In the first 2 parts of this 3 part series we learned that missions is the proclamation of the gospel to groups of people that do not have established churches, so that all the people groups of the earth may be represented in heaven. We also talked about how the vast majority of American missionaries and missions money is not going to reach these people, but instead is going to areas of the world and to people with well-established churches. So, what should we do to change this? There are at least 6 things we as a church can and should be doing to help proclaim the good news to those who have no way to know Christ.
Learn: Many churchgoing Christians are unaware of God’s heart for the nations that is expressed throughout scripture. All of us can continue to learn what the Bible has to say about this subject and the commands Christ has given us to reach the nations. Similarly, we can all continue to learn about the many people groups in the world that have limited to no access to the gospel. There are many ways that all Christians should continue to learn about missions and the work being done around the world, but learning is not a substitute for action.
Pray: Praying is one of the easiest things to say you will do and then not do. When it comes to the large task of evangelization of the world’s unreached peoples, it is very easy to be frustrated and not even know where to start. Praying for the missionaries our church supports is a good first step. There are prayer books available with information about our missionaries, and we have the latest prayer letters available in the Missions Center that often have specific current prayer requests in them. In addition to praying for our missionaries, a very important discipline is praying for the unreached people groups specifically. This can easily be done using Operation World or The Joshua Project. Both resources will give you lots of specific information about people and the countries where they live so that you can pray specifically. Remember, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is residing in each believer, and we know that God hears and answers prayers.
Go: Many of us may be called to go to an unreached people group as a missionary. No, not everybody can go, but the fact of the matter is that many people do need to go, and if everybody assumes that going is not for “us normal Christians”, then the task will take much longer to complete. Some Christians don’t feel that they have been “called” to become a missionary, and it is a good thing to evaluate the obligations of going. However, one author has explained it this way: if there is a need, and God has given a person a way to fulfill that need, this constitutes being called.
Send: In order for those that are called to go, there needs to be many more willing to back them up with prayer, financial, and practical support. Our church needs to be ready and eagerly seeking out people from within our church and community that we are going to send to the front lines to do the work of the church.
Welcome: There are thousands of people from unreached parts of the world living in Minnesota right now – and more than you might think live in our own communities. Many of these internationals will never step foot in an American’s, let alone a believer’s, home during their time here. Although reaching the immigrants, refugees, and students will not be enough to reach all the unreached of the world, it cannot be overlooked as an important way for those who are not being sent overseas to get directly involved in missions.
Mobilize: In order for the church to learn, pray, send, go, and welcome non-believers, as Christians, we need to be mobilized to become World Christians. By World Christian, I mean one who understands God’s heart for the nations and lives their life in such a way that no matter where they live and what they do their goal is to see God glorified among all peoples. Mobilizers are people who empower others with the global vision, passion and strategy to help others get personally involved in the Great Commission.
I hope this three part series has encouraged you to give glory to God for the beautiful scene we will one day see in heaven when all tribes, tongues, nations, and peoples are gathered together worshiping Him. I also pray that you have been challenged to seek ways to actively get involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.