Our God is a missionary God! He longs to give all people an opportunity to be part of His family. However, both the Bible and missionary research make clear that all people are members of different people groups. The focus of the Adopt-A-People Campaign is to fulfill the purpose of the Lord’s death and obey His final command by taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to every “tribe and language and people and nation” and by establishing a strong, evangelizing church movement within each of these groups. To see this happen, we are challenging churches and fellowship groups to work together with mission agencies to finish the Great Commission! When we look at the specific Greek words Jesus used in giving the “Great Commission,” we discover that His command was to disciple all peoples or ethnic groups, not countries, as most of us tend to assume. Through the efforts of thousands of missionaries over the years, there are now Christians in every country of the world. But linguistic and cultural barriers still separate an estimated 8,000 (of the 24,000 people groups worldwide) from full access to the Gospel. Adopt-A-People (AAP) is a practical way for one or more churches, working together through a mission agency, to help reach one of the remaining unreached peoples. The adopting church supplies-as they are able-the resources mission agencies need: prayer, financial support and people. The mission agency supplies what most churches lack: the structures, strategies and “know how” necessary to effectively reach an unreached people group.
It means that a church congregation or fellowship group makes a serious commitment to do all they can to reach their adopted people group by working in partnership with the mission agency of their choice. All adopting churches agree to provide informed, concerted prayer for their people. Depending on the mission agency chosen, a church may also be asked to help fund the effort to reach their people or supply personnel to help reach them.
People Group (or People): A significantly large ethnic or sociological grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another. For evangelistic purposes, it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.
Unreached People (sometimes called “Hidden Peoples”): a people group which has no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to finish evangelizing their community without further outside/cross-cultural assistance.
The terms and definitions used above are commonly referred to as the “consensus definitions.” These were the result of a meeting held in Chicago in March of 1982 at which most of the mission agencies working among unreached peoples were represented.