The Nations are in our Backyard

Posted: May 21, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Uncategorized
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The last couple of days, I wrote a four part series on what it means to follow Jesus. It is by no means exhaustive, but I hope you were encouraged by it. If you would like to review that you can see the intro, part 1, part 2, and part 3 before this.

One of the questions I find myself asking God is, what work still needs to be done and how can I join you? The answer is by no means unique or hyper-spiritual. It is simple- make disciples of all nations. To make disciples is a two-fold project that involves making disciples and maturing disciples. It would be a false dichotomy and a misunderstanding of the great commission to pit these two important components against each other.

How are we supposed to reach the ends of the earth? Well, some of us are called to follow Jesus by leaving our careers, leaving our homes, and going to a place where there is no church or Christian witness. Others are called to leverage their business by creating access in places that are closed and restricted to missionaries. Regardless of what we do, or how we accomplish the mission, the scope of the nations is to be carried by every Christian and every local church.

How do we, who are here in the US, fulfill the global scope of missions? First, lets define what nations meant in the great commission. “All Nations” (panta ta ethne) can be translated into all ethno-linguistic people groups. There are 196 geo-political nations which is not what was meant by Jesus when He said “all nations”. There are 16,590 different people groups with their own ethnic background and their own language. 7,163 are still unreached which means that there is less that 2% of a Christian presence in their population. 3,400 of which are not being engaged (no one is making an effort to reach them). I see Jesus speaking of nations in the second form, and not in the geo-political sense.

With 7,163 people groups still to be reached, what can we do? My prayer is that the command to make disciples and the global reality will open our eyes and mobilize us to mission. I am praying that some of you reading this would go, and that others would engage the unengaged and unreached here. I am praying that all would have a global mindset.

Many have said that the reason that they don’t go overseas is because there are many who need to be evangelized here. The problem is most of them either miss the global scope of our witness, or they don’t evangelize at all. You see, the nations are here and there is a lot that we can do for the global purposes of God. There are many international students, immigrants, and refugees here in the US. Look at these numbers here :

India has 2,533 unreached people groups living among them.China comes in second with 516- that is a significant drop from first and second. I wonder if you all would know what nation comes in third place? It is, amazingly, the United States. There are 381 unreached people groups here. Walk around and think nations and see if you don’t begin to realize that the great commission is within our grasp. From college students, to business men and women, neighbors and bazaars the nations are at our doorstep, in our backyard and within the range of our local churches.

I am unable to go to the nations…at least for now. My wife and I are praying about going in the future and when that would be. But there is still so much that could be done from here. I would encourage you to get a copy of Operation World and begin praying for the nations. I have also put an app on my blog with an unreached people of the day, stats, geography, and ways to pray for them. If you have an Ipod, Ipad, or Iphone,  there is an app called the Unreached People of the Day that you could download for free.

But why do this? We do this because Jesus is worthy. We do this because Jesus is to be glorified and made much of by every people group on the face of the earth. We do this for the sake of people. We do this because there is an eternal reality of heaven and hell. We do this because we want to see the lamb receive the reward of his sufferings.

Here are some questions I would like for you to consider:

1) How could I leverage my time, money, and career to reach the nations for Jesus?

2) Where are there opportunities for me to engage with different people?

3) How can I mobilize members of my church to go here or go there?


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