Leaders of 20 U.S.-based Christian overseas mission agencies agreed last week to a set up a network to share information and avoid duplicating evangelistic efforts.
Participants in the compact, launched at a meeting at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, range from conservative "parachurch" groups such as Campus Crusade for Christ to liberal church agencies such as the World Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. The groups have overseas mission budgets totaling $510 million and more than 20,000 missionaries.
The conference called for the establishment of an information network to track evangelistic efforts around the world and the sharing of information on unevangelized people. They also will seek ways to help church mission agencies get involved with people in remote areas who have been converted by religious broadcasting efforts.
A unified day of prayer and fasting for world missions also was scheduled. The conference was the first face-to-face meeting for many of the mission officials, said Peggy Billings, head of the United Methodist world division.
"We felt an immediate kinship with each other," said the Rev. R. Keith Parks, Southern Baptist mission head, who called the conference.
The group's official statement said, "There was unanimity in confessing prayer as the key to releasing the power of the Holy Spirit for the purifying of believers and the healing of nations."
Edward R. Dayton of World Vision International said, "More than 2 billion people will never have a clear explanation of who Jesus Christ is and why it is important for them to know Him unless greater efforts are made to reach these hidden groups."
He said that as outreach to such groups increases, it is important for mission groups to share information to avoid duplicating research efforts.