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Pastor helps plan a world church

"A church for every people and the gospel for every person by A.D. 2000."

That is the goal of the A.D. 2000 & Beyond Movement, which sponsored a 10-day Global Consultation on World Evangelization conference in May in Seoul, South Korea.

Among the participants was the Rev. Scott Simmons, pastor of Dayspring Presbyterian Church in Spring Hill.

More than 4,000 Christian leaders from 195 countries _ 300 leaders from the United States _ met to discuss how to accomplish the movement's goal. They will concentrate on reaching Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in an area stretching from western Africa to eastern Asia.

Simmons said he received a letter last winter from London informing him he had been selected to attend the global conference. "I don't know how my name was submitted or who recommended me," Simmons said. "It was the first I knew I had been invited as a delegate.

"I had a range of emotions: I was curious, excited and wanted to find out more of what was involved in being a delegate."

Simmons was then assistant pastor of missions and evangelism at Old Cutler Presbyterian Church in Miami. Old Cutler agreed to sponsor the trip even after Simmons decided to accept a move to Spring Hill.

"(Old Cutler) graciously agreed without hesitation, and I'm very grateful. Now the benefit is to two churches instead of one and hopefully many more," Simmons said.

Of his experience in Seoul, Simmons said, "It was a very exciting conference that brought confidence as well as motivation to the biblical call to share Jesus Christ throughout the world."

Simmons said his attendance at the conference would offer several benefits to Old Cutler and Dayspring.

One is information-sharing. "The conference produced a great deal of information about people and places in the world who have not yet heard the gospel," he said.

Second, he said, the conference offered tips "on how we can do it. It told of encouraging stories, ideas and words."

Third, Simmons said, he learned how he and his church can network with churches and individuals to promote evangelism.

He will be sharing all of that information with his own congregation and others as they consider involvement in various mission programs.

The A.D. 2000 & Beyond Movement, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., began in 1989 during a conference on world evangelism in the Philippines. Its purpose is to bring together Christians throughout the world into networks to accomplish the task of world evangelism by the end of the millennium.

"On the surface, it sounds impossible," the 41-year-old married father of two said. "But as we began to see what the Lord was doing I began to realize that it can be accomplished by networking with other Christians, other churches.

Admittedly it may take a little longer than we think, but it can be done."

Luis Bush, international director of the A.D. 2000 & Beyond Movement, compared the group's goal to the vow by Coca-Cola to place a Coke in the hand of every person by the year 2000. Bush said if such a goal can be credibly announced by the marketers of a soft drink, his group should not shrink from reaching that same world, in the same time frame, with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Simmons came to Dayspring last September after being with Old Cutler for almost seven years. He describes Dayspring as a small congregation with a heart for missions. He said attendance has increased from an average of 70 members to about 110.

"I've taken in 36 new members since coming and done work on creating a new logo for the church and written a new mission statement," Simmons said.

"I'm excited about what's happening at church, and (the congregation has been) excited about me going (to the conference)."