Friday – 2004 Forum Daily Update

Daily updates were made throughout the 2004 Forum in Pattaya, Thailand. These updates were made available online as well as in print to the forum participants. They have been made available on the Lausanne website to convey the progression of thought and events at the 2004 Forum. In addition, a Daily Blog was posted online, providing one individual’s personal reflections throughout the Forum. A number of Photos from the Forum have been made available online as well.

Convener Summary
Listening for Emerging Forum Trends

The 2004 Forum Planning Committee has appointed a seven-member team of ministry leaders and theologians, led by Dr. Paul Eschleman of the JESUS Film Project, to “listen” to the emerging trends and commonalities among Issue Groups.

On Thursday morning at the opening Convergence session, Paul identified four categories that are representative of the common call of each of the 31 Issue Groups to advance the gospel:

  • Mobilizing the Church to
  • Share a Clear and relevant Message
  • Using a variety of Methods
  • To reach the Most-neglected, resistant or distinct groups.

To help Forum participants track Issue Group progress, the Forum Convergence Team has provided the following Issue Group reports.

Issue Group #5

AT RISK PEOPLE: Reaching marginalized people—applying the Gospel to refugees, prostitutes, victims of crime and of abuse, children at risk and the oppressed.

Why is it important?

Church people generally avoid contact with “unclean” people – prostitutes, AIDS victims, street children, drunks, gangs, etc.

Action Plan

Challenge the church to follow the model of Jesus and seek out the “lepers” of society. Challenge believers to be willing to bear the cost (socially) of being with risky people. Give up our right to be comfortable and bring Christ’s love to the unlovely.
Issue Group #6A – Unreached People Groups
Why is it important?

30% of the world’s population – or 6,900 of the 16,150 people groups – remain unreached.

Action Plan

The obedient church needs to have an Acts 1:8 strategy, including going to the ends of the earth. The church should send its best leaders like the Antioch Church in Acts 13. The Church must be willing to suffer to reach those who have no access to the “Good News.”

www.strategicnetwork.org

Issue Group #6B – Ministry to People with DisabilitiesWhy is it important?

650 million people with disabilities in the world – about 10% to 11% of world population. If you place all of these together, after China and India, they would be the world’s third largest nation with the highest rates of homelessness, joblessness, divorce, abuse and suicide.

Action Plan

  • Ask the church to remove physical, emotional and spiritual barriers to bring in young people with disabilities.
  • Help the Church realize that only when the disabled, poor and marginalized are utilized in outreach of the kingdom do we see the true fullness of the Body of Christ and reflect the glory of the Bridegroom.
  • Ask the church to train and equip people with disabilities in order that they may exercise their God-given gifts in building the Body of Christ.
Issue Group #18 – The evangelization and discipleship of children
Why is it important?

The church is loosing ground in sharing the “Good News” with children:

  • In England, during the 1990’s, the Church saw 1,000 children less each week in church programs.

 

  • Only one in six children in church will remain in church by the age of 25.
  • One-third of all the members of unreached people groups are under age 15.
  • The majority of all believers receive Christ before age 15.

 

Action Plan

  • Ask every Church – and every Issue Group at the Forum to put “Children” and “family” on their agenda.
  • Ask Churches to empower children to share Christ with other children and with their families.
  • Increase the use of technology – Internet, TV, Multimedia – to reach masses of children who cannot or will not enter a church.
Issue Group #19 – Media and Technology: The uses and abuses in spreading the gospel.
Why is it important?

We are living in a media-driven world. However, most of the Christian communication efforts today are targeted toward Christians only.

Action Plan

  • Media programming for non-believers must be targeted toward specific people in context with specific concerns.
  • Christian media can aim at building relationships with non-believers.
  • Ultimately Christ is the mediator. Our lives are His media.
Issue Group #21 – The Impact on Global Mission of Religious Nationalism and Post-9/11 Realities
Why is it important?

Religious nationalism imposes one major religion on everyone and denies the right for an individual to accept Christ.

Action Plan
Train the church in these three areas:

  • Freedom of religion to provide the opportunity to learn about and make a decision for Christ.
  • Restoring social dignity and equality to the minority and the oppressed as an integral component of communicating the gospel.
  • Restoring community by reconciling division caused by religious nationalism.

Issue Group #22 – Confronting Racial, Tribal and Ethnic Conflict Within the Christian Community: Seeking reconciliation and transformation.Why is it important?

God expects us to bring healing and transformation in a divided community, resulting in the wholeness, well-being and flourishing of all people. As God’s people we must actively promote justice and reconciliation, resolving to speak against and rectify all forms of wrong done to our neighbors and to the stranger. This will authenticate our witness to God’s redemptive activity in Christ, and rehabilitate the church’s testimony in the world.

Action Plan

  • Refuse to remain neutral or silent regarding destructive situations and conditions. This includes engaging the pain of destructive conflicts and repenting of our guilt.
  • Teach personal, radical transformation in Christ as normative of Christian faith, which places costly, Christ-centered peacemaking at the heart of life and mission.
  • Shape our churches into prophetic communities that do not remain quiet about social evil or injustice so that we make known the sovereignty of God who created us all, loves all of us and longs for each of us to come to Him in faith.

Issue Group #23 – Reaching the Youth GenerationWhy is it important?

The Youth generation cannot be reached using traditional methods and approaches.

Action Plan

  • Help youth workers to understand that the youth generation is attracted to, and shaped by, electronic media.

 

  • Create evangelism tools that address the felt needs of this grouping: Materialism, Loss of traditional values, Lack of meaning in life
  • Launch evangelism efforts that address the needs of the millions of young people dying of AIDS.

 

Issue Group #25 – Making Disciples of Oral Learners: Reaching the visual and oral learners of the world.
Why is it important?70% of unreached people groups and 50% of the rest of the world either cannot, don’t or won’t read. Therefore 4 billion people are not effectively hearing the Gospel and biblical teaching. They learn primarily through oral communication methods like Parables and Stories. Two-thirds of the world cannot understand literate methods of communication. Therefore the Body of Christ needs to use oral communication methods like parables and stories to effectively evangelize, follow-up, teach and disciple two-thirds of the world.

Action Plan

  • To learn about the communication barriers that exist to reaching people who cannot, don’t or won’t read.
  • To experiment with using oral communication methods to reach the people in our own cultures who are oral learners including children, students, post moderns and those usually ignored when we use literal methods.
  • To equip people to use oral strategies to communicate with the unreached, disciple believers, multiply churches and train reproducing leaders all over the world.
Issue Group #31 – Reaching the Jews with the Gospel

Why is it important?

Many non-Jews are reluctant to share their faith with Jews. If the church has no message for the Jewish people, it has no message for the world.

Action Plan

  • Help Christians see Jewish evangelism as a test-case of their mission commitment.
  • Help Christians pray, witness and give to the end that Jewish people come to their Messiah.
  • Help Christians know that sharing the gospel with Jewish people will help those Christians to understand God’s work in history.
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