There are roughly 16,500 people groups that exist in the world today. Typically a people group is placed in a category based on the language that they speak. With every language comes one's own customs, culture, and identity. Some actually refer to these people groups as ethnolinguistic list of peoples. Out of these 16,500 people groups over 7,000 are listed under the category of "unreached peoples." Unreached peoples are those who do not have a local church, pastor, or a translation of the Bible in their own language. To put it plainly, they do not know anything about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ! Our Great Commission is to penetrate these people groups with the knowledge of the Lord (Hab. 2:14). In order for these peoples to be reached the established church must view themselves as a missionary organization. They must make it their duty to see that the gospel of Christ infiltrates these cultures. Trained missionaries must be sent to the field to reach these people with the support of the local church financially and through prayer. What can the local church do to be part of reaching the nations for the glory of God?
It is healthy for the local church to have a vision and a mission to grow the community. The larger the church grows the more dynamic of a missionary organization they become. Now, we do fully rely on the sovereignty of God to build the church. We also know that the means He uses to grow the church is us who go out in the places we live, move, and have our being carrying the torch of Christ and pleading with people to come to Him. I challenge us to think in terms of how we can grow the church for the sake of the nations.
More than 90% of Mormons give at least ten percent of their income back to their church. That is right... you read it correctly... more than 90%! It is no surprise that they are one of the fastest growing religions in the world as they are sending hundreds of missionaries to these unreached people groups. How does the evangelical church compare? On the high end roughly 25% of evangelicals give 10% or their income to the local church. Many statistics were much lower than this, but for the sake of the article I chose the highest statistic I could find. What this means is that 75% of professing evangelicals are being disobedient to the Lord's command to give back to God. I urge all of us to see to it that we are giving for the sake of the nations.
We need people that are willing to forsake life in the West and go to the mission field in order to reach these people. An erroneous idea has crept into the Western mindset that all we need to do is send money and others will take care of the missionary efforts. They say, "Well isn't it more fruitful if local people go and share the gospel with them." The problem is that in the unreached people groups there are no local people to go and plant the seeds of Christ. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul himself went into every area he could possibly get into crossing cultural barriers every step of the way. What we need are willing servants of God to take up the cross of Christ and GO into the mission field for the sake of the nations.
Contributor / Eric Stewart
Eric Stewart is the Lead Pastor of ONElife Church in Flint, MI.