Part 1 – What is WIGTake?
In Part 1 of this series, I introduced the WIGTake question that led our Leadership Team into a season of prayer & fasting about the direction of our church for the next 10 years.
“What’s it going to take to reach everyone in our people group?”
It’s a powerful question. It’s also a scary question. I had never asked it before. We had never asked it before.
First, we had to figure out the second part of the question. How many people are actually in our people group? None of us knew.
We turned to the Joshua Project for help. The Joshua Project website breaks down each country into the many different people groups that live in that country. Your people group isn’t typically just the total population of your country. Most countries have many different people groups who speak different languages, come from different places & have different cultural backgrounds.
According to the 1982 Lausanne Committee Chicago meeting, “For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.”
Based on that definition, you could see how a country could have many, even hundreds, of different people groups.
According to the Joshua Project, the United States has 488 people groups among the over 325 million people that live in our country. The 2 largest people groups it lists are the ones most Americans belong to & the total population of those 2 people groups is approximately 225 million. That is, 100 million people in our country are not technically in our people group by the definition above.
225 million is the number we decided to start using as the size of our people group. According to the very helpful research done by John S. Dickerson in The Great Evangelical Recession, approximately 22-28 million Americans would be evangelical Christians (we’ll use 25 million as our number), leaving 200 million people who we would be aiming to reach (**Note: I’m trying to keep the numbers as round as possible for math & vision casting purposes).
200 million people. In my people group. In my country. Who need Jesus. Who I’m able to share with in an understandable way. Wow!
For the first time in our lives, our hearts broke not just for our friends, or our neighborhood, or our city, or our region, but for our entire people group.
We couldn’t help but pray like missionaries all over the world, “Lord, would you allow us to be a part of reaching all of them? Not just some. Not just the ones that live near us. But all of them?”
2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
We knew the Lord doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent. We felt like we were praying according to his “revealed will” in asking that everyone would be reached!
That’s what Langston & the Fox’s would aim to do if they were sent here as missionaries. That’s what the three missionary families to the Maasai would aim to do. That’s what David Watson who took the gospel to the Bhojpuri would aim to do. That may not be what traditional American pastors, like myself, aim to do, but that’s what missionaries are aiming to do all over the world. They are desperate to see entire people groups come to know the Lord. Shouldn’t we be as well? As you’ll remember from the last blog entry, when God sent these missionaries to a people group, they developed a PLAN to reach all of them!
David Watson, when he went to the Bhojpuri, took it a step further & planned not just to reach ALL 90 million Bhojpuri, but planned to reach them in “this 20-year generation!”
What would it take to reach the 200 million in our people group in 20 years?
That was the question we started to ask.
If you assume multiplication & work backwards from 200 million in 20 years, you’d need to reach 1 million in the next 10 years to be on track to reach the 200 million in the next 20 years.
I remember the day we sat down as a Leadership Team & talked about this. We went around the room & everyone agreed, “We’ve got to do whatever it takes to reach 1,000,000 in the next 10 years. Let’s develop a plan! This is what God wants us to do with the next 10!”
It was a monumental meeting. It came out of months of prayer & processing (for some of us years of prayer & processing). You could feel the excitement in the room.
If God accomplished the “10,000 in 10 years” vision in 8 years, which seemed totally impossible to us when we first started praying about it, what might God do if we asked him for 1,000,000 in the next 10 years?
We joked about how going from 12 in a living room to 10,000 in 10 years was asking God to give us 1,000 times what we had in that living room, while asking God for 1,000,000 in 10 years was only 100 times what we had at the end of the first 10. That made us think for a minute that maybe our prayer was too small. One person even suggested we pray for 10,000,000. Needless to say, we stuck with 1,000,000 at the end of the day – haha!
1,000,000 in the next 10 years.
That became our ambition (Rom 15), our prayer, our vision, our passion, and our drive.
“What’s it going to take to reach 1,000,000 in the next 10 years so that we’re on track to reaching 200,000,000 in 20 years?”
Figuring out the second part of the WIGTake question, namely the size of “everyone in our people group,” was the easy part. Figuring out the first part of the question was going to prove to be a lot more difficult. And I mean a lot more difficult.
The first part is, “What’s it going to take…” to reach all of those people?
We knew that “what it’s going to take” would require us to count a cost. We knew it would require us to give up some things we had cherished for years. We knew it would require us to think about “church” differently & even do “church” differently than we ever had before. We knew that some people wouldn’t want to make the journey with us, even people we loved and had been with us for years. We knew that giving could drop dramatically and we’d have to make difficult cuts in the budget. We counted this cost before we ever moved forward & knew that it was worth it. We all believed that following Jesus was worth any cost.
Part 3 – The Whiteboard