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The Forerunner

Torch for Gospel

By Editorial Staff
Published April 1, 1988

Thousands of young Christians from all over the world will be taking part in a marathon that will carry lighted torches to the far corners of the earth. The event, called “Target 2000: Great Commission Torch Run,” will see relay teams of young runners carrying hand-held flames – symbolizing the Gospel – across all continents during the next eighteen months.

Christian leaders and teen-agers from all continents will gather on the Mount of Ascension, in Israel, on Easter Sunday (April 3) to see the first torch lit in a special dedication ceremony.

“Once the first flame has been carried down from the mountain and run to Lod Airport, it will be used to light other beacons to be transported by air and sea to other parts of the world,” said a spokesman for Youth With A Mission, one of the organizers of the event.

“Then, in Africa, Europe, Australia and the Americas, these torches will in turn be used to light others that will fan out across the countries to take the message of the event to thousands of villagers, towns and cities. Along the way, the run will be used as a special focus for local concerts and rallies – centering on revival in their communities – and as a springboard for missions and outreach projects.”

The round-the-world run is being organized by leaders of many Christian organizations, linking up with scores of churches on the route who will take responsibility for carrying a torch part of the way on its journey. Organizers hope that the project will eventually involve upwards of 100,000 young people in the run itself, associated rallies, outreaches and conferences.

The idea was conceived by YWAM founder and mission statesman, Loren Cunningham. He said the event was intended to encourage young Christians to take their part in world evangelism, and to raise expectancy in seeing all countries reached for Christ in this generation.

“Can you imagine the impact as tens of thousands – even hundreds of thousands – of young people are seen running with these torches,” he said. Cunningham said the effect will show to the participants that world evangelization by the year 2000 is possible.

“They will say, ‘Not only can it be done – but we will do it, Lord Jesus,’” he said. “Young people do the impossible before they find out it’s impossible – that’s why God uses them so often,” he said.

Months of detailed work has gone into the event, planning routes through busy cities and remote territories, even checking that live flames can be carried on aircraft – they have to be placed in a special container, and have a seat of their own.

The marathon will be featured next year in Singapore at the conference on World Evangelization called by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. “By bringing attention to next year’s conference in Singapore, the organizers also believe that worldwide prayer will bring the delegates a vision from God for the strategies and initiatives needed to fulfill the Great Commission,” said the YWAM spokesman.

“The seven-fold aim of Target 2000 includes Bible and Christian literature distribution and building church unity, as well as prayer and proclamation. Organizations and individuals wanting more information about how they can take part in the run in their nation or region should write to:

Target 2000: Great Commission Torch Run
Prins Hendrikkade 50
1012 AC Amsterdam,
The Netherlands


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