Top mission leaders attending an invitation-only conference in Tennessee on Tuesday began exchanging ideas and discussing how to complete the Great Commission.
The Finish Line summit is being hosted by the Billion Soul Network in partnership with the Church of God World Headquarters in Cleveland, Tenn., and the Island Wave Missions in Fiji. It aims to get key mission leaders to decide which unreached people groups they should focus efforts on first, and then how they will most effectively reach these groups.
"In the world, there are thousands of unreached people groups," said James O. Davis, co-founder of Billion Soul Network, to The Christian Post. "When you look at that it almost seems overwhelming."
There are a total of 6,639 unreached people groups remaining in the world, according to the Joshua Project.
But the unfinished task becomes less overwhelming when mission leaders pool ideas and resources together to reach several groups at one time, Davis said.
Resources do not just mean funds and missionaries, the mission leader clarified, but include Bible translations, church planting models, and evangelism methodologies.
Among the leaders that will share mission ideas at the conference is J. Hudson Taylor IV, the great grandson of the pioneering missionary to China. He will give a presentation Tuesday evening on the top three missional trends.
One of the three trends Taylor will share, according to Davis, is the shift in the mission role of the West. Taylor contends that the role of Western missionaries is not necessarily smaller, but simply different than in the past.
Davis, who co-founded the Billion Soul Network, will give a presentation Wednesday morning on the topic of the networking leader. He will share principles of how to create a network, build it, and broaden it.
About 70 to 80 invited mission and church leaders are attending the two-day Finish Line summit this week at the Church of God World Headquarters. Organizers had purposely selected leaders to represent global Christianity and not just the West in an effort to recognize that God is raising up leaders from around the world.
The first Finish Line summit was held in January 2006, and it mainly served the purpose of allowing mission leaders from around the world to be acquainted with one another. This week's summit is the second Finish Line conference and the first where leaders will begin tackling the issue of how to reach the remaining unreached people groups.
A Finish Line Summit will continued to be held annually in October during which mission leaders will report their progress in the past 12 months and decide on new goals, Davis said.
Other presenters at the summit include: Douglas LeRoy, the world missions director for the Church of God; Suliasi Kurulo, founder of World Harvest Center in Suva, Fiji; Alex Abraham, expert on unreached peoples of India; Alex Mitala, chairman of New Birth Fellowship in Kampala, Uganda; Alexey Ledyaev, founder of New Generation Churches in Riga, Latvia; Gustavo Crocker, Eurasia director of the Church of the Nazarene in Switzerland; and David Sobrepena, founding pastor of Word of Hope in Manila, Philippines.