In 2000, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association hosted an international evangelical meeting in Amsterdam. The meeting was one of the most diversely represented multinational gatherings in history. Leaders from mission sending agencies, global ministries, and church planting networks came from all around the world to focus on how to reach the unengaged people groups of the world, specifically the ones who were not being pursued at all by any individual, church, or organization.
Conference leaders put forth a challenge to adopt one of these neglected peoples, and the response was amazing. Organizations and individuals stepped forward to assume responsibility for reaching a selected people group. The list dwindled, but there were still hundreds of groups left. In the end, the room fell silent, the excitement brought to a halt. Who would take on the task of reaching the rest? The silence was broken by the murmuring of one table in the room. Table number 71 was discussing how they could adopt the remaining unengaged people groups together strategically. After a while, they came to a consensus. They stepped forward and asked to take them all.
Table 71 became the Finish the Task network, an association of churches and mission agencies dedicated to reaching neglected people groups. They call it the Countdown to Zero. Their vision is to see every people group in the world engaged with an indigenously led church planting movement by continuing to form a vast global network of Christians who are willing to join the effort. Encompass World Partners has been a part of this network for several years. In fact, since joining the network, Encompass has contributed to taking a few people groups off the unengaged list.
Every year, the Finish the Task network hosts a conference that equips leaders from churches and global ministries to adopt an unengaged people group and help finish the task. This year’s conference was hosted by Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church in Los Angeles, California. Encompass Mobilizers Ed Trenner and Mike Jentes attended and were greatly encouraged to see the progress being made.
It is still a monumental task. According to Finish the Task network, there are 1,371 unengaged people groups in the world waiting for Christian witness. Billions of people are living every day with no knowledge of the everlasting joy that is in Christ. The Bible tells us, though, that it will be accomplished. The coming kingdom of God will be full of every tongue, tribe, and nation (Rev. 7:9)!
How will you take part in finishing the task God has set before his Church? Will you do what it takes to see the unengaged peoples reached for Jesus? The journey to answering that question starts today. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest and see how God responds.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? –Romans 10:14-15