Curtis Sergeant, the current associate vice president for global strategies at the International Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia, announced that he will be help Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California launch a major new world missions initiative.
Sergeant, a former missionary to East Asia will join the church's ministry staff to help them implement their new "PEACE" plan, which focuses on 3,200 people who still have no access to the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. PEACE is an acronym standing for Planting churches, Equipping leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick, and Educating the next generation. The PEACE Plan intends to focus God's resources on the world's greatest problems, said Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback.
"We've concluded that there are five great giants or problems in the world," Warren said. "And we designed the PEACE Plan to help local churches address those problems. No government can or wants to handle them, and if you add together all the great relief agencies of the world, their sincere and committed efforts are still only a drop in the bucket compared to the problems in the world. Yet, the Church is God-powered to take on these problems even as we proclaim the good news. There are more churches than any other organization in the world—with the biggest army of volunteers—and we have the longevity to get the task done. Curtis Sergeant will play a key role as we implement the PEACE Plan, and we are blessed he is able to join us.”
After announcing his decision, Sergeant commented, "The International Mission Board has set a goal of engaging all unreached people groups with more than 100,000 population by the end of 2005. That's a wonderful goal that will require a God-sized stretch. Unfortunately, when we meet that goal, there will still be around 3,200 unreached people groups of less than 100,000 population that are not engaged by anyone. It would be many years before missionaries would be able to get the gospel to these peoples.
"I heartily agree with the strategy and priorities the IMB is focusing on. It's only because I am so confident about them that I can feel comfortable in leaving," Sergeant said. "But these other people groups will not be reached for many years unless some major new initiative is launched.
"I hope the PEACE Plan, which I have been working with Saddleback to develop, will be a complementary and supplementary approach that can help eliminate that gap by 2010."
The International Mission Board appointed Sergeant in 1991. He served as a strategy associate on the board's East Asia leadership team until 2002 when he resigned to join the agency’s home office staff in Richmond, Virginia. He will join the Saddleback staff effective June 28, 2004.