Since the times of the early church, we have seen division amongst our ranks. Despite this, we have seen the church grow and prosper even though we tend to put our brand on the doors of our church buildings and organizations. But I propose the question… What if?
What if we… laid down our down our denominational differences and focused on what really matters to Him?
What if we… could see the Great Commission fulfilled in our life time? What if we… grasped hold of the Father’s heart for all mankind?
What if we… in the spirit of unity, joined together to develop strategies to see every person, people and region reached with the gospel message?
It was the year 2000 when Billy Graham asked Paul Eshleman, the founder of the Jesus Film Project to gather 600 church strategists and organization leaders in Amsterdam to look at the task at hand. There, they would gather around 75 tables and talk about the fulfillment of Great Commission.
It was on the third day when Paul stood up and talked about the least reached or unengaged people groups in the world who at that time where called un-targeted people groups which at that time where about 252. Bruce Wilkinson, founder of Walk Through the Bible and was mc’ing the meeting with Paul, said that there shouldn’t be any unreached people groups. He went on to say that all of the Christian leaders of God’s army where in the room that day and if we decided, together, today, let’s finish it, what would it take? Roy Petersen, former president of Wycliffe Bible Translators, felt that this was something that was deeply on God’s heart and believed that the church now was fully equipped to finish the task at hand.
There was an incredible move of God on the hearts of those leaders that day as they were challenged to come forward and as representatives of their perspective organizations, adopt these groups that had yet to hear that Christ had died for them. When they got up to 141, nobody else came and there was a stall in the room. There was no else coming forward! As exciting as the euphoria of those coming forward was, it began to wane at the realization of the discouragement they all felt as it just stopped.
As Bruce stood back from the pulpit he quietly prayed,” Lord, every time I watch you do something you never did anything half way? You always completed it. Whatever you want, please complete it.”
Mark Anderson, International Director for Youth With A Mission Campaigns was sitting at a table next to Steve Douglas who had just become the President of Campus Crusade For Christ, when he leaned over to Mark and said,” why don’t our two organizations
The time has come for the Son of God to be glorified
finish it?” The ones that where left of the 252 where the hard ones. The one that you might go in and never come out. As they made this commitment, they began to feel overwhelmed by what had just happened. They rallied and began to work overtime during the breaks and after the time had past. As they strategized, they wanted to define what “reached” meant. They needed church planting, They called Avery Willis of the International Orality Network, over from another table and he said,” I’m in.” Then they realized they would need bibles, as there where no bibles in those languages yet for those groups, they call Roy Petersen over and shared what they were thinking about. Momentum began to build as they made a covenant together for the number zero. That someday people would do research throughout the would and find zero unengaged, unreached people groups.
Throughout the centuries Christ’s great commission to His followers has been a fundamental and lasting call to action for all Christians. A mandate and a call to all. This is truly the Father’s heart as to why He sent His Son to die for all. That all would hear the message of the gospel, that all would have the opportunity to make the decision to follow Christ.
A few years back I was sitting in a Thai restaurant in my home town talking with the owner. She is a devout Buddhist and she was questioning me on why I went to Thailand so often. As she proclaimed that Thailand was a Buddhist country and why would I go to share Christ to convert Thai’s, my answer was simple. I told her I believed that everyone has the right to hear to gospel and decide for themselves. It is not I that convert people but a work of the Holy Spirit in that persons heart to make the decision. This she was able to accept as she began to understand my love for her people.
Another key piece began in 2002 when Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, began the Global Pastors Network. He envisioned the pastors of the world coming together, working on finishing the Great Commission. In January 2007 Mark Andersen became the president of the GPN . As he assumed this new role it became clear that the vision of GPN needed to be expanded. We needed not only the religious leaders to work together in strategic unity; we had to call Christian leaders from all spheres of society to join in this major task. This gave birth to call2all in May 2007.
It was in early 2007 that Mark had a major encounter with the Lord. In a 6 hour time of personal shaking and sovereign illumination, God made the vision for call2all very clear. At one point in this encounter, the Lord spoke the following, ‘The time has come for the Son of God to be glorified’. This is out of John 17:1, the unity chapter. The assignment from heaven for the call2all Movement was clear: we were to help the global body of Christ come into strategic unity with heaven to reveal Jesus on the earth, leading to the completion of the Great Commission.”
Thus, the first call2all Congress was held in January, 2008, designed to strengthen the partnership among Christian leaders to finish the task Jesus gave us. The vision began catching fire among leaders all around the world. The call2all Movement together with
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its partners has brought together 28,000 leaders representing more than 1,400 organizations.
I write this to you to share some insight into this global movement. Call2all is not just another organization working through seminars and conferences to talk about evangelism, justice, mercy, etc., in fact there are plenty of those offered throughout the world already. What call2all is, is a gathering of leaders and people of influence to gather together to round table and discuss action plans and strategies to reach the least, the last, the lost. It is not a conference where keynote speakers just disseminate information into the ears of the attendees, but a few days where leaders can gather together and work. Since 2008, there have been over 40 gatherings globally like these.
To give an example, before 2008 Wycliffe was on track to have the bible translated into every language on the planet in the next 150 years. Since this network has been established, they have adjusted this target down to 25 years. This is purely from the collaborative work of these 1400 organizations finally working together. Is that not the enemies best strategy to divide? For too many years these organizations have been working to add to their numbers. But working together we are seeing multiplication.
This coming May in Chiang Mai, Thailand is our next call2all gathering and I would personally like to invite not just you, but any leaders you know from all spheres of society. Of course, other church leaders like yourself, but also leaders in education government, sports and entertainment, family, science and technology, arts and business leaders.
For those of you in the Bangkok area, Mark Andersen and myself will be hosting a meeting at the Church of Christ next to the BTS Ratchathewi Station at 9:30AM on March 8th. Lunch is included. Here you will hear more about not just the call2all but about the gathering of world leaders in Chiang Mai in May and the importance these leaders believe that Thailand is a key in the global strategy of the great commission.
I look forward to seeing you there. Please RSVP to Micah Wood at
email@example.com if you and your guests can come on March 8th.
I once heard a pastor when talking about the great commission,” If you can’t GO yourself, then for heaven’s sake, send someone else!” I want to take the liberty in applying this statement to not just this planning meeting, but for the Chiang Mai Congress in May as well.
God’s richest blessings on you and yours according to His will and purposes, Mark Custance