps a more Biblical vision would be to develop our church members so that each one of them would become a missionary – regardless of where they are.