Int’l (MNN) – There are over 2 billion unreached peoples around the world. They are desperately in need of a Gospel witness, yet often the Church is apathetic about the call to missions.
Steve Harling, President of Reach Beyond explains that this phenomenon is more common than you would hope. As a pastor for over 30 years, he has seen it often. But he knew that God had a greater vision for his congregation than a ho-hum vision of ministry.
Exciting Passion for the Unreached
He explains, “Our people were not personally involved. And so we decided to adopt an unreached people group and see what we can do and what we could bring to the table to help reach them. And when we became involved beyond just giving money and even beyond praying and beyond supporting missionaries, when we became first-hand with an unreached people group, man did it open our eyes.
“It was kinetic. It was exciting. We wound up making a fifteen-year commitment to do everything we could to see a church planted among that people group. It took twelve years before that happened, but it was an amazing ride. And continues to this day.”
They caught the vision for ministry, but more needs to be done. God requires more than one passionate church body to go to all unreached peoples. One pastor can get a group of people excited, but this problem is more than just a lack of excitement from the pulpit. Apathy for reaching the unreached peoples is a heart problem.
Addressing Our Apathetic Hearts
“Do we care about the heart of God?” Harling asks.
“We’re not just talking about massive numbers of people, you know, some million people groups somewhere that’s far away and removed from us. We’re talking about individuals that our heavenly Father loves and cares about.”
The idea that God is going after individuals should ignite a new passion in the Christian’s heart. But sometimes individuals require a very personal spark to kindle their fire.
A Renewed Passion
Recently Harling was in South Asia attending a worship service and praying that God would make the plight of the unreached very personal to him. God answered that prayer in the form of a little girl attending the service.
He shares, “There’s a girl in front of me; she’s nine years old. Her parents abandoned her, they were into sex trafficking, they abandoned her as a little kid and that girl was basically raised by her grandmother.
“Her grandmother wound up becoming desperate during a time of famine. She took her life and this little four-year-old was basically abandoned. All alone. And God miraculously intervened and she was introduced to one of our partners, and ultimately this child who had struggled with PTSD and just about every other kind of trauma and abuse you can imagine. She couldn’t even talk for months, literally could not talk at all. And now she’d come through that and she’d been loved on.
“She’d been reached through, beginning with radio and then moving from there and actually getting into a care facility. Watching her lead worship in front of me was incredible.
“She was waving a banner. There was joy in her face and I realized, you know what? This is the transformation. One life at a time. From an unreached people group that is totally characterized by poverty, by, honestly, victimization of children and to see her shining and the brightness in her face as she worshipped God was so compelling.”
Many People, One Day
This little girl is just one of the many faces motivating the International Day for the Unreached on May 20th 2018. God cares infinitely about each one of the people who have never heard His Gospel and He wants the Church to take His Word to those who need Him.
Reach Beyond is one of the members of the Alliance for the Unreached, the group behind IDU.
Harling shares that this day is important, but it’s more than one event on one day. It should be the start of a movement of people reaching out to the unreached.
“The whole Body of Christ has to be involved. This cannot be a small group of professionals that have an interest in unreached people groups. This has to be catalytic. It has to be owned by the Body of Christ. We are in this together. And we’re committed to seeing the fulfillment really of Revelation 7:9 in our time. That’s what the goal needs to be.”
Save the Date: May 20, 2018
Tap into God’s passion for all peoples this year by learning about and praying for unreached peoples this year on the International Day for the Unreached. Pray that God would open your heart to see how much He cares for unreached peoples. Ask that He would instill in you a passion to help bring the Gospel to the two billion people who have never heard Jesus’ name.
Involve your church with IDU. There are resources for how to help spread God’s word and how to pray for unreached people groups here.