Cooperative Effort Mobilizing Pastors to Fulfill the Great Commission

The presidents of some of the world's foremost missions organizations are inviting the most influential pastors of mission-focused churches in the United States to a conference to talk about reaching the last 639 people groups that have no workers among them.

The "Finishing the Task" conference, which began yesterday and ends Thursday, is being held in the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C. The conference is about getting churches to send a team to each of the groups that do not have anyone communicating the Gospel to them.

"The possibility of reaching the last unreached people group in the world and fulfilling Matt. 24:14 is in our grasp for the first time," organizers of the conference state the conference web site.

The inspiration to mobilize local congregations to help fulfill the Great Commission came out of Amsterdam 2000 – the event hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association more than five years ago.

During the 2000 event, an ad hoc group of mission agency leaders seated at Table 71 committed to fulfilling the Great Commission and has since then synergized their efforts. In partnering together, the seven sponsoring ministries – which include Campus Crusade for Christ International (CCCi), Youth With A Mission, Wycliffe International, International Mission Board, Transformed Spokane, Walk Thru The Bible, and Dawn Ministries – have witnessed their respective specialties become each others' strengths.

"Over the years we all have learned that we can do more together than alone," stated Campus Crusade for Christ President Steve Douglass in an invitation to prospective pastors for the conference.

Resources and information for interested pastors are vast. During the conference, pastors will learn how to reach the 70 percent of the world that are oral learners and get the Gospel to the 3,000 Bibleless groups at a faster rate.

The format of the conference consists of plenary sessions with break out small groups. Pastors will be asked to adopt and engage one or more of the 483 unreached groups and they will receive an assessment of the physical difficulty and the security concerns related to reaching each one of them.

"Part of our thinking is that there are churches part of the United States of America that are already mission-minded and have a lot of resources," said Dan Grether of Mission Spokane. "Through this conference, our group wants to invite the pastors across the U.S. to come and be challenged to adopt one of those large last frontier people groups."

International leaders will share their experiences in church planting movements, oral communication strategies, church planting, discipleship, leader training and multiplication in addition to Biblical insights provided by John Piper, Henry Blackaby and the presidents of the sponsoring missions agencies.

Speakers for the conference include Henry Blackaby, president of Blackaby Ministries International; Steve Douglass, president of Campus Crusade For Christ International; Jerry Rankin, president of International Mission; Bob Creson, president of Wycliffe Bible Translators in USA; Avery Willis, executive director of the International Orality Network; Grant Lovejoy, director of Orality Strategies for the SBC International Mission Board; and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission.