Finishing the Task

6) Finishing the Task Clarifies: We Were Always Thinking Zero

Just when you thought the Finishing the Task (FTT) list was all finished (i.e., that someone, somewhere, had taken reasonability for each of the world’s remaining unengaged, unreached people groups), FTT clarified this past week that they had always been thinking they would hang around until the last group was actually engaged. Truth is, it really wasn’t “new” information after all. Those who had listened intently previously, could have already attested to the fact that they had ALWAYS intended to make sure it happened. In fact, if a couple of years go by and they don’t hear that a particular group has become engaged, they contact the earlier adopter to verify that they still intend to follow through — which is pretty cool, if you stop to think about it. Learn more about the pretty cool people at Finishing the Task by visiting…


Read lots more frequently-asked questions here…

9) Finishing the Task: "We Aren’t Finished!"

In true Mark Twain fashion, Paul Eshleman wrote fans and friends of the Finishing the Task initiative this past week to say, “We’re not done yet.” He explained, speaking of the FTT conference last month, “Even though we saw commitments made at this conference to adopt every remaining known UUPG, the FTT conference is not going away.” He added that FTT would be busy helping partners engage in keeping their word, lending strategic assistance on multiple fronts. He left open the door to discovering new unengaged groups, while exploring other diverse lists such as castes in South Asia and multiple diaspora groups. Find just a few of FTT’s many resources here…


14) The BackPage: “Finishing the Task” could Finish

finishingthetaskThis could be the year that Finishing the Task (the network) finishes its current list of unengaged and unreached peoples. Of course, maybe they’ll then come out with a new list of more granular people groups.

Finishing the Task (FTT) is an association of mission agencies and churches who want to see reproducing churches planted among every people group in the world. In 2006, FTT identified 639 unreached, unengaged people groups with populations above 100,000. Since then, church planting is now reported in over 555 of these original people groups. Once that list became complete, they began looking at smaller groups. They’re currently focused on groups of 10,000 or above.

FTT is one of the only networks that maintains a kind of “census” on the number of known workers laboring in each particular people group. By doing so, they can estimate the relative likelihood that any unreached group will have better access to the Good News.

If all of this sounds objective and engineering-like, it’s actually not. There are so many subjective factors involved, not the least of which are a) differences in receptivity among groups, b) differences in strategy by those onsite, and c) level of reporting (and the impact of security) that each network maintains.

Still, we believe that FTT’s over all impact is positive in that it a) gets news out about unreached peoples, b) focuses on agencies and churches and their need to zero in on individual groups rather than become overwhelmed by a world in need.

This year, FTT’s annual meeting will be a bit different. In the past, it has been rather hush-hush and, in some ways, exclusive. You pretty much had to have an invitation — or at least a referral. But this year, the meeting is open. You can register and come regardless of your background or experience. In fact, FTT hopes you WILL. The goal of this three-day event is to help you, your church or organization take concrete steps in engaging a people group with the gospel. Want to learn more or sign up? Visit…

Cost is just $125 (if you register before May 15th). The conference starts at 7:30am on Dec. 2nd and ends at 5pm on Dec. 4th. It takes place at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest (south of L.A.). Sign up today — and please let them know you heard about it on Brigada. Brigada will be there — we hope you will be too.

4) Finishing the Task is Closer to Finishing

PPLGroupI enjoyed attending the Finishing the Task conference in California in December. It’s always fun to hear the cheers from excited well-wishers when newly-reached (previously unengaged) groups are announced. If you’d like to see the best reporting available on this, see the list at…

This list brings together data from Joshua Project, Southern Baptist IMB Research, and several other sources.

14) The BackPage: Finishing the Task: the Network

There’s the biblical mandate of finishing the task, and then there’s also the specifically-named network, Finishing the Task (FTT), led by Paul Eshleman. You can learn more about FTT here…

and learn more about Dr. Eshleman here…

FTT has a very specific and strategic direction. Read more about their people group list here…

You can also download the list on that page. As you’ll see, they basically size up a population, estimate the number of workers needed to sufficiently proclaim the gospel there, then campaign for workers (especially in the unengaged groups) until enough workers register with them for that group. I’m sure there are folks who feel it’s too much like an engineered approach (Ralph Winter’s degree was in engineering, by the way), but my take is — his way of doing it is a whole lot better than lots of other people’s way of NOT doing it. So I try to attend his working group every year. There are usually around 50 of us or so, and every year, it’s thrilling to hear the progress being made by folks from lots of different agencies and churches. So study the list, pray, and let’s hope that by adding fuel to the fire, we can jointly change the population of Hell and move destinies into Heaven.

1) Finishing The Task List —

Have you heard about Finishing the Task? See their list of Unengaged and Unreached People Groups at…


You can also see their data on a map at…


See the summary stats at:


I was able to attend the annual partnership and networking meeting again this past week. I’m always amazed at how many top leaders and researchers are in attendance there. Paul Eshleman (the guy behind the Jesus Film) is either really blessed by God or extremely savvy at how to build partnerships! Praise the Lord for the people he’s bringing to the table though.

13) The BackPage: “Finishing the Task” is the Real Deal —

This BackPage editorial is a follow-up to my grousing about the presentation of unreached peoples at Cape Town 2010. You’ll recall that I felt a) the list wasn’t sourced nor in sync with what seems to be the most popular list of unreached peoples today, b) the pace was too rushed for many of the cultures in attendance that morning, and c) the over all effect seemed too American. (See the “BackPage” editorials in both the Oct. 31 and Nov. 7th Brigada Todays.) Last week, I attended a follow-up conference on the subject of “Finishing the Task.” I was, in a word, encouraged.

First, I learned that this “Finishing the Task” (FTT) thing is a network of mission agencies and churches that desires to see reproducing churches planted among every people group in the world. The focus of the FTT network is to recruit full-time workers for unengaged, unreached people groups. (They use the word, “engaged” to mean that there are full-time workers within the group and active church planting is occurring.) So FTT people group lists are not a listing of all unreached people groups.

I also learned that this Finishing the Task movement (FTT) traces its roots back to a discussion group at a consultation in Europe by the name of Amsterdam 2000. The delegates there were seated at tables for a particular session. The guys at Table 71 were fairly heavy-hitters (some larger organizations, some who were more passionate about lost people). Somehow, during the conference, some of the tables started taking responsibility for certain blocks of unreached peoples. Their conclusion was that there shouldn’t be any untargeted peoples. But when all was said and done, there were *hundreds* of major unreached peoples remaining. The guys at this table stepped up to the plate and volunteered to get the word out about the remaining groups the best they could. They didn’t start another organization. They just started working together in harmony to make it happen. That’s the origin of FTT. They’ve met 3 times a year ever since. In 2007, they asked Phil Eshleman to take leadership of the effort. So far, some 340 partners (churches, agencies, groups) have joined together.

My conclusion, at the end of the conference, was that it really doesn’t matter as much which exact list we use. There are really only 4 or 5 different lists in use today and, outside of the sub-continent of India, they’re all fairly similar. The point, I learned, isn’t so much which list but rather, on a relative basis, where is the Good News not being preached.

Was the presentation in Cape Town hurried? Probably. But I’m convinced that was more due to the built-in constraints of a very packed-out program. Does it smack of something very American? Yes, in so much that there is an effort to “organize” our outreach, but if this serves to sound the trumpet call on behalf of those ignored tribes, castes, and kindreds, I’m left to wonder what’s so bad about that. Is there dissonance among the lists of various presentations of unreached peoples — a “list-mania?” To a certain extent, yes — there is. Because the lists were all launched for different purposes, by different people, looking at different perspectives.

But the core message is still the same: Let’s find out who hasn’t heard, then get there with the Good News of redemption. We’ll be saying more about FTT in the weeks and months to come. But for now, I’m convinced the FTT movement is spot-on, and I’m inspired by Paul Eshleman’s humble attitude, inviting any and all to come alongside of the dream of “finishing the task!”

Learn more at

The Backpage: Who will Cast a Vision for the next 5 Years in Your Life?

We recently asked that question — and, thanks to our good friend, Greg, we learned about “Call2All Congresses.”

(Learn more at…

Check ’em out! There are upcoming conferences in Dallas, Nairobi, and Toronto.

Greg also filled us in on the “Finish the Task” initiative, led, in part, by Paul Eshleman. Learn more about them at…
In a form similar to AD2000 & Beyond, Finishing the Task is “an association of mission agencies and churches who want to see reproducing churches planted among every people group in the world. In 2006, FTT identified 639 unreached, unengaged people groups with populations above 100,000. Since then, 190 of these people groups have been selected, with church planting started in 60 of them.” (Thanks for the leads, Greg.)

Do you have other missions statesman in your midst? Anybody else casting that “big picture” vision? If so, please just click “Comments” below and fill us in! Either way, we can now be optimistic that more vision is in the pipeline!

Doug Lucas

20050424 Brigada Today

In this issue…


1. GREAT SITE FOR STREAMED COMMERCIAL-FREE WORSHIP MUSIC — OK… this is it… This is the site I’ve been looking for. Have you ever needed some background music in your headphones to help mask that noisy street… or those chickens clucking outside your window? … or maybe for you it’s cubicle noise next to you… people on the phone or whatever… Here’s your God-send, no matter where you are in the world — if you can just get Internet connectivity, you can listen to: Completely free, completely commercial-free, and yes… all worship. Try it. You’ll like it. (They do accept donations, by the way.) (Thanks, Thea, for the tip!)
2. LEGAL & TAX INFO FOR RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS — The latest issue of the Nonprofit and Church Legal Trends Memorandum is now online. Here are some of the items covered: US Senate Committee issues report detailing numerous tax law changes that would have a major impact on all charitable organizations. IRS once again has to define a “church.” Court rules that the Family Medical Leave Act does apply to churches and religious organizations. More guidelines from the IRS on who is an employee and who is an independent contractor. Courts rule on when ministers are mandatory reporters of child abuse, when churches can be liable for dismissing members, and the rights of religious organizations to dismiss employees. A part of each paid subscription goes to Brigada. Check out more at or email info(at)npchurchlaw(dot)com Please let ’em know “Brigada” sent you by typing it in the “How did you hear about us” field. (By the way, there’s no kickback planned or promised here. :-) )
3. MEDIA & MISSIONS — Here’s a new website that offers missionaries the opportunity to share their ministry by video and pictures with supporters and churches – Converge Missions is a company that provides missionaries the opportunity to connect with friends, family, and supporters through the use of interactive media. The video content on this is delivered in flash video. This technology allows most internet users to view and interact with the streaming media in a video on-demand environment. Those that visit this site are given the opportunity to view any video at any time. The company is prepared to receive any kind of media to be edited and delivered online. The founder of this service organization is an MK who has a heart for integrating media and missions. This is a great way to allow supporters to get an eye witness view of your family and ministry. Give it a look.
4. CHRISTIANS IN GLOBAL BUSINESS GATHERING — More factories and IT centers around the world are extending God’s Kingdom in powerful ways. Business owners are seeking ways they can minister to their employees and communities around the world. EC Institute and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary have partnered together to present the Christians in Global Business Gathering on June 9-11. Please view the link below for a packet of information:
5. FRONT RANGE FINISHERS FORUM — The next Finishers Forum will be held in Colorado Springs, June 10-11. What IS the Finishers Forum, you ask? It is a “mini-Urbana-like” missions conference for post-college adults. It is a safe place to explore missions. It is a partnership of more than eighty North American missions agencies, including Great Europe Mission, HCJB World Radio, The Navigators, JESUS Film Project, OCI, etc. For more information visit Individuals registering before May 30 receive a $15 early-bird registration discount.
6. DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING SCHOOL WITH EMPHASIS ON UNREACHED PEOPLES — YWAM Turner Valley Canada offers DTS for you to grow in relationship with Christ. Dates for DTS are September 14th, 2005 – February 10th, 2006. The schools include 12 weeks of teaching and training in Canada. Topics taught include: Character of God, Sin & the Cross & Repentance, Bible Meditation, Frontier Missions, Evangelism, Islamic/Buddhist Worldview and more. DTS includes 8 weeks in Southeast Asia/ North Africa doing mission work with long term missionaries among specific unreached people groups. Outreach activities include evangelism, prayer ministry, community projects, children’s ministry and more. Please call 1-403-933-3754 for information or email to turnervalley(at)ywam(dot)ca. [As a means of preventing spam for our contributors, in the preceding email address(es), please replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .] Check out the website at:
7. LEARN ABOUT CREATIVE STORYTELLING — Here’s a conference, June 21- 23rd, 2005, featuring Imago Media, which focuses on how to share the passion and vision of your ministry through story. You will learn how to see the stories in your ministry and then share the heart of those stories through video. This is a hands-on-training with video coaches who are cutting edge professionals, enabling both beginners or advanced workers. Learn more at:
8. BE CHANGED BY THE WORD — YWAM Turner Valleys School of Biblical Studies (SBS) is an intense inductive Bible school. Students in this school go through the Bible five times in nine months while learning effective study tools. This is an exciting opportunity for those wanting to study and apply God’s Scripture as a whole. SBS begins September 12, 2005. Please call 1-403-933-3755 for more information or email to turnervalley(at)ywam(dot)ca [As a means of preventing spam for our contributors, in the preceding email address(es), please replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .]
9. STAGNANT WATER: THE MBALANTU OF NORTHERN NAMIBIA — In the traditional lands of the Mbalantu people, there are many mysterious pools of water called “oshanas.” These are actually fed from the water table below and often times contain fish. Just like the fish in the Oshanas, the Mbalantu people are trapped in their world with little or no evangelical influences. The Mbalantu are fed by the trappings of the sin of this world. Pray for fishers of men to come and share Christ. Pray for the Lord to build prayer support and call missionaries for the Mbalantu, an unengaged people. To adopt the Mbalantu people for prayer or for more information, please visit or email swacsc(at)iafrica(dot)com [As a means of preventing spam for our contributors, in the preceding email address(es), please replace (at) with @ and (dot) with .]
10. INTERNET VANDALS SHOW NO SIGN OF LETTING UP — eWeek reported recently that in the first quarter of 2005, Trend Micro documented about 7,600 worms and viruses propagating during the first quarter of 2005, an increase of 300% over 1st quarter 2004! Some of these were now spreading via IM. More than ever, we need good antivirus, antispam, antisyware, and a good firewall… a four-legged stool that has, in effect, become a more or less a required threshold for safe computing in the new Internet century.
11. HOW WOULD WE LIVE WITHOUT SPONSORS? — Well let’s put it this way: Our brigada-sponsored secretary wouldn’t. She is solely sponsored by the gifts from subscribers like you. :-) Nor would we be able to pay a bit of a share of our web-hosting fees, promote Brigada at conferences and conventions to new areas of growth and to new subscribers, nor travel to speak on Brigada and the importance of networking to finish the task. Our total budget for 2005 is $16,576. How many ministries have you ever heard of that have an annual budget of that size, ministering to 9,534 active members (as well as 2,626 bouncing ones :-) )? So far, we’ve already received $3,949.23 of that. When we make our goal, this item will vanish — and we’ll only make brief mention of any additional gifts that come in, which will then apply toward 2006 — if that glorious situation ever occurs. In the meantime,…

Thanks to anonymous couple who just decided to help, writing, ” Warm greetings. I just sent a $100 gift via PayPal to help with the Brigada costs. There is no need to acknowledge or mention the gift in any way. Every blessing in your ministry and service to many.” Whoa. Sobering. Thank you so much… and may others pick up your torch. Thanks to the other $100 giver and the $25 donor, again anonymously, from this past week. Whoa.

If you’d like to help Brigada, just click “sponsor” in the top menu (to use PayPal or a credit card), or just send a check payable to Team Expansion to: Team Expansion (Brigada secretary), 13711 Willow Reed Dr., Louisville, KY 40299. Thanks! As always, be sure to let us know if you’d like us to promote any particular service or ministry, or if you’d prefer your gift be anonymous.
12. THE BACKPAGE: FIRE UP YOUR FINISH — Last week, we talked about “THE ART OF FINISHING” and the good feeling one gets after finishing something. Today we’re asking the question, “How?” Keep in mind that I’m a fellow-struggler here. But I *would* like to share some “lessons learned”… as long as you consider that they are shared from the perspective of “one beggar telling another where to buy bread.” These are working for me; see how they work for you:

*** For those really big projects, tackle sub-goals one at a time — With my dissertation, I stopped worrying about finishing the whole thing. I’m just trying to get to the next stage. Ch-ching. Three chapters done last week, sent off to the University; now I’m waiting on approval to forge on with the rest.

*** Make appointments with yourself — You’ve got to be ruthless. Realize that saying ‘yes’ to a new request means saying ‘no’ to those that have asked before. So you’re just trading burdens… unless you finish something.

*** Acquire the tools you need to get the job done — One of the tools that helped me was a little bibliography/reference computer program that uses the Internet to look up citations from the Library of Congress, then automatically formats them for my paper. For you, it might be a new power saw or even saving for a new laptop. If it helps you churn out the job, it’ll be worth it.

*** Intentionally delay gratification — In the middle of finishing my final drafts for the 3 chapters, my new laptop arrived from FedEx. I had already decided — I couldn’t open the laptop to even *look* at it until those pages were sealed, ready to send.

*** Map your progress and celebrate each difficult step — When I finished those three chapters, I paged the whole office and announced it over the intercom. I heard applause from every corner. What will *you* look forward to? Go out to eat. Take your spouse or best friend to the movies to celebrate! Hit the beach. Do *something*.

Now once you’ve finished your project or even a major sub-goal, how can you leverage that finish to move on to the next challenge? Come back next week to hear some answers.

In the meantime, be careful… ’cause it’s a jungle out there — for some of you, *literally*! :-)

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